Justin Amash

State:Michigan
Current Office:US Representative, 3rd District
Party:Republican Party

 

Prior to the November 2010 election, Justin Amash responded to these questions posed by 24 Hour News 8 political reporter Rick Albin.

What can you do in Washington to put Michigan back to work?:
We must reduce taxes and unnecessary regulations that stifle innovation and increase unemployment. Low taxes across the board and a simplified regulatory system are the best ways to promote growth. Many politicians promise to direct resources to specific economic sectors. We have tried this approach without success. It is based on faulty economic reasoning. The government cannot “create” jobs—it can only use taxpayers' money to keep people temporarily busy on projects that cannot find private funding. Targeted government spending actually delays the acquisition of new job skills and prolongs unemployment. Moreover, increased government spending drives up interest rates and requires more taxes, further increasing unemployment. The Constitution does not permit the federal government to direct the economy. Our country's prosperity was built on economic freedom. Markets are not perfect, but they allow individuals to pursue their priorities as they see best, without seeking permission or favors from anyone in government. Most people and small businesses do not have lobbyists fighting to win special tax breaks or subsidies for them. They end up bearing the brunt of an unfair system that transfers their money to the connected few.

If elected, what is your top priority in your first 100 days in office?:
Success as a legislator or congressperson is not possible if you do not have the respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Earning that trust takes time, and I will make it a priority to develop strong relationships with both Republicans and Democrats by listening to their views and discussing my principles. I will always stand up for limited government, free markets, and individual liberty.

How would you deal with spending in Washington? Reduce spending or raise taxes?:
The federal government must reassess its responsibilities and act within the confines of the Constitution. Unconstitutional acts (e.g., government-run health care) must be defunded and repealed. I will oppose "stimulus" plans, bailouts, and budgets that increase spending. Congress must stop confiscating resources from hardworking Americans to hand out favors to connected interests and manipulate the economy. It was misguided federal policy--intended to encourage more home ownership--that fueled speculation in the housing markets and encouraged excessive risk taking in the financial markets during the past few years. The government should also take all possible steps to ensure that its operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Government should focus on its constitutional duties, including defending our borders and our homeland and administering an effective federal court system. We must identify and eliminate duplicative and unnecessary programs.

What could you do to reduce the partisan rancor in the federal government?:
There should be full and open debate in any legislative body to ensure all sides of the issues are discussed. Partisanship has a lot to do with attitude. Although you disagree, you don't have to be difficult or inflexible. Most of the rhetoric and rancor coming from Republicans and Democrats stems from legislators having little knowledge of the issues at hand, which encourages them to fall back on empty talking points. To reduce the negativity and name calling, the process must be changed. Most of all, our congresspersons must be more transparent and accountable to the people they represent. Representatives too easily hide behind rhetoric that deceives voters, while their voting records do little to back up their claims. In the state House, my own policy of posting each of my votes with explanations online has led some of my colleagues to do the same. I will continue posting my votes as a member of Congress, but Congress should also take it upon itself to develop an online source of voting information for each elected official. In the state House, I have worked effectively with both my Republican and Democratic colleagues by remaining consistent in my principles, while still being willing to compromise to move government in the right direction. I can show my colleagues firsthand that you don't have to agree on everything--or most things--to forge strong, respectful relationships with members of either party. Our representatives must be willing and able to discuss the issues openly and honestly to find common ground (without abandoning principles) and work toward a mutually acceptable compromise. To facilitate open, thorough discussion of bills, members of Congress must come together to demand time to read each bill before voting.

