89.1 WEMU

Soapbox Summer - Gretchen Driskell

Jul 21, 2016

Gretchen Driskell is running for election as Michigan's 7th District Representative in the United States Congress.
Credit Gretchen Driskell

Gretchen Driskell is running for election as Michigan's 7th District Representative in the United States Congress.  This is Gretchen's submission to WEMU's "Soapbox Summer" series.

I’m Gretchen Driskell and I’m running for the 7th Congressional District.

Many years ago, when I was working part time and raising my baby in Saline, a city councilman knocked on my door to ask for my vote.   I told him I had seen an article in the paper about a Challenge grant for a new rec center, and that I thought it was a great idea, and I wanted to help make it a reality for Saline. The next thing I knew, I was asked by the mayor to help.

I was new to the community, but coming from a family with a rich military tradition, I understood the importance of public service—that when someone asks you to serve, you serve.  And I believed in the cause—that vibrant communities are a key component of a vibrant economy.

So I volunteered.  In fact, I ended up chairing the fundraising effort that led to the creation of the Saline Rec Center.  That set me down a path of public service that led to serving 14 years as Mayor of Saline. And together, we worked with local businesses to create jobs, balance the budget, and help make Saline one of the best places to live in America.

I’m running for Congress for the same reasons. Because I believe in the cause: that my neighbors deserve a voice that truly represents them. I’m running for Congress because, like all of you, I believe in a uniquely Michigan version of the American dream: Vibrant communities surrounded by our state’s unmatched natural beauty; world-class public schools and universities training the next generation of Michigan innovators; and Michigan businesses offering great jobs to homegrown Michigan talent.   

These are not Democratic or Republican values. These are Michigan values. And they deserve a true champion in Washington.

But these values don’t have that champion right now.  

Our current representative has worked against public education, small businesses, working families, and seniors.

Last year, Congress voted to fast track a trade deal—the Trans-Pacific Partnership—that would spell disaster for working families and American businesses. Michigan businesses have spoken out against it. But our Congressman Tim Walberg voted for it, putting his donors and special interest groups ahead of Michigan businesses and workers. He’s voted for six foreign trade deals that cost Michigan tens of thousands of  jobs.  He even admitted that he was “bought and paid for” by one special interest group. Congressman Walberg takes their money and votes to let big corporations get tax breaks while they ship our jobs overseas.

He’s voted to cut health insurance for children, to cut benefits for first responders, and to weaken clean water standards.

We deserve better.  

Our representatives in Washington should be looking for opportunities to make government work better for Michigan’s struggling middle class.  Our representatives should be working to fulfill our country’s promise of equality of opportunity, which is still out of reach for far too many in Michigan.

I’m running because it’s time for everyone in Michigan to have a chance to succeed, not just those with power and access. I’m running to fix our broken system, stop American jobs from being outsourced and rebuild the American Dream. In the last year, we’ve built a base of grassroots support because families in Michigan are hungry for new leadership.  Leadership that reflects our values and our priorities.  

I’m excited to take this message to every voter in this district, and to ask them for their support as we work to take Michigan values to Washington.