This morning, Grand Rapids businessman Brian Ellis told supporters he’s challenging Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) because Amash “has failed to advance a conservative agenda.”
“This race is about a district that expects and deserves to be represented by a true social and fiscal conservative” Ellis said.
It only took thirty seconds for Ellis to mention his rival.
“I’m standing here today because I have very different views from Justin Amash,” Ellis said.
It turns out Ellis and Amash have some similar views. They both are not fans of the new health care law, both think the federal government needs to get its spending under control, and they’re both pro-life.
But Ellis says Amash doesn’t vote like the principled conservative he claims to be.
“Well anybody can say, like Justin, that he’s conservative, but he has a voting record and it doesn’t line up,” Ellis explained to reporters after his announcement.
Ellis points to a few of times Amash voted “present.” One bill would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood and another would’ve backed the Keystone Pipeline. Ellis also pointed out that Amash voted against conservative budgets for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years and against the Small Business Tax Cut Act.
Amash, as usual, defends his votes on these and other bills on his Facebook page.
Ellis says he’d act on his conservative principles and would be a better collaborator in Washington than Amash.
“I’ve had to build consensus through the years in my time on the school board. I worked very hard at that. And so we were able to move forward even when we have differences of opinion and I’m proud of that,” Ellis said.
Ellis owns an investment firm and served on the East Grand Rapids school board for fourteen years.
East Grand Rapids schools Superintendent Sara Shubel says she came out to support Ellis as a friend.
Shubel says Amash doesn’t seem to be able to get things done.
“I do not see (Amash) as a collaborator and I do see Brian and I’ve engaged with him for many years on multiple levels and he has the ability to compromise which is a very important skill that you’re going to have to have in this position,” Shubel said.
Shubel says Ellis is passionate about having quality public education for all students and understands what districts are struggling with.
Amash was not available to comment on this story.
An investment firm manager will challenge Congressman Justin Amash in the Republican primary next year.
Brian Ellis announced his candidacy Tuesday among supporters at a hotel in Grand Rapids.
In a written statement, Ellis said Amash has “turned back on conservative principles.”
“Congressman Justin Amash has turned his back on our conservative principles by voting against the Paul Ryan Budget that would cut spending by $5 trillion, and against a 20% tax cut for small businesses,” Brian Ellis said.
“Congressman Amash refused to vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline and he even voted to allow our tax dollars to fund America’s largest abortion provider.”
Ellis is president and founder of the investment firm Brooktree Capital Management, and has served on the East Grand Rapids Board of Education.
In a piece Ellis wrote for MLive today, he expanded on why he supports the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline.