By JESSICA SIEFF
July 12, 2010
‘Tis the season for endorsements, and state Rep. John Proos, currently running for state senator, received two significant signs of support by his own “political mentors,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and outgoing Sen. Ron Jelinek during a stop in Niles on Monday.
The three conservatives were in town to take a tour of Niles’ Delta Machining and talk to area manufacturers.
“Government does have something to say about where folks locate and learn their skills and everything else,” Upton, R-Mich., said.
Speaking to the vitality of incoming legislators, the congressman noted “when we look at the state of Michigan, (with) 38 state senators, we’re looking at probably 32 freshman next year…
“If we’re going to fight for our jobs, if we’re going to fight for our families, we’re going to need somebody to fight for us,” he said. “As we look to replace Ron, because he’s unable to run again, we have to look for someone to do that.”
Calling Proos, R-St. Joseph, a good listener and a public servant who knows the area’s industry and business community, Upton said he believed Proos would be able to “step up to the plate” if elected to the senate.
“And he’s going to be standing up for us here in southwest Michigan,” he said. “John Proos has got my vote, he’s earned it.”
Proos announced his plan to run for the seat to be left vacant by Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, in February.
“It’s very important that every one of us Republican senators is replaced with a Republican senator and John is ready to do that,” Jelinek said.
“It’s a big job,” he added. “We have a really tight, tight deficit budget this year and we’re going to balance it, we’re going to pass it balanced. But next year is going to be worse.
“It’s going to be another very very tight budget,” he said. “And if we don’t have somebody there strong enough to say no, we’re going to be in trouble. I think John Proos has enough guts to say no and stand up to these tax increases.”
The three legislators addressed a group of concerned business owners, many of them who have been forced to lay off employees and have watched opportunities for jobs moved to countries like Mexico and China.
“It’s a humbling honor for me, when the people that you work with every day give you an endorsement,” Proos said, addressing the intimate gathering after listening to Jelinek. “I can’t help but be a little emotional about it.”
Proos said legislators like himself, Jelinek and Upton understand the desire of those business owners who are working hard to support their families and the families of their employees.
“We have that same desire to serve and that same desire to see the families of southwest Michigan, in our small roles of representation whatever they may be, to try and make a difference,” he said.
Monday’s endorsements, Proos said, “makes me realize just how much work I have to do to fulfill those expectations.
“And those expectations can only be fulfilled by meeting your expectations,” he continued. “It’s one thing to have my political mentors, it’s quite another to have your support, to earn your support. That only comes through time, that only comes through action, that only comes through listening to you.”