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TUESDAY, Jan. 15 — We know the frequent knock on former 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop. He never seemed to be around Lansing. Fair or not, it felt like is his public visits were few and far between.
Well, his replacement, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, is bound and determined not to fall into that same trap. Days after opening up offices in the old Sparrow office building at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Saginaw Street, Slotkin held a public swearing-in ceremony at the Lansing Center.
More than 400 people watched the former CIA analyst take a ceremonial oath of office from U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Delta Twp., with neighboring U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, in attendance.
The Sexton High School choir sang "Man In The Mirror" among other songs. Lansing City Council member Peter Spadafore, among others offered remarks.
Outside of the singing, the following are some highlights from the Slotkin event:
— Accessibility will be a critical piece of tenure, she said. Slotkin said she plans on making her schedule public. Outside of her main district office in Lansing, she is opening a satellite office in Rochester and appointing a Livingston County contact for residents there.
— Her pledge is to hold a town hall-style meeting once every three months.
— Slotkin never mentioned President Donald Trump. She empathized, again, with the federal workers going without paychecks during the prolonged shutdown. Having helped manage the Department of Defense's employee response back in the 2013 shutdown, Slotkin knows how hard it is for the workers, which is why she is donated her own paycheck to charity until the shutdown is over.
One federal worker she spoke with is trying to collect unemployment, but he must apply for two jobs a week in order to receive benefits. However, he can't apply for any job because the classified nature of his position forbids him from having outside employment.
— For those voters who didn't vote for her last November, Slotkin said, "It is my job to support you and I will do my level best to represent every member of this district" to the best of her ability.
"Together, we can get something done for residents of the 8th District," she said.
In other news, Slotkin asked U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today to "do everything in her power" to give federal employees impacted by the budget shutdown a break on their student loans.
She asking DeVos to reach out to the senior officials at the loan companies to considering granting temporary dispensation on the loans until the federal shutdown is over. No word yet from the U.S. Department of Education if DeVos will do it.