Emmet County residents saw a change in the political party of their elected state representatives this November, when one Democrat, Sen. Jack Kibbie, retired, and Rep. John Wittneben, also a Democrat, lost a nail-biter to Tedd Gassman of Scarville, located on the other side of the new District 7.
After the official canvass, Gassman won by 44 votes, 7,169-7,625. That was after provisional and absentee ballots not counted in the original election results were finally tallied.
On election night, Gassman led by 57 votes.
"I really didn't think that would happen (results change) but I didn't want to take a chance either," Gassman said.
Now that he's the duly elected District 7 representative for certain, Gassman is looking forward to tackling a number of bread-and-butter issues. At the top are commercial property tax reform and economic development.
"I'd like to see everybody that wants a job to get a job and make everybody that doesn't want to get a job get a job," said Gassman.
In the social issues area, he'd like to make it tougher for couples to get a divorce if there are minor children involved.
Gassman is seeking appointment to the Ways and Means, Education, Judiciary, Agriculture and Environmental Protection committees and any appropriations committees on which he can get an appointment. His interest in education stems largely from his 14-year tenure on the Thompson School Board. He vividly recalls one time when the state didn't have the money to fulfill its commitments to school districts and his district had to borrow.
"If we're going to tell people we're (legislators) going to do something, we're going to do it," Gassman said.
Pledging his support of higher education, Gassman also underscored that he'll be a social conservative.
Gassman also pledges to represent all of District 7.
"I'm going to do my best to represent everybody in the district. I'm willing to listen," he said.