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Stateside Podcast: New Rep. Scholten on SOTU

Martin Falbisoner via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday night, President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union Address. The President spoke about health care, economic issues, infrastructure, and law enforcement policy, setting the tone for another year of hot-button policymaking.

During Biden’s speech, Democratic Congresswoman Hillary Scholten sat next to Republican Congressman John James, a simple gesture that made a bold statement. The two Michigan lawmakers made the mutual decision to sit next to each other.

John and I are not only neighbors in Michigan, but we are neighbors in our house office buildings in Longworth. Our offices are literally right next door to each other,” Representative Scholten said. “[W]e have just committed to a spirit of bipartisanship throughout this Congress. We both campaigned on it and wanted to demonstrate to the people of Michigan that we are committed to it in a very visual way.”

Not only are the two lawmakers committed to the bipartisan spirit, Scholten said that the pair are working together on passing bills that matter to Michigan, like the Clean Water Act.

After President Biden’s address, he stopped to speak with Representative Scholten. According to the representative, she shared her two cents on the allocation of infrastructure funding.

“I'm now a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and we're going to be working on implementing a lot of those critical infrastructure dollars. So I took the time I had with the president to talk to him about the type of investments that I thought we needed in West Michigan. And he listened and I invited him to come and visit our beautiful part of the state to see exactly what needed to be done,” Scholten said.

Moving forward, bipartisanship will likely remain a big topic of conversation with a narrow balance of power in the US Congress and in several state governments. Despite the struggle for political power, Representative Scholten said that there are plenty of people eager to push past it all and get to work for the American people.

There's a lot of shouts and tumultuous times that dominate the news feeds and the media stream,” Scholten said. “But below the surface, there are a lot of good natured, hard-working people on both sides of the aisle that are ready to cut past the noise.”

Representative Scholten joined the Stateside podcast to discuss the move and share her thoughts on Biden’s State of the Union address.


Looking for more conversations from Stateside? Right this way.

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Music in this episode byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Ronia Cabansag is a producer for Stateside. She comes to Michigan Public from Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a BS in Media Studies & Journalism and English Linguistics with a minor in Computer Science.
Anna joined Stateside as an assistant producer in August 2021. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism and previously worked for The State News as an intern and student government reporter.