DAVISON — Former representative and Democrat Jim Slezak announced his representative bid last week; this time as a Republican in the U.S. Congress.
Slezak’s sudden shift over to the GOP side of things comes as a criticism of today’s Democratic Party.
According to Slezak, national Democratic leaders along with President Barack Obama “have failed our community.”
Slezak began his campaign with an announcement video and statement.
Slezak hasn’t minced words with his opinions of the Democratic Party on a national level, saying they have shown “no vision, no leadership and no understanding of the problems families, small businesses and the hard-working men and women of Michigan face everyday.”
“He came to Flint on the campaign trail, but has ignored us as president,” Slezak said of Obama.
As a Democrat, Slezak described himself as a “pro-life moderate.”
Slezak, who lives in Davison Township, has publicly stated his support of gun rights and opposition of abortion, proposing, along with other lawmakers, a “personhood” state constitutional amendment. He’s also interested in bringing alternative industries to the area, supporting wind and solar energy.
Current seatholder Dale Kildee, who’s held steady as a U.S. representative for 34 years and through 18 elections, announced in July that he would retire and not seek re-election when his term expires in 2012. At the time, Kildee, 81, said that although he knew he “would be able to win re-election,” he was confident that the seat would remain Democratic.
Kildee’s 5th District seat covers east-central Michigan, including Genesee and Tuscola counties and portions of Bay and Saginaw counties along with Kildee’s working class hometown of Flint, which have voting records in favor of Democratic candidates. Republicans have also redrawn party lines, making the district even more Democratic in 2012.
Campaign spokesman John Yob said that Slezak remains “a very good fit” for the district.
Genesee County Democratic Chair Art Reyes said he was “caught off-guard” by Slezak’s switch while Prudy Adam, chair of the Genesee County Republican Party said she is “100 percent behind him.”
Slezak, 45, is married with three children and holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. He was a representative in the Michigan House from 2009-2010. After exiting, he ran unsuccessfully in a three-person Democratic primary for state Senate in the 26th District. Democratic and now Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko beat him out in the primary and Republican Dave Robertson won the race.