With just 62 days left before the August 3rd Michigan Primary elections, the 2nd District Congressional race is heating up.

Jay Riemersma is making an impressive showing, and recent polling indicates Riemersma is leading in most of the district’s 11 counties.

Jay aired the first television ad of the race a few weeks ago. The ad was well produced, catchy, and smart. In the ad, Jay reiterates his strong commitment to Conservative values, highlighting  his pro-life and pro-guns stance. You can see the video below:

Jay has also launched his “10,000 Doors in 2010” campaign. Riemersma plans to go door to door over the coming weeks, and spread his message to the people of the 2nd District. To date, Riemersma and his many volunteers have knocked on over 3,000 doors. Jay is averaging about 250 doors per day, and more on his “Super Saturdays.”

Jay Riemersma for Congress 2010

You can follow Jay's progress at http://www.votejr.com

I haven’t seen any other candidate in this race work so hard. If this kind of work ethic is indicative of how Jay will perform in Washington, then West Michigan will be well represented. It’s this kind of nose-to-the-grindstone spirit we need in Washington.

Riemersma’s success isn’t going unnoticed, either. Bill Huizenga is certainly feeling the pressure Jay has brought to the race, and the Huizenga Campaign’s low fundraising totals would seem to indicate that the Michigan legislator is losing ground to the former NFL football player. Other candidates, including Bill Cooper of Muskegon, have claimed that Jay’s career as a professional athlete does not qualify him to represent West Michigan in Congress.

Isn’t it odd, though, that they always fail to mention that Riemersma is a graduate of the University of Michigan? Last time I checked, that Big Ten school didn’t award degrees in football. Jay holds a BA in Communications from U of M, and communicating with the people of West Michigan is something he seems to be doing quite well.

And at the end of the day, that’s what a Congressman really needs to be. A communicator. It doesn’t do much good to have the greatest idea in the world if you can’t communicate that idea, make others understand it, and rally support behind the idea. Bill Cooper may be great at creating jobs, but can he convince other Congressmen to join up with him, garner support, and push that idea into law? Maybe, maybe not.

Jay Riemersma can. Jay has proven over the last several months that he is willing to do the hard work required to win. He’s proven throughout his professional career that he has the guts, discipline, and intestinal fortitude to see that the job gets done.

As a Marine, I know a bit about discipline, hard work, and perseverance. I see these qualities in Jay Riemersma, and that’s why I want him as our next Congressman, representing West Michigan in Washington.

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I just read a great article by nationally recognized financial guru Dave Ramsey. In the article, appropriately titled, “Don’t Foreclose on Your Future,” Dave gives three sound reasons why walking away from your mortgage just isn’t a good idea. The three reasons are:

Reality #1 – Your home is an investment, and any investment—even real estate—will go up and down in value. Walking away from your mortgage now is the equivalent of selling your stock portfolio at the bottom of the market. You guarantee yourself a loss if you don’t stick with your investment until values come back up.

Reality #2 – Home values will recover. If our homeowner sticks it out and stays in his home, he’ll be back to even in five years, based on a conservative 5% rate of appreciation. In less than 20 years, his home will have doubled in value. That is wisdom!

Reality #3 – The bank is not letting you off that easily. Lenders are covered up with foreclosures, so while homeowners who walk may not hear from the bank right away, they are by no means off the hook. Some banks will pull credit reports to see who is current on their other payments to determine if a default is “strategic.” Banks will go to court to garnish wages or hijack tax refunds—whatever it takes to get what they’re owed.

You can view the whole article on Dave’s website. Dave Ramsey is a bestselling author and radio host. I have been a huge fan of his Financial Peace University program, and strongly recommend it to everyone.

There are alternatives to foreclosure. A loan modification or short sale could be possible options for you. Your local real estate professional can help you with these options. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender, either. By staying in touch with your lender, you’ll find many more options available to you.

Don’t just walk away, though. As Dave points out in Reality #3, banks can, and eventually will come after the money they lost.

Don't walk away and let your home go into foreclosure

Call your Congressman!Across the nation today, people are blowing the phones off the hook, reaching out to their Congressional Representatives and urging them to vote “NO” on the proposed Healthcare Bill. Fortunately for me, here in West Michigan, I already know where my Congressman stands.

Democrats are launching a major push to pull in the votes they need to push this thing through. According to an article in the Telegraph, President Obama has even gone so far as to threaten to withdraw support for Democrats who don’t vote yes on the bill. A one-night presidential appearance can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds for a campaign. By threatening to not do tis for Democratic candidates who oppose him, Obama has drawn a line in the sand, essentially saying, “You’re either with me, or against me.”

