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Sunday, September 06, 2020

Janet Metsa, 110th District House candidate, posts "Remembering Labor Day" video, discusses values with supporters

By Michele Bourdieu

Janet Metsa, candidate for Michigan's 110th District House seat, is pictured here near the Keweenaw Waterway in a new video she recently posted on YouTube, Remembering Labor Day. (Photo © and courtesy Janet Metsa and Michael Mullins)
 
HOUGHTON COUNTY, Mich. -- Janet Metsa, candidate for Michigan's 110th District House seat, honors workers -- past and present -- this Labor Day 2020 with a video she and her husband, Michael Mullins, made recently and posted on YouTube. She also held fundraiser question and answer sessions last week on Zoom to discuss her democratic values with supporters.

In the video, Metsa recognizes the Copper Country miners, who held a strike in 1913 for better working conditions, comparing their challenges to those of frontline workers today -- medical workers, teachers and working parents -- risking their lives in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic.

"This Labor Day is a good time to remember the legacy of the workers who came before us, and moving forward I want to support all working people as we make our communities here in the UP a better place to live," Metsa states in her video.

Watch the video here or click on the YouTube icon for a larger screen:

In this recent video for her campaign, Janet Metsa recognizes the workers of the Copper Country past, comparing their struggle to the challenges faced by today's frontline workers during the COVID-19 epidemic. (Photographs from Michigan Technological University Archives, courtesy Janet Metsa. Music: "Metsa Kukkia Waltz," played by Viljo Vesterinen)

Democratic Candidate Metsa is a supporter of labor unions and workers' rights. So far she has received endorsements from Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, AFL-CIO, and Michigan Education Association.*

Metsa discusses issues with supporters on Zoom

During two fundraising Zoom discussions, on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, Metsa gave a summary of her background and why she is running for the 110th District Michigan House of Representatives seat against Republican incumbent Greg Markkanen. She then fielded questions from supporters.

Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor of chemistry and interim chair of the Chemistry Department, hosted the Sept. 2 Zoom fundraiser for Metsa.

"We need a forward-looking representative for the 110th district who can show Lansing the best of the UP, from our natural environment to our high-tech businesses," Green told Keweenaw Now.

During the first Zoom event Metsa answered a question on environmental protections, noting her concerns for sustainable forestry, fisheries and agriculture, as well as the problems of mining waste and climate change. She noted the federal government is responsible to the Native American tribes for keeping the fisheries healthy.

Linda Belote of Hancock said she was worried about the need for jobs vs. environmental protection.

Mentioning the Green New Deal, Sarah Green noted, "We can't have a healthy economy without a clean environment."

Metsa also commented on the importance of tourism in the Upper Peninsula economy and the many small businesses that depend on it.

"Tourism needs a clean environment," Metsa said.

As for job creation, Metsa has often referred to her experience with the local Smart Zone and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) and her own two businesses she started here with practically nothing.**

As she states on her Web site, "The answer is people create jobs!"

Metsa stresses the need to look at partnerships in business and education.

The second Zoom fundraising event, on Sept. 3, was hosted by Paul Sturgul of Hurley, Wis., who invited friends from the western end of the 110th District, including Ironwood and Bessemer, for the discussion.

Sturgul said he is very impressed that Janet is running for this office, especially because with her educational background she could be doing a lot of things in her life but instead has chosen public service.

"I grew up on a dairy farm and I learned to work hard," Metsa said. "I went to Chassell schools and MIT and I learned to work smart."

Janet Metsa is pictured here in front of the historic Chassell School she attended. "I went K-12 at the old Chassell school. A strong public education was my one shot at the American dream, like it is for so many students. It prepared me to run my business, serve my community, and provide for my family," Metsa states on her Facebook page. (Photo © and courtesy Janet Metsa and Michael Mullins)

During the Sept. 3 discussion, Metsa told supporters she has noted a strong entrepreneurial sentiment in Ironwood and would like to see collaboration between Michigan Tech and Gogebic Community College (located in Ironwood and Houghton).

"I'm a strong supporter of the community college system," Metsa noted during the Zoom discussion.

As she states on her Web site, "Building closer relationships and exchanges between Michigan Tech and Gogebic Community College in health care, technology and other key areas would benefit more counties of the Western U.P. and provide a better trained workforce at a lower cost."**

Health care was another topic of the discussion during the Sept. 3 Zoom event.

Sturgul noted his disappointment with Michigan's 38th District State Senator Ed McBroom's voting against the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Metsa said, while she sees a role for private health insurance, she is a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion, which benefits the local rural hospitals.

"Anything that gets more people covered," she added.

The discussion also included the need for broader, reliable affordable Internet in the 110th District.

Metsa said she is looking forward to the report from the Governor's UP Energy Task Force on ways to solve the problem of the high electrical costs in the UP.***

On the question of gun rights, Metsa said she is not against hunting.

"I'm not going to take a hunter's license away," she said. "I don't have a problem with hunting."

Metsa noted her husband is a bird hunter and her son, an Eagle Scout, taught gun safety at the Boy Scout ranch in New Mexico.

She is, however, concerned that there is a huge problem of guns in the homes of domestic abusers.

Paul Mitchell, a member of the Houghton County Democratic Party, who participated in the Sept. 3 Zoom discussion, said he supports Metsa because of her hardworking "Yooper" roots and commitment to working for local communities.

"For me, now more than ever we need thoughtful, hardworking legislators," Mitchell told Keweenaw Now. I am certain Janet is a problem solver. I remember her telling the story of her Finnish parents and their friends sitting around their kitchen talking politics and she always remembered them talking about the needs of 'da people' and working for 'da people.' I think Janet will actually work for 'da people.'"

NOTES:

* Visit the Friends of Janet Metsa Web site to learn more about her background, issues, endorsements and more.

** Click here to learn more about Janet Metsa's views on Jobs and the Economy. See also our July 31, 2020, article, "Janet Metsa, Democratic candidate for Michigan's 110th State House District, speaks on economics, environment, education, energy."

*** Click here to learn about the UP Energy Task Force and their charge to assess the UP’s overall energy needs and how they are currently being met; formulate alternative solutions for meeting those needs with a focus on security, reliability, affordability, and environmental soundness; and identify and evaluate potential changes that could occur to energy supply and distribution in the UP, the impacts of such changes and the alternatives for responding to such changes.