This site is meant to facilitate the upward flow of information to help our elected officials stay in touch with those they represent. Also as a means to help us (the voters) help our leaders lead.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Senator Wayne Kuipers Interview - Candidate 2nd Congressional

click pic to enlarge.

The upcoming general election in 2010 and the Primaries are promising to be long, wild and wooly affairs, with several contentious races from top to bottom.

Bottom Up Politics hopes to be able to help our readers learn about the candidates themselves who are running by what they are saying and doing through interviews such as this. Let candidates tell the voters what they stand for.

I hope to interview as many candidates as possible before the primaries, from the Townships on up to State wide candidates; also the US House Seat as well. This site is after all called “Bottom Up Politics”.

Before introducing our next interviewee, I want to make a point of saying where I stand at the time of this interview. I will simply say Positive, Negative, or Neutral. This may change as I along with my readers learn more through this process.

Our interview today is with State Senator Wayne Kuipers, who is exploring a run for the 2nd US Congressional District.

I am Neutral in this race.

The Interview proper

(BottomUP) - Welcome Senator Wayne Kuipers and thank you for checking out my blog and making time to answer some questions.

Reply - Absolutely! Thank you for giving me an opportunity to address your readers and fellow conservative bloggers. I appreciate the great job you do in advocating and promoting conservative values.

(BottomUP) - I must say you have had a nice run up till now. Winning a State House seat in 98 and the Senate 30th District seat you have held since 2002. I assume you plan on keeping up your winning ways. Lol.

Reply - Through a lot of hard work and the support of my wife (nearly 25 years!) and three children, I have been blessed with the opportunity to represent areas of West Michigan in both the House and Senate. As a young person, I never intended to get into politics. I graduated from Calvin College in 1983 with a degree in teaching special education. After graduation, I went to work for a small business in the Holland area and worked my way up to management and then ultimately was running the company. Along the way I earned my Masters degree in Business Management from Aquinas College, so I had every intent of continuing to try and make my mark in the private sector.

My first foray into politics actually didn’t occur until my good friend Congressman Hoekstra asked me to work on his first campaign. I really enjoyed that experience and that’s where I first caught “the bug.” After getting more involved and at the urging of several friends and community leaders, I ran for the State House in 1998.

(BottomUP) - Have you filed yet to run for the 2nd US House seat? If not what will be the deciding factors as to if and when?

Reply - I have not officially filed yet, but am definitely actively exploring the possibility. I wanted to first spend some weekends traveling outside of my district and taking the time to stop and LISTEN to the people of the 2nd congressional district. I want to hear THEIR concerns and ideas for how we can move Michigan in the right direction.

Another reason I don’t want to rush into this is that I’ve heard a lot of folks express displeasure with how long the campaign season has become. After a lengthy Presidential campaign, I really sensed the voters wanted a break and were not ready for a long, drawn out Congressional race. Most importantly, I’m focusing right now on doing the job I was elected to do. I’ll make a formal announcement when I feel the time is right.

(BottomUP) - I appreciate it that you still have well over a year left in your State Senate term. Therefore I would like to ask you a question about your current job. Let me preface this by saying “Bottom Up Politics” is a Conservative blog. I started this blog to try to find a way to translate the conservative thought into a political grassroots movement. I am constantly looking at ways to show people in my neighborhood how conservative “high sounding” rhetoric can resonate with everyday people. OK.

As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, are you in favor of school choice and vouchers for example. If you are, can you give me any ideas on how to sell this to my neighbors in my precinct? Is there anything our readers can do to help you?

Reply - Great Question. I’ve served on the Education Committee every term since I’ve been in office and have chaired both the House and Senate Education Committees. I’ve been on the front lines of the education reform movement since I was first elected to office in 1998, authoring numerous bills to expand school choice. I’m certainly an advocate for charter schools, but more importantly, am an advocate for ANY option that provides educational choice for parents and quality education for our children.

I think the biggest “selling point” with the reform effort is that it empowers families to make whatever choice they think is best to meet the individual education needs of their child. Not every child is going to thrive in a traditional school setting.

I think your readers can help by keeping the debate alive and by continuing to remind those that serve them that the bottom line is doing what’s best for our CHILDREN. Unfortunately that focus gets lost at times as we get swept up in debates about employee contracts and benefits.

(BottomUP) - Are you familiar with the Mackinac Center and its work in education reform and if so, what do you think of it.

Reply - I am familiar with the Mackinac Center and appreciate the work they’ve done in promoting school reform and showing why change is necessary.

(BottomUP) - Another useful aspect of the internet is its ability to network with other bloggers and their readers. Right Michigan has been a leader in this and “Bottom Up Politics” is doing our bit. At this point I would ask you to entertain a question from fellow Muskegon blogger Gordo (Jim Riley) at Muskegon Pundit.

(MuskegonPundit)Questtion - Sen. Kuipers, Congressman Hoekstra is a strong and brave leader. I know that the US Senate confirms appointments to the SCOUS and the current appointee will be affirmed or rejected before you become a US Congressman but Judge Sotomayor has a very troubling history as a judge and public speaker.