This may seem a bit heavy-handed to some, but it’s been a trademark of this issue since it started over a year ago. No one can agree on all the aspects of this convoluted and all-encompassing bill. Many government representatives have suggested starting the process over, removing the controversial pieces, and trying to pass reform in smaller bites, more palatable to the American people. President Obama refuses to budge, however. He wants it all, and he wants it now.

That’s the part that frustrates me the most. This is no longer an issue of what is good for the United States. It’s all about who is going to win. This issue has consumed this administration, to the detriment of other issues facing our nation. Compromise isn’t even in the picture anymore. The administration is so obsessed with the idea of being the “Champions of Healthcare Reform” that they are deaf to the pleas of the American people to slow down and do this right. It’s become one big contest of egos in Washington.

The craziest thing of all is that NO ONE, from either political party, actually likes this bill “as written”. Everyone knows it’s garbage, can’t pay for itself, and is full of special interest payoffs. Where the parties truly differ is that the leading Democrats are desperate to pass SOMETHING, and the Republicans (along with some Democratic hold-outs) would rather take the time to work reform through in steps. I’m again reminded of the lesson I try to teach my kids: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

Instead, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid continue to push this bill, essentially saying to the House opposition, “Just vote yes, and we’ll fix it later.”

Our only hope is to contact our Congressional leaders to remind them that they represent the will of the people, and that we do not want this bill. West Michigan is fortunate to have a leader like Congressman Pete Hoekstra in Washington right now, working to rally support against the bill. Pete Hoekstra  has made plain his thoughts on the bill, and his continued determination to see this bill defeated. Hoekstra is conveying the message to fight against this bill every way he can, to include social media venues like Facebook and Twitter.

Congressman Bart Stupak (D) from the Upper Peninsula could really use your calls of support right now. Stupak has jumped in front of this freight train, along with a few of his Democrat colleagues in Congress. Stupak is against the bill because he believes that the bill will open the door to federal funding of abortion. A staunch Pro-Life advocate, Stupak finds the bill unconscionable, and is holding strong despite the threats being lobbed at him by the White House. Stay strong Bart!

Michigan has a total of 15 Congressional Representatives in Washington (8 Democrats and 7 Republicans). I know these two men are against the bill, but it doesn’t hurt to call and let them know we appreciate it! I urge you to call the other members of Congress and tell them how you feel about the bill, too.

For a list of Congressional Representatives and how to contact them, visit the Contacting Congress website.

Last night I attended another Lincoln Day Dinner. This time our host was the Mason County Republican Party, and I attended as a guest of Pete Hoekstra’s Campaign.

Last night, the main speakers were the Congressional Candidates for Michigan’s 2nd District. Six candidates were in attendance, and took their turns giving their backgrounds and their beliefs. This is a great place to start looking for contrast among the candidates.

Two of the candidates are existing politicians from the Michigan State Government. Sen Wayne Kuipers and Rep Bill Huizenga have both represented their districts in Lansing, and have experience in the political world. I haven’t personally agreed with some of the decisions they have made while in office, but they do undoubtedly have the experience. Unfortunately for them, there is a wide current of public sentiment that is not happy with the current state of affairs, and political experience may do them more harm than good.

Next were two new candidates that I hadn’t seen prior to last night. One was a self-professed “Tea-Party Republican” from Honor, Michigan who was plainly uncomfortable speaking in public, and did little to instill any excitement in me.

The other was actually so far left in his views that I honestly can’t remember his name. His stance is one of “open-mindedness,” and he believes that we should look to foreign publications and opinions for guidance on forming our policies here in the U.S. To that I give an emphatic “HELL NO”. He, too, was low on the motivational scale.

Then there’s Bill Cooper, the successful business entrepreneur from Fruitport. Bill is undoubtedly business savvy, and I would not hesitate to hire him to run a business for me. Beyond that, Bill has had little to nothing to say on any other issues. Personally, I’m looking for a leader with a wider range of capabilities. Bill would be a great business advisor to someone in office, but I’m just not convinced where he stands on the other issues.

Finally, there’s Jay Riemersma, former NFL Player and Chair of the Family Readiness Council. Jay exudes energy and confidence. Confidence, as opposed to arrogance. Jay has true leadership qualities: the ability to consider both sides of an argument, the moral strength to stick to his principles and beliefs, and the humility to know that he is a position of service, beholden to the people. He is the only candidate as of yet to state that the reason he is running is to “Give back to the community.”

