MI: Clark Durant for U.S. Senate

A Letter From Betsy DeVos, Spence Abraham, and Saul Anuzis


August 11, 2011

Dear Michigan Republicans:

We write you at a time of great peril. Our nation is facing an unprecedented series of challenges both from without and from within. On the international front, we continue to stand—often alone—as the world’s defender of liberty and freedom in the age of terror.

At home, we confront the greatest fiscal/economic challenges since the Great Depression. Simply put, our nation’s economy is a mess. Washington’s appetite for spending has placed us on a glide path to ruin. Record deficits and an unsustainable national debt are destroying jobs and life savings. Our kids are shackled with debts they can never hope to pay.

How did we get here? We all know the answer. The people we’ve sent to Washington have too often failed us. Too many have forgotten why they were sent to Congress and instead become part of the problem. They’ve spent money we don’t have. They’ve forsaken their commitments to the people and replaced them with a commitment to special interests.

And now, as we reach a tipping point, many say the answer is more of the same: more spending and debt. And, of course, higher taxes on working Americans. Two such people are the President and our U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. Even with the stock market in disarray and our credit rating downgraded, they want a bigger federal government, Obamacare, higher taxes and more regulations.

Next year these two incumbents will ask to be re elected. We strongly believe that must not be allowed to happen. The future of our nation is too important, and the times too critical, to stay on the course that the President and Senator Stabenow have been following. We need new leadership at the White House and Michigan needs a new US Senator.

That is why we are writing you today. We strongly believe that the strongest candidate we can run for Senate and the person who would make the best Senator for Michigan in these difficult times is Clark Durant.

Clark is a strong constitutional conservative. He believes in limited government and the rule of law. He is committed to upholding the sanctity of life. He favors a strong national defense. And he knows that the only way America will overcome our economic troubles is by allowing the free enterprise system to flourish and to let people keep more of what they learn.

But it is not just what Clark believes that counts. It is his breadth of experience “outside” Washington that will allow him to be the leader we need in the Senate.

Here are just a few examples of what Clark has achieved:

  • He’s served as a Vice President of Hillsdale College and helped found its indispensible publication Imprimis.
  • He has been a successful businessman. At the request of Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole, he transformed a floundering, near bankrupt public railroad and privatized it, turning it into a successful, profitable private venture, paying taxes not spending taxes.
  • President Reagan named him, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him, to serve on the board of the Legal Services Corporation. As Chairman, he didn’t ask Congress for more money, he sought to break up a monopoly which was denying poor people access to justice and sought efficient ways to deliver more services with fewer tax dollars;
  • He represented Michigan on the 1984 Republican National Committee Platform Committee where he helped draft the party platform on which President Reagan ran for and won his landslide re-election.
  • At Governor Engler’s request, he ran for both the Michigan Supreme Court and later the State Board of Education. As a President of the State Board of Education he worked with Governor Engler to shake up the state education establishment, create charter schools, and bring more accountability and higher standards to the state’s public school system.

Clark Durant has taken tough jobs and achieved success. He has challenged the establishment and forced it to reform. He has succeeded in both the public and the private sectors. And, most importantly, he has shown himself to be a true “man for others”.

In the early 1990’s Clark Durant was one of the first to recognize the deficiencies in our inner city public schools. Recognizing that kids trapped in these hopeless situations were seeing their futures extinguished without being given a fair chance to succeed, Clark decided to do something about it. At the invitation of Detroit’s then Archbishop Adam Maida and a group of caring community leaders and businesses, Clark founded the Cornerstone Schools. Through his service as the founding Chairman, Clark led the effort to create urban schools which challenge, inspire and educate students to achieve a 95% high school graduation rate. From the first grade, inner city students master the basics (reading, writing and arithmetic), learn foreign languages, play violin, and are given opportunities to expand their horizons. Over the years, many Cornerstone graduates have attended college, including Ivy League schools, and have become successful citizens. Many, in fact, have become doctors and engineers. Through his vision, entrepreneurship and tenacity, Clark created opportunities for parents and children—a real alternative to failing schools.

