Sept. 15 2010 12:00 AM

(Lance Enderle is the Democratic candidate for Congress from the 8th District. His column, which has not been edited, will appear weekly until the election.)

It’s time the average worker in Enderle Michigan’s 8th district had a Congressional Representative who understands their needs, and chooses to work for them while in Congress instead of big money special interest groups. Over the last 10 years, Mike Rogers has been effective in carrying out the Bush/Cheney agenda by simply ignoring the employment problems that have plagued his constituents.

In May of this year, Michigan’s unemployment rate comfortably settled into the unenviable slot of second highest in the nation. Our Representative, Mike Rogers, voted against extending unemployment benefits, leaving thousands of Michigan’s jobless citizens with nowhere to turn for basic financial survival.

On two previous occasions (11/05/09 and 06/12/08) Mike was simply missing in action--failing his constituents by not showing up to vote on emergency unemployment benefit extensions. This left the fate of Michigan’s unemployed in the hands of representatives from other areas..

But now, it’s election season. Suddenly, Mike Rogers realizes that the unemployment rate in Michigan is unacceptable, and now he says he’s going to do something about this crisis. My question to Mike; "Where have you been?"

I hope we are not naive enough to believe that if we reelect him things will be different this time. It only took him 10 years to seriously acknowledge problems facing Michigan workers, perhaps it will only take him another 10 years to discover a solution. Even then, we can’t trust that he’ll vote for the worker over his backpocket special interests. In fact, when it comes to issues facing the average worker, Mike’s voting record tells the real story.

On December 9th of last year, Mike released a statement which read in part; "The last thing the working families of Michigan need is more job-killer regulation from Washington bureaucrats who sit behind their desks and run their taxpayer-funded calculators with no real sense of how they impact the daily lives of American families."

The following day, Congress voted on the Employment, Infrastructure, and Transportation Appropriations bill. This was an initiative specifically designed to bring down unemployment.

In March of this year, Mike voted against the Senate Jobs Bill, again, an initiative designed to put people back to work by extending tax incentives to employers. Again, Mike voted NO.

Thanks to congressional leaders from other States and districts, these bills passed, putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work. This helped to keep the country from slipping into a deep economic depression.

Mike has voted against increasing the minimum wage, and against requiring OSHA to establish combustible dust safety standards. His stated reasoning is that Washington needs to stop spending money.

However, Mike has no problem spending taxpayer dollars to get reelected. While many are concerned about how they will make their next house payment, Mike sends his constituents expensive campaign literature on the taxpayers dime, telling us that Washington spends too much money.

Based on his 10 year record, if Mike Rogers is elected, the best we can expect is more of the same. The last thing Michigan needs is more of the same. The people of Michigan deserve better, and they need it now.

As your representative, I’ll work to push free trade aside in exchange for fair trade. This will create more and better paying jobs for the people of Michigan. It’s time for other countries to ease their excessive tariffs on American made products and give our businesses and workers a level playing field. And, I will never choose special interests over the working public.