Republican Senator Joe Hune sponsors legislation that dramatically illustrates the need for campaign finance reform
James Lewis calls Senate Bill a “wake-up call for voters”
Brighton, Mich.—On Friday the Livingston Press & Argus broke the story on Senate Bills 1293-1294 [Group Fears Blue monopoly], introduced by Livingston County Senator Joe Hune-R. The two bills are purported to create a level playing field in Michigan’s health insurance industry. Opponents, however, say it will create a monopoly for Blue Cross Blue Shield by allowing them to retain their non-profit status.
According to David Waymire of the Michigan Association of Health Plans, BCBSM would become a “deregulated monopoly” under this new legislation.
After reading the Senate Bills, James Lewis agrees with the criticism of Waymire and other opponents.
“The voters of Michigan believe in capitalism and the free market, not the creation of government backed monopolies. This is a wake-up call to voters,” Lewis said, who is running for State Representative in the 42nd District. That issue, however, was not what initially caught the eye and drew fire from the Lewis campaign.
What caught the campaign’s attention was an email from a supporter with a link to Hune’s campaign finance statement on the Secretary of State’s website, which shows that Hune has accepted $10,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield in campaign contributions.
Lewis campaign manager Steve Mace says this is the type of ‘pay-to-play’ politics that Lewis has been addressing since Day One. Mace says Lewis will continue to publicly call-out these ‘reward bills’ when in office; and is the primary reason voters will elect Lewis this November.
“They [Michigan voters] are sick of these types of shenanigans going on in Lansing. We are hearing it every day from voters, louder and clearer… they’re done with it. The people of Michigan want control of their state back,” Mace said.
In what could be seen as a hypocritical move, it was announced on Hune’s state website that another bill preventing conflicts of interest that Hune has authored [SB 1051] has been approved by a Senate panel.
According to Hune’s state website, “SB 1051 would require a member of a local or intermediate school board, or a member of a public school academy (PSA) governing board, to abstain from voting on a contract or other financial transaction when the member believes there is a conflict of interest.”
Hune wrote: “I introduced this bill to address these concerns and help ensure that our school board members carry through their duties first and foremost with the best interests of our children in mind.”
“More politics as usual at the capital,” counters Mace. “How can any lawmaker introduce a bill addressing conflict of interest, then turn around and introduce another bill that reeks of it, with a straight face? But that’s it, that is business as usual in Lansing,” Mace added.
The Lewis camp has expressed interest to know what 42nd incumbent Bill Rogers has to say of the Senate Bill. Rogers too has accepted campaign contributions from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“How can lawmakers continue to say they are acting in the best interest of the people of Michigan when it is right there for every voter to read? The status quo in Lansing is to look after your contributors first, the people second, if at all. I’m going to change that. The People first, always,” Lewis says.
The Lewis campaign are quick to add that Senator Hune, Rep. Rogers and the overwhelming majority of lawmakers in Lansing who engage in this ‘pay-to-play’ style of governance are not doing anything illegal.
“Illegal? No. Is it unethical? We’ll let the people of the 42nd District decide that on November 6. When James is elected you can be rest assured that pay-to-play is over. Whether James agrees with a piece of legislation or not, every bill will be rigorously checked for special interest involvement and if it is discovered, the people will be told. James will be an employee of the People of the 42 District, not the highest special interest bidder. The status quo will be on notice,” Mace said.
Previously Lewis has commented on his refusal to take money offered to his campaign by PACs and special interest groups by saying, “this is an election, not an auction.”