The Michigan House of Representatives welcomed 28 new members after the recent November elections, 19 of which are Democrats. Representative Theresa Abed of Michigan's 71st District, which includes Grand Ledge, is one such Democratic Representative.
Based on her lengthy experience working in Michigan schools, Rep. Abed says that her jump into the political arena was a direct result of her concerns regarding how current legislation is impacting people in her community.
"My whole life I've been an advocate...I've worked in our schools for almost 30 years, and I've always been someone who's involved in the community...Through this process, I've seen that more and more of what's impacting people right now is the legislation that's being enacted," she told Michigan Radio's Jenn White.
When asked how a first-time Representative coming into a Republican controlled legislature forwards a policy agenda, Rep. Abed claims collaboration as the catalyst to success, and boasts that educating constituents on the reality of policy issues is essential.
Rep. Abed recently held two "coffee hours" sessions in Lansing so that constituents could voice their concerns, and felt that the sessions were a great success, commenting on the willingness of the people to be a part of the governmental process.
"They're very concerned, very vocal, and wanting to make sure that they're heard. It's not just people coming to air their concerns, but it's also that they're feeling empowered," she said.
Listen to the full interview above to hear more from Rep. Abed.
-Austin Davis, Michigan Radio Newsroom