GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With just two weeks until voters hit the polls, Republican Candidate in Michigan's 3rd Congressional District Peter Meijer, is hearkening back to a time when a future president was the one who represented Grand Rapids in Congress.
“I hope to continue that tradition on November 3rd,” Meijer said about President Gerald Ford while introducing Vice President Mike Pence during an event in Grand Rapids last week.
“Very big shoes to fill. When this was the 5th district, from 1948 to 1973 it was represented by Jerry Ford. I had the honor of knowing President Ford and serving as an escort at his funeral when I was in the military. That is a weight and a type of leadership that I think we need to return more of,” Meijer told FOX 17.
It’s one of the reasons Meijer is now making a run for office.
You of course know his last name, but that’s not something the Iraq War veteran has ever wanted to campaign on.
“I’m not really sure that it’s going to come as a surprise to many voters in West Michigan, that someone named Meijer comes from a wealthy family, but my life hasn’t been about my last name. It’s been about service, it's about serving my community, serving my country,” Meijer said when asked about criticism he's received over having a large trust fund.
Like early on in his campaign, when his team delivered thousands of meals to locals struggling amid the pandemic.
Most of his past work, Meijer says, has had little to do with party affiliation.
“Whether its veteran advocacy, which had to do with policy but it wasn’t necessarily political or the work that I was doing overseas,” Meijer explained.
The Republican says what separates him most from his opponent Democrat Hillary Scholten is transparency.
“She and I’m very envious of this, didn't have a primary. She didn't have to take some of those tough stances, she didn't have to share with the public where she stood on a number of issues,” Meijer said.
Now Meijer is asking voters in a traditionally red district, to keep it that way.
Pledging to “fix the system,” while working across the aisle, which late President Gerald Ford was well known for.
“That’s exactly the type of leadership that West Michigan needs, that’s not only looking towards the long term, and making sure we are strongly represented but also isn’t afraid to work with anybody, reach across the aisle to get the job done.
FOX 17 also featured Democratic Candidate Hillary Scholten, to watch that story click here.