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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Snyder Says Calley Has Smarts, Hustle, Personality Plus Unselfishness

GRAND RAPIDS - Rep. Brian Calley has the smarts, hustle, personality and unselfishness needed in a lieutenant governor, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder said Wednesday that's why he chose him as his running mate.

The new Snyder/Calley ticket, expected to be formally certified Saturday once the state Republican convention officially nominates Calley, started its campaign in the Meijer Theater of the Grand Rapids Public Museum with the two warmly shaking hands on stage.

"It was a merit-based selection, looking at someone with really high integrity," Snyder told a town hall audience. "We wanted people that were really hard-working that could roll up their sleeves and make things happen."

Further, Snyder said he wanted a running mate who was smart and had a "teamwork attitude that's not about credit."

Calley, whose selection was widely reported Tuesday evening, thanked Snyder for his confidence.

"It really is a privilege to be a part of this process and share the stage with this man here," Calley said. "I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part, a voice at the table, for the most pivotal time in the last 100 years of Michigan's existence. ... I can't think of a better person to stand beside."

Calley, echoing what he wrote in a recent newspaper column extolling Snyder, said Snyder could move the state beyond long-running feuds between the political parties, east and west sides and cities and rural areas.

Calley even adopted Snyder's signature look for the occasion, donning a sports coat over a shirt with no tie.

Calley, if elected with Snyder, would be the state's youngest lieutenant governor since John Swainson, who took office in 1959 also at the age of 33, but four months and six days younger than Calley would be on January 1, 2011.

Snyder said Calley's age is an asset.

"I'm excited to get Brian on board," he told reporters after the event. "I think 33 is a great age. He's had good private business experience. He's been a successful community banker. Great private sector experience and he's got good legislative experience. We shouldn't just look at age. This is how we build for the future is to get great young people involved in the process."

Calley also would be the first sitting member of the House elected lieutenant governor since Rep. James Damman in 1974.

Snyder said he and Calley have to determine what other duties his running mate will assume beyond the constitutionally proscribed roles of presiding over the Senate, breaking rare tie votes, and running the state when Snyder is out of state as well as the unofficial role of serving as the governor's stand-in at events.

"We're still going to work through that, but clearly I hope it to be more than the traditional role," he said.

Asked if his legislative experience would be an asset for Snyder, Calley said, "I've got relationships and the experience on the inside and outside in order to take the vision that I share with Rick and move it through the process."

Snyder said Calley was the first person he asked to be his running mate. Asked if that meant his campaign did not give Oakland Sheriff Mike Bouchard first crack at the job, as a number of sources said was the case, Snyder said, "Brian was my selection, and I'm proud he accepted."

In terms of the selection process, Snyder spokesperson Bill Nowling said the campaign vetted fewer than half a dozen people although he would not say exactly how many. By the last weekend, Snyder was down to three contenders, he said. By Tuesday, it was down to two. Snyder made the decision to pick Calley about 3:30 p.m. and phoned the lawmaker.

The two had struck up a relationship early in Snyder's campaign. Calley opened doors for Snyder in his home county of Ionia, unlike most of the Republican establishment, and Snyder would phone Calley from time to time, even asking him to critique his business tax plan.

"Brian was one of the few current legislators who signed up with us early on," Nowling said, describing him as an unofficial adviser. "I know they've talked many times over the last few months."

A number of party leaders were on hand for the event, including U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Grand Rapids) who is retiring after this year. Snyder recalled that Ehlers early in the campaign asked to speak with him, and Snyder thought he was in trouble. Instead, Ehlers, a physicist who has chaired the U.S. House Science Committee in the past, had a reminder for Snyder about his "one tough nerd" campaign theme.

"The comment he made to me was, 'You may be the tough nerd, but I'm the original nerd.'"

This story was provided by Gongwer News Service. To subscribe, click on Gongwer.Com


Author: Staff Writer
Source: Gongwer News Service

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