State Rep. Candidate Jeremy Moss

By Crystal A. Proxmrie

Between Ourselves

Jeremy Moss is the youngest official in the City of Southfield, having been elected to council at age 25. Now he's taking on the race for State Representative in District 35, which includes Southfield, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms and Franklin. His website is http://votejeremymoss.com.

1 Why did you decide to run for State Representative?

I have the experience, unmatched, to be effective on day one in Lansing. I first walked into Room 799 in the House Office Building in August 2005 as an intern at MSU, as a sophomore to begin what I thought was a one semester internship working for Paul Condino. I returned as District Director for Rudy Hobbs in January 2011 after serving as his successful campaign manager. Term-limits take out some of that institutional experience that help laws get passed, but because I've already been there, I have the experience to be ready on day one.

One of most important experiences I've had is serving on Southfield City Council. I know how money flows from the state to the communities. We've lost $6 billion in revenue to cities in the last ten years. I know the impact this has and I want to be a voice for local communities.

2 What do you feel are the biggest issues facing our state?

Down economy that hasn't picked up as quickly as it should have. Consecutive months of rising unemployment. Taxing seniors pensions at the expense of tax breaks to corporation. The slashing of revenue sharing that hurts us back home.

Here's very clear example. In Southfield we have two pots for road funding - local roads and major roads. What we used to do is take oldest neighborhood in Southfield that hadn't had resurfacing and re-do it. This is how we kept the city up. This year we had $0 for local roads. That is the direct result of cuts in Lansing. Those kinds of cuts affect quality of life the most, and we need people who understand that. Certain areas get neglected, like local communities and local infrastructure.

3 Do you have any special projects or legislation that you want to work on?

Bringing revenue back to our cities. It's such a nonpartisan issue. There are former Republican mayors serving in the legislature. There are former Democratic Mayors. And they get it. And we will find a way to work together. Our cities aren't getting support and it affects our quality of life, and our libraries, and our schools.

4 Who do you think is your toughest competition so far?

I'm in a very good position to be a front-runner in this race. Mykale "Kelly" Garrett is on Lathrup Village City Council. She was running for Congressional Seat and dropped out of that race to run in this one instead. This will be a Democratic Seat and I'll face her in the primary.

I've positioned myself very nicely to be competition.

I'll win by going door to door. When I was elected to city council there was an uphill battle. There were three incumbents and a former councilmember running for her seat back. Plus eight other challengers. I grew up in Southfield and have been a lifelong Southfield resident. I placed first, I think because I was able to go to their doorstep. I went to the voters and listened to their concerns.

Southfield is the base of the district. Eight out of 10 primary voters will be from Southfield. When Rudy Hobbs first won for State Representative, he got 5,700 votes. When I was elected to City Council I got 5,500. I know how to get people to come out and vote.

I enjoy campaigning a lot because you get to meet people and you really get to hear their concerns. It made me a better candidate to be able to listen, not just tell people what issues they should care about.

5 Do you have any specific LGBT issue you hope to work on?

I joined LEAD - local officials all across the state calling to amend Elliott Larson Act. And we're working to push this in Southfield next year.

Michigan is changing so quickly. I wouldn't be so surprised that under my tenure in Lansing, that Michigan can be the next state for marriage equality.

But there are struggles. Other states don't have such a clear ban. I will fight to make sure in the next six years Michigan will have marriage equality. We have to start with the Elliott Larson Act. You can be kicked out of your housing or fired from your job just for being perceived as being gay. We can't piecemeal protection together. We need protection for everyone in the state.

6 What have been some of your biggest accomplishments in politics so far?

I've helped balance consecutive budgets. In 2011, I was elected to a four year term. We tackled a lot of land use issues. At 12 mile and Southfield we had some land use issues. St. Beedes church, which is vacant, had a situation where Wal-Mart wanted to put a big box Wal-Mart there. I led the charge against it. We didn't need that at the busy intersection, did not reflect the values of the community. I called for an economic development committee to tackle some of the economic development issues and be that aggressive piece of the equation to be part of the development. We've also hired a new police chief, fire chief and city attorney. The difference shows, with a seven year low in crime.

7 Has the fact that you are gay affected your interest in politics, or the way people in the political world have treated you?

No, vice versa. I have been interested in politics as long as I can remember. In the summer between kindergarten and 1st grade my family took me on vacation to DC because I was already interested. Regardless of my sexual orientation I would have been in the same spot where I am.

LGBT issues have come to the forefront at warp speed. So many struggles people like me won't have to experience firsthand because previous generations saw them. There was a time right when I graduated college, and I was nervous that being out would affect my political career. But now that our issues are being more accepted into the American story it just hasn't been a big deal.

The voters I represent care first and foremost that I come from their community and I know their issues. I am not a one dimensional candidate. It's a piece of me but it's not a driving factor.

8 Your age also makes you unique in the political world. Why do you think there aren't more young people in politics and what makes you so drawn to it?

I was elected at age 25, the youngest official in Southfield history. The oldest member on council is 93.

When I was going door to door I thought how am I going to frame my biography to highlight my experience? My biggest hurdle was my biggest asset. People are sick of the same people doing things the same way. They appreciate having a millennial with energy and ideas.

9 Who has inspired you most in your political career?

My two biggest mentors are Brenda Lawerence and Rudy Hobbs. I met both when I was 18 years old. Brenda is like a political mother and Rudy has been like a political brother. You don't govern from the top down, you govern from the bottom up. Running his campaign and working in his office, I learned that when you're in the minority, there' s not much you can do in terms of legislation, so he decided to be a model for constituent services - helping people navigate government, connecting people with utility companies or agencies or whatever people who called needed. Basically, getting things done.

He made sure that he wasn't just doing up to Lansing and pushing a yes or no button and going home. He was representing the people and taking care of their concerns.

10 Anything else we should let readers know?

It's gonna be a good 2014. I think we have the capacity to take back the House for the Democrats, to make sure that the one party rule of extremists in Lansing comes to an end. We have great candidates in Mark Schauer and Gary Peters. This is the strongest ticket statewide we've put up in my short lifetime so far. I'm excited for the opportunity to represent this district.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate, go to http://www.votejeremymoss.com.


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