Thursday, January 11, 2007

Michigan's Congress-Critters

Cross-posted from "Watching Those We Chose"...

I figured the first thing I should do is compile a list of those whom I will be watching. Surprise!... I wasn't as up on Michigan politicos as I thought. Yes, I knew both Senators -- Stabenow and Levin -- were Democrats, and I knew the Representatives from the more urban areas around Detroit tended to be Democrats, while those outside of the Detroit Metro area tended to be Republicans.

Here are a few of the surprises I got when I checked their official biographies [all emphasis added]:

Peter Hoekstra (2nd district, R): "He then served a key role in the development of the Contract with America, which was instrumental in gaining a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years." Great, the guy was influential in the Contract ON America. He'll bear watching.

Dave Camp (4th District, R): "Camp managed the successful campaign of Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (IL-16) to become Speaker of the House." Far-friggin'-out... this was one of the guys responsible for Fat-boy. Another one who needs to be kept under surveillance.

Mike Rogers (8th District, R): "Mike’s expertise was sought out during development of the USA PATRIOT Act, which gives law enforcement the tools necessary for tracking terrorists with today’s technology. Mike’s expertise proved invaluable in understanding how wiretaps are obtained and used, the complex checks and balances that prevent abuse of wire taps, and why the rules based on 1970s technology were no longer applicable in the day of cell phones and the Internet." Magnificent... this guy helped george w. bush relegate the entire Bill of Rights to the ashbin of history. Of course, he's a former "Feeb", or FBI agent. There will probably be a lot of confusion between this Mike Rogers, and Rep Mike Rogers, republican of Alabama.

Joe Knollenberg (9th District, R): "Knollenberg has used his position on the Appropriations Committee to champion issues such as [...] reform of the EPA[...]" We all know what that means - he wants to aboloish it. Don't believe me? Here's proof: "As Vice President Dick Cheney noted in August 2002, 'Both Republicans and Democrats respect his diligence, his viability, his good judgment.'" If Bigus Dickus likes him... I don't.

Candice Miller (10th District, R): " [Miller] will make sure the Federal government is fostering economic expansion and opportunism, and not hindering it through burdensome regulation." Burdensome regulations like the Clean Air Act, OSHA, and all those pesky Wage-Hour rules.

One of the Democrats has me a bit suspicious, too, although I have no evidence other than her relationship to a well-known local politician (of course, lack of evidence doesn't bother the administration, so why should it bother me?). I am referring to Carolyn Kilpatrick (13th District, D), whose son is Detroit's mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Mayor Kilpatrick has garnered a lot of press recently, and not much of it has been good: with his city virtually bankrupt -- laying off cops, firemen, and teachers -- he tried to lease a Lincoln Navigator on the city's nickle for his wife. There were also allegations of house parties getting out of hand (hookers, maybe some gunplay, etc).

Overall, we have 9 Republican Representatives and 6 Democrats; both Senators (as I mentioned earlier) are Democrats. [Useless trivia: Senator Carl Levin and Representative Sander Levin are brothers; either one has more common sense in his little toe than all the bush brothers combined].

I can see much more research is called for, and I'll be doing that over the next few days. Hopefully, by the time I'm finished, I'll be able to start listing committee assignments, which haven't been finalized yet.

As an aside, I may also post occasionally on Maine politicians (I used to live there). Maine's Senators (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) are both Republicans, with undeserved reputations for "standing up" to george w. bush; they make "talk the talk", but when it's time to "walk the walk," they're reliably Republican, toeing the party line.

The two Representatives, however, are both Democrats, and feisty ones at that. Tom Allen (1st District, D) has this up on his Website: "[...] the rule of King PhRMA will end when the House, at long last, votes on legislation requiring the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices with manufacturers." In the interest of full disclosure, I have met Tom Allen, and I think he is one hell of a man.

Allen's "partner in crime", Mike Michaud, went through a bruising campaign, being mercilessly smeared by his Republican (of course) opponent. He now has the "First 100 hours" clock on his Website.

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