News » Politics

Former SLDN Staffer to Challenge Mich. Congressman

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Monday Feb 13, 2012

A former Servicemembers Legal Defense Network staffer on Monday announced he will challenge Michigan Congressman Justin Amash.

"It's time for us to return to the values of Jerry Ford, who put politics aside to do what was best for our country," said Thomas, referring to the former president who once represented Grand Rapids and surrounding areas that encompass the state's 3rd Congressional District. "My parents' generation helped put the world on wheels and furniture in our living rooms. Now it is our time to stand up and fight for Michigan families to ensure they get a fair shake."

Thomas, a former producer and reporter for WGVU and WOOD in Grand Rapids, worked on former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's communications team. He is also a former Human Rights Campaign and Equality Matters staffer.

In his announcement, Thomas referenced his work to help repeal the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. He also stressed that he would stand up for working and middle class families if elected.

"It used to be that if people worked hard and played by the rules, they wouldn't have to worry about things like job security, health care, or putting their kids through school," said Thomas. "That's no longer the case-and lawmakers in Washington have been too busy playing politics to do what's best for the American people."

Thomas did not immediately respond to EDGE's request for comment, but his announcement caps off weeks of speculation that he would challenge the first-term Republican. He is also among a group of gay candidates from around the country who are running for Congress.

Wisconsin state Rep. Mark Pocan hopes to succeed Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in the House of Representatives after she announced her U.S. Senate campaign last September. Mark Takano would represent California's 41st Congressional District, while former Massachusetts lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Richard Tisei is challenging Congressman John Tierney.

Congressmen David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) are seeking re-election. Long-time Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank announced in November that he would not seek another term.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.


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