by Jack Hoogendyk

Arlen Meekhof – from WOOD-TV

There is a story circulating in Lansing that Senator Arlen Meekhof is seeking the Senate Leadership position in the next term of the Senate which starts January 2015.

The story questioned whether Meekhof might change his position and vote YES with all of the Democrat State Senators on the expansion of Medicaid,…in exchange for help with his future Senate Majority leadership campaign.

To get the job of Majority Leader or Speaker of the House, you need to get the majority of the votes of your own caucus of incoming colleagues.

So, how do you convince them to vote for you?

Money, power and the quid pro quo. As your colleagues are fighting hard to win their elections, you swoop in with lots of campaign cash and a cadre of volunteers to knock on doors. When they win, you can award them with plum committee chairmanships. The quid pro quo comes later when you need a vote on a key issue. That’s when you remind them of the money and the power you gave them.

But, by rising to the seat power as leader, you too are owing to someone. All that money you spread around during the campaign; where did that come from? The lobbyists. And those lobby groups that endowed you with all that cash, do you think maybe they have a few quid pro quos as well? Oh, yeah.

I saw it happen more than once when I was in the legislature. I saw good men become jaded and corrupted by the lure of power. The temptation cost them their principles and in some cases, it damaged their family.

I remember when there was a key vote on insurance reform in 2003. Blue Cross/Blue Shield had much to gain if the vote went their way. They had to put a full court press on Republican lawmakers to get the needed votes. Several members were swayed by promises that “your campaign debt will go away.”

Recently, the House passed Medicaid expansion. Some of the Republican votes came from members who were thought to be rock-solid no votes. Could it be that a call came from the governor or one of his key supporters reminding those members of the help they received earlier in a tough race? Were they promised help in the upcoming election? A few seats could be in trouble because of the Freedom to Work vote. Some future campaign cash could be helpful…in exchange for a key vote now.

I know Arlen Meekhof quite well. He is a man of integrity. I appreciate that he has always stood tall on social issues. He is a staunch defender of life and traditional values. But, is he vulnerable to the intoxicating lure of power? Will Arlen Meekhof compromise his principles in exchange for leadership? Only time, his votes and his post-election campaign finance report will tell for sure.

Medicaid Expansion Vote Coming to Senate Next Week?
The Senate will be in retreat this week. A big part of their agenda will be the Medicaid expansion vote, which is likely under consideration for the 27th of August, their first day back. Please be vigilant, stay in touch, pay attention. We will keep you posted as we get information on a possible vote.
Dave Agema should have ran for the 30th State Senate District seat,…instead of Meekhof!!!

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