Those of us who live and breathe 24 hour news cycles, the POTUS/SCOTUS networks on XM/Sirius, and read cards from legislators, among other things, have more than one problem. Yes, no one wants to sit by us, let alone hear us talk to the television. There is another problem, however, and more important one, in my opinion. We believe most others are like us! We believe they study the candidates, read those reports, look forward to hearing from our lobbyists in DC and Lansing.
Every now and then some event reminds me of a favorite Winston Churchill quote:
“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”
– Winston Churchill
Events like that are occurring all too frequently, as of late, and that brings me to the point of this memo.
We cannot afford to be “the average voter”
We cannot afford to let ourselves be “the average voter.” We never should have and now we need to show it. All of us need to get better at knowing what we are voting on. I understand your concerns about local issues such as a school or public safety millage. I understand your desire to have a friendly relationship with your mayor or township supervisor. That’s up to you.
The votes that we cast must get sharper and exist at the statewide level.
I want to thank you, because YOU matter.
Let me begin by thanking the thousands of you who appeared on the front lawn of the capitol building in Lansing the past two Decembers. Your appearance mattered. It made a difference. Thank you! Let me go on to say that we shouldn’t have to do that each year.
Law enforcement personnel show up and rally in a peaceful manner and get the job done! When we appear, we remain civilized and I’m proud of that.
Why are we there every December? To beg our elected officials, many of whom we endorsed and/or voted for, to leave us alone.
POAM’s endorsements have always been bipartisan.
Many of those we’ve supported and endorsed have been a large part of the problem. They are the reason we are forced to gather on that lawn each December. In years past, our Legislative Team and Executive Board have spent great deals of time studying the candidates. Most of our members, traditionally, have supported Republicans.
POAM has consistently been at the top, percentage-wise in the endorsement of those who prevail at the state level. While there is a Republican majority in the House, Senate and Governor’s mansion, we endorse the Democrats who win too. POAM’s endorsements have always been bipartisan. We have backed those who support us. When all appeared equal, we looked for the likely winner. When you back the winner, you expect to get “an ear” now and then. Term limits have made that reciprocation less likely to occur than it once was.
Like in police work, good candidates are getting harder and harder to find. A member of the House with 2-3 years in office becomes the “leader”, the “chairman”, etc. It’s a law we must live with, but people with a finite amount of time and a “mission” can do some crazy things and have no consequences to deal with as they clear their office.
As I travel around the state I hear more and more often from members that they “have always voted Republican but may have to pull the D.” They have discovered that an “all Republican” Lansing can stifle debate. I tell them it’s not a “party issue,” it’s a people issue. Your endorsement matters! Your family, friends and coworkers look to you for leadership and opinions. We are not “the average voter”!
No freebies allowed.
Your legislative team recognizes there can be “no freebies” as it regards our members’ endorsement. That begins with the Governor. Don’t underestimate the need for a real leader in that seat. The Governor signs things into law. He/she must also possess the ability to offer the parties his opinion on legislation. As it regards our members, that has not happened in a long time.
“People in our business are different. Everyone cannot do what you do. Agreements are collectively bargained or, in rare occurrences, are awarded through Act 312. We make promises to defend, protect and uphold the constitution. We work 24/7/365. Even the bad guys call us for help. This is not a job you should be doing until 65 years of age. Is it too much to ask to be left alone after a well-deserved (and paid for) pension? Interview candidates. Ask questions. Get commitments. Know who it is you are supporting.”
– POAM President, Jim Tignanelli
Now, more than ever, it matters. Don’t become “the average voter”.