GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The 117th Congress will be sworn in on Capitol Hill Sunday and among its newest members will be Peter Meijer.
Meijer is the Republican representative-elect for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, which represents a large part of West Michigan, including portions of Grand Rapids and most of Grand Rapids down to Battle Creek.
“I’m feeling very honored and excited,” said Meijer. “I just want to make sure that West Michigan is well represented.”
This is Meijer’s first term. He is replacing Justin Amash, a Libertarian, who decided not to run for re-election in 2019.
Prior to running for office, Meijer served in the U.S. Army and led humanitarian and disaster relief efforts around the world.
“I’ve seen how hard it is to build something up and how easy it is for stuff to be destroyed,” said Meijer. “I ran to bring that long-term vision, to return strong, stable, and effective representation to West Michigan, but also make sure that we’re making policies that make as much sense 10, 100 years down the line that they do today.”
In Meijer’s first few weeks, he plans to prioritize continuous service for constituents and COVID-19 vaccination expansion.
Meijer is hoping for a spot on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, while working to “wind back” aspects of the federal government that contribute to rising healthcare, housing, and education costs.
“Not starting off the bat saying, ‘What should the federal government do to try to solve this?’, but ‘What is the federal government currently doing that’s making the problem harder to solve?’” said Meijer.
According to Meijer, he intends to join the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group in the House.
“Houses of Congress, these are institutions that operate on majority consensus,” said Meijer. “You need to get to that 50 plus one, you need to get over that majority hump in the House, in order to get anything passed, and that’s going to require some long-term thinking. That’s going to require making some allies that may be a little untraditional.”
Meijer’s bipartisanship will be put to the test early.
On Wednesday, Congress is set to formally count the votes cast by the Electoral College, which is the final step to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. A group of Republican legislators plan to object votes from multiple states that Biden won though, including Michigan.
Meijer says he will listen to their argument, but says currently, he sees no basis for objecting himself.
“To me, there’s a very high bar for what the disruption this would cause,” said Meijer. “You need to find that factual, constitutional predicate and so far, I haven’t been seeing any arguments that are rooted in the letter or the intent of the Constitution… that would justify not certifying these electoral votes.”