Jack O’Malley: Letter to constituents

December 13, 2022

Rep. Jack O’Malley

Jack O’Malley: Letter to constituents

To people across Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee and Mason counties I had the privilege of serving in the Fighting 101stDistrict in the Michigan House – along with those in the greater Traverse City area who make up the new 103rd House District:

The end of December marks the end of my second term in the House and my tenure as a representative. I’m leaving with my head held high. I met a lot of good people and a lot of good was done for the people the past four years.

My background in radio and television honed me as a listener and communicator. Through those conversations I’d get to know backgrounds, livelihoods, hobbies, struggles and viewpoints. They allowed me to tell someone’s story and showcase our neighborhoods, neighbors and communities throughout our corner of Michigan.

That didn’t leave me when I left to go to Lansing. Starting with the COVID-19 pandemic, I began providing video updates to my official Facebook page. These were opportunities to have a conversation and the interactions were incredible. Many people noted the updates helped them understand the goings on in state government – whether they were from northern Michigan or elsewhere in the state.

I kept doing these videos. Hundreds. Because democracy, as Abraham Lincoln once said, is of the people and for the people. Ultimately a representative’s job is to help their constituents. My office assisted people who had issues with the state’s unemployment system, worked with local officials and residents on high water issues, and advocated for small-business owners who were trying to get their livelihoods back on track during COVID-19.

I was able to get multiple bills signed into law that were borne directly from our district. I was awestruck by the number of families I talked with regarding child-care costs. Access to care is limited and expensive, which forces people into difficult decisions regarding their finances and futures. I worked with Republicans, Democrats and the governor on new laws that will improve access while providing needed resources for child-care professionals who work hard to look after our kids.

Other laws I worked to get signed will keep our kids safe on the way to and from school with new school bus parameters, and aim to capitalize on our state’s economic potential through commitments to maritime commerce. As chair of the House Transportation Committee, I worked to deliver sensible solutions that will help fix our roads and protect the people doing the work to fix them.

I believe the tried and true technique of listening and leading has gotten lost as we leap further into political theater, and it’s important going forward to stick to the principles of representation. We can’t give into the extremes on either side. If you’re representing an extreme, a lot of voices closer to the middle are being drowned out.

Northern Michigan is my home, and I’m honored to have been elected to represent it. I look forward to the days ahead here and I humbly thank you.

  • State Rep. Jack O’Malley, Lake Ann, 101st District

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