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Monday, March 30, 2009

Pete's Day in Holland

Click to enlarge all pictures.

It was a beautiful day for me to get a glimpse of the change Michigan needs in leadership.

Around noon Monday, I got a call from Pete Hoekstra for a phone interview. I just had a couple of questions. They as you may guess had to do with the special election and how Pete planned on making his campaign for Governor a grass roots affair.

Pete assured me that he was aware of the importance of the special upcoming election in the 19th Senate District race in Michigan with Mike Nofs running. He said he would help all he could to help elect Nofs. Part of his bike tour would include Mike’s district for starters.

During our phone interview Pete was animated about the grass root nature of his upcoming campaign. His Bike tour is shooting for 1,000 miles. Also he said they were shooting to line up 100 jobs that Pete would work at around the state.

When I asked what would set him apart from his fellow Republicans in the primary: Pete acknowledged the wealth of talent in the party that he faced. He then went on to explain that his combination of business experience and politics was second to none and would help him in the primary. I would add that the grassroots approach would help distance him also.

He told me of his MBA degree and 15 years of business experience. Also he reminded me of his 16-18 years of political experience. Pete I might add is not just another politician. He has been in the halls of power in Washington. He has played with the big boys in the glory days of Republican controll and not; and he worked his way up the ladder to a leadership role in the intelligence oversight committee.

Yet, I have met Pete several times now and he is accessible. I am but a lowly PD not even in the County Power structure and he gave my blog of 10 readers on a good day some time for an interview. That is a Bottom Up type of thing.

Later that day I drove to Holland to hear first hand his announcement that he is running for Governor of Michigan.

The setting was at the Herman Miller plant’s Green House in Holland. I got there just before Jon DeWitte and the advance team got there. We were quietly wondering if there would be a good turnout.

The venue was simply the factory work floor. A space was cleared and a platform stage set up. Three lonely rows of about 12 chairs each sat in front of the stage. When they opened the doors at 4 for the event at 4:30, I walked in with about 5-10 others. Slowly others began arriving; by the time Pete and his family came in there was a good crowd. People kept coming and Pete kept mingling.

There were other local politicians there also; Bill Huizenga ranking among them. All three of the networks were in attendance too. Rally signs were being handed out, I got a couple. They are nice looking and have Pete’s new campaign slogan on it.

Being a grass roots fan I was happy to see the slogan.

“Michigan’s Future Begins With Us!”
There is a new campaign website also.

I’m bad with numbers but I would say at least there was a hundred if not a lot more. I’ll try to show some pictures.

Pete Hoekstra started off with a brief biographical sketch of his college and some of his business experience working right there at Herman Miller. He gave the company credit for teaching him what real business was all about.

Then he started in on the grass roots nature of his campaign. He elaborated on what he told me in our phone interview earlier. He said he was going to be in all 83 counties, tour 1,000 miles with his bike and try to line up a hundred jobs to work at all in the name of grass roots politicking. He talked of how already that day he had talked with a couple of companies that were going to get him for a day. Cutting aspargras behind a tractor was one. I know a little about that, I hope he leaves that job with all his fingers.

At one point Pete alluded to the fact that the state of Michigan was a lot bigger than his previous Congressional District. I can’t imagine the job it would be running for the Governorship of Michigan.

Pete did a good job of reminding us how Michigan’s unemployment was driving out jobs and driving out our young people as they searched for jobs. He seemed capable of working solutions to remedy that due to his experience in business and politics.

This was an easy gig in front of the faithful in his home area. This is as it should be at the beginning. The tough stuff will start soon enough. I hope we can all unite behind this upcoming special election. With some real cooperation in that then perhaps we can avoid the extent of the inevitable damage which will happen in the primary with so many talented challengers, and competing egos.

Perhaps it is a time now that people are getting tired of the hard and ugly partisan fighting and ego clashing. Perhaps an honest and business minded candidate with all the qualifications can win in 2010.

At this point I am behind Pete if you hadn’t figured that out. I will try to be fair to the rest of the candidates which will not be hard. I have blogged about Terri Lynn Land and Mike Cox especially about the “Transparency” issue. Both of them are leaders in this. They are also proven vote getters state wide. Patterson I admit to knowing nothing about but I will learn.

What still impresses me with Pete is his likability. After all the years and political hardball he has played on the national scene, he still is an approachable and likeable human being. Someone you can talk to.

After giving the interview he granted me; he at the end said please call me about any questions you have. The thing is, I believed him. That is what I see in Pete, an honesty.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

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