This endorsement says it all. Go Gary!!!!!!
Breaking with long-standing tradition, the EccentricNewspapers endorse challenger Gary Peters over incumbent Joe Knollenberg in the 9th District U.S. House race.
Our endorsement has much to do with Peters' experience and temperament and more than a little with the district's changing demographics as well as the political realities it now faces.
Knollenberg is an eight-term Republican and a man we've endorsed many times in the past. Despite his long tenure, he's never become a "Washington phantom." He's spent countless hours in the district and worked hard and sincerely on national and regional issues.
But new times call for new solutions - and new people. The district Knollenberg once represented, and its challenges, are very different today than they were as recently as 2006.
Consider the auto industry. Knollenberg has been a big defender of Detroit's Big Three. But in our interview sessions, he continued to rail against CAFE standards, while Peters emphasized the development of hybrid vehicles. More than anything else, this shows the difference between a candidate whose feet are bound by the past and one stepping rapidly toward the future.
Knollenberg, too, had been one of the last defenders of the policies of President George W. Bush, yet we're hard-pressed to understand how Bush administration policies have benefited the district.
Nonetheless, the district and its antecedents have been in Republican hands since before the Great Depression and our endorsement might well have been different had Peters been a different kind of Democrat.
There is, however, one even more critical issue.
Even with the state economy on its knees, Michigan has remained a donor state by distributing far more in federal tax dollars than it receives. This is an indictment of our political leaders of both parties, but an opportunity for Peters.
Should he win, he would hold a seat Democrats have hotly coveted and should be anxious to keep. They would do so by paying close attention to our state, our region, the people who live here and the industries which employ them and Peters can help point the way. That's clout.
We understand the tax policies put forth by Barack Obama may be anathema to many 9th District residents and we urge Peters to be more than just a rubber stamp for any taxing and spending policies.
Gary Peters represents change, but also a challenge. Both, we believe, would serve the district well.