When I first ran for office, I went door-to-door like any good candidate to listen to the people about what they wanted from their state representative. While there were some broad similarities in what people told me they wanted (jobs, clean water, good education, etc.) there were some stark contrasts on other things. I talked to liberals, conservatives, independents, and a few that defy categorization. However, regardless of ideology or party, ethnicity or income, people said they wanted someone who was honest, hard working, and accessible. I never forgot this and have strived at every stage of my public life to bring these three attributes to my work. The first two I have my parents to thank for; the third I have worked at aggressively.
Along with going door-to-door almost every month, I have regularly held public meetings and library hours to get face-to-face time with constituents who have questions or concerns. These have tapered off a little, to be honest, since Olivia arrived, but I have tried to compensate with extra outreach by newsletter, email, and meetings over coffee when folks request it. This is all in addition to the open dialogue between the district and my staff that goes on every day. Inevitably, this contact has forced me to defend my positions, helped me examine my beliefs, and undoubtedly made me better at my job.
We have all watched the passionate debate over health care unfold across the country this summer. We’ve seen the protesters complete with automatic weapons and Obama-as-a-Nazi effigies. We watched the congressmen and women bluster, stammer, and stutter their way through their explanations of their positions on the health care bills, some better than others. Through it all there has been a lot of shouting but I’m not sure there has been the genuine communication so essential in developing complex public policy. But it sure has been entertaining to watch!
Despite this, I am pleased to announce I will be hosting three town hall, err, NEIGHBORHOOD meetings throughout September to further engage the public. I have a lot to share about what we’ve been working on in Lansing and look forward to hearing what is on the minds of those who choose to share. Information is below and I hope you will join us if you can, if only to see how I look with a Hitler mustache!