Tom was inspired to run for office when he saw that his battle buddies were struggling to find opportunities after returning back home. At the time Michigan had the second highest veteran unemployment rate in the nation. When Tom was elected in 2014, he became the only Iraq War veteran in the Michigan House of Representatives. He was appointed as Chairman of the Military and Veterans Affairs committee, a rare opportunity for a freshman legislator.
Tom has upheld his commitment to veterans by sponsoring six veteran bills in his first term that were signed into law.
These bills help veterans by:
Adding protections from discrimination for veterans who have a service dog that assists them in managing their invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.
Allowing veterans to count their relevant military experience from active duty toward their civilian skilled trade license requirements.
Protecting parental rights of deployed service members.
Amending Michigan’s patchwork of different definitions for how we define who is a veteran. Different statutes defined veteran status differently which left out certain types of service.
Sponsoring a resolution each year in June to commemorate post-traumatic stress awareness day in Michigan.
Tom currently has legislation pending that would allow deployed service members to return their ballots electronically if their ballot would not return home in time to be counted on election day.
In addition to these priorities, Tom has been a leader in driving reforms at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans after a state audit exposed abuse, neglect, chronic understaffing, and fraud. Tom insisted in taking his committee to the home to conduct an open hearing, something that had never been done before, to hear directly from the veterans at the home. Leadership at the home was replaced, a new staffing agency was hired, an independent ombudsman was created and Tom secured additional funding for the home in the state budget. After these reforms were adopted the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a follow up review in May of 2017 and determined that over 99% of requirements were successfully met.
Agriculture and Skilled Trades
Agriculture is Michigan’s second largest industry. After successfully leading the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee in his first term, the Speaker of the House appointed Tom as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in 2017. Agriculture is Michigan’s second largest industry, and Tom has worked with farmers across Michigan to craft public policy that seeks to further promote this thriving industry in our state.
Currently, Michigan has a dramatic need to fill skilled trade positions. For too long our state seemed only concerned with steering our K-12 students toward college. We need to shift our focus toward valuing skilled trade opportunities which frequently provide higher salaries and less startup debt than many college graduate positons.
Michigan has the highest auto insurance rates in the entire country. Tom is in his second term as a member of the House Insurance Committee and has supported common sense reforms that will reduce costs by 40%, root out fraud, prohibit trial attorneys from owning MRI clinics, allow seniors to coordinate their auto insurance coverage with Medicare, and still provide generous benefit coverage for those catastrophically injured.
Protecting Mid-Michigan Values
Our rights come from God, not from the government. Too often our rights have come under attack, and Tom has stood strong for Mid-Michigan values, whether that’s the right to life or the right to farm, and he will continue that in the State Senate.
Tom is 100% pro-life. As a father of three young children, Tom knows that life is a gift from God to be valued and respected. He is the only pro-life candidate in this race. In the Army Tom saw first-hand what happens when a country and a society do not value human life. He will work hard to promote a culture of life here in Michigan.
Tom also knows that our second amendment rights are important to Mid-Michigan families. As a gun owner and CPL holder, Tom respects and protects our second amendment rights.