While the counts have yet to be certified, Joe Biden is the presumptive 46th president of the United States. And down the ballot, Republican Peter Meijer will be going to Congress to represent Michigan’s 3rd District.
He’s taking over the seat from Justin Amash, the first Republican to call for the impeachment of Donald Trump before changing his party affiliation to Libertarian.
Meijer occupies an interesting position. Kent County, which makes up two-thirds of his district, voted for Trump in 2016 but flipped for Biden this year. He sees this split as “an affirmation of divided government.”
“It’s hard to read any clean mandate coming out of the 2020 elections except for desire on behalf of the American people to have some degree of divided government and to work towards bipartisan solutions,” Meijer said.
While Trump has yet to concede, Meijer said he hasn't seen justification for the claims that there was fraud in the election that Trump supporters, and the Michigan GOP, have alleged. He says that the confusion surrounding the results comes from too much emotion surrounding the election.
“What I’ve always tried to do is step back from the feelings and go back to facts,” Meijer said. “Let’s anchor in what are some of those core uniting conservative principles. Principles like limited government, like economic freedom, individual liberty. Distill an issue to the core, to the basics and then you can begin to at least chop through a lot of the noise.”
Meijer says in Congress he plans to focus on bipartisan policy like PFAS clean up in West Michigan and rural broadband access.
But he knows there are also large-scale issues that will need his attention right away in Washington, D.C., such as the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this week in a case that could change the ACA. Meijer supported a Campaign for Liberty pledge to repeal Affordable Care Act, but said he does not support repeal without a replacement plan.
He said he agrees with the ACA’s mandate to cover preexisting conditions and expand access, but feels it doesn’t live up to its name.
“In actually trying to live up to the goal of being affordable, what it did is it locked in a lot of the current profit motives and incentive drivers that have made the premiums increase year after year, far outstripping inflation, they’ve done nothing to tap down on those exploding health care costs that are ultimately being borne by the taxpayer,” Meijer said. “This is something that we need to get right.”
This article was wrtiten by Stateside production assistant Olive Scott