As a Republican voter, I find a lot of distaste among my party for Peter Meijer. Having worked with him closely on his campaign trail, I have been able to be a part of his election first-hand, and have seen how he puts his values into action.
Pete is not a partisan hack, nor is he a “libtard” for voting to impeach Trump. As someone who finds himself ever more moderate about certain issues (like conservation), I like having Pete as my representative. He is a moderate representative for an ever more moderate district. He’s a man who cares for his community, prioritizing what he feels is the right thing to do.
Pete, the grandson of Fred Meijer, is a West-Michigander who ran and won as the Republican nominee. Pete is a veteran and has been involved with disaster relief both inside and outside of the US. Following his military service, Pete remained involved in the Middle East through non-profit relief organizations. I had the opportunity to work as an intern for Pete’s campaign, and what I saw through working with Pete was heartening. Pete knocked on more doors than I did, got in the field earlier, and left later. Many Republicans in the West Michigan area are not approving of Pete following his vote to impeach former president Trump. However, I am still quite fond of Pete and appreciate his support of both traditional and progressive policies.
Policy-wise, Pete is a Republican. He is pro-life and pro-First and Second Amendment. He believes that small government and lower taxes are great things. He believes that providing a quality education to every American child is of the utmost importance. All of these are pretty basic Republican positions.
However, there are a few instances where Pete deviates from other Republicans. Pete, a veteran, believes that we have been engaged in needless wars across the world, pointlessly involving ourselves in conflicts and losing lives in the process. This is a stark contrast to the common perception of republican leaders as hawkish.
Pete also supports a health insurance system that covers pre-existing conditions. While the Republican party is moving towards this more and more, not all are on board with a system that covers those. Additionally, Pete places a high emphasis on conservation. This is an issue that is specific to West Michigan, as Wolverine Worldwide was recently sued for dumping harmful chemicals that contaminated drinking water in the Rockford area. This sort of stance highlights Pete’s emphasis on advocating for regular people that have to deal with the consequences of greed. Pete’s commitment to renewable energy is also a more moderate stance. While he believes that unleashing the private sector is the best way for renewable energy innovation to progress, he believes that being reliant on renewable energy should be the goal, instead of making an immediate switch to renewable energy or insisting on using only coal. .
Most notably, Pete was one of a few Republican Congresspeople to support the impeachment of Trump following the Capitol riots. Pete, having been in the Capitol at the time, found that Trump’s initially soft response to the riots struck the wrong chord in him.
In an interview with WoodTV8, Pete said that he felt as though the now former President was not acting like a leader, and therefore should step down. When he did not step down, with a “heavy heart”, Pete and 9 other Republican representatives voted to impeach.
In my own conversation with others, this was a polarizing act. Many of my conservative friends and family disliked this move, but those with a more liberal leaning felt like this was the right thing to do. This has not been the most popular move in certain counties of West Michigan. Calhoun County has already voiced their unhappiness, saying that Pete deserved their “harsh condemnation of your action which betrayed the trust of so many who supported you.”
Pete has stood by his decision, implying he does more than simply represent his constituents. “This was not a decision that we expected would be politically popular. We made the decision based on what we thought was right and necessary and where we think accountability should lie for the events of January 6th.” Clearly, he believes he is also elected to do the right thing.
His re-election will be interesting, as he will have attracted some and turned away others with his impeachment vote, but I do hope he wins again.