Note: This is the third of three consecutive Blog Posts looking at three of the four registered Republican candidates for Michigan's 71st District State House Seat. I'm covering this seat specifically because it's the seat of 'my' representative and therefor it matters more to me than others. I will NOT be posting any stories on any of the Democrat candidates due to the fact that I do not like or trust Democrats and 'Rule #1- This is MY BLOG, LOL! Additionally, even though there are actually four registered Republicans running for the 71st Seat I have only invited three of them: Cheryl Haddock, Britt Slocum, and Laurie Raines to offer features on their candidacies. The honest reason for this is that I don't particularly respect or trust the fourth candidate, Deb Shaughnessy. Actions, statements and behavior by her, when she served as Mayor of Charlotte DO NOT, in my opinion lend themselves to the type of person worthy of elected office. If you're offended by my non-inclusion of Deb Shaughnessy, I'll offer my apology and refer back to Rule#1.
My desire in this exercise is to allow my readers a forum to objectively review and compare the backgrounds, beliefs and goals of sincere candidates for an important representative seat. I hope you find these three consecutive articles helpful in making your decision.
“We Deserve a Return to Common Sense & Honesty in Government.”
by Laurie Raines
Why I hope to have the honor of further serving you as your next State Representative:
1. Our State and Country is in a mess. This mess didn't happen overnight and it won't be corrected overnight; however, we have reached a point of reckoning that 'We the People' can no longer ignore.
I’ve been inspired and invigorated by thousands of Michigan citizens who love and value our country and freedoms. Like you, I have had enough of the 'Business As Usual' when it comes to Lansing politics that are hurting our great state and threatening our children’s future.
I have worked with citizens, community organizations and business leaders from all walks of life, with diverse political points of view, who, like me, want to see our nation and our state restored to one of fiscal responsibility, morality, honesty, operational transparency and most importantly,
I find it interesting that the patriotic Americans who’ve made many sacrifices to defend our freedoms are made-up of people from all political persuasions, ethnic and racial backgrounds, ages, and locations. While mean-spirited Lansing politicians ridicule and belittle citizens who want honesty and integrity in government leaders, they themselves often lack it. Rather than step up to the plate and serve with honor, those politicians prefer to rely on obscurity to hide behind their bad votes, lack of moral clarity and the gross misuse of taxpayer money….often digging deeper into the pockets of hard-working families and businesses struggling to make ends meet with no conscience. It’s time they stop!
You may ask, “What does this have to do with my entering the race to represent the good people of Michigan's 71st House District?” My response to you is…”EVERYTHING!” For starters, my primary motivation for running is as that of a concerned mother and wife. Like you, I feel blessed to have grown-up in a great country where freedom and the virtues of honesty, hard-work, sacrifice, charity and ethics were once the norm, rather than the exception. And these virtues have served us well as the very foundation of our society. Somewhere along the way, some of our national and state leaders seem to have lost their way and strayed from these simple truths. I will continue to stand strong on these principles and will not stray from the integrity you deserve.
2. “I'm one of you.” I’m a lifelong resident of Eaton County. I was blessed with wonderful, hard-working, Christian parents and grand-parents, who set a loving, honest example for their children to live by. My Christian faith has guided me throughout my life and my principles remain intact.
I graduated from Grand Ledge High School in the top 10% of my class; worked at Oldsmobile on the Assembly Line to help earn money toward my college; received my Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University (James Madison Honors College with studies in International Relations, Spanish and Design); and, I am married to Mike Raines whom I consider to be “The Best Sheriff Eaton County’s ever had! (O.K., admittedly, I'm a little biased on that one…). And, each and every day I thank the Lord for having blessed me with three wonderful daughters whom I love dearly.
Like you, I want all of our children to be able to enjoy the beautiful natural resources Michigan has to offer; to have jobs here to work and provide for their families; to have safe communities in which to live, work and play; and, to be able to provide all our kids with the resources and skills needed to succeed in quality educational environments.
I have met with many working families and business owners throughout Eaton County to hear their concerns on how we can work together to retain jobs and help get Michigan back to work. We have reached over 10,000 households during this campaign.
My experience is real and the results have been positive throughout my career. As the Legislative Assistant to State Rep. Rick Jones, I’ve listened to, worked with and helped thousands of Eaton County citizens and business owners to work through the cumbersome bureaucratic “Red Tape” in Lansing, to resolve issues they face each day and to help others get access to the vital resources they’ve needed to achieve positive results.
Over my many years of private sector, state and local government service, I’ve developed numerous contacts and learned how to best serve you. I know where government works and I know where it can and must be improved to better serve you. We must have a more citizen and business-friendly government working for us.
