Former state Representative Doug Spade (D-Adrian) has formally entered the race to be the next state senator for Lenawee, Hillsdale, Branch and St. Joseph counties.
Spade launched his campaign for the 16th District seat now held by state Senator Cameron Brown (R-Fawn River Township) at kick-off events Monday (October 12th) in all four counties.
The day began at the Lenawee County Courthouse in Adrian, moved on to stops at Camden, Coldwater, Sturgis and, finally, at Brewster’s in Three Rivers.
In announcing his candidacy, Spade said state government desperately needs legislators who focus on building consensus instead of blaming each other.
Spade said, “With two government shutdowns in the past three years, a seeming inability to act on pressing matters in a timely fashion, and a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude of inflexibility exhibited by all too many elected officials, it’s no surprise the public has lost confidence in state government.” (Doug_Spade_audio clip – :38)
Spade became only the second blind legislator in Michigan history when he was elected to the House in 1998. He served as state representative from the 57th District for three terms, the maximum allowed under Michigan’s term limits law. The seat is now held by his brother, Dudley Spade.
Spade said, “I am not running for this seat to throw stones or play political games. I am running because I want the opportunity to go back to Lansing, represent all the people of the 16th District, and work with both sides of the aisle to find solutions that will move Michigan forward.”
With Lenawee and Hillsdale counties having some of the highest unemployment rates in the state – and Branch and St. Joseph counties not far behind – Spade said his focus is clear.
“My top priority will be improving and diversifying the economy and bringing more jobs to the 16th District and the State of Michigan. Michigan wins when we have policies in place that benefit business and workers alike. We don’t have to reward one side at the expense of the other to move Michigan forward.”
A lifelong resident of the 16th District, Spade grew up on the family dairy farm in Hillsdale County. He is a graduate of Camden-Frontier High School and Adrian College, and has owned several small businesses. His early interest in broadcasting led to his own radio show on WCSR in Hillsdale when he was just eight years old. Later, he worked for nearly 30 years at WLEN in Adrian where he hosted a telephone talk show for 25 years and served as the station’s operations manager.
During the past four years, Spade worked for the state as Supplier Diversity Liaison and a member of the Buy Michigan First team, with a special emphasis on helping business owners with disabilities and service-disabled veteran business owners learn how to bid on and win state government contracts. He stepped down from the position earlier this month to concentrate on the campaign.
Democrat Spade joins former state Representative Bruce Caswell, a Republican from Hillsdale County, on the campaign trail.
Brown, the incumbent, is wrapping up the second of two terms in the Michigan Senate and, because of term limits, cannot seek re-election. However, he is a candidate for secretary of state.