Opinion

‘My priorities: Education, voting rights, environment,’ says House candidate

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(The writer is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the new 77th District seat in the state House of Representatives.)

If you watch the news, it might seem like everything revolves around some insider game of political chess being played in Washington. Don’t be fooled! The real action happens in state legislatures where laws are passed shaping education, health care access, transportation, the environment, and much more. Simply put, state level legislation has a powerful effect on our daily lives. This makes it critically important to elect legislators who understand complex and challenging issues, believe in the democratic process, and are willing to put partisanship aside to promote the common good.

The Covid-19 pandemic vividly demonstrated what happens when elected representatives put partisanship ahead of good governance. I was dismayed by the way Michigan’s Republican-led State House and Senate politicized a public health issue, delayed disbursement of desperately needed federal aid, and actively worked against the governor to the detriment of Michigan residents. This is one of the reasons why I decided to run for Michigan’s 77th House District, which includes parts of Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties.

I am an attorney, dedicated public servant, and alumnus of both Michigan State University College of Law and Eastern Michigan University. I have dedicated my professional career to public service, including working in the areas of victim advocacy and immigration law. Likewise, I have extensive experience working in local government and currently serve on the Clinton County Zoning Board of Appeals. Growing up on a small family farm and participating in 4-H, I developed a strong work ethic, an appreciation for community, and an intimate understanding of core American values. I believe that my professional experience and strong work ethic will enable me to be a productive legislator.

I plan to continue my dedication to public interest work by providing a strong, reasonable, and proactive voice in the legislature on issues important to Michiganders, such as:

Building a stronger economy: Our collective well-being, ability to provide for our families, and strength of our community depend on the success of the economy. As such, I support a comprehensive economic plan designed to revitalize and protect our domestic manufacturing and agricultural sectors, while supporting small businesses and private enterprise.

Education: Public education is the cornerstone of Michigan’s social and economic structure, and it helps guide and reinforce our moral, ethical, and cultural values. Because of this, I support universal early childhood education programs. Evidence shows that these programs lead to robust benefits for children, setting them up for success in their educational endeavors. Additionally, to succeed in the workforce, all students deserve access to a college education and/or vocational training program.

Protecting the environment: Michigan’s residents understand the importance of environmental protection and conservation. The State’s natural resources must be protected to safeguard the health of Michigan’s residents and to prevent permanent damage to the environment. Likewise, I understand that to Michigan’s farmers, land, air, and water are more than just vacation spots or scenic beauty. They are resources essential to their businesses and, as such, require our preservation.

Protecting voting rights: Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and should be cherished and protected. Through voting, we assert our beliefs and chart the State’s political course. As such, I oppose legislation designed to infringe on this basic right and instead support measures designed to ensure that every vote counts and that all eligible voters are able to make their voices heard. 

I firmly believe that Michigan would benefit from leaders who care less about themselves and more about those they are elected to represent. Empathy and humility are often-overlooked characteristics of outstanding public servants. At the end of the day, politicians should be elected for their public service experience and the strength and decency of their character. As a candidate for State Representative, I promise to embody these characteristics in office and approach every issue with an open mind and a clear goal: promoting the common good.

Learn more: www.electbyrne.com

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