Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Government of the People, by the People, for the People

Doug Spade (with Lucky)
Tomorrow I am expecting someone that I have come to call a friend to formally announce that he will be a candidate for State Senate District 17. 

I met Doug Spade (D-Adrian) for the first time several months ago and from then until now the one thing about him that has impressed me the most is that he is a “nice guy”. 

I am also expecting another candidate that I know and like to announce soon for the same seat. 

I met Dale Zorn (R-Ida) a few years ago in Lansing while I was lobbying with the teachers. Like Doug Spade, my first and ongoing impression of him is that he is a “nice guy”. 

As important as the quality of being “nice” is, we don’t elect people to represent us just because they are “nice”. 

Doug Spade was recently quoted in a news article, "I think people have to come before politics and I just don't see that happening, and it really frustrates me." The interests and welfare of the People come first! 

The problem with Dale Zorn is that he wants to be a nice guy but he votes wrong. He occasionally makes a tough vote in the interests of the People, but usually votes along Party lines against us; he only votes for us when he is pressured to do so. 

I don’t want to be represented by someone who only does the right thing when they are pressured to do so.

I recently met Dale Zorn in Lansing and he greeted me in the genuinely friendly manner that I have come to expect; I believe that he is a genuinely friendly person. But I was there to confront him on a very unfriendly bill that he recently cosponsored. 

Dale Zorn is a Republican; his Party platform states that “the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.” So, I wanted to know why he wanted to restrict a local unit of government’s power to require employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid leave when they were sick or injured. 

Dale Zorn told me that if small business owners like him had to give people time off because they were sick or injured, paid or unpaid, it would put them out of business. He put his own business interests and the business interests of his most enthusiastic political supporters ahead of the People he was elected to represent.

I called my friend Doug Spade and asked him what he thought of this bill. Ironically, he supported the Republican platform position that local units of government could and should be trusted to do the right thing for the people they represent; a position that Republicans like Dale Zorn don’t seem to support. 

Doug Spade continued to tell me that he didn’t understand why the interest of the People should be viewed by small business owners like Dale Zorn as being anything other than complimentary. 
In this specific example, small businesses might not choose to give their sick or injured employees time off, but doing so would benefit the business. 

When sick employees stay home, they don’t pass on their sickness to others; when injured employees are given time off to heal they return to work later saving the business the cost of training new employees and keeping the experiences of that employee in the business. 

Small business owners understand this, even if some of them won’t admit it. I asked Dale Zorn if he or one of his family members where sick or injured would they take time off? Would they continue to draw pay while they where sick or injured so that they could pay their bills? Of course they would! But Dale Zorn didn’t answer the question, he gave me a funny look that I took to mean, “I don’t understand.”
 Dale Zorn is genuinely friendly and wants to be a nice guy but he doesn’t understand that genuinely nice people don’t have to be pressured to do the right thing, they know that what is good for themselves as small business owners is also good for their employees, and know that local units of government can be trusted to do the right thing and that the interests of the People come ahead of personal business interests or the business interests of a few people who are your best supporters.
 Doug Spade doesn’t have to be told any of these things; he is a genuinely nice guy who can be trusted to do the right thing always. We will not have to lobby him to do the right thing, he will trust local units of government to do the right thing, and he will not put business interests of himself or a few supporters ahead of the People he represents.

Tomorrow you will find me at Loranger Square in downtown Monroe from noon until 12:30 PM where I am hoping to hear Doug Spade formally announce that he will be a candidate for State Senate District 17 after which you will find me working from now until Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, to make sure that he becomes our next State Senator.

Doug Spade for State Senate