From Education to Infrastructure: How Rep. Haadsma Plans to Improve Albion

Jim Haadsma, right, listens to the concerns of a local community member at Stirling Books and Brew on Saturday. Haadsma won re-election to represent Michigan’s 44th district in the 2022 midterm elections (Photo by Brenna Staley).

Jim Haadsma, who currently serves the 62nd district as State Representative, ran for re-election this election cycle. On Wednesday morning it was declared that Haadsma had won.

Due to redistricting, the 62nd district has recently become the 44th district. The only major change is the dropping of Albion township, just south of the City of Albion. Haadsma will continue to represent the people of Battle Creek, Springfield, and Albion. 

In his home stretch of campaigning, Haadsma filled his time by knocking on doors and holding coffee talks at local cafes in order to meet and interact with as many voters as possible before the election. Ultimately, his hard work paid off.

This past Saturday, Haadsma spoke with local community members at Stirling Books and Brew on Superior Street in downtown Albion. The main topic of discussion was Haadsma’s overall confidence in his likelihood of him winning the race against his opponent, Republican candidate Dave Morgan. 

Haadsma said that while he felt reasonably confident, the race would likely be close. 

After the votes were counted, it was announced that Haadsma had prevailed over Morgan, deeming him the Michigan State Representative of the 44th district. The race was fairly close, with Haadsma receiving 52% of the total votes, while his opponent received 48%  according to unofficial results on Wednesday. 

After the coffee talk, Haadsma spoke with The Pleiad at his satellite campaign office, also located on Superior Street in downtown Albion. He talked about some of the issues high on his priority list.

One of Haadsma’s greatest political passions is funding education. He said that this past budget season, more money was allocated to K-12 schools in the district than ever before. 

“We want to continue to fund K-12 education and fortify it so more and more students can be able to attend university,” Haadsma said.

Haadsma also talked about the importance of making higher education more affordable, so that those who want to attend college or university after high school are not hindered by cost. 

Issues specific to Albion, especially infrastructure, were also a topic of conversation.

“Albion needs a lot of infrastructure help. When I drive through certain parts of Albion, I see that the streets are in disrepair, significantly so compared to, say, Battle Creek,” Haadsma said.

At the coffee hour, one community member brought up the issue of a decaying bridge on Albion Street near the Forks Senior Center. Haadsma acknowledged the bridge as an issue, saying it looks like its life span ended thirty years ago and that it is something he plans to fix. 

“I’m confident that it’s going to be replaced, we’ve been working on that,” Haadsma said. ”It actually ought to be corded off and people shouldn’t be allowed to use it.” 

Other infrastructure issues Haadsma brought up included faded or missing street signs, as well as a dam upstream of Victory Park. 

In 2019, swift-moving water caused by the dam pulled a local woman kayaking underwater. She died in the hospital the following day. Haadsma said that this dam, which still exists, should be removed. 

Haadsma said the money needed to make these changes exists; it just has yet to be properly allocated. 

During the pandemic, the state of Michigan received substantial funds to take care of COVID-19-related issues. With some of this money still left over, Haadsma said he wants to see these dollars put to use sooner rather than later. 

“A lot of the COVID relief dollars that came from the federal government have not yet been spent,” Haadsma said. “Six billion dollars specifically that we need to appropriate, and relatively soon.”

The conversation closed with Haadsma discussing the importance of voting. He encouraged voters to do their research, vote early if possible and not dismiss their vote as insignificant. 

“Your vote does matter. It affects the tempo of how things change and it affects change, period, in relation to the future of Michigan,” Haadsma said.

About Brenna Staley 5 Articles
Brenna Staley is a freshman public policy major from North Muskegon, Michigan. In a perfect world, she would spend every day at the beach, going for sunset swims and playing Spikeball with her friends. Contact Brenna via email at BPS13@albion.edu.

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