As you can imagine, this past month has been a whirlwind for me and my family and it has been an incredible beginning to my first term!
I campaigned on a platform of fighting for liberty and smaller government and have been doing that since day one. I believe it's time to restore an understanding of the precious gift of liberty and renew the passion in our hearts to pursue and defend it with all that we have. In this spirit, along with Representative Courser, I have created and released the Contract for Liberty Project, which lays out the principles of liberty that I ran on and will continue to fight for on behalf of my district and state. This project is a culmination of my heart, mind, and soul on a broader vision of the amazing foundation we have been blessed with and the incredible responsibility we have to steward these blessings for our future generations. As stated in the Contract, "Each generation must rise to the occasion with the fortitude and dedication that an honor of this magnitude requires, and be willing to do what is necessary to understand the meaning of liberty and to defend it at all costs." I hope you will take a few moments and read it by clicking here.
I have now submitted my allotted 15 possible bills for the months of December and January for drafting to the Legislative Services Bureau. The Life at Conception Act, my first bill requested for drafting, is very meaningful and has received a lot of attention by the media as well as those on both sides of the issue. I believe our state can and should lead the way in declaring that each person has inherent value and worth and that we will protect the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. This bill, along with the others I submit, will align with the principles of the Contract for Liberty, to increase liberty and decrease government. I am thinking through each of my bills carefully and will announce when the drafts are finalized and ready for co-sponsors.
In Lansing I've been assigned my seat on the House floor and to serve on the Appropriations Committee which focuses on the budget, so you can expect frequent reports from me on the ins and outs of government spending. We have a massive and unprecedented budget of over $50 billion dollars and due to past promises related to corporate welfare tax credits and the MEDC, we are running a deficit and will need to cut approximately a half billion dollars for the current fiscal year and beyond. It is past time to eliminate the MEDC and to step up the legislative oversight in tightening down and removing it's authority to manipulate and renegotiate contracts paid for by the tax dollars of hard working Michigan citizens.
The appropriation subcommittees I will be serving on are Education, Military and Veteran's Affairs, DNR, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. I was disappointed that, as a registered nurse, although I requested it, I was not appointed to a policy or appropriations committee related to health care. There is a lot of inside politics that surround committee assignments but in the end all of the decisions come down to the pleasure of the Speaker of the House, which was why the Speaker vote held so much importance. Some committees are known for their fundraising potential and those who are appointed to Chair the committees have the power to decide which bills are heard in the committees. Although any representative can put forward legislation whether they are members of that particular committee or not, without the blessing of leadership, you can expect the path to be an uphill battle; fortunately, I have been forged and tested through some pretty tough battles and will continue to firmly lead where the Lord calls and where liberty is found.
It looks like my first meaningful vote will come up this week in appropriations regarding recommendations from an appointed board for the acquisition of land under the authority of the Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund, as proscribed by the State Constitution. The trust fund requires a minimum of 25% of revenue received through a variety of royalties related to resources extracted on state land, such as oil and gas, to be used to acquire more land. However, since the board's recommendation totaling nearly $20 million exceeds the minimum requirement of land acquisition by the state, I will be voting no on this bill. I believe in decreasing the size and scope of government, not expanding it beyond the scope required by the Constitution and I hope to be joined in voting no on this bill by the other representatives who ran on a conservative platform of decreasing government. I believe the money in the fund would be better spent by local communities on items such as roads than allowing the state to gobble up more and more land away from private citizens each year, therefore I am working on an amendment to the wording in the Constitution which would allow for this.
My weeks now consist of committee meetings, caucus with the Republican representatives, sessions on the House floor, and meetings with constituents, business leaders, county leaders, and organizational leaders. As my family can attest, there has been very little time left over as I read and study to bring myself up to speed on the committees and proposed legislation, let alone the long white knuckle drive to and from Lansing each day in the beautiful yet treacherous west Michigan winter wonderland!
I have learned over the years that nothing in politics is done by accident and that most things demonstrated publicly have been all worked out behind the scenes ahead of time by the leadership and those in power. Since taking office I have realized that the degree to which this is done is simply astounding, nothing is left to chance and everything is manipulated down to the tiniest detail. On one hand it is a beautiful place with an atmosphere of austerity, significance, history, and a beautiful vision of what government was meant to be. Yet, on the other hand, the system is structured in a way that for those who obey those in leadership and power, the road is smoothly paved with money, elevation, and all that comes with the blessings of power; but for those who do not obey, the terrain is rough and rocky. There are a lot of great people I have met in Lansing, but the pressure is also great to conform and go along to get along. I have been warned to not speak out so that I will not be marginalized. Yet for those who choose to not speak out due to fear of being marginalized, aren't they now marginalizing themselves? I look forward to working with my peers, but I will continue to speak, stand, and fight for government transparency and the values I campaigned on. It has not been easy, yet I am determined to persevere, stand firm for liberty, and serve my district and state to the best of my ability!
Through trials and difficulties my faith has been strengthened, as over and over again, the Lord has delivered abundantly and faithfully in amazing ways; and so I will press on toward the goal and run the race He has for me, knowing His hand is upon me. I alone cannot do what needs to be done, it is only through Him and His grace and mercy to use an imperfect vessel as myself which allows me to take the next steps, and for that I am eternally grateful!
I thank you so much for your prayers covering my family, Allegan County, Michigan, my upcoming votes, our leaders, and the legislation that is put forward. I have faith that God has a plan in all of this and I am thankful that His hand is upon me, our state, and our nation!
With Firm Reliance on Divine Providence,
PS On January 9th and 10th we had a full house of enthusiastic patriots, fantastic speakers, informational breakouts, supportive sponsors, and the typical media attacks and hoopla at the Michigan Grassroots PowWow! It was a great honor to join Representatives Glenn and Courser along with moderator Kyle Melinn from MIRS on a legislative panel held at the PowWow. You can hear the podcast of the legislative panel by clicking here.
PPS To contact my office for matters needing legislative assistance, please call 517-373-0836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cindy Gamrat for State Representative
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