What special skills or qualities do you have that make you uniquely qualified to serve in congress?:
As a state representative, I have set new standards for transparency and accountability. By leveraging the power of the Internet and social media, I have worked to redefine an elected official’s duty to interact openly and honestly with his or her constituents. I was one of the first Michigan legislators to make staff names and salaries, office expenses, and my own legislative and health benefits publicly available on my legislative website. I am the only legislator in Michigan--and perhaps the country--to post each and every vote I take online in real-time. I include an explanation of the bill(s) I just voted on, my reasoning for voting the way I did, and provide an opportunity for interactive discussion. As of this writing, more than 7,500 people are following my votes on Facebook and letting me know what they think. I invite you to join the discussion at www.facebook.com/justinamash. I never support a bill without a thorough understanding of its content and implications for Michigan residents. When legislators aren't given enough time to read or understand a bill before voting, I believe the default vote must be "no." Although it seems like this should be the norm in any voting body, the American people have learned the hard way that reading the bill just isn't a requirement in Congress. My principled, consistent voting record proves that I'm not afraid to vote "no," even when it's unpopular or goes against the wishes of my party. Sticking to your principles does not mean you have to be disagreeable or uncompromising. It is because I stick to my principles and can explain and defend my votes that I have earned the trust and respect of both my Republican and Democratic colleagues. I have had more amendments accepted by the Democratic majority in the House than any other Republican. I always work for incremental improvements to our current system, so I'm willing to compromise if the agreement is taking us a step in the direction of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. I work effectively with legislators from all political perspectives, and, because I am guided by my principles, not my party, I stay away from partisan rhetoric and name calling.

Gender:
Male

Birth Date:
4/18/1980

Birthplace:
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Home City:
Cascade Charter Township, Michigan

Religion:
Christian

Education:
J.D., University of Michigan Law School; A.B., magna cum laude, Economics, University of Michigan; Valedictorian, Grand Rapids Christian High School.

Professional Experience:
Before my election to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008, I worked as a business lawyer at Varnum LLP. I handled mergers and acquisitions, small business matters, and banking. I continue to work in management at Michigan Industrial Tools, a family-owned tool supply and distribution business.

Political Experience:
Current state representative, District 72, elected in 2008

Organizations:
Member, State Bar of Michigan, Grand Rapids Bar Association, Right to Life of Michigan, National Rifle Association, The Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Kent County Republican Executive Committee, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, American Legislative Exchange Council Civil Justice Task Force; commissioner, Uniform Law Commission; House Republican liaison, State Bar of Michigan Task Force on the Future of Michigan’s Courts; chair, Liberty Caucus (Michigan House of Representatives); elected Republican precinct delegate, 2008; elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, 2008.

 

Contact Justin Amash

Contact Form
Official Website

Committees

  • House Committee on the Budget
  • House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
    • Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency and Financial Management Subcommittee
    • Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee
    • Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs Subcommittee

Committee data provided by Sunlight Labs

 

Positions

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Political Pulse

Do you support or oppose Justin Amash in the position of US Representative, 3rd District?

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Support Justin Amash
 
41%
Oppose Justin Amash
 
59%
 
 

Comments

Supporting Discussion

EliCache

Finally a guy who both understands the importance of fiscal conservatism and the preservation of basic liberties. Justin is a diamond in the rough, one of the few representatives willing to stand up the Washington's big spending and big agendas. And also probably one of the most transparent politicians in history.

John_Westra

Justin is a highly principled and accountable public servant, who has given witness to his Integrity and belief in Lean, Accountable and Transparent Government, by a perfect voting record and the public explanation of every vote, via Facebook. He has voted his conscience, not the "party line," establishing himself as a truly independent Conservative voice in Washington; where he has been recognized as one of the top 35 lawmakers under 35 and earned the respect of both his Democrat and Republican counterparts. I am thrilled to be represented by Justin Amash and proudly support him as my Congressman!

Dissenting Discussion

justasking
Did anyone ask Justin what ever happened to the waitress he got pregnant at Crystal Springs in high school? Just asking - with all this talk about "family values" and all....Yesterday at 10:35am (this was posted in a comment on Pat Miles' FB page)...So Justin in PRINCIPLED? OMG what else is he hiding?
radnex
What happens when he gets to Washington and the Reps sit him down and explain how things work to him? Or when the Devos bill comes due? The fact is that he is just another Republican.
ZaneCorriveau
Why should we elect a man who employs people in China, if we're serious about hiring US/MI first that should start with the people with our elected officials.

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Michigan (change)

 
Michigan is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification.
 
Offices & Officials

Governor: Rick Snyder
Lieutenant Governor: Brian Calley
Attorney General: Bill Schuette
Secretary of State: Ruth Johnson