BREAKING: Former House Speaker Pro Tempore Pam Byrnes announces candidacy for the 7th Congressional District

Look out, Tim Walberg. Your days are numbered.


Pam Byrnes with Congressmen John Dingell and John Lewis

Several months ago, I contacted former Michigan House Speaker Pro Tempore Pam Byrnes and her husband Kent Brown. I wanted to discuss the possibility of her running for Congress in the 7th District to oust the odious tea party grandfather Tim Walberg. I was pleased to learn that she was giving it thought and had in-depth discussions about how I could help both with my blog as well as a local organizer in Washtenaw County.

This morning, Byrnes made it official: she will be running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Walberg in 2014.

“Washington is broken and Tim Walberg is part of the problem. He puts special interests and corporations ahead of middle-class Michigan families,” said Byrnes. “I have a track record of working across the aisle to get things done and create opportunities to help middle-class families thrive.”

During her time in the state legislature, Byrnes worked across the aisle to pass the Cottage Food Bill to help local farmers and area small entrepreneurs prosper. She also supported legislation to cut her own pay and end lifetime healthcare for state legislators.

“The broken system in Washington means our middle-class families are falling behind. Washington politicians give tax breaks to corporations who ship our jobs out of the country while making it more expensive for our kids to get a good education,” said Byrnes. “I believe the economic and educational needs of the middle-class should come before special interests and big corporations.”

Pam Byrnes is a mother, grandmother, lawyer, and small business owner who has lived and worked in our community for over 30 years. Pam currently lives on a small farm outside of Chelsea with her husband Kent Brown. She is the former Director of the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court and former State Representative. Most recently she was the Executive Director of the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, a program that provides University of Michigan students and faculty a platform to engage in engineering education and research in an international setting, often collaborating with Michigan businesses, such as General Motors and TRW.

Pam Byrnes is the ideal candidate for the very diverse 7th District, a combination of rural, suburban, and urban communities. Pam is a moderate progressive who knows that attacks on education, workers, women, and the middle class have got to end. She also understands the values of the constituents in the 7th District and will be a fierce advocate for their concerns. Unlike Tim Walberg, who defines what it means to be an anti-Obama tea partier, Byrnes is interested in moving our country forward. She has a long history of working with her political adversaries and allies alike to build consensus for efforts that benefit ALL Americans, not just corporate interests and those who would take our country back decades. In a time when the concept of “compromise” has become nearly extinct thanks to ideological purists like Walberg, Pam Byrnes is the perfect choice for the people of the 7th District, the citizens of Michigan, and for the country as a whole.

Byrnes is also a tireless worker. She is the founder of the Western Washtenaw Dems and has worked hard to help get other Democrats elected in Michigan. Her time as House Speaker Pro Tempore has given her the name recognition that is critical for any candidate.

I spoke with Pam this morning about her announcement and asked her what her campaign would look like.

“My focus is going to be on opportunity,” she told me. “There has been far too much negativity from Tim Walberg. What we need now is a positive vision for our future.

“I will mostly be focusing on educational opportunities and economic opportunities. And the two are closely linked. If we invest in education, especially K-through-12, our kids will be much better positioned to be successful when they enter the workforce. I particularly notice that coming back from China where they put a large emphasis on families and educating their kids. But they also have issues and the strength that WE have as Americans is our diversity. We’ve just lost our focus on what is important and we need to make sure we’re putting more emphasis on science and math and, more importantly, getting parents involved in their kids’ education. That’s not easy but we can’t put it all on teachers. We must all be part of the solution.”

Pam will be crossing the district, speaking to constituents and party leaders in all seven counties in the 7th District. She says that working with all of the various party groups will be essential to her victory in 2014.

“I’m a firm believer in coordination, collaboration, and communication,” she said. “These things are all essential for us to win in the 7th District.”

I look forward to helping Pam Byrnes send Tim Walberg into retirement. He doesn’t represent the true values and beliefs of Michigan. Pam Byrnes will.

You can learn more about Pam Byrnes at her website Pam Byrnes for Congress. Early fundraising is essential for her to begin her fight against Americans for Prosperity-financed Walberg. Please make a donation today via Pam Byrnes’ Act Blue page. Also, be sure to put a Like on her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

Photos by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

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