I spent the weekend with Representative Gary Glenn in Midland, Michigan. Yes! a Democrat actually walked the streets of Midland. I was very honored to be invited to Midland as Chairman of the Michigan Legislative Hispanic Caucus. My goal as Hispanic Chairman was to visit the Bay area and speak with leaders of the Hispanic community and gauge their opinions on what we as legislators can be doing in Lansing to help the Hispanic community advance.
Rep. Glenn started the weekend with a 1/2 hour interview on the Art Lewis show. The D from Detroit and the R from Midland side by side talking about working together to improve Michigan. We then visited the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy (Yes! a Democrat walked in and out of there alive). I was encouraged that they are working on Corrections Reform public policy and offered my assistance as I to am working on a large package of bills dealing with Youth in Prison.
We then visited and toured the DOW facility to meet with representatives of DOW. I was amazed and overwhelmed by the amount of involvement DOW has with the community of Midland. They truly are the definition of "AWESOME Corporate Neighbor."
Rep. Glenn and I were also joined by Reps Vanessa Guerra and John Bizon for a presentation to the Great Lakes Bay Regional Hispanic Leadership Training Institute. I was humbled to present to them in 15 minutes a recap of 25 years of my leadership experience ups/downs and most importantly listening to their concerns about the issues affecting the Hispanic community.
We all walked out scratching our heads at some of the simplest things "we legislators" can do to fix some issues. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this very basic and common sense reforms that will leave a huge impact.
We had lunch with local business leaders who shared with us their views on the role of government and business and I found it very interesting. Later that evening we attended a baseball game with the Great Lakes Loons where I found a player named Alex Santana. I was presented with a custom jersey and threw out the first pitch. This morning I walked through the Midland Farmers Market and we walked through DOW Gardens were I came up with a new project for Rouge Park!
In summary, I made a commitment to voters that I would cast politics aside and focus on delivering results for my constituents and my city. Working across the aisle is the only way I know how to achieve those results. I look forward to hosting Rep Glenn and others here in Detroit as Chairman of the Hispanic caucus.
I walked away with a very different point of view regarding politics. Gary and I for the most part will probably disagree most of the time. That doesn't mean we must be disagreeable. It means that we must work harder to find areas of common ground. I'm proud to have Gary as a member of the Hispanic caucus because I need true Conservatives like him to share his ideas with me so together we can solve problems in a bi-partisan way.
--Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit
Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, left, with Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, chairman of the Michigan Legislative Hispanic Caucus at "Latino Night at the Loons," Midland's minor league baseball team.