Rep. Lower Leads From the Front
As the Battle for Michigan's 3rd Heats Up, Lower Argues He Set the Rules of Engagement
State Rep. James Lower decided to run against Rep. Justin Amash long before Amash advocated impeaching president Donald Trump.
“I had gotten to the point where I was fed up with Amash’s record in congress,” Lower said. “Amash had been a critic of the President for years, and had actively worked against him every step of the way. When he called for the impeachment of the president based on his reading of the Mueller report in that tweetstorm, we decided to move up our campaign announcement.”
Lower is one of five Republicans in the race to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. With Amash’s break from the Republican Party’s stance on impeachment, and subsequent break from the party entirely, many are looking to take advantage of his track record to win the seat for themselves. The Great Lakes News reported on how appearing like an ally of Donald Trump seems to be the dominant strategy in race, with candidates defining themselves based on their willingness to work with the president.
Lower seems to have started that trend. He began his campaign in May, establishing himself as an early critic of Amash and advocate for the president. His website presents the basics of his campaign: “pro-Trump, pro-life, pro-jobs, pro-2nd amendment, and pro-family values.”
Basically, he came out swinging. And according to Lower, the voters responded.
“I’m ahead by a large margin according to the polls,” Lower said. “Especially when it comes to Amash.”
Lower grew up in Ionia in what he calls “normal blue-collar middle-class family.” His father worked for the Electrolux AB plant in Greenville, and when the recession hit and the plant moved to Mexico his father was left unemployed.
“It was a tough time for us, as my mom lost her job around the same time,” Lower said. “I’ve experienced the instability and uncertainty that comes from unemployment.”
Lower later earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University. Through interning at the capitol and seeing how government worked firsthand, he was inspired to take his expertise to help improve the lives of Michiganders.
“I worked for the House and Senate where I worked in administration,” Lower said. “I was a member of the Ionia County Commission and served as Village Manager for Edmore.”
After becoming the representative of the 70th District to the Michigan House of Representatives, Lower began to bring his vision to a statewide audience.
“I’ve gotten 10 bills passed and signed in my first term,” Lower said. “I think the voters are seeing the kind of results they want in Washington.”
If he wins the election in 2020, Lower hopes to bring his vision for tangible conservative results to the capital.
“I want to work with the president to see proper funding for the border wall to help end the immigration crisis,” Lower said. “Also, the economy is so good in West Michigan right now that employers are having a hard time finding employees with the skills to fill their jobs. I think we could be doing a much better job linking people with sources for employable skills. And I think I have the right background to do that.”
Lower believes that other Trump-focused candidates in the field are simply following his lead.
“They saw what I was doing, and they saw that it worked,” Lower said.
He said candidate Joel Langlois’ claims of a connection to the president are overblown.
“The president just rented his venue. He rents it out to a lot of people,” Lower said. “It’s pretty laughable.”
When asked about his other Republican challengers, Lower believes their records on Trump will speak for themselves.
“Peter Meijer has donated to anti-Trump PACs. And Rep. Afendoulis has criticized the president on multiple occasions,” Lower said. “Maybe they hope voters will not be aware of that.“
The Lower campaign raised $200,000 in its first 40 days, but with large personal fortunes entering the race with Meijer and Langlois Lower’s campaign faces an uphill battle.
“Most of our donations were under $70. We might need a lot of money but when someone donates you get a true grassroots supporter, someone who will vote for you,” Lower said.
Lower’s early success will be put to the test over the course of the next year before the primary concludes on August 4, 2020.