ESCANABA - Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, stopped by Escanaba Tuesday to review some of his work in the House of Representatives thus far. McBroom, who represents the 108th District, talked about some of his most recently-supported legislation, as well as the concerns of his constituents.
According to McBroom, while making various stops throughout the district, residents have mainly addressed the issue of job creation.
"People really want to emphasize that they're ready, that we have possibilities," he said. "People are always quick to point out a great thing about the community that they're in that they want to see grown - whether it's logging, paper or mining."
These industries, explained McBroom, have been hindered by regulations passed down from the state - a problem he hopes to help correct. By deregulating and making existing rules easier to understand, McBroom said businesses will be able to flourish.
"Just the freeing-up of people's opportunity - people's ability to make those choices; people being sure of what the rules are, whether it's the regulatory side or the tax side," he said. "Once the business owners are sure it (regulation) is not going to get changed in the middle of their expansion and growth, I think that's going to provide a lot of the comfort that they need to go ahead and make those decisions and put their necks out on the line."
Beside taking a second look at regulation, McBroom said lawmakers won't have to do much else.
"It's kind of like we're right at the edge, the verge of just this explosion of growth, and everybody's just waiting for what's going to kick it off and make it happen," he said.
In addition to his attention to the job market, McBroom has also been concentrating on a few key pieces of legislation.
"(I) just finished in the House side working on legislation for the sporting swine industry," he said. "Which is a significant contributor to the Escanaba/Delta County economy, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, probably."
Bills addressing what types of vehicles can use emergency flashing lights; the elimination of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit requirements for wetland mitigation during work within existing roadways; and the sale of the state office building in Escanaba have also been on McBroom's to-do list.
"The state office building - down here on Ludington Street...I've sponsored the sale of that to the county," he said. "The county can find a way to utilize that building all the time and just be able to administer it better than the state can. I'm really pleased to sponsor that legislation. It's got great potential for Escanaba and Delta County."
Another piece of legislation McBroom supports is House Bill 4087. Currently in the Senate, the house-passed bill would eliminate retirement health care benefits for legislators, whose terms are limited to six years.
"Because of my youth, or something...it just doesn't make much sense to me to give those benefits to somebody's who's got a job for six years or less," said McBroom.
This six-year job, added McBroom, is one that he is still mastering the ins and outs of - and probably will be for a while.
"There is always...that nagging doubt that you're moving too fast or outside of the traditional, accepted ways of doing things," he explained. "Because the legislature is limited to six years now, I don't have a lot of time to learn those ropes. My whole attitude was just to jump in, both feet, and go for broke, and get as much done as possible and say 'I'm sorry' to the veteran guys later."
One perk of being a freshman legislator, said McBroom, is the element of surprise.
"Nobody knows me - they don't know what to expect," he said. "You keep them on their toes, all the time."
Notoriety, however, has already begun to find its way to him, McBroom added. In particular, his plight to ensure the Upper Peninsula is not forgotten by those in Lansing.
"It's not necessarily intentional or malicious, but it's easy to forget that it's up here," he said. "People are always on their toes...they're like, 'Oh, the crazy Yooper is going to come after us if we don't remember the U.P."