Lynn Afendoulis is…. by any definition you choose to use…. a strong woman. She is confident, thoughtful, articulate, has strong opinions and a lifetime of experiences to back them up. She fills the room when she enters it. She emphatically claimed, in a one-on-one interview earlier this week with the Beacon, to be the only “true conservative in this race”. Afendoulis said, “I also learn from people I disagree with. I don’t necessarily change my mind, but I always look for opportunities to learn. We need to lead by example. Being civil, listening, learning and being respectful to each other are the most important things. I have found that if I stay true to my values and work hard that I have equal footing with others.”
Afendoulis, who is 61, graduated from MSU with a degree in Journalism, said, “I have loved every job I’ve ever had.” That includes ten years as a reporter for the Grand Rapids Press and the Tampa Bay Tribune, followed by twenty-six years at Universal Forest Products, as well as her current job as a first-term District 73 State Representative. “I’ve also been very engaged in the community, in many different ways, over the past forty years. I’ve sat on many Boards including the Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth (Boys and Girls Club), the Foundation for Grand Rapids Public Schools, Circle Theatre, Grand Rapids Opera and Holy Trinity Church.”
Looking ahead, Afendoulis said that the top issues facing the country are 1) The Post-Covid economy. “It’s going to be very hard. I’ll work with the President to get the train back on the track”; 2) China. “We have to pull back from China. We have to be weary of China and we have to decrease our dependence on China”; 3) Immigration. “I’m the granddaughter of immigrants. One of my grandmothers came over to the U.S. and then sent her kids off to war for this country. I want to do my best to leave my kids an America like my parents and grandparents left me. We have a National Security issue and a Humanitarian issue at our Border. I’ve been to El Paso. People working there are doing their best to address it.”
Afendoulis concluded by saying that if she is elected to Congress, she will be very focused on staying connected to communities such as Portland, “I’ll take time to talk to community members and work to have my finger on the pulse. Right now, as a State Representative, I personally return all calls to my constituents because I learn so much more about the community and how to balance competing interests. I probably won’t be able to do that as much in Congress, but I will work to be engaged with the community.” She continued, “I’m not planning to go to DC for a career, I’ll be going to represent the people of the 3rd Congressional District.” The District 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. “Three terms are all I am willing to serve”, she said. “I believe in term limits. Career politicians are dangerous to the Republic.”
Afendoulis is facing off against Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids, Tom Norton of Cannon Township, Emily Rafi of Battle Creek, and Joe Farrington of Lyons in the upcoming August 4th Republican Primary. The winner of the Primary election will move on to face Democrat Hillary Scholten, a Grand Rapids Immigration Attorney, in the November 3rd General Election.