Peter Meijer was campaigning in Portland this week and stopped by the Portland Library between events for an out-of-doors interview with the Beacon on Thursday afternoon.
The 32-year-old Meijer, who has never run for political office before, is vying to replace Justin Amash as Portland’s representative in Congress. Amash confirmed earlier today that he is not seeking re-election.
Meijer is competing against three other candidates in the Republican primary in the Michigan 3rd Congressional District which includes Ionia, Barry, and Calhoun counties as well as part of Montcalm County, a large part of Kent County and the city of Grand Rapids. His Republican Primary opponents are Lynn Afendoulis of Grand Rapids, Tom Norton of Cannon Township, Emily Rafi of Battle Creek and Joe Farrington of Lyons. The primary election will be held on August 4th. The winner of the primary election will move on to face Democrat Hillary Scholten, a Grand Rapids Immigration Attorney.
A Grand Rapids native, Peter is the oldest son of Hank Meijer and the grandson of Frederick Meijer. He initially studied for one year at the United States Military Academy at West Point before finishing his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City in 2008. Meijer then served in the United States Army Reserve from 2008-2016 including deployments in Iraq. He then completed an MBA degree at New York University graduating in 2017. He is married and has no children.
Meijer describes himself as a professional conflict analyst and is a strong supporter of veterans and an advocate for veteran issues. He told the Beacon that, “Too much of politics is focused on short term solutions. We put in an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure”. The cost of healthcare, a skyrocketing deficit and the regulatory environment are all priorities that need to be addressed on a national level according to Meijer. He said, “We need long-term solutions based on the conservative principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty”.
When asked how he would address the current divisiveness and lack of civility that dominates the political environment today, Meijer responded with a broad, charming smile and said, “Politics has never been civil” and cited several historical examples. “However, we should always be striving to improve, have a sense of perspective, and work to build bi-partisan solutions while taking care of the fundamentals of conservative principles.”
“I’m in this for the long-term”, Meijer concluded. “We must tackle the challenges of today and be sure we have something to offer the younger generation like keeping the Great Lakes clean and protecting the natural beauty of places like Portland.”
Photo caption: Peter Meijer. Republican Candidate for Congress poses for a picture at the Portland Public Library on Thursday afternoon.