LANSING - This afternoon State Senator for the 23rd District Curtis Hertel Jr. (D) joins me in the studio to talk about the Yes Means Yes Bill, Firefighter Insurance, Gag Order, WIC Expansion and Flint Water Crises on an all new episode of Coffee Break that will air beginning Monday, February 22 on HOMTV Comcast 21. In preparation for the interview, I sat down with the Senator for a one on one to get to know him a little bit more.
Deborah: What do your constituents contact you about?
Senator Hertel: A majority of the calls we receive are about problems, not bills. People call to find out things they don't know about that we do, that's very rewarding.
Senator Hertel: Health care questions is a big one. It's confusing. Unemployment and foster care are two big topics people contact us about.
Deborah: When people or lobbyists meet you on the same topic on a regular basis, what would get you to change your mind and see their perspective or support a bill that they want you to pass?
Senator Hertel: I have a set of core values like pro-choice that I've always stood behind. My set of core values have to be associated with a bill in order for me to support it.
Deborah: Would you ever change a core value?
Senator Hertel: I think you can change peoples' minds as long as it’s not a core value.
Deborah: What are some of the lessons you learned growing up that you carry with you as Senator?
Senator Hertel: The biggest lessons I learned come from my dad and his acts of honor to the people he represented.
Deborah: A lot of people think nothing is getting done, that the Michigan Legislature is broken. What do you say to that?
Senator Hertel: Alot of people think government is broken and it is. But just because it is broken doesn't mean it is not fixable.
Deborah: What is the main problem?
Senator Hertel: There is too much corporate influence and too many officials who care about special interest and not the people. It is too partisan.
Deborah: How do you think the broken Michigan government can be fixed?
Senator Hertel: Vote people in to office who will fix it. Leaving the process and not being involved or not voting doesn't help.
Deborah: What is the biggest issue right now that you want to tackle?
Senator Hertel: Taking care of the children of Flint and Affordable College Education
Deborah: When you have time to get away from the office for lunch, where is your favorite place to go?
Senator Hertel: I love going to Naing Myanmar Bermease restaurant in downtown Lansing. It is family owned and really good.