Having served on the Westland City Council, in the Michigan House and currently as a state senator, running for the newly redistricted 13th U.S. House seat was a natural progression for Glenn Anderson.
“There are so many things affected at the state and local levels by what happens at the federal level. I'm the only candidate with local experience,” said Anderson. “My years of public service prepared me well (for Congress). I already have friendships with members of the Washington delegation. It's important in a new position that people have an impression of the quality of people they are working with.”
A challenge in the new district, which includes Westland, Garden City, Redford, Highland Park, part of Detroit and several Downriver communities, will be making sure that everyone feels they are being represented, Anderson said.
“As a state senator, I went from representing one community (as state representative) to four communities. Redford is a really diverse community,” said Anderson. “I think they feel I've been a strong representative for Redford. It's the first time I've represented a township.”
With the exception of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Anderson said he has already met with the chief executives of each community in the congressional district.
“People have known me for so long they don't need to have questions about who I am and what I stand for,” said Anderson. “I'm a person of my word. I believe in hard work. With the district changing as it did, a number of people encouraged me to run.”
Michigan continues to be a donor state sending more taxes dollars than it receives back, Anderson said, something he'd like to change, in particular regarding transportation. He said he would try to get appointed to the congressional transportation committee.
“As vice chairman of the (House) transportation committee, I know the issues and needs. I served on the transportation task force,” said Anderson. “We recommended to the full legislature to find another funding source for our transportations needs - bridges and roads all over the state - two years ago.”
The economy and job creation remain the top issue for the area, Anderson said.
“We need to support those who will create jobs in the district,” he said. “I know if jobs are created in Oakland County, people from Wayne County will be filling those jobs, too,” he said. “If people are working, they have disposable income to shop at the mall, buy cars and do home improvements. That keeps other people working.”
Since Michigan lost a congressional seat after the last census, Anderson said it's important that those elected work hard.
“We can't afford to have someone warming the seat, we have someone that calls himself the incumbent but doesn't sit down with someone who needs a little help to create jobs,” said Anderson. “My work ethic shows that I'll meet with them. I have a totally different work ethic. I'm so excited about the things I see in Detroit area.”
Anderson was referring to long-serving U.S. Rep. John Conyers, 83, who had represented the 14th District but shifted to the new 13th District following the redistricting.
If elected, Anderson said he would establish a team who would work with various constituents and groups - accessibility and service lacking from Conyers in his current district.
Still, Anderson said he sees Conyers as the person to beat in the primary election - the winner is likely to be the next U.S. Representative in the highly Democratic district.
Another candidate, State Sen. Bert Johnson (D-Highland Park) was dismissive of Anderson citing the low number of bills he had brought to enactment.
“I've represented the people who elected me as my first responsibility. I think there are nine votes I've missed,” said Anderson, who noted the large number of votes missed by Johnson over the same time period. “I have one of the best attendance records in the senate and he's in direct contrast with that. How can you ask your boss for a promotion when you don't show up for the job you have?”
A lot of people cite the number of bills sponsored/enacted but that's one side of the job, said Anderson, adding constituent services are also important.
“I've been able to affect legislation by quietly working with other legislators,” said Anderson, citing legislation that provides in-state college tuition for veterans returning from the Middle East conflicts.
“I didn't have my name on the bill but got language into the bill so all vets - whether they live in Michigan or Ohio - get the break for lower tuition.”
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