State Rep. Jon Hoadley hopes to become Michigan's first openly gay congressman

Posted at 10:27 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 22:32:02-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — State Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo is looking to do what no one has done in 30+ years, beat incumbent Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph in an election.

The district that surrounds Kalamazoo has been red for quite a while, but last election Upton faced his toughest challenge yet.

In 2018, Upton defeated Democratic nominee Matt Longjohn by just 4%, roughly 13,000 votes.

In 2020, Hoadley is trying to capitalize in blue Kalamazoo County and make gains in the others.

“Our campaign is out there making sure we're working for every last vote. It seems like there is a huge tailwind that's coming right now because people are ready to see change,” Hoadley told FOX 17.

After 6 years in Lansing, Hoadley wants to take on D.C., he says no election is more important than this one.

“We're going to make choices that will not just impact the next couple of years but could impact the next couple of decades, or longer,” Hoadley added.

The 37-year-old is hoping to be a fresh face in the House and Michigan’s first openly gay congressman.

He says his stance on health care is what separates him most from the longtime incumbent.

“250,000 plus folks in southwest Michigan have a preexisting condition that could just exclude them from future health insurance company coverage if the Affordable Care Act went away. [Upton] voted to reduce and deny coverage over 60 times, and he voted against lowering prescription drugs,” Hoadley said. “I'm the opposite on every single one of those stances,” he added.

With just a week until Election Day, Hoadley has an uphill battle.

Throughout the race, he says he’s been one of, if not the most, attacked House candidates running this cycle. It's often been more personal than political.

“We have the distinction unfortunately of being receiving the most homophobic attacks in the country,” Hoadley said.

“I'm ready to run off my record. We're wanting to make sure that this is laser focused on the issues, so we're talking about childcare, we're talking about healthcare, we're talking about the environment. And it seems like these are the issues that voters, actually care about,” Hoadley added.

We’ll hear from incumbent congressman Fred Upton later this week on FOX 17.