Now in his third and final term as a state representative in Michigan’s 60th House District, Jon Hoadley announced last week his intentions to represent Southwest Michigan nationally. In 2020, Hoadley plans to run against Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton who currently sits in Michigan’s 6th District seat. Additionally, in an effort to reach out to his potential constituents, Hoadley has started a month-long listening tour with stops all across Southwest Michigan during April.
Hoadley found time in-between tour stops to fill BTL in on some of his national legislative goals if elected, his takeaways from the state legislature and what he’s learned as an openly LGBTQ politician.
What was your motivation to do a listening tour after announcing your campaign?
The reason that we’re doing the listening tour is because everybody can be the hero of their own story, and there are so many great solutions that are out across Southwest Michigan to the problems that we’re facing. And so, I firmly believe that elected officials, if you want to represent people, you’ve got to be willing to listen to people. So, that’s exactly what we’re out here doing. We launched with our video on Monday and now we want to make sure that we’re both taking our message out on the road and hearing what people want to talk about. We launched on Monday and immediately, the National Republican Committee, the Michigan Republican Party, started attacking me and we know [in] this race, that people will spend millions of dollars telling people what to think about me. And instead, I firmly believe, ‘Why don’t voters make up their own minds?’ So, come meet me, shake my hand, say howdy and decide if I can earn your vote.
Fred Upton’s official campaign statement said, among other things that he understands “there are those excited to start politicking, but right now Fred’s energy and efforts are focused on solving problems.” What is your response to that?
With the urgency of the challenges that our country is facing we cannot wait. So, I’ve been working to solve problems in the state legislature for the last five years and I’m going to continue working to solve problems in the state legislature until my last day there. At the same time, when we’re talking about politicians and the Trump administration trying to take away our health care and that we have major impacts of climate change coming and there are still plenty of places throughout Southwest Michigan where people aren’t sure they can’t drink their water, now is absolutely the time to start facing our challenges head-on and bringing some fresh ideas to this conversation.
What is something you’ve learned during your time in office?
Day one we’re ready to hit the ground running and working on the change people are asking for. But things that I’ve learned though is that, I’m the type of person who believes we can find common ground if we put our head down and get to work we can make good things happen, even in divided government. And I’m hopeful that I can use many of those skills to serve folks across Southwest Michigan. The work takes a lot of energy and passion, and what I’ve found is that over the last five years, I really feel great when I get to be serving people, when I get to be connecting with constituents, when our team gets to solve problems and so I’m really excited about the opportunities ahead.
You come from a family of educators, will that be a large focus of yours if elected?
Absolutely. Education is going to continue to be a strong priority in our campaign. Overall, I talk about the fact that, for every decision that’s being made, whether in Lansing or in Washington, D.C., we should be putting people and communities at the center of our decisions. And nothing hits closer to home than when we’re talking about things like education or protecting our environment or, even fixing the roads. These are choices that are being made in the budget that are saying given the choice on how to spend taxpayer dollars, I think the better investment is in our kids or making sure that we have clean water and clean air. Or health care that keeps every family safe, secure and healthy instead of yet another tax cut to yet another profitable corporation or billionaire that doesn’t need it. And so, that’s what I talk about and I think maybe it comes from the fact that I grew up talking about education and from a family of teachers that, for me, when you pencil it out and you look at the lesson plan, this is one of the most important values that we need to be talking about.
What does it mean for the Michigan LGBTQ community in your eyes that an openly gay man is running for Congress?
I think it’s an exciting moment that Southwest Michigan could elect a member of the LGBTQ community. As a gay man in the legislature, it matters that our community has representation, it matters that we have folks who are sharing our stories as decisions are being made and so I’m running because the way that we solve problems is going to help people regardless of who they are, who they love or what their family looks like. But I also think it matters that LGBTQ folks see members of their community also making decisions and in these positions representing all of our friends and neighbors.
To find out more about Hoadley’s campaign or where to see him during his listening tour visit jonhoadley.com.