Windmillin'

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Where politics and faith dance in the shadow of the windmill.

Another Adult Enters the Room

Local TV and The Grand Rapids Press report that Grand Rapids Comptroller Stan Milanowski is thinking he has a political future.  The late Friday news has Milanowski contemplating entering the 29th State Senate or running for the Third Congressional seat now held by Vern Ehlers.

Milanowski’s moderate profile would fit both prospective runs, so the bigger questions must be those of which does he pick.  And why?

While many aspire to go to Washington, that doesn’t seem to be in his future.  With both Steve Heacock and Bill Hardiman already declared for the seat, it is difficult to see what another moderate would bring to the table, except perhaps an Amash win.  The state senate run seems more practical.  Milanowski has some obvious governmental creds, plus he brings a clear Grand Rapids connection.  The two current candidates lack one or both of these, especially Lori Wiersma beloved of  the old Dutch network (but backed by the folks in Wyoming).

The obvious weakness to a Milanowski campaign is that he lacks the core electioneering experience.  The learning curve is huge for a race like this.  Of course, at this time, things are still in the “exploratory stage” as they should be.  That he’s even talking about the campaign suggests that others have been speaking with him already.

Milanowski’s proposed campaign may also be the sign of something more: is the tide ebbing?  What else does it tell us?  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Elections, , , , , , ,

Return of the Windmill?

As the election cycle begins to kick in, there is evidence that the old Dutch/Christian Reformed political connections are alive.

Of course, there is David LaGrand the Democratic Party candidate for the 29th State Senate.  Calvin grad, deep roots in the CR, and a strong civic ethic — this has been the traditional template, although of course on the Republican side.

The more interesting has been the emergence of CR members to explore candidacies for State races in the city. Mid January, Lori Wiersma, former director for VIS  announced her candidacy for the 29th State Senate.  (VIS is a a diaconal ministry of the local Christian Reformed churches).  And this Sunday, we read of exploratory thinking on the part of Bing Goei for the 75th State House seat.  Now owner of Eastern Floral, Goei was for a number of years the head of Race Relations Commission for the Christian Reformed denomination.  Like others before them, both Wiersma and Goei represent an urban brand of the Christian Reformed politician, socially conservative, but fundamentally pragmatic and by Republican terms, moderate.

So does their emergence indicate that the old coalition is again stirring?

Not likely.  The long term demographics (e.g. the collapse consolidation of the Christian schools) suggests that the base has fundamentally shifted.  That however, does not mean that the Wiersma and Goei candidacies are not interesting, not by a long shot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Elections, , , , , , , , ,

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