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Driskell seeks Walberg’s seat in Congress

By
JACKIE KOCH

While the presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 3 will pit Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden against Republican President Donald Trump, local races are heating up, as well. For the third time Gretchen Driskell (D), the former state representative and longtime mayor of Saline, is challenging U.S. Representative Tim Walberg (R) of Tipton, who is currently in his sixth term in Congress. The seat in Michigan’s 7th District encompasses Branch, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties, along with parts of Washtenaw County.

Walberg worked as a union steel mill worker to help pay his way through college, attending Western Illinois University, Moody Bible Institute, Taylor University and Wheaton College Graduate School to earn his B.S. and M.A. degrees. He was a pastor for nearly 10 years and served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1983-1999.

His focus as a U.S. Representative has been encouraging job creation and economic growth, fiscal responsibility, affordable health care, and defending societal values. Following his 16 years in the Michigan House, he worked to create local community betterment programs throughout southeast Michigan as President of the Warren Reuther Center for Education and Community Impact. Walberg also served as a division manager for the Moody Bible Institute. An avid sportsman, he is a member of Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and the National Rifle Association. He and his wife Sue have been married for over 46 years and have three adult children and five grandchildren.

“I believe in the Michigan values of hard work, entrepreneurship, compassion, and creating opportunities for each person to use their God-given gifts to care for their families, reach for their dreams, and help their community. Having worked as a steel worker, pastor, community foundation leader, manager in higher education and elected official, I have firsthand experience of the many struggles hard-working American families are facing. My principles of less government spending, lower taxes, and fewer regulations have never wavered,” said Walberg.

“During my time in Congress, I have held hundreds of town hall meetings because I understand the importance of listening and learning from the constituents I represent,” he said. “I am a strong advocate for all my constituents and am known in Congress for getting things done – which is no easy task. Last Congress, I was ranked by the Center for Effective Lawmaking, a non-partisan collaboration between Vanderbilt University and University of Virginia, as the most effective member of Michigan’s congressional delegation. I have had more than 10 pieces of bipartisan legislation signed into law since joining Congress.”

He said he believes the priorities for Lenawee County are creating jobs for hardworking Michiganders by getting the economy to recover and return to pre-pandemic economic output; affordable health care; increased broadband deployment and access; and protecting the Great Lakes and the assets associated with them. For more information, visit walbergforcongress.com.

Driskell grew up as the granddaughter and daughter of Navy veterans. After starting her career in accounting, she moved to Saline with her family and helped lead efforts to build the Saline Recreation Complex, which celebrated its 28th anniversary this past year.

After switching her career to commercial real estate agent, she served on Saline City Council for six years before becoming Saline’s first female mayor. In her 14 years as mayor, Driskell passed 14 balanced budgets and Saline was named one of the top 100 small cities in America three times.

In 2012, she won a seat representing rural Washtenaw County in the Michigan House of Representatives. During her four years in Lansing, she worked for better rural broadband access, infrastructure improvements for her community, and to make it easier for small businesses to access local capital. Her family includes her three adult children, Ryan, Matthew, and Marielle, and her granddaughters.

“I want to apply my public administration education towards finding innovative solutions to address some of our toughest problems, including income inequality, rural broadband, and healthcare access. My experience as a nonpartisan mayor for 14 years, where I balanced the budget every year while revitalizing our downtown and investing in our public schools, equips me to work with those of any party towards these solutions,” Driskell said.

“After ten consecutive years in office, the incumbent, Tim Walberg, has done little to make our communities better; we don’t have rural broadband access, prescription drug costs are too high, and our debt has skyrocketed while our infrastructure remains inadequate at best,” she said. “As a mother of three adult children and a grandmother of two, we need to think about the world we leave them. The people of the Michigan 7th District deserve an accountable representative, and I pledge to be that person.”

Her priorities are to address the COVID-19 crisis with contact tracing and widespread testing to manage the pandemic and help small businesses and communities stay healthy. She said the federal government needs to secure personal protection equipment funds, ensure healthcare coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and rectify the main street lending program so that small businesses can access the $600 billion already slated for them. She also sees the need to provide high speed internet to communities and ensure affordable healthcare. For more information, visit votegretchen.com.
 

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