Michigan, Republicans, Tea Party — August 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Protesters gather to remind Rep. Kerry Bentivolio who he works for


Constituents send a message to the Tea Party loyalist: You’re in Washington to represent all of us.

While U.S. Congressman Kerry Bentivolio and Speaker John Boehner hobnobbed with supporters at an undoubtedly pricey fundraiser at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham on Friday, constituents from across Rep. Bentivolio’s district banded together outside. And they had plenty to say to their Congressman, in signs like those carried by just a few of the protesters shown above.

Pat Collins of Northville thinks his district has changed for the worse because of gerrymandering, the redistricting that helped Rep. Bentivolio get elected in the first place.

I’m here in an attempt to restore the middle class to where it was 20 years ago and refocus our Congress on education and jobs. I want to see them vote on things like the President’s American Jobs Act — which would create jobs and rebuild our country’s infrastructure if Congress hadn’t just let it sit there all this time — instead of 40 votes to repeal Obamacare.

Frank Houston, Chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party was there, he said, for the same reasons everyone else was.

We want to send a small, symbolic message to Speaker Boehner and Representative Bentivolio, our favorite reindeer farmer from the 11th Congressional District, that people are deeply concerned with the extremist agenda he’s bringing to Washington on behalf of Michigan. When you talk about things like trying to undermine the Affordable Care Act at every turn, trying to defund Medicaid and Medicare — Medicaid alone brings $10 million into Michigan that we use to keep people out of poverty and make sure children have access to healthcare — when you talk about these sorts of radical positions, it’s not just bad for the 11th Congressional District, it’s not just bad politics, it’s bad for people.

Everyone at the protest had reasons to oppose Rep. Bentivolio’s extreme positions, including Jill Farber-Bramson of West Bloomfield Township.

He’s voted against a woman’s right to choose, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and Planned Parenthood, which provides low-income women with cancer screenings, contraception and education. And it’s not just women he doesn’t support. He’s against gun control and Obamacare, too.

Jack Schneider of Milford, who is retired from a 49-year teaching career and served in the Korean War, is concerned about Rep. Bentivolio’s lack of support for the majority of Americans.

I want a Representative in Congress who protects middle-class values, not just the 1%. He’s voted against every issue that would support Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And I’m not pleased about the remarks he’s made about our military personnel, saying they should just ‘suck it up.’ We should be appreciated for our service.

Rick of Waterford highlighted one of the concerns shared by everyone I talked to at the rally.

I don’t believe Mr. Bentivolio represents anyone but himself. I don’t think my Representative should be sent to Washington and be paid with our tax dollars just to say ‘no’ to everything. That’s pure hypocrisy.

According to Houston, the Democratic Party is already keenly focused on 2014, when Rep. Bentivolio will be up for re-election.

The 11th Congressional District is going to be a place that’s closely watched. When you have such an extreme Tea Party candidate, the bottom line is that it makes him an easy target for us because he’s out of step. Ask him about basically anything most mainstream Americans think government should be providing, and he’s just not there. Speaker Boehner coming into the Congressional District this early shows that they’re worried. And they have a right to be. Because we’re going to find a great candidate and we’re going to run a heck of campaign to get him out of here in 2014 and send him back to his farm.

[Photo by Amy Lynn Smith | Eclectablog]