Expect a few “Fire Up Chips” chants at election rallies this year.
Susan Grettenberger, CMU’s social work program director, announced her bid last month for congresswoman in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.
The Lansing native is familiar with an important piece of the 8th District and hopes her familiarity with the area’s issues will help her during the campaign.
“I’ve seen the effects of what happens in Washington on people that I know and work with and friends of mine,” Grettenberger said. “What I can do for the district is represent people when it comes to local issues. I would like to see people on the ground represented more fairly.”
Grettenberger said the support she has received from friends and family encouraged her to make the bid. The Democrat will be running against Republican Congressman Mike Rogers.
“There were a lot of people who encouraged me to run,” Grettenberger said. “Ultimately, I had to decide what I was going to do. It’s a pretty big undertaking so it’s not something that you have someone talk you into.”
If elected following the Nov. 4 polling, Grettenberger will focus on an issue that strongly affects her district: Working to raise minimum wage.
“Michigan, and the district, (have) a lot of people working at minimum wage. A lot of people are really struggling to get by on the amount of money available to them,” she said. “Even if you work full-time, you’re pretty broke if you’re at minimum wage.”
Other issues Grettenberger will be advocating for are women’s health and public education, which she holds especially close as an employee of CMU for 12 years. She also comes from a family that has produced a number of teachers.
“I certainly care about education,” Grettenberger said. “ I also care about improving the economy in this district and seeing what can support the auto industry and other industries to increase the number of jobs.”
Since announcing her bid, Grettenberger has received positive feedback from a number of different people.
Jayne Strachan, professor of political science and director of gender and woman studies, worked with Grettenberger for a number of years during her stay at CMU.
Strachan is excited for Grettenberger’s campaign, adding that her experience and expertise makes her a great candidate to serve in Congress. She said Grettenberger’s life experiences and insight would serve as an essential resource and tool for the rest of Congress, too.
“I think it makes obvious sense for her to take her career to the next level by taking those interests and concerns and cranking it up a notch,” Strachan said.
After growing up with Grettenberger, Charlotte Fitzgerald knew her older sister would go on to become a successful woman – and potential congresswoman.
“She was always in the know,” Fitzgerald said. “She would read something, or have an opinion on something and knew something about everything.”
Living in the Lansing area for, Fitzgerald believes her sister will be a great spokesperson for the district.
“Even though she will be representing the 8th District, I think it is similar to many other areas in the state,” Fitzgerald said. “She will be a good voice for all of Michigan.”