McBroom reflects, looks to future
WAUCEDAH — As Michigan legislators return to the state capitol today, termed-out Representative Ed McBroom will be working full time on his dairy farm in the Upper Peninsula with politics still on his mind.
McBroom, 35, and his wife, Sarah, reside in Waucedah, located east of Iron Mountain, with their five children. The 700-acre family farm is also home to 110 dairy cattle.
After serving three, two-year terms in the House of Representatives, McBroom had to step down due to term limits but he’s not out of politics just yet. He’s already meeting with people and laying the groundwork to run in 2018 for the state senator seat currently held by Tom Casperson, of Escanaba, who will reach his term limit in two years.
Reflecting on his legislative career for the past six years, McBroom said he liked getting out and about in the three-county district serving the people of Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties.
“I really did enjoy just getting around to the schools and businesses in the district and seeing the diversity within the district,” he said, commenting when he visited classrooms, he told students, “If a farmer from Waucedah can do it, they can aspire to that or greater things.”
Significant accomplishments he made while in the state legislature included changes in the Michigan Merit Curriculum giving students more opportunities in vocational and career tech education.
Unfortunately, he was not as successful in making curriculum changes to increase student access to the arts, said McBroom, a 1999 Norway graduate who earned two education degrees from Northern Michigan University.
During his final term as representative, McBroom was instrumental in what he described as “discreet” legislation, creating a bill to establish “mens rea” which is Latin for “guilty mind.”
The law considers intentional or negligent wrongdoing versus an individual unknowingly violating a regulation and becoming “an accidental criminal,” explained McBroom.
McBroom was also involved in legislation to expand the Freedom of Information Act requirements to state administrators including the Governor’s office. He had also pursued legislation to set up a full-time ethics committee. Neither issue materialized into law.
He also wanted to make changes regarding legislative term limits which personally affected him.
“Term limits hurt the functionality of the Michigan House,” he commented.
“I would like to see the issue brought back to the voters for the sake of good government for Michigan,” he added.
“In general, I think I was really proud for the work we did for the U.P.,” McBroom said about his political career, citing accomplishments with colleagues Sen. Casperson, Rep. Scott Dianda, and Rep. John Kivela.
“We were a great team effort,” he said, recalling the “U.P. Team” getting special road funding during the propane crisis when temperatures plummeted for a long period in the region.
McBroom said he was really proud of the progress the three representatives and the one senator made in the U.P. by working together.
Additional issues he would have liked to have finished during his term included legislation against municipalities’ non-payment of taxes on public land and a bill in favor of wolf hunting.
In addition to creating new legislation, McBroom said he also enjoyed “digging into policy and tweaking policy wording,” which appealed to his “nerdy” side.
When asked if he had any advice for new legislators beginning their terms this week, McBroom said, “Find a way to be as independent as possible without losing opportunities to be part of the team that you need to get things done.”
He also advised newbies to figure out the values and principles, which they will stand by and are not willing to change.
“Communicate with constituents,” he added, recommending to always explain what you’re doing or trying to accomplish. This includes using the media to help get your message out, he said.
McBroom recalled when he first started in the state legislature and how difficult it was at the beginning to know which direction to take on creating, changing, or repealing an issue in the most effective way.
As time went on, he became more aware of the process of identifying why issues would be brought to his attention, how he would address specific issues, and who to contact regarding each issue.
Looking ahead to the state’s future, McBroom said, from an economic standpoint, Michigan is in an excellent position compared to when he joined the legislature six years ago. The state’s roads and infrastructures need work, but overall Michigan is moving in a positive direction, he noted.
At the national level, McBroom said there’s lots of optimism in the air such as rolling back bad regulations and taxes.
On the other hand, people need to start listening to one another rather than using unfiltered opinions on social media to make tough decisions, he added.
In preparation for running for state senator in 2018, McBroom said he continues to learn more about the U.P. because the seat includes serving 12 counties compared to the three counties he was representing.
In the meantime, McBroom will be busy with his family and catching up on projects on their house and farm. He is also the director of the Norway City Band and serves on several boards for the U.P. State Fair. McBroom also plans to get back to substitute teaching and music lessons.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org