3. I have the background and experience necessary to “Hit the ground running!” With the crisis Michigan is facing (a looming $1.7 BILLION state budget deficit), there’s no time for “learning curves.” I welcome each of you to compare my actual experience, education and qualifications to all others in this race…You will see, by far, that I am the most qualified candidate in this race to best serve you.
With 15 years of accounting experience, I read the budgets, I understand how they work, I know they sometimes don’t add up and the overspending MUST stop in Lansing! I believe in transparent, accountable government and I don’t support the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars we’ve witnessed in Lansing! (Please visit http://www.rainesforrep.com to view some of those specifics.)
While some may claim to have a “Plan” my experience is REAL and PROVEN. I have worked alongside some of the strongest advocates for government accountability and transparency that you will ever know. No more taxes. Michigan State Gov’t. must be accountable and responsible with the money they already have, eliminating all waste and responsibly restructuring at all levels.
I have led the charge many times when it came to disclosing violations involving misuse of taxpayer money in the “dirty back-room” state police headquarters deal between politicians and others and I strongly opposed the loss of trooper’s jobs in the midst of that “deal”; I researched and uncovered 62 convicted sex offenders deemed too dangerous to be on our streets “accidentally released” by some at the Michigan Dept. of Corrections (MDOC); and, I bring 15 years of experience to the table working with emergency responders, law enforcers and law makers to help write and pass COMMON SENSE responsible legislation that no other candidate in this race can offer you.
I fought alongside you when politicians in Charlotte supported the waste of over $94,000 taxpayer dollars, the destruction of 374 pristines acres of farmlands and Eminent domain to remove families from their homes for a failed airport expansion. (See http://www.meadhunt.com/index/php/projects/charlotte_advisory/nc/ ) In the middle of winter, I marched alongside the citizens of Carmel, Eaton and other Townships to help support and defend our citizen’s rights. And, I will do all over again.
I have dared to stand up to the crooked politicians in Lansing who have violated your trust and misused your money. I was warned and threatened before I got into this race that they would try to smear me if I dared to stand up to them or expose them for their wrongdoing. The last thing in the world they wanted was for me to run for office to try to protect and enlighten you.
I am aware of the way some in government have misused their authority to harm good people and I have never and will never support that kind of misconduct. In fact, I dared speak up about the serious violations in state government, risking my career, in order to protect the public safety of our citizens and to help ensure the integrity of the state department I respected and was proud to serve with.
After sharing evidence of escalating violations with superiors, I was prohibited from speaking to auditors and my Federal Oversight Position was terminated by those involved. I’m glad this is being brought forward. There’s really very little I can do with all the evidence, until I’m elected to office. I look forward to the day when the public can also see what I saw occurring inside this workplace and they can help me stop it once and for all. (See State of Michigan Auditor General’s Report notes a failure to conduct proper audits: http://audgen.michigan.gov/comprpt/docs/r5512504.pdf , U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Federal Audit Report with numerous violations cited: http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIG_08-26_Feb08.pdf , Mackinaw Center for Public Policy violations cited on accessing information in a Freedom of Information request: http://www.mackinac.org/features/search/search.aspx?Results=10&Description=True&Type=0&Text=Homeland+Security+Freedom+of+Information .)
The people of Michigan deserve much better than the misuse of their money, meant to protect our public safety. I’m not going to cower to sleazy politicians or anyone else who abuses their authority to mislead others about what really happened. The evidence they wanted back, official audit reports and the Mackinaw Center’s FOIA request make it clear they have much to hide. And, that’s only scratching the surface.
I believe those responsible for ensuring proper use of our tax dollars have been asleep at the wheel far too long. And, the Lansing “politics as usual” are hurting everyone in Michigan and I’m fighting hard to help stop it! Lansing is indeed BROKEN! But, with your help, together, we can help fix it by restoring integrity and fiscal responsibility to all areas of our state government.
4. I am not the “typical” political candidate and I won't become the “typical” politician. I have seen many go to Lansing and forget where they came from and who put them there. Often, they’ve forgotten what their true mission is…to be a representative of you and have your voice heard in Lansing.
I learned at a very early age that government is there to serve us, not the other way around. As your next State Representative, you have my word, that I will continue to listen to your concerns, work hard to best represent you and do all I can within my authority to help us have a government we can all be proud of.
Thank you for your continued support. I welcome your concerns and ask that you please consider encouraging your friends, family and others to view this information. Thanks and God Bless…
Paid for by Laurie Raines for State Representative, P.O. Box 542, Grand Ledge, MI 48837