UPPER THUMB — Another conservative has joined the race to represent the Thumb in Washington.
Paul Mitchell, a Dryden Township Republican, announced on Monday he will run for Michigan’s 10th Congressional District to represent Huron, Lapeer, Macomb, St. Clair, Sanilac and Tuscola counties. He will compete against at least three others for the spot of outgoing Congresswoman Candice Miller.
Mitchell, 58, is a business investor and small farm owner. He prides himself in leading a grassroots effort to defeat Proposal 1, a controversial plan to fund roads that voters overwhelmingly turned down last November.
He said he wants to bring to Washington the “same conservative values that crushed Proposal 1.”
“I led the opposition to that,” he said. “I didn’t make a whole lot of friends, but it wasn’t good for Michigan citizens.”
What would be good, according to Mitchell, and what people want to see, is “conservative leadership that leads.”
Which means a strong stance on immigration by closing U.S. borders; recovering from effects of the Affordable Care Act — he says part-time employment has skyrocketed since the ACA took effect “and it’s hurting the district”; and “someone who will vote no occasionally.”
In the 10th District, Macomb County accounts for 50 percent of the vote. Huron County, where Mitchell said he has visited within the past month, holds the smallest population. It’s also where Mitchell said he used to race sailboats.
“It’s a beautiful area,” he said.
Huron’s core industry — agriculture — stretches across Thumb farmland to other nearby rural counties.
“Agriculture is a huge concern for the entire district, including Huron County,” he said, adding that it is important to protect a stable ag industry and sugar program.
He said his father built trucks on an assembly line and his mother worked at Salvation Army. Others might have more political experience, he said, but having 35 years in the private business sector and 26 as the former CEO and owner of Ross Medical Education Center in Saginaw is an “important distinction.”
Mitchell recently moved to Dryden Township in Lapeer. He was living in Saginaw County’s Thomas Township last year when he ran for Michigan’s 4th District, which includes 15 counties in central and northern Michigan. He lost in the August primary to Sen. John Moolenaar, despite spending millions of his own money in the race.
“I’m not running for Congress to create a career path or new job opportunity,” Mitchell said.
It also means that the millionaire Mitchell wouldn’t exactly need the $174,000 salary plus benefits that U.S. House and Senate members are paid.
“I’m in Congress to make a difference,” he said.
Part of the difference would involve providing training opportunities for career paths and bettering welfare to work transition programs.
“You can’t have a system with more incentives to not work than to work,” he said.
Creating job opportunities, which Mitchell says he has been doing for many years at the company he ran, would be a major focus if elected, he said. Sorting out education funding — his count totaled at least 43 school grant programs statewide — also would be a priority, because “we pay Lansing bureaucrats to pay Washington bureaucrats to tell us how to use education funding.”
“They take our tax money … then we get a cut,” he said. “That’s insane.”
Rep. Candice Miller has represented Michigan’s 10th District since 2003. The Harrison Township Republican said she won’t seek an eighth term.
Mitchell said he aligns with Miller’s strong opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to redefine which waterways would fall under federal jurisdiction. The EPA’s proposal would regulate interstate waters, wetlands, tributaries and “all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide,” along with wetlands near rivers and streams.
Locally, county commissioners have opposed the measure, calling it a power grab that will cause significant harm to farmers and businesses. They fear it would give the EPA power to regulate waters in ditches, natural man-made ponds and flood plains.
“Regulating ditches … makes no sense whatsoever,” Mitchell said.
At this point, Mitchell faces competition from three other Republicans in the race to represent the 10th District.
Sen. Phil Pavlov — a St. Clair Township Republican who won election last year to Michigan’s 25th District to represent Huron, Sanilac, St. Clair and Macomb counties — made his bid for Miller’s seat shortly after she said she would not run again.
In May, Shelby Township Treasurer Michael Flynn announced his candidacy. Flynn, 44, holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University. Prior to being named Shelby Township treasurer in 2012, he was elected township trustee in 2008. His work in the private sector includes a decade in corporate management and marketing for a Tier 1 auto supplier. He also owns Plant Maintenance Direct, a small business that represents industrial equipment manufacturers.
Alan Sanborn announced in April he would run. The former state senator of Mount Clemens, now living in Richmond, was consecutively named “Michigan’s Most Conservative Legislator” during his time as senator, from 2003 to 2011, according to his website.
State Sen. Jack Brandenburg also is expected to announce his candidacy.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 7:27 am