The Cornerstone School experience illustrates how education pioneers, compassionate conservatives, and education entrepreneurs have gone into America’s inner cities and founded schools which often deliver near-miraculous results. Students from low-income, rough neighborhoods are given an escape hatch from the wasteful, bureaucratic big-city public schools and earn a pathway to college and middle class American life. This is what happens when the dynamic of freedom and free markets (empowerment through choice) are combined to truly lift our fellow citizens out of poverty. This is a lesson the Washington establishment needs to learn. This experience also shows you the kind of vision and courage that Clark Durant possesses.

And this is the kind of leadership we need in the US Senate. We need someone who will take on the system and set us on a new course for the future.

Clark Durant is not a creature of Washington. Rather, as a true conservative, Clark has devoted himself to demonstrating how freedom and empowerment works at the local level to transform lives, strengthen communities and provide hope for every person to maximize their potential.

Our voice in Washington needs to speak loudly and clearly for Michigan. It needs to rise above the voices that speak only the language of Washington. Our voice should not be afraid to speak loudly about what’s right and about the problems we face. It must speak clearly about the need to end the illogical cycle of trying to address problems with the same failed approaches. Clark Durant will be Michigan’s strong and clear voice in Washington

Debbie Stabenow certainly is not that voice. Debbie Stabenow arrived in Washington nearly 16 years ago and has consistently voted for more spending, more onerous regulations, and bigger government. After nearly two decades in Washington, she is now one of the leading voices in the choir.

The expense of the annual federal budget has increased more than $2 trillion; in fact it’s more than doubled, since Debbie Stabenow was elected.

In fact, the annual deficit is now equal to the size of the entire federal budget when Debbie Stabenow first was elected.

Here are some other facts:

She voted for the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, which came to symbolically highlight pork barrel spending excess.

She voted numerous times to raise the debt ceiling. For example:

  • In 2002 she voted to increase the ceiling to $6.4 trillion.
  • In 2004 she was a yes vote when the debt ceiling was increased to $7.4 trillion.
  • Again in 2004, she supported an increase to $8.18 trillion.
  • In 2006 she backed a debt ceiling increase that brought the limit to $9 trillion.
  • In 2008 she was a loud and clear yes vote to raise the debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion.

Debbie Stabenow’s record on taxes is just as out of touch. Like the President she favors higher taxes as the solution to our economic problems.

We say enough is enough.

We don’t need more spending and taxes; more debt and red ink. We need leaders in Washington who will challenge business as usual and take on the status quo. We need proven conservative leaders like Clark Durant in the Senate.

Recently, Arthur Brooks, President of American Enterprise Institute, penned an insightful essay for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page which puts the recent debt ceiling debate in clear context:.

“But before they succumb to too much caution, budget reformers need to remember three things. First, this is not a political fight between Republicans and Democrats; it is a fight against 50-year trends toward statism. Second, it is a moral fight, not an economic one. Third, this is not a fight that anyone can win in the 15 months from now to the presidential election. It will take hard work for at least a decade….No one deserves our political support today unless he or she is willing to work for as long as it takes to win the moral fight to steer our nation back toward enterprise and self-governance. This fight will not be easy or politically safe. But it will be a happy one: to share the values that make us proud to be Americans.”

Please join us and support Clark Durant to be Michigan’s new voice in the United States Senate. As our nation is at a tipping point, we need Clark Durant to wage a positive campaign for America’s future.

We hope you join us.

Betsy DeVos   Spence Abraham   Saul Anuzis

Abraham, Anuzis and DeVos have all served as Chairs of the Michigan Republican Party. Each was elected to multiple terms at the helm of the MRP. Abraham’s election to the US Senate in 1994 marks the only time during the past 40 years Michigan has chosen a Republican voice in the Senate.

Not paid for by any candidate or candidate’s committee.



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