Michigan State Rep. Donna Lasinski (52nd House District) spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters last Thursday at Null Taphouse in Dexter as she kicked off her 2018 campaign for re-election.
District 52 includes parts of Ann Arbor along with Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and many Washtenaw County townships.
The banquet room was packed with a standing-room only crowd of almost 200 supporters with another 60 or so overflowing into the bar area. There was an excitement in the air and like with the groundhog earlier that day, folks were looking for a hopeful political forecast.
Dexter School Board Vice President and Rotary President Dr. Julie Schumaker first met Rep. Lasinski 10 years ago when they worked together on the Washtenaw County Association of School Boards. Dr. Schumaker introduced Lasinski.
“I have known Donna for nearly 10 years since her tenure with the Ann Arbor Board of Education,” she said. “I have always been impressed by her commitment to service, energy, and collaborative nature. Donna does her homework and knows the facts. She brings people together. And she listens! Donna is a refreshing change from politicians who are more interested in advancing their own careers. She truly represents those who she serves.”
Lasinski first thanked the crowd for their enthusiastic support. “I honestly can’t tell you what it’s like to have a room full of people who are here to support you. It’s emotional,” she said.
She then launched right into what she is best known for – her tenacity.
“It has been a year of hard work,” she said. “One of the things I know I am fighting for everyday is freedom and the necessities that freedom requires in this country. I’m fighting for the freedom for everyone in our community, our beliefs.”
Dexter Twp. resident Brian Maiville, a retired school psychologist for Ann Arbor Schools, recalls when he first met Lasinski.
“I remember years ago there was a time when they cut summer school because of funding cuts,” he said. “Well that was the end of that we thought. But when Donna, at that time not a politician, just a concerned parent, learned about it, the next thing I know summer school was back on.
“That’s why I like Donna. She gets things done. I like her conservative business mindset balanced with a strong social activism regarding concerns of the people.”
Now years later, as a politician, she assured the people at Null that she is still an advocate for children.
“I fight every day for every child to be able to choose their own future because their education supports them to do that,” she said.
Sue Goldsmith, of Webster Twp., echoed Maiville in what attracts her to Lasinki’s representation in Lansing. “We like her because of her focus on economic justice. State level government is important because it’s local and affects us more directly than federal,” Goldsmith said.
Mac McCauley, of Lodi Twp., said he supported Lasinski because “she is progressive and has made a good case for well-spent tax dollars over tax cuts.”
A consistent theme throughout the throng of supporters was the politician’s personable style. Kristina Martin, of Linden Twp., said: “She’s down to earth, approachable and realistic about the issues.”
Becky Bussineau, of Webster Twp., added simply, “Donna cares about her constituents.”
In her brief speech to the crowd, Rep. Lasinski shared a strategy she learned from her oldest son who plays Division 1 collegiate soccer. “One of the strategies the team uses when things aren’t quite going their way; they delay, destroy, and develop.”
She explained to the people how she applies this in her work as a representative.
“So when I approach an issue in Lansing, something that looks kind of scary, my first reaction is to delay,” she said. “Let’s slow this down. The next thing is how do I destroy this? How do I stop this in its tracks? And the next part of this is where all of you come in … for us to stand firm, claim our ground and to be able to develop the policies that we know make a stronger community.”
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell echoed the evening’s theme that there is a lot of hard work to be done in Lansing. After telling the audience about her frustrations with the current administration in Washington DC and how she sees their policies favoring the rich, she said “Donna will never stop fighting for those men and women who are getting screwed.”
Dingell emphasized that frustration is not a strategy.
“We need all of you,” she told the crowd. “It’s not in the bag. It’s a long time between now and November… You all know we have to keep the energy level up. Every vote matters.”