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Congressmen from opposite sides of MI, political aisle, make friends

A republican congressman from West Michigan and a democrat from Detroit held a joint town hall meeting today Saturday in Grand Rapids. The two freshmen lawmakers have bonded in the nation’s capitol and want to show people some politicians do get along.


Congressman Justin Amash is a tea party favorite from West Michigan. Congressman Hansen Clarkeis a democrat from Detroit.  

Clarke tried to explain why, if they could get along, everything else in Washington seems so partisan.

“I think a lot of these people in congress they’ve been around so long they believe that this power actually belongs to them. So they get angry and pissed off at each other, when one’s not in control or the other one is in control. Well it’s not them to be in control – it’s the people that are in control.”

They discussed the similarities and differences of their views about the nation’s debt, foreign policy, and health care overhaul.

Republican Congressman Justin Amash says he and Democratic Congressman Hansen Clarke want more congressmen and women to be able to discuss their views more respectfully.

“When Hansen votes a way that’s different from the way I vote, I don’t think it’s because he’s mean. Or he’s against rich people, or he’s against poor people, or whatever. I think he’s got a different perspective. And I hope people at home can understand that too. That – we don’t need to be calling each other names just because we disagree.”

Both agreed that the extremes of the voting public also tends to make Washington politicians want to appeal to a more partisan base. Clarke says people need to try to keep elected officials grounded by letting them know their thoughts.

Clarke and Amash are planning to hold another town hall together in Detroit later this summer.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.