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Supervisor gets surprise invite to Snyder's speech



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January 26, 2011 - Flabbergasted is probably the best word to describe Bruce Pearson's reaction to his last-minute invitation to sit on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives during Gov. Rick Snyder's first State of the State address Jan. 19.

"I was shocked," said the Addison Township supervisor. "If I would have known ahead of time, I would have worn a nice suit. At least I had sportcoat and tie on; I didn't come in blue jeans."

Pearson sat with state Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford) as the legislator's guest.

"It was one of the most exciting things," he said. "Everybody said they could see me on television."

Pearson described it as "breathtaking" sitting amongst state Supreme Court justices, the secretary of state and the attorney general.

"For me, it was an honor because 'township supervisor' isn't high on the list (of government officials)," he said.

The supervisor was visiting Lansing that day with about 30 members of the Greater Oakland Republican Club. After they finished touring Jacobsen's new office, the legislator invited Pearson to sit with him during the governor's speech.

"They surprised me with that," Pearson said. "I had no idea they we're going to invite me down on the floor. I was pretty honored that little old me could have a seat there at the capitol."

It was especially meaningful for Pearson given he supported Snyder "right from the get-go."

"I knew he was the man for the job," he said.

Synder's message really resonated with Pearson.

"It's all about Michigan and the people," he said. "I liked that part of his speech because I could hear what he's saying – let's forget the partisan stuff, let's roll up our sleeves and let's get something done."

"He's kind of like me in a way," Pearson noted. "It's all about let's get things done – don't worry about who gets credit for it or what political party does it."

Pearson agreed with Snyder's message that local units of government, such as municipalities and school districts, should strive to consolidate more services in order to save money.

"That's the way of the world now," he said. "Everybody's got to think outside the box and not worry about their little fiefdoms. It's all about getting the best service to the people."

The supervisor noted that Addison's ahead of the curve in that respect.

"(Snyder's) saying what we've been doing all along," Pearson said.

One example is how Addison contracts with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department for police and dispatch services instead of operating its own law enforcement agency.

"We're not hiring a whole department and command structure," Pearson said. "We hire some deputies and a sergeant. It's very economical."

Another example is how the township's fire department participates in mutual aid agreements, which give it access to specialized equipment and reinforcements when needed.

"Not every fire department has to have every single piece of equipment as long as there's one available in the area," Pearson explained.

Pearson also agreed with Snyder's support of a proposal to build another bridge across the Detroit River between the United States and Canada to handle all the traffic.

"I'm all for putting another bridge up," he said. "He's 100 percent right. The Number One trading partner for the United States is Canada. And here we have a bottleneck."

Pearson noted he feels "pretty proud" that Addison's "very well-represented in Lansing" between Jacobsen and state Sen. Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion).

"Our voice is heard up there," he said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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