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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    RightMichigan Exclusive: An Interview with Representative Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township)

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:33:56 AM EST
    Tags: Peter Lund, House, Interview, Exclusive, MBT, bipartisanship, Macomb (all tags)

    We talk so often here about the things that are going wrong in Lansing and what the tax-and-spenders are up to that I think it's important to check in with the good guys from time to time to get their take on the issues facing taxpayers and the legislature today.

    The GOP House minority continues to sponsor and introduce legislation, to work behind the scenes and to try to figure out some sort of positive solution to this tax-hike / budget mess.

    We rarely hear about that in the MSM.

    Being a member of a legislative minority makes it tough to garner headlines. But they're working hard and they're trying to make a difference.

    This week I spoke with Macomb County's freshman Representative Peter Lund.  I should note, this interview was conducted prior to yesterday's budget announcement.

    Interview after the break...

    ND: Representative Lund, let me offer a belated and semi-sarcastic "welcome to Lansing" and a sincere "welcome to Right Michigan!"  Really appreciate you being willing to take the time.  Speaking of, I know your schedule is packed today so I'll dive right in.  

    First things first, this is your first term, you were just elected this past November and while the voters of the 36th District obviously got a sense of you, you're a newcomer to most folks on the state level.  What brings you to this form of public service?  Bottom line I guess, beyond the campaign talking points and the catch phrases that so many politicians tend to use, what really motivates you on a personal level?

    PL: Thanks for having me, Nick.  My real motivation for public service is my family.  I want my two daughters to grow up and stay in Michigan.  When you become a parent, your entire point of view on life changes.

    But also I do have a strong ideological base.  I am one of those people who truly believe in the power of the individual.  I keep reminding myself that government is here to protect people from others, not from themselves.

    Apparently that was a message that resonated with your constituents.  Last November was not kind to the Republican caucus in the House but you were able to overcome pretty potent Democratic headwinds.  What was the key to your win?

    Hard work, Nick.  Going door-to-door every single day, talking with the residents of Shelby, Washington and Bruce Townships.  You know, a lot of people think conservative ideas are out of favor, but they are wrong.  The people I talked to still believe in smaller government and lower taxes.  They just don't believe that politicians will deliver on these issues.

    And now that you're in Lansing the real fun starts.  On that note, though, you haven't wasted any time.  You were only on the job for a couple of weeks when the news broke that the state was facing a $1.6 billion budget deficit and you didn't exactly take that news lying down, did you?

    Absolutely not, Nick.  I think the message is finally getting through to some of the people up here that things have to change.  All the one time gimmicks and short cuts are done.  There are no assets to sell off or funds to raid.  But we are seeing the governor using some of the one-time stimulus money, or "Omababucks," to plug in some of the holes.  In my opinion, this is dangerous.  If we use these dollars for ongoing operations, we will only create bigger problems for future years.

    Sad reality in Michigan that you're going to get far too used to these sorts of problems.  There's a tendency to always look at the red ink and the bottom line but that thinking led us to a record-shattering Democratic tax hike during the last legislative term.  

    You've been named to the House Tax Policy committee.  Do you anticipate any more attempts by the majority to raise our taxes?  And if there are attempts, how seriously will you oppose them?

    Come on Nick.  The Democrats would never raise "taxes" and the governor has made that clear.  But fees and loopholes will be a clear target.  Nick, it amazes me that some people don't understand that when the government takes people's money, no matter what they call it, it isn't going to help the economy.

    Remember, it's a tax deduction if you use it.  It's a loophole if someone else does.

    The MBT repeal.  That was something just about everyone called for during the campaign and now the Senate has gone ahead and started that ball rolling by passing, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, Senate Bill 1 which repeals the MBT surcharge.

    The tricky part is that the Democrats control the House.  Have you or your caucus been given any indication on if or when this bipartisan bill might come up for a vote in the House?  And how frustrating is it to watch the Democratic leadership ignore a move that could immediately stimulate an economy that couldn't possibly need it more?

    I do think some Democrats want to address this problem.  Even the Speaker has talked about it.  But talk is cheap.  While we are going to try to repeal the surcharge, we are also going to push for other reforms of the MBT.  You wouldn't believe how many job providers I have talked to that have been moving jobs out of Michigan because of the MBT.  

    The governor travels the world to bring jobs to Michigan, but she is sending the bills for those trips to the people who are providing good jobs here now.  Our top priority should be to protect current Michigan jobs.  When a business is looking to open or expand, they need to see we have a fair tax structure to all businesses.

    I know there's a certain collegiality but from a distance the Democratic caucus looks awfully insular these last few years.  Bipartisanship seems to be a one-way street.  Republicans want to work with Democrats, as evidenced by the bipartisan MBT surcharge kill in the GOP led Senate, but the feeling isn't always mutual in the House.  Let me bring this back to a broader sort of perspective.  As a member of the minority how have you been received by the majority, personally, but more importantly as a lawmaker from the opposition party?

    We need to remember most of the Democrats here are good people.  We just disagree on the issues.  One-on-one we get along well, but only time will tell if they really want bipartisanship.

    I for one am going to push for bipartisanship.  I want them to join us in reducing the size of government.  I want them to join us in cutting taxes.  I want them to join us protecting our families.  But I am not going to give in on my principles and say I did it to be bipartisan.  

    Representative, thanks again for the time.  Hopefully we'll get a chance to touch base again a few months down the road and to get an update on your efforts.  Is there anything else you'd like to cover before I let you go?

    Thanks for the opportunity to be on Right Michigan.  I have been reading the many good ideas on here for a long time and feel honored to be apart of it.

    Thanks again!

    < Friday in the Sphere: February 13 | Macomb County: Thumbs up to unions, thumbs down to home owners >

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    Nicely done (none / 0) (#2)
    by irishduke on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 05:58:32 PM EST
    Nice job Nick. A friend of mine that I worked with in the Devoss Guv race in 06  Eric Ventimiglia works for Rep Lund and thinks he is great. I kinda get that sense from this interview!!

    Very nice... (none / 0) (#3)
    by SEGrether on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 08:36:59 PM EST
    I like this guy. But instead of "Our top priority should be to protect current Michigan jobs" he should just come right out and add "by eliminating the MEDC"

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