Justin Amash, currenly my state representative in Lansing, is running as a Republican for the 3rd Michigan Congressional District. I met Justin personally this past spring when I invited him to meet with me on my concerns regarding state funding for education and some of the innovative strides we are taking to address student achievement. Afterwards, we took a brief look at the work being done on the Lee building and the new 6th Grade Campus. I found Justin more than willing listen and we both shared the same concerns regarding big government and the need to improve our schools.
Justin has a leadership style I personally believe is sorely needed in all of our public officials, elected and appointed, including our school administrators. He is transparent, using real time communications to keep us informed on the progress - or lack of progress - in the legislative process. Just is honest about his stance on issues, unwilling to sell his soul simply to support a political party or special interest stance. He studies the bills and refuses to support any legislation he has not read, doesn't understand, or goes against his personal beliefs. I don't necessarily agree with every decision he makes, but I am always confident that Justin has done his homework and will stand on principle when it comes time to cast his vote.
Justin and I agree that the Federal government has for too long overextended itself in the area of education. During last evening's debate at Davenport University, while not necessarily advocating completely eliminating the U.S. Department of Education as I do, he does agree that Washington takes far too much out of Michigan and doesn't provide a fair return: "'The problem I have with the current structure is that we are sending all the money to Washington and not getting our fair share back,' he said. Amash said he advocates a "federalist" system in which states would compete with each other instead of being forced to use a "one size fits all" system." (The Grand Rapids Press) I believe that if the only solution is to eliminate the Department of Education to solve this problem, Justin will come down on that side of the issue.
Justin is often criticized for his lone "no" votes in the Michigan House. As one who often finds myself on the "lonely side of an issue or position," I commend him for standing with the people or the interests of our state, not the special interests or deal-makers in Lansing. While I'm pretty sure that the increased pressure in Washington will no doubt soften his lone-ranger approach, I know that his willingness to overlook the criticism to maintain his principles will make him an outstanding congressman and will help to strengthen our federalist system.
On November 2, I will be casting my vote for Justin Amash.