"You don't tell people who disagree with you they'd be better off somewhere else. And you don't reduce them to stereotypes; you address them as fully formed people worthy of respect. You try to persuade them." - Peggy Noonan
Conserve and Protect.
Once it's gone, it's gone. As the people who live in this region, it is our responsibility to protect it. Often, though, self proclaimed environmentalists seem so hostile that I tend to resist everything they say. But, we should remember that one of the great conservationists of all time was our own Teddy Roosevelt, who said, "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value."
In the end, this needs to be an effort that Republicans take the lead on - there is no reason why we should have let the Democratic Party "own" this issue in the public's eye. If we do not remain the voice of reason, the people who want to use these issues to further their agenda are lying in wait, ready to act without respect for business, personal property, or the liberties we've enjoyed for generations. As such, I intend to work with people of all persuasions to ensure that we promote conservation of our incredible natural resources within a pro-business, pro-resident framework.
That said, there are a number of key issues we are facing right now, including the Pipeline 5 Tunnel. The pipeline itself was one issue that, when people first started talking about it years ago, I recoiled because they all seemed like extremists. The "Shut Down Pipeline 5" bumper stickers were inevitably arranged alongside a dozen radical causes. But, when one looks honestly at the issue, that 60+ year old pipeline is scary as it is. We had this whole issue handled with a solution that should have appealed to everyone - the tunnel - but people are trying to stop it now. We need to get the tunnel built because the people of Michigan need the energy and commerce, and the lakes need our protection. Both are important. Let's get it done.
Economy and Infrastructure.
I didn't become a Republican to help hedge fund operators get richer. Instead, I think the fundamental principles that form the core of our party lead to a better life for the greatest amount of people. I believe these principles of hard work, self reliance, and limited government line up with moral laws built into the very fabric of human society. Truth be told, I've always been more "populist" than "Republican" in many ways - the old "Club Coat Republicans" don't excite me. It's what got me fired up about Donald Trump from the day he decided to run.
In order to make life feasible here in this heavenly part of the world, the economy is one area in which we can't afford to mess around. Since we are removed from some of the protections and conveniences of bigger metropolitan areas, it is even more important that we foster good jobs with higher wages.
To do that, we need an economy that works for 12 months a year. We need a steady stream of new full-time residents who have more "skin in the game" than summer visitors. We need programs to foster the trades and give our students the skills they need to secure great jobs in manufacturing and other areas - especially since so many of those jobs will likely now be coming home to America!
And, to facilitate all of this, we need a government that is responsible enough to build up a storehouse and spend it only on the things governments are supposed to do - like building and maintaining our roads.
Look at any political candidate's website in Michigan, and they all talk about infrastructure. It's been like that forever. So why are things so slow to improve? Lee Chatfield has done a great job "fighting the good fight" on this, and I will continue his efforts by making it a top priority to try to stop money intended for these projects from being diverted to other initiatives. This isn't brain surgery. The money is there, we just need to fight for it - especially since our entire region is so dependent on long distance travel for supplies and commerce.
"We need to be thoughtful. We need to be civil. But If we aren't also vigilant in electing people who will defend the most innocent lives in Michigan, we can expect a never-ending barrage of dangerous legislation like the "Michigan Reproductive Health Act" to keep resurfacing under the current Governor's administration."
"Life. What a beautiful choice." I still remember those great television ads from the 1980's, and have had the chance to get to know the people behind those ads - a great Michigan family. This was my first exposure to the issue of "life," and cemented my beliefs.
This is a "no-brainer" for me. I simply cannot understand how anyone could think abortion is acceptable, but I don't hate the people who claim to be "pro-choice.". People on our side need to be careful how we present our views. Yelling and screaming - name calling - these things just back the other side into a corner and ensure they will never listen to us.
For me, this isn't about the mother or father, it's about the third innocent person. Perhaps there are some things we can all do together that would reduce the number of children lost. For example, what about things like strengthening laws surrounding the responsibility of the father? If fewer young women were left fearing whether they have to support a child on their own, that would save a few lives, right? Or what about strengthening laws that people present life and adoption as a choice? More informed choices cannot be bad, right? This one is personal for me because my wife, brother, sister and nephew were all adopted as babies, and I can't imagine the world without them.
One day it would be wonderful to live in a world where there were no unwanted pregnancies and therefore no abortions. In the meantime, I'll bet we can get more people on our team than we think by simply showing some grace, civility and creative thinking.
As a general rule, we must always be on guard against the threat of infringements on liberty. Freedom is the easiest thing to lose, and next to impossible to get back once we've sacrificed it to the government.
“The gun control mentality is ruthlessly absurd. It suggests that you pass a law which will bind law-abiding citizens — they won't have access to weapons. Now, we know that criminals, by definition, are people who don't obey laws. Therefore, you can pass all the laws that you want, they will still have access to these weapons, just as they have access to illegal drugs and other things right now. That means you end up with a situation in which the law-abiding folks can't defend themselves, and the crooks have all the guns.” - Alan Keyes
There are two sides to every fight in preserving our liberties - the first is to protect our fundamental rights, and the second is to fight with a common sense approach against things in our society that enslave us. There are complex issues facing our state every day, and confronting them requires a person who can clearly see both sides of the equation.
Example Threats to Fundamental Freedoms:
2nd Amendment: Nobody's opinion really matters much here - the Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. If someone wants to change that, there are provisions in place to change the Constitution, which is not likely to happen. This is just one of those foundational principles upon which our country is built.
Illegal Drugs and Opioids: This crisis is among the greatest threats to our fundamental liberties. Entire communities are being enslaved by this crisis and the crime it brings. As such, I will support enhanced treatment alternatives for those who are already addicted, but huge penalties on people who supply the drugs. This is a national outrage which degrades the quality of life for everyone. It is time we made an all out blitz against drug dealers for the terror they bring upon our society. This means empowering the police to be more aggressive in their enforcement of drug laws and doing everything we can to stop drugs from coming across the border or traveling up I-75 to invade our towns. We live in a small enough area that we should be able to make some real progress against this scourge.
Debt: Just as families are so often enslaved to debts they incurred, excessive government spending does nothing but threaten the liberty of our children. While this crisis is particularly profound on a national level, Michigan has done a pretty good job reducing our debt in recent years. But that can change fast. Our state taxes are fairly high between the sales tax, income tax, and taxes hidden everywhere from gasoline to property expenses. There must be a constant effort to ensure we are good stewards of every tax dollar, because the temptation for more government spending is always lurking around the corner. This is a fight we quite literally cannot afford to lose, especially with our current Governor.
Pursuit of Happiness.
After graduating from Michigan in 1994, I relocated to Virginia for a few years for work. When my wife and I moved back in 1997, I made a mental note to myself - "don't ever move away again." Michigan is, in my opinion, the greatest state in the union to pursue happiness. Like so many others, our family is almost always on the go - camping, skiing, hiking, shopping, visiting other towns and villages - you name it. On a typical Saturday, we will drive 2 hours just to get a burger at West Pier in the Soo or go shopping in downtown Petoskey and the small towns that dot the coastline where we live. We'll take our camper to Wilderness State Park or spend the night staring at the Mackinac Bridge from Straits State Park. There is just so much to do here that doesn't cost a fortune!
I will always work to preserve and share this great state of happiness we have just waiting to be enjoyed - whether through policies that foster new small businesses to build the local tourist economy, or through new ideas to build more affordable housing so our residents can really thrive in our area.
The goal is simple - to protect the natural beauty of the region, enhance our ability to live here by fostering well paying jobs, and make it possible for us to stay by improving housing and infrastructure.