Priorities. Principles.

• Encourage economic growth and job creation

Michigan continues to climb back from its “lost decade”. With increasing employment and personal incomes, we know we're on the right track.  We've balanced the budget six years in a row, paid down debt and invested the most ever in education.  But we know not all of our citizens have felt the recovery and we will have to have honest conversations about our priorities going forward.  

One thing we know is we need to continue and refine those policies that will attract and retain job providers. Because only more jobs can enhance our tax base, better fund our schools, infrastructure needs, and help us fulfill our promise to seniors and to our future generations, who deserve a chance to grow up and find good jobs right here in Michigan.

 

• Keep agriculture strong

Farmers were the people who greeted my ancestors when they settled in Hillsdale County and perhaps no other industry better displays the strength of our great state and people. Resilient, adaptive, open for new ideas while always honoring timeless virtues, agriculture is the foundation. It provides jobs that endure and commerce that drive the entire economy. We need to be sure our hard-working Ag producers are able to compete fairly in the marketplace and their operations are not hamstrung by harmful policies.  I am pleased that the Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPac endorses my reelection as a "Friend of Agriculture".

 

• Defend the Constitution

I’ve walked neighborhoods all over this district, and one theme is common – for the first time, people feel like their rights under the U.S. Constitution are being eroded. Many no longer expect equal protection under the law of the land.  To rebuild faith in our government, it must earn it by adhering to the Constitution. Every Article is important – especially the right to defend oneself and the rights reserved to the states.

I’m proud that my father-in-law taught the Constitution and American History for over thirty years at Hillsdale College, a daughter served at the College's Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies in Washington, D.C., and a son-in-law defends the rights given to us under the Constitution as an officer in the United States Marines.

 

• Defend the Right to Life

This is the fundamental right. How a society views its most vulnerable and how its members consider their own proper roles in God’s created order determines the basis of morality against which every other law may be weighed.  My wife and I are pleased to have been members of Right to Life for over twenty years and to have been able to support RTL Michigan’s Educational Fund for almost as long.

But we have gained more than we have given. My wife, Laura, counseled expectant women through the Alpha Omega Care Center for twelve years. While many were in terribly difficult circumstances, they were able to see that terminating a life was not the solution. Those years became part of my own spiritual formation as well. As your representative, I will always be a voice for the voiceless and proudly pro-life.  I am pleased my campaign has again been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan's RLM-PAC.

 

• Help students, parents and teachers succeed

We can help all three succeed if we give our students safe environments, worthy material to learn and high expectations that they will do so. Parents will be our partners when we respect that they want the best for their children -- and when they take on the responsibility themselves that is needed to make that possible. And teachers deserve to have order in their classrooms, coursework that is sound, and support from their administrators in educating their pupils.  We have addressed structural problems within certain districts, directed more aid toward vocational and technical education, built in accountability, and explored ways to reduce paperwork and testing so that teachers can spend more time with students and less time on computers.  

 

• Address unfunded liabilities for our future

The bottom line: Like our roads and other infrastructure, our public pension plans were built generations ago during a period of prosperity, and they need to be funded during a time when more and more state resources are going elsewhere. Another fact: Certain reforms made in the past several years were unpopular, but protected our state's credit rating and lowered our borrowing costs.  Ignoring the math would have only made our costs increase.   A continued effort must continue.  The work must be transparent and deliberate, so to be as fair as possible.

 

 

  • Family, Church and Local Community

The great American achievement is Limited Government.  Until quite recently the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Michigan were in our bones, and in the air we breathe.  Americans, and Michiganders, have been lovers of liberty.  Above all, that liberty has been dependent upon the Rule of Law and the willingness of governing bodies to let citizens be self governing citizens.

It is no secret that for the last couple of generations our liberties have been eroding, mainly because government at all levels has assumed more and more authority over our lives.  Reversing that trend starts at the lowest levels of public responsibility.  It requires us to elect representatives who understand what our national and our state politics should be all about: 

  • The protection of the traditional family, civilization's cradle of liberty and responsibility.

  • The defense of freedom of religion, which includes the liberty of churches to stay independent of government control of their core beliefs.

  • The encouragement of local communities to address their own problems and pursue their own agendas without unnecessary control or regulation from above.  This includes the integrity of voluntary associations and neighborhoods.

Many seemingly good ideas become laws without taking into consideration the effects they will have on the institutions that guarantee our liberties and define us as Americans.  I promise to you that, whatever the subject of proposed legislation, or whatever problem it seeks to address, it will have to pass my “Family, Church and Local Community” test.

 

 

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