When Rep. Justin Amash called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump he opened Pandora’s box. Challenger after challenger poured out, with five Republicans and three Democrats competing with the now independent congressman for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district.
Businessman Joel Langlois is the most recent Republican to enter the race. Langlois claims he decided to take the plunge into politics after watching Rep. Amash defend his antagonism against the president.
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“I’ve been watching Amash from a distance,” Langlois said. “He’s if not the most ineffective congressman he’s one of the most. I went to his town hall where he defended his decision to promote impeaching the president, and that cemented my position. He kept saying that as a congressman his job was to defend the Constitution, and I thought he was either confused or dishonest.”
Langlois has doubled down on Donald Trump in a race that seems defined by the candidates’ similarity to the president. His campaign announcement featured calls for a secure border, his promise to support the president “come hell or high water,” and of course his Trumpesque campaign slogan: “Make Congress Great Again.” His campaign website claims Langlois “supported the president from day one” and prominently features a clip of the president giving a speech at the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids which Langlois owns.
“He’s certainly favored in our district. I think people like him,” Langlois said. “I think people agree with what he’s trying to do in Washington D.C. If they (the candidates) want to represent the district, they have to embrace him and his policies.”
It turns out that Langlois similarities to the president extend beyond vocabulary.
“My dad started a plastic business, so in the 1970’s I started a plastic recycling business,” Langlois said. “I’ve worked in manufacturing, built golf courses, and sold real estate. I’ve negotiated deals, worked with other business owners and learned how to create win-win deals. ”
Langlois hopes to use the skills he acquired in the business world to bring a fresh perspective to congress.
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“The founders built our government around going out and experiencing the world before going to Washington,” Langlois said. “Things have been slowing down for me lately since I sold some restaurants and real estate. I started to look around to see if it would be a good time to run.”
Ultimately, his goal is to “Make Congress Great Again.” To reach that goal Langlois suggests that more fiscally responsible business people should run.
“We need to put the right people there,” Langlois said. “I would love to see more non-politicians run. People like myself understand what it means to work inside a budget, what it means to work within their means. I think our country needs a different kind of voice. It’s time to get rid of the swamp, the career politicians, and the people who scream across the aisle from each other and can’t get anything done.”
With over a year before the primary, Langlois’ messaging will have a chance to develop with the electorate. Until then, he plans to hunker down and campaign.
“I’m in it for, I think, the right reasons,” Langlois said. “I don’t need another job. In fact, doing this will be a pay cut for me.”
Langlois seems more than willing to take that pay cut.