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Meet the Grand Rapids minister who is running for Congress

Oct 19, 2017

A minister and community activist in Grand Rapids wants to represent Michigan's third congressional district.

The preacher of the progressive Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids announced that he hopes to become the first Democratic candidate to represent the district in over 40 years.

Reverend Fred Wooden wants to unite West Michigan residents in this time of political divisiveness.

“My job as a clergyman, but also my job if I were to be a member of congress, is to try to unify the district around the things that all of us share,” Wooden said.

Wooden has been actively fighting for social and economic equality for the past four decades. He has protested for causes like marriage equality, Black Lives Matter, and economic equality.

The Baltimore native, who has served the church in cities like Chicago, St. Louis and New York, says he wants to do more for his country.

“I spent decades, I mean 40 years or so serving God and preaching the word of God. Now I want to do something to serve my country,” he said.

Although Wooden considers himself to be more politically independent, he chose to run as a Democrat “for the community.”

“I can’t just be on the outside throwing rocks in the middle, I have to be part of the political engine, if you will, to really make any changes,” he said.

Republican Justin Amash of Cascade Township currently holds this seat and has been in Congress since 2011.

According to the website Politico, Representative Amash has won each reelection bid by more than 50 percent of the votes in this historically conservative district.