Northeast Michigan mementos adorn lawmakers’ capital offices
LANSING –Elected officials put many miles in, traveling around their districts meeting with constituents, attending events and spending some time at home when their scehdule allows.
From time to time during visits, there are those who present lawmakers with trinkets of appreciation. Many times, those tokens of goodwill are put on display in the offices of Northeast Michigan’s state represenitive and senator.
Many items given to state Rep. Sue Allor , R-Wolverine, who represents Alpena in the 106th state House District, are displayed in her office. She said that, when she sees them, it reminds her of the people, events and communities that welcomed her.
Allor said she has a large drill bit made by a manufacturing business in her district that sells them around the world, as well as a small airplane from Kaleta Air in Oscoda. She also has pictures, knick-knacks that feature lighthouses, and photos from places such as downtown Alpena and other communities in Northeast Michigan.
“It’s always fun to get stuff and display it,” Allor said. “When people come to my office, they can see how diverse our district is in terms of business, people and natural resources. They will make great keepsakes for me for many years.”
State Sen. Jim Stamas, a Republican from Midand who represents Alpena in the 26th state Senate District, said he, too, appreciates it when tokens of affection are given to him. Like Allor, he said they tell a story about the district when his comrades or constituents come to his office. Stamas added, however, that he is always careful about what he accepts, because lawmakers can’t accept gifts valued at more than $50. If a more expensive gift is given, Stamas said either the item needs to be returned or the difference in value paid by the politician.
In is office, Stamas has on display a hard hat from the Lafarge North America plant in Alpena, along with many pictures and other items.
“These things are always nice to take back to Lansing, put on display, and tell the story of the district I represent,” Stamas said. “There is a sense of pride I feel when I’m able to show and tell people about them and the story behind them. It helps share how special the district and communities are.”
Stamas said that, besides getting small gifts, he likes and appreciates the letters, cards and pictures he receives in the mail, especially the ones he gets from children and teens. He said that, while traveling in the district, he visits schools and other groups which focus on children and it warms his heart when he gets corospondance from them in return.
“I get thank-you cards on a pretty regular basis after a visit where I meet and talk to the kids,” he said. “It is always awesome to see the kids learning and involved in the politcal process.”
Allor said she also loves visiting and comunicating with youth. She said she enjoys going into classrooms and talking about her job and what the issues are in Lansing. She also encourages them to become involved in government and to be a responsible citizen.
“Getting things from the kids are the best and most special to me and always have a special place in my heart,” Allor said. “When I get questions from them, I always make take the time to answer them. I want kids to feel like they are part of the process, and I pay close attention to them and their thoughts and ideas. They need all of us to pay attention to them.”
Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpeanews.com.