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Monday Minute - Representing West Michigan Values


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Here in West Michigan, we value hard work, honesty, and fairness.

Those qualities guide how we live each day in the great communities that make up the Third Congressional District.

When the Great Recession hit, our hard working middle class families suffered quite a bit, not just in West Michigan but also nationwide. It was time for our leaders in Washington to exhibit the qualities that we value. It was time for them to do the hard work and craft common sense solutions to not only get us out of the difficult situation, but to do it in a way that least hurt the great majority of the people they represent.

Some did do that. In particular, legislation that eased the payroll tax to help out our families was a good common sense approach to putting a few more dollars in their pockets during difficult times.

While that legislation did pass, some rigid ideologues like Rep. Justin Amash put the concerns of special interests ahead of doing what was right and supporting the payroll tax cut that benefits middle class families and seniors throughout West Michigan.

Opposing a tax cut that benefits the vast majority of the people he represents didn't stop Rep. Amash from supporting a tax cut that would only benefit a very few extremely wealthy people.

That's not fair and doesn't exhibit common sense, but when you are driven by an extremely narrow worldview, that's the kind of voting that emerges.

A report came out last week that showed just how battered our middle class has been. The study by Pew Social and Demographic Trends showed that over the past decade, the middle class is poorer, earns less and is shrinking.

Pew also revealed that in 1970, the middle class had 62 percent of the country's income, with 29 percent held by upper income earners. That has now dramatically changed, with 46 percent going to upper income earners, 45 percent to the middle class.

West Michigan's hard working families deserve a representative in Washington who will represent the fairness and honesty we value. We deserve a representative that will work for common sense solutions and not be driven by a narrow, rigid ideology.

I've had a record of representing West Michigan in the hard-working, fair, honest way that we value. I know how to craft legislation to enhance business after more than 30 years of working with my family's small business. My service as a judge, and state legislator give me a knowledge of how the legislative process works and how I can best deliver results for our middle class families.

West Michigan people have always valued hard work, fairness and an honest, common sense approach. As your next Third Congressional District representative, that's the approach I will take each and every day representing you in Washington.

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