He treats the money spent by the State of Michigan the way I treat the money I pull out of my own wallet.
I swapped a few emails with him recently thanking him for his diligence.
One issue that he is emotionally invested in is EBT Food Stamp Fraud. In Michigan, those cards are called "Bridge Cards"
There are three legs to his emotional investment.
Rick was a working stiff for thirty years before he ran as a law-maker. He was a cop. Like nearly all cops, he worked his share of crap shifts. It seems to be a nearly universal law that things fall apart starting at about 10:30 at night and rapidly go into the toilet after midnight. Cops who work that shift do much of the heavy lifting of law enforcement.
Police respond to human failure. The view they carry of humans is a heavy burden because, mostly, they see what is marinating in the bilge.
Rick responded to countless calls where the human failure resulted in children being separated from their parent(s). In many cases those children were hungry.
This is not a Rick anecdote: One story is where the police found only soda pop in the home. The parent had the brilliant idea of buying the pop with the welfare check, draining the soda and recovering cash-money for the ten cent Michigan can deposit. If the kids were hungry they could drink some of the pop.
Rich carries the righteous anger of an Old Testament prophet when welfare fraud results in kids going hungry or being exposed to prostitution and/or illegal drugs.
Rick's daughter is a Special Education teacher. She adopted two kids, ages 10 and 14.
Older children in the foster care system are difficult to place. Older children are classified as "Special Needs" solely on the basis of their age and difficulty to place.
The foster care system gets a slug of babies shortly after birth. Often a plan was made before the baby was even born. These children are rapidly absorbed by adopting parents. Then a trickle of children come into the system between ages six months and six years of age. At ages five and six, the children enter the public school system.
Employees of schools have rigorous reporting requirements for suspected abuse. I am not talking about "The parents make them eat fish on Friday abuse." or "The parents make the hungry kids pause for 30 seconds to say Grace before a meal." I am talking about cigarette burns, bruises, cuts and malnutrition abuse. That often results in a series of court interventions to help the parents become better parents. Sometimes that does not work and the six-to-seven year old (and all of their younger siblings) end up in the foster care system.
Rick is a foster Grandpa. Welfare abuse that deprives children of a full belly impacts him in a very personal way. It is as if somebody was starving his grandkids.
As a working stiff, Rick knew how far a dollar went. He also saw the difference between the Gross number and the Net number on his paycheck.
It is a heavy burden when you are raising a family, trying to do the best for them. He does not begrudge money that is used wisely. Nor does he begrudge money that is judiciously doled out to give people a path out of poverty.
But it is frustrating to see people crassly misuse money that came out of one's paycheck.
It is angry-making to see politicians cynically looking the other way... Those same politicians talk about the poor, dispossessed and powerless and beg for more money on the legislative floor. But then actively fight against steps to ensure that those same resources actually benefit the poorest and most powerless: the children.
Children don't vote. It is almost as if the purpose of those funds is not to help people but to buy votes for certain politicians. To buy those votes out of the (Gross - Net) from the paychecks of working folks, many who are working crap jobs, crap shifts....making many sacrifices.
Eaton Rapids Joe Editorializing
Terrorists are quick to use children and other innocents as human shields. They dare authorities to do their job. They say, "Their blood will be on your hands." Anybody who follows these kinds of situations realizes that the prognosis for most human shields and other hostages is grim at best.
Sadly, too many politicians demonstrate that they are woven of the same moral fiber as terrorists. They wonder why elected officials are held in such low regard.
There are still good politicians. I believe Senator Rick Jones is one of them.
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