Hoogendyk counts on turnoutPublished 4:59pm Thursday, July 19, 2012
EDWARDSBURG — Jack Hoogendyk fell short with 2010’s challenge of entrenched U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, but senses a mood shift.
A fiscal, social and constitutional conservative, Hoogendyk served six years in the state Legislature, 2003-2009, voting for budgets that grew at less than the inflation rate and against tax increases. Twice the limited government advocate won Lansing’s most conservative lawmaker.
A “one-man band” against a 25-year incumbent, Hoogendyk targets voters sympathetic to his “steel spine” message.
“It’s about turnout,” said Hoogendyk, who turns 57 July 31. “Unhappy voters are the most motivated. I’ve got a lot of free help. We’ve got boots on the ground. Voters seem much more dissatisfied with Washington,” including one man who dismisses Congress as the “federal student council.”
“People aren’t happy all the way around,” Hoogendyk said Wednesday. They’re frustrated and tremendously annoyed” with unsustainable spending to a $13 trillion debt. Rain pounding Maple Cafe’s roof nearly drowns out conversation.
The challenger and incumbent faced off twice, but it looks like a third the weekend before the primary in Plainwell died.
Hoogendyk said Upton’s rhetoric revolves around three issues — repealing Obamacare, championing the Keystone XL pipeline and debt reduction.
“(Upton) was a primary negotiator on the transportation bill,” Hoogendyk said. “They got a ‘veto signal’ from Obama if the pipeline was in the bill. Fred didn’t want to be responsible for the transportation bill being vetoed, throwing construction workers out of jobs because money dried up. My response was leave it in there, put the bill in front of the president and say, ‘Go ahead, make my day. You veto it, you lay off thousands.’ Seventy-seven percent of the American public wants this pipeline and he doesn’t have the backbone to keep it in the bill? It doesn’t take a steel spine with 77 percent of the people with you. Ronald Reagan used to say if you want to get re-elected, find an issue 80 percent like, stand next to it and smile.”
The Republican Study Committee drafted a letter vowing not to vote for any appropriation bill containing money for “Obamacare,” but Upton wasn’t among 105 House signatures, “so how serious is he? The greatest power they have is the power of the purse. If you don’t like the Department of Agriculture, defund it. We have 50 state departments. The president doesn’t set the budget, ‘The president proposes, Congress disposes.’
“Purchase of health care should be allowed across state lines. We have to bring back free market principles so buyers and sellers know what products costs. Imagine buying a car without knowing what it costs. We should give individuals the right to deduct the way employers do. We’ve also got to deal with tort reform. Doctors practice defensive medicine because they’re afraid of being sued.”
“The federal deficit is no different than a household budget,” he said. “If you make $50,000 a year while spending $75,000, with $350,000 on your credit card, you’d make serious sacrifices. No new TV or car, but cancel the cable, lawn service and keep wearing the same clothes. Drastic decisions need to be made at the federal level. I’m already taking a media beating, but you know who likes me? Voters.
“We’ll find out Aug. 7 if there are enough.”