Hi friends, I dedicated this campaign to the memory of my late wife, Terry, who lost her battle with breast cancer last summer. She wanted me to run because we're middle of the road parents of young people and we're concerned about seeing our extended families and friends more and more divided over politics.
We both remembered a day when common sense and respect won out over knee jerk partisanship and name calling. We need to stop demonizing those we don't agree with. That's not America. We've lost something in this country over the last 25 years and we need to get it back. My family first came to the Thumb over 150 years ago. We helped settle it, logged it, farmed it, hunted it, and fished its beautiful shores. We helped build its roads and bridges. We made lives here, went to church here, learned here, taught here, worked in factories here and many, many of my family members are buried here. When asked to serve, we met the call, from Gettysburg on down. It's time again for someone born and raised in the Thumb to stand up and be a statesman in a divided nation. Like you, I think we deserve better from our government. The current system is broken. Our Congressman is retiring because he's fed up with all the hate and viciousness in Washington. I appreciate his honesty. Instead of working to fix the common sense things 80% of us do agree on, it seems politicians only want to focus on the things that either won't work or will divide us. This helps them raise money from special interests and helps them label and cancel those who oppose them. But it doesn't solve anything. It's not sustainable. We face a lot of challenges and need to actually work together before it's too late to fix them.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the Thumb in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, the son of a county highway engineer and a small business owner. I cast my first presidential vote for Ronald Reagan in 1984. My wife rode her horse in his inaugural parade. President Reagan wasn't perfect, and many people didn't agree with him on every issue, but his landslide victory that year marked the last time any president won nearly 60 percent of the nationwide popular vote. His message was about accountability and change. That message, combined with compassion and an optimism about America, caused a lot of Democrats in the Thumb and in Macomb County to cross over and vote for him. I believe that same type of unity is necessary if we're going to get our country back from special interests.
I ran for Congress because your kids and grandkids deserve to have the same opportunities I had growing up in the Thumb of Michigan. I wanted to make sure the Social Security you earned is safe. The last time I served in government we achieved a bipartisan balanced budget without hurting Social Security. Since then I've spent my career working to protect employee pensions, 401(k) plans, and health care. I've helped root out and prevent government corruption. I've also helped businesses, small and large, to succeed while treating their workers fairly. I never bought into the idea that government or businesses are somehow evil, even though there are bad apples in both. Instead, I believe that government and the private sector can work together responsibly to help solve our biggest problems.
We need to save Social Security. We need to restore respect at all levels of government, fix health care, make it easier for small businesses to create jobs, educate our kids, retrain our workers, rebuild our infrastructure, keep faith with our veterans and make sure our elderly live in dignity. We need to keep our Great Lakes clean. We need to end the opioid crisis and find a cure for breast cancer. We should do all these things in a fiscally responsible way while keeping our families safe and maintaining our individual freedoms.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the State's subsequent "Stay at Home" order, we were unable to get our required in-person signatures by the normal April 21st deadline for the primary ballot. The in-person signature requirement exists to make sure voters show at least some minimal level of interest in the candidates so the primary ballot isn't cluttered with an excessive number of choices. A Federal court actually had to tell the State of Michigan to use common sense due to the Stay at Home order (which made obtaining in-person signatures a potential misdemeanor) and on April 20th ruled that the State had to (1) reduce the required number of signatures, (2) extend the signature deadline by two-and-a-half weeks and (3) find an alternative to in-person signatures (the State ended up responding with so-called "electronic signatures" which each take on average 20 to 30 minutes for a voter to provide and then only if a voter has a computer printer and scanner at home). The State continued to fight this Federal court ruling and didn't drop their appeal until yesterday!
For our seven week-old campaign, the Federal court ruling was too little, too late. I'm disappointed with how the State's unwillingness to act until they were forced to will mean that voters will have fewer choices in the August primary than they had two years ago. Democracy shouldn't work that way. But I've also always believed that verse from Romans 8:28 that "all things work together for good to them that love God." There are many ways to serve the people of the Thumb and Northern Macomb County and my family and I will continue to focus on issues that will help the 10th Congressional District. The Wellingtons have been here for 150 years, and like bad pennies we will keep showing up in a way that tends to annoy the establishment!
I want to personally thank the hundreds of supporters that rallied behind my campaign over the last seven weeks on social media. I had a blast spending time with my niece, my son, and my daughters doing videos on important issues that got thousands of views. I also want to thank the volunteers who collected in-person signatures for the two weeks before the Stay at Home order at a rate that should have gotten us on the primary ballot by early April in a normal year. This is obviously not a normal year. These volunteers then made phone calls, mailed out petition forms, and over the last two weeks tirelessly acted as "computer techs" to help voters figure out how to download signature forms, print them off, sign them, scan them back into their computers, and then email the forms back to us. You guys rock!
And, finally, I want to thank my kids for sharing their dad for a little while with people they may never know. We've learned over the last year that life is way too short to sit on your hands and just complain. If you see a problem, offer to help fix it. But most importantly, listen to each other, respect each other, and find the good in each other. Peace and love.