As you aspire to be our next strong and brave leader, your opinions on tough political issues are important.

If you had to vote today, would you confirm or reject judge Sotomayor's appointment?

Reply - I appreciate the question. As you noted, as a potential member of the U.S. House I would not have a vote in the matter because confirmation of Supreme Court Justices is a responsibility of the Senate. However, if I was able to vote and ask questions of judicial nominees, my questions would be very straightforward:
“What is your view of your responsibilities as they pertain to the U.S. Constitution?” “Would you describe yourself as a constructionist or activist?” “Do you believe Justices should or should not develop policy from the bench?”
Based on what I’ve heard and read of Judge Sotomayor, it would be nearly impossible for me to vote to confirm her nomination.

(BottomUP) - Thanks. Now getting back to the US House race. In the Ludington News you mentioned traveling to get to know the issues in the much larger 2nd US Congressional Dist. What are you finding out about what the people are feeling?

Reply - People are rightfully very anxious, concerned and in many cases, angry. They don’t appreciate the reckless spending in Washington and wish congress would conduct business like they do, meaning that they should live within their means. There’s also a growing concern that the out-of-control spending is ultimately going to result in economic conditions that are worse than we’re experiencing today. Every where I’ve been and every conversation I’ve had has centered on the economy and jobs.

(BottomUP) - As compared to your Senate District, what issues are the same; and if you could share with us, have you found any that are unique to the northern Counties in the US 2nd District?

Reply - As mentioned, jobs and the economy are issues in every part of the district. The economic issues surrounding agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are very similar from Allegan to Benzie and everywhere in between. Interestingly, the make up of the communities are also very similar. Across the district you find people who are kind, determined and have a strong work ethic. I also get the sense from many people that they like straight answers and don’t tolerate “political speak” or games. My kind of people!

(BottomUP) - I have been a large supporter of the whole “Tea Party” thing. I feel that it is made up of a lot of different political types, the sort of types that made up the Reagan Republicans. At their core they seem overwhelmingly against big government. What is your opinion on that?

Reply - I support the Tea Party movement. I think the tea parties have given people a platform to express their frustration with a Federal government that is out of control and unresponsive to the concerns of the electorate.

Further, I really believe the mainstream media is underestimating what is going on in the electorate. They seem to be passing the tea parties off as angry Republicans who are bitter with the last election. What they’re missing is the fact that these events have been largely bipartisan or even nonpartisan. I hope they continue and grow in numbers. It will keep pressure on Washington to drastically change course.

(BottomUP) - I believe that we in Michigan are at an historic moment. If Republicans can unite and win back the governorship while keeping the Senate SOS and AG; Michigan could turn from being the poster child of failed Liberal policies to a showcase for what works. I feel that we could take that momentum from 2010 on into the 2012 elections. Your views?

Reply - During my first term in the MI House, John Engler was our Governor. Governor Engler was a strong leader with a clear vision for what he wanted to get done. Being a strong leader and visionary, he was very successful in moving his agenda forward. By that I mean that although people didn’t always agree with everything he wanted to do, he could still build supportive coalitions because he had vision and could articulate a clear plan.

Going into the 2010 elections, we need to have a vision for what Michigan can become, a clear path showing how we intend to get there and make sure that we keep any inter-party squabbles to a minimum. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

(BottomUP) - Amen to that. Well enough of my dreams, and back to specifics. What qualification do you have that you feel gives you an advantage over other primary opponents? Any thoughts on the General Election? Whom your opponent might be if you decide to run.

Reply - I have the broadest educational background of any of the candidates to date. I have a diverse business, management and government background having served in both the House and Senate. I chair two of the most demanding and active committees in the Senate and have a track record for getting things done, having been responsible for some of the most significant government reforms in the last 10-15 years. Most important of all, I’ve enjoyed nearly 11 years of providing effective constituent service.

If I feel, through prayerful consideration, that God is leading me to run for higher office and I am humbly called upon by the citizens to do so, I believe all these things would help me be a qualified candidate.

(BottomUP) - Over a year from now as you look back on your State record, what would you like your constituents to remember?

Reply - First and foremost, that I served with honesty and integrity. That I worked tirelessly on behalf of my constituents and that I always tried to keep their best interests in mind and do what I thought was right.

(BottomUP) - Finally the floor is yours, what have I not covered, is there something you would like to add?

Reply - This has been a very thorough interview! I want to thank you for the fine work you do in keeping the public informed – I enjoy reading your blog.

(BottomUP) - Thank you again Senator Kuipers for your time and your leadership role in the State Senate. We at “Bottom Up Politics” wish you all the best in the upcoming campaign.

-----end of interview-----

As Always, With Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

PS. Thanks to Carmen for keeping the place open and letting me save face for this interview. I scheduled it for 3:00 and they close at 3:00 Thanks guys and gals for cleaning up around us.

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