Hank Cetola, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus at Adrian College, Adrian, MI, and the founder of Lenawee Indivisible.
I live in Michigan's 7th Congressional District. My Congressperson is Tim Walberg. I will no longer call him “Representative Walberg” as he does not represent the views or needs of me or many other citizens in the district. He will claim that he is in Congress because he won the election to it, but the election was in a severely gerrymandered district that he could not win without gerrymandering.
We need only to look back to the election of 2008 before the District was gerrymandered in 2010. The Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer, defeated incumbent Walberg. The district was reconfigured by the Michigan Republican Legislature to remove Schauer's residence from the District! The Republicans knew that Walberg would lose to Schauer again if they did not remove him from the district.
Since that time, Mr. Walberg has represented the interests of big business, lobbyists, loyalists and his re-election. Not only does he not represent the rest of us, but he also doesn't even invite us to his coffee hours. He keeps them secret until the last minute, and if we show up, he is not interested in our point of view and, often, responds to our questions with misinformation and downright lies.
For example, when I asked about universal healthcare at a coffee hour, he said, “It just doesn't work. Just look at Canada.” That answer is completely wrong, and he either knows it or should know it. Here are the facts Mr. Walberg won't tell you: According to the respected, non-partisan Commonwealth Fund, compared to the other 10 high-income countries, the United States is in last place on health outcomes. Compared to Canada on measures of access to healthcare, administrative efficiency (e.g., problems trying to get their patients needed treatment because of insurance coverage restrictions), and positive health interventions, Canada's system is better than ours at one-fifth the cost. Why does he ignore the facts?
Another example: During a coffee hour discussion about healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood, Mr. Walberg read talking points from a paper from the anti-abortion lobbyist group, the Susan B. Anthony List. When asked what he was reading from, he claimed it was from the Congressional Budget Office. He lied to us. We know this through the investigative prowess of one of his constituents, Steven Meyer, who has a website, Take Care Tim https://www.takecaretim.com/, where you can find out more about Walberg's misrepresentations.
More information about Mr. Walberg's views comes from his appearance the Steve Gruber Show of May 8, 2020. When asked about mail-in voting he stated, “If you don't have enough gumption, if you're healthy, if you're able to walk, yet you can't get to the polls… then you shouldn't be participating in the American lifestyle, because you don't believe in it.” He went on to say, “If you can't get to the polls and vote, you shouldn't be voting.” I am appalled that a member of Congress even thinks that, much less declares it to be an American principle. In a democracy, everyone should be encouraging all citizens to exercise their right to vote and doing all they can to make the process as easy as possible. Apparently, Mr. Walberg is paying attention to President Trump who Tweeted, “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting… it doesn't work out for Republicans.” Could it be that Mr. Walberg is afraid of losing the next election in his gerrymandered district if everyone eligible votes? It sounds like it.
It's even more startling for him to say not everyone deserves to vote because Michiganders just passed no-reason absentee voting in the 2018 election. His comments are actively opposed to the will of the people and Michigan law. In fact, if every voter requested an absentee ballot, we would have a statewide vote by mail.
Mr. Walberg, you do not represent the wishes of Michiganders. You are interested only in your political future. We, the citizens of Congressional District 7, deserve to be represented by some who listens to our concerns, who will not lie to us and represents individuals, not just big business, and lobbyists. If you want a truthful, democracy-loving representative in the US House, vote for Gretchen Driskell for District 7.
Hank Cetola, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus at Adrian College, Adrian, MI, and the founder of Lenawee Indivisible. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.