Gretchen Driskell is running to be the Democratic candidate in Michigan's 7th Congressional District. This is the candidate's submission to the 2018 WEMU Soapbox Summer.
I’m Gretchen Driskell, and I’m running for the 7th Congressional District as a proud Democrat.
I’m running for Congress because we deserve a voice in Washington that represents the values of the people here in the 7th District. As I travel across the district – crisscrossing our seven counties from Lake Erie to the suburbs of Lansing – I hear over and over the call for change.
Some of you may remember that I ran in 2016. I am running again. Why? Because every day I hear from our neighbors that we need a representative that understands our issues: I hear from moms that can’t afford healthcare for their family and seniors that have to choose between their prescriptions or food; dads that are working hard and yet making less than they did 10 years ago.
And even though we have a low unemployment rate, 20% of our kids live in poverty ten years after the great recession. We need to change the direction of Congress and to make sure that it’s working for the people, not special interests and big donors that sponsor our current representative, Tim Walberg.
I’ve been an active member of our community since moving here with my young family over 30 years ago. My three kids are grown now and I’m the proud grandmother to my first granddaughter, Chloe Louise, and the things that drew me here and the reasons I raised my family here are still true.
I got my start in public service as a volunteer helping to build our community recreation center here in Saline after a neighbor knocked on my door, encouraging me to get involved. My family heritage of military service taught me that we all have a responsibility to give back to our country and help build up our communities, but it seems some of our elected officials have forgotten that mission.
My experience has been at the local level, where instead of being distracted by partisan games like they are in DC, you have to always focus on the real work like supporting public education and investing in infrastructure.
As mayor of Saline for 14 years, I worked with all members of our community – no matter their personal political beliefs – to implement policies that would build a foundation for a successful community. Businesses and our citizens flourished because we believed in equality of opportunity, in lifelong learning, and creating a community that worked for everyone. And we did that by listening to our community. You can’t serve the people, if you don’t listen to people.
Of course, I made sure we did the basics of good government. We balanced the budget every year, provided a safe community, and made sure that business would be a valued partner in our success, whether a sole proprietorship or employers for hundreds of workers.
I want to take those values – our values – to Washington DC and work for you.
We need a partner in Congress that understands the challenges and opportunities here in our communities. We deserve a representative that will work to fix our healthcare system – not one that will vote to make our costs skyrocket, like Tim Walberg did. We need a representative that will help us fix our roads, protect our drinking water, and expand high speed rural Internet. We haven’t seen those investments and that partnership in all the years our congressman has been in office. It is time for a change.
With your support, I promise to work hard for you in Washington DC and spend more time here, with our neighbors, working together to build stronger communities, doing what I did as mayor - listening to the people and what they need. So that each of us can get a good paying job close to home, and keep our great American tradition that when we work hard, whether in school or a job, we can get ahead.
Over the next months, I look forward to continuing to hear directly from you as I work to bring our values to Washington.