I'm still getting used to the sound of saying that. Congressman Mark Schauer. Then I smile a really big smile.
Way back on July 13th, 2007, I took a trip down to Lansing. Nothing special, just a sunny day and lunch with a few people, but I did have one goal in mind - I wanted to meet this guy that was standing up to the Senate Republicans. There are very few politicians I feel that way about, that I go out of my way to meet, but this one - yeah. Gotta say hi. Didn't even know if he would be around, but lo and behold, there he was, working on that beautiful Friday, when most every other legislator was gone. And the moment I met him, I had this very strong feeling: this guy is a Congressman. I'm sure I had read the rumors that he was thinking of running by then, but the sense was overwhelming - the way he looked, talked, smiled, shook your hand, just screamed "Congress" to me. He was open, honest, inviting, inquisitive about blogs and bloggers, one of the first ones to see the potential here and embrace this medium from the start, and he was glad to see that we were paying attention to what was happening in Lansing in a time when most everyone was ignoring the reality of the situation that had been unfolding through that year.
And from there, it was a roller coaster. From the Senate Dems posting here, to the censorship episode where he stood up for this "aggrieved community" (still love that line), to the endless budget battle that lasted to almost the end of the year, Senator Schauer stood up time and time again for the people of Michigan, so much so that he was Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of the paranoid Senate Republicans. He took the heat, and he came out on top in that chamber. I hung out in his office for the State of the State Address the following January, met a few more of the Senate Dems, and never felt more welcome in that town. The people he surrounds himself with are the best, hands down. What a great team.
We come to '08. Taking on Tim Walberg in a Republican-leaning district was no small feat. In a year that promised a blue tidal wave, MI-07 was still going to be tough to win - especially for someone who had to fight for the dreaded "t" word in a legislature whose approval ratings were in the tank. But he did it, pounding the pavement and the fields from one end of the district and back again in a grueling, mud-filled race, and he came out on top there, too. I was so happy to tag along at a few events and watch as the months went by, and, even though I was incredibly nervous election night, there was no place I would have rather been than in Battle Creek to see this one through to the end, no matter how the chips fell.
What a ride. The guy paid his dues, that's for sure.
And here we are today, at the fruition of this long journey. You can watch CSPAN starting at noon and be there for the swearing-in ceremony of the 111th Congress, and welcome both Congressman Schauer and Congressman Peters to the new battle, one that I'm sure they both are qualified to take on. Matter of fact, Congressman Schauer has already found a bigger and meaner batch of Senate Republicans to conquer, as this recent editorial in the LSJ points out-
If General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler could develop a car that ran on nothing but hot air, the U.S. Senate might have generated enough power last week to sustain the Detroit Three for at least a decade without spending a dime of taxpayers' money.
Love it. Look out Senator Shelby.
I couldn't make the ceremonial Michigan events last week, but here is a YouTube of the Jackson swearing-in from WILX-
Thank you Congressman Schauer, for everything. I, for one, am so honored and grateful that I was around to watch this bit of history happen, and I wish you all the success in the world as you take on your new duties. I'm really going to miss having you around in Lansing. Thank you for standing up for our state in the past, in the present, and I have a really good feeling about the future, with guys like you out there fighting for us.
Best of luck - and we will see you on CSPAN!