The whole point of being in Congress is to represent the citizens who reside in your district. It’s a reasonable assumption that a Congressman’s effectiveness is only as strong as is his dedication to his district; it would also be reasonable to assume that the #1 indicator of dedication to a district is residence in that district.
So, what do you do if you, an opportunistic politician, see an easy-mark election in a remote district? You move there, of course! What better way to manipulate the residents of an outside district into thinking you care than to become one of them!?
This is exactly what Jason Allen, MI-1 Congressional candidate, has done. Although this sort of thing is seemingly commonplace in Congressional races, the people of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula deserve to know just how dedicated Jason Allen really is. Allen claims to be a resident of Michigan’s first district, yet up until just recently maintained two alternate residences outside MI-1. This is Allen’s Lansing Home:
As of today, this home is not for sale. His second “outside” residence in Traverse City was just recently put up for sale. However, Allen has yet to change his primary residence from his former Traverse City home to his home in the First District.
The best argument Allen can muster for this sudden sale of his Traverse City property (for our purposes, his “previous principle residence”) is that he is attempting to be a smart taxpayer, and collect a Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) on that property. This gives him a huge break on the property taxes he pays.
Seems as though Mr. Allen got caught hedging his bets, but he forgot to let the tax collector in on the caper.
I’m not trying to demonize Allen for having more than one property. To me it’s just a question of commitment. He seems committed enough to Lansing to keep his home there. And he seems committed enough to Traverse City to keep that home designated his personal residence. But by just renting a home in the First District, he’s signaling that he’s not really in this for the people of the First District. Rather, he’s in it for himself.
Therefore, I would like to encourage residents of MI-1 to call Jason Allen and ask him why exactly he feels more qualified than any other candidate to represent the citizens of a district he didn’t give a second thought to before he figured out that he’d be more likely to win there than in his own home district.