It’s Jay’s personal beliefs, principles similar to my own, that make him stand out among the crowd in my eyes. He doesn’t dance around issues. He can tackle challenges head on, and he’s not afraid of a little friction. He believes in true fiscal conservatism, and he knows that more government is not the answer to America’s troubles. Jay believes we need a strong military, and that we need to provide our troops with the support they need.

One of the Marine Corps’ (pronounced “core”, NOT “corpse” thank you very much!) key Leadership Principles is “Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement.” Jay spends a lot of time staying abreast of current events and issues. On the rare occassions I have caught him on a subject he didn’t know about, he acknowledged it and sought to learn more about the subject. This kind of humility is uncommon, and a trait essential to true leaders.

While some candidates have attempted to portray Jay as the “Dumb Jock”, the truth of the matter is that Jay has a degree from the University of Michigan, is articulate, and very capable of communicating with others.

It’s pretty obvious that I support and have publicly endorsed Jay. My intent here is to give you an idea WHY. Many of the other candidates are respectable men, and in theory are capable of filling the position. When it comes time to cast my ballot on August 3rd, however, I can only choose one, and I want the BEST choice to win. THAT’S why I choose Jay Riemersma for Congress. Jay has the strength and fortitude to lead in Washington, and we need strength and leadership now more than ever.

To find out more about Jay Riemersma, visit his website www.votejr.com.

You can also contact me for more information. I’m looking for others to help spread the word about Jay, and I could use your help. You can find my contact info at my website www.timwhitehomes.com. Comments here are great way to reach me, as well.

In the spirit of March Madness, I have prepared my own Final Four, as it pertains to our political choices this August. Remember, the election this year is one of the most important elections of our lives. Get out and vote!

Michigan State Representative – 100th District

Jon Bumstead for 100th District Michigan State Representative

Tim's Pick: Jon Bumstead

Currently held by:  Goeff Hansen (R)

District Covers: Oceana, Lake, and Newaygo Counties

Who’s Running:

  • Jon Bumstead (R) – Newaygo
  • Jane Drake (R) – Fremont
  • Marc Libants (R) – Newaygo
  • Scott Tillman (R) – Fremont

Michigan State Senate – 34th District

Tim White supports Goeff Hansen

Tim's Pick: Goeff Hansen

Currently held by:  Gerald Van Woerkom (R)

District Covers: Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, and Newaygo Counties

Who’s Running:

  • Goeff Hansen (R) – Hart
  • David Farhat (R) – Muskegon
  • Mary Valentine (D) – Muskegon

U.S. Congress – 2nd District of Michigan

Tim White picks Jay Riemersma

Tim's Pick: Jay Riemersma

Currently held by: Peter Hoekstra (R)

District Covers: Consists of the counties of Benzie, Manistee, Wexford, Mason, Lake, Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Ottawa, and the northern portion of Allegan County and the northwest portion of Kent County.

Who’s Running:

  • Jay Riemersma – (R) – Holland
  • Bill Cooper – (R) – Muskegon
  • Wayne Kuipers – (R) – Holland
  • Bill Huizenga – (R) – Holland
  • Fred Johnson – (D) – Holland

Governor of Michigan

Hoekstra for Governor

Tim's Pick: Pete Hoekstra

Currently held by: Jennifer Granholm (D)

Who’s running:

  • Peter Hoekstra – (R) – (US Congress)
  • Mike Cox – (R) – (Michigan Attorney General)
  • Mike Bouchard – (R) – (Oakland County Sheriff)
  • Tom George – (R) – (Michigan State Senator)
  • Rick Snyder – (R) – (Venture Capitalist)
  • Alma Smith – (D) – (US Representative)
  • Andy Dillon – (D) – (State House Speaker)
  • Virg Bernero – (D) – (Lansing Mayor)
  • George Perles – (D) – (MSU Trustee)

The list of candidates is still changing as we lead up to the primary on August 3rd. For an unofficial list of candidates visit http://miboecfr.nictusa.com/election/candlist/10PRI/10PRI_CL.HTM

To learn more about my picks, subscribe to my blog! You can also visit their respective websites by clicking on their highlighted names.

Congressional Candidate Jay Riemersma will be in Hart, MI visiting with Oceana County residents tonight from 5pm-7pm.

It’s an informal event, and all are welcome to attend. This is a free event, and families are welcome. Jay will be on hand to answer questions, and wants to meet and hear from as many Oceana County residents as he can. This is  a great opportunity to get to know the man that we want to see representing Michigan in Washington. Refreshments will be served starting at 5pm.

