Dear Voters in the 102nd Michigan House District,
I am totally not going to vote for Michele Hoitenga and I think you should know why. There’s only one reason and it’s a good one: I don’t live in her district. Otherwise she would solidly have my vote.
I grew up in the 102nd District in a little dot on the map that few people have heard of. Two bars, two churches, and the sole traffic light was a blinking one to help the non-locals navigate the only real intersection. Michele likewise grew up in that town. We worshipped at the same church, learned from the same teachers, and attended the same Friday night basketball games.
Michele is enough older than me that she was occasionally my babysitter – the best part about that being that she had not only great makeup to get into, but a princess phone and a waterbed! The 80s were good times. In those days Michele went by the nickname Missy and I distinctly remember a babysitting incident in which I was playing a rhyming game with her name and landed on a word that started with a P. I got in big trouble. Time has a tendency to fly by more quickly than we anticipate and we both grew older. She married. I became a teenager and occasionally babysat her children – it’s how the circle of life works in a small town. Sadly, I had no princess phone or waterbed to offer and I doubt her sons were interested in my makeup.
Michele may not remember this, but the memory I have of her that remains most vividly with me was from my junior high years. I came home after school one day and she was sitting in our kitchen chatting with my mom. I sat down at the table with her as my mom momentarily left the room. Michele asked me how school was going and we made small talk. Then she got really serious and said to me – Be sure to choose good friends. It’s important to surround yourself with friends who will support your beliefs and encourage you. She went into more detail and gave me a little Come to Jesus session about how we are affected by the people we spend time with. That always stayed with me. I heeded that advice at some very critical times in the following years and I believe it saved me a tremendous amount of regret. I am a public school teacher and many times over the years parents have voiced to me concern about sending their child over to *The Middle School* from the safe cocoon of elementary. Every time I have said to them – Help your child choose good friends. Make sure they surround themselves with friends who will support their beliefs and encourage them. If they have good friends they will be fine.
That Dr. Phil moment is not the primary reason I would vote for Michele, although I do think it gives insight into her character. I would vote for Michele because of this picture. I saw this photo and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s of Michele heading to her vehicle at the end of a long day of hard work. It captures every woman. It says this day I gave the world my best and my feet hurt and dang it the heels are coming off. I’m headed home to put on yoga pants and love on my family and tomorrow morning I will get up and I will give the world my best again.
That is what is so incredible about living in the United States and having a Constitution with a 10th amendment that gives each state a great deal of authority in governing its people. On Tuesday, and then again in November, you and I each get to go to our local school or fire department or town hall and check a little box and say this is the person I want to represent me in Lansing. Represent. Me. Those are two very powerful words. I’m choosing someone from my area who knows my struggles and my concerns and my culture to go to Lansing and say – I’m here on behalf of my neighbors. I’m here so they have a voice.
Michele represents the people of her area. I happen to live in a region similar to the 102nd. We are hard working people who believe that the more the government stays out of our life, the more we will succeed. While the world around us is filled with hateful words and groups pitted against each other we stay out of the fray and keep plowing ahead doing what we do. Loving our neighbors and lending help to those who need it and worshipping God and enjoying our family. We are self-sufficient people who are happy to pay our share of taxes when they are reasonable and used responsibly for purposes outlined by the state constitution. But when they’re not and our hard earned money gets misused, we get a little…well, the word that rhymes with Missy. We are teachers who want decisions about our school made by the people of our town – not bureaucrats who know nothing about education or our particular group of kids. We are farmers who put in endless days growing sustenance for not only our neighborhood but to send across the state and nation and sometimes we wonder if we will even break even. We are grocery clerks and business owners and truckers and garbage men and police officers and we want someone to say – I Will Represent You. I will keep your interests foremost in my decision making. I will listen and I will make your voice heard.
I know Michele and I have full confidence in her willingness and ability to do just that. Represent Me. Represent You. I would bet a waterbed and a princess phone on it! So voters in the 102nd – I envy you. I can’t vote for Michele on Tuesday. But you can and I hope you will.
A Former Resident of the 102nd