Jay Riemersma is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat for Michigan. The 2nd District includes 11 counties in West Michigan, from Holland to Benzie. Oceana, Mason, Muskegon, Manistee, and Lake Counties are all a part of the district, and I hope to get people motivated to get out and vote this year.

The seat has been held by Congressman Pete Hoekstra for the last eighteen years. Pete is currently running for Governor of Michigan (GO PETE!). We need to make sure that we replace Pete with someone of similar Conservative values, and Jay is the guy for the job.

I will be hosting the event at the Starting Block, the local small business incubator that I have blogged about before. The Starting Block is a great venue for Jay, as Jay plans to address the challenges that small businesses face today. Jay is all about getting government out of the way of business, and the Starting Block is all about helping small businesses get started. When small businesses can flourish again, our economy in West Michigan will heal.

So please, come on out and see us tonight, be it for ten minutes or two hours.

Tim White hosts Jay Riemersma Meet & Greet

The Starting Block is located just off of Polk Road in Hart, about a mile east of US31. Take the Polk Road exit off of US31, head east toward downtown Hart, and just look for the signs! If you see the Oceana County Fairgrounds, you went too far.

www.JayRiemersma.com

In my little town of Hart, MI, you can always find something new. Being a Realtor here, and having lived here for 15 years, I don’t know how I didn’t know about the Starting Block and the folks that are doing some amazing things over on Industrial Park Drive.

The Starting Block in Hart, MI

The Starting Block is a kitchen incubator and entrepreneurial center. It is a nonprofit, regional economic development organization committed to small business development initiatives. The Starting Block helps entrepreneurs in an 8 county region from Manistee to Holland start and/or expand their food-related business at reasonable rentals without the initial investment or costly facilities and equipment.

OK, I borrowed most of that last paragraph from their brochure. Here’s my take on what Jane, Jim, and Ron are really up to over there:

AWESOMENESS!!!

With the help of The Starting Block, over 25 entrepreneurs have taken an idea, and turned it into a business venture over the last four years. The majority of these are food processing ventures, like Good Life Granola, Randy’s Granola, Wee Bee Jammin’ fruit jams, and a myriad of other products, ranging from dry spice mixes to meat stuffed pasta shells.

The Starting Block starts out by helping an individual with an idea to develop a label, and get it approved. Once the label is approved, the Starting Block has a large common kitchen with industrial mixers, convection ovens, stoves, and more.

They’ve even brought in packaging equipment. A small business owner can come up with an idea, apply for USDA and MDA approval, prepare the product, package the product, and even store the product all on site. Most importantly, since The Starting Block is a nonprofit organization, the costs to do so are very low.

The Kitchen at The Starting BlockYou can use the kitchen, and all the equipment, for $10-15/hour. Dry storage runs $10/month for a pallet, and cold storage runs just $1.50/cubic foot. This is incredibly low overhead for a start-up business, and a great way for a fledgling company to get its feet under it and get running. Oh, and if you need a special piece of equipment, just ask Ron, he’ll probably be able to find it for you.

The kitchen is also available to caterers, church, school, and civic groups.

In addition to the kitchen incubator side of the house, The Starting Block also leases office space to start-up businesses. Summit Laboratories is one company that leases space on site. They’re just getting up and running, and recently received accreditation that will allow them to provide food processing testing for local farmers this season.

Office space starts at an incredibly low price of just $110/month for a 90 square foot office. It even includes phone and internet access. Need something a little bigger? You can get 225 square feet for just $275/month!

In addition to all this, The Starting Block provides its users with countless other resources, including product development, ingredient sourcing, nutritional analysis, marketing strategies, a resource library, computers and internet access, and so much more.

The Staff at The Starting Block

The Starting Block Staff

The Starting Block is staffed by Ron Steiner, Jim Henley, and Jane Dosemagen. These three folks wear a lot of hats, and are ready to help you take your idea for business to the next level. Jane was extremely helpful in giving me a tour today, and I thank her for helping me gather this information.

Small businesses are vital to rebuilding our economy, and the gang at The Starting Block are providing an invaluable service to Hart, Oceana County, and West Michigan.

To learn more about The Starting Block, visit http://www.startingblock.biz or stop by. The Starting Block is located at 1535 Industrial Park Drive, just off of Polk Road in Hart.

*Photos courtesy of The Starting Block and http://www.startingblock.biz and used with permission.