This may be the best-kept secret in Michigan politics.

After devastating losses across all levels of government last November, which convinced many Republicans to give up, one news story brings us hope but has gotten very little media attention. 

The whisper is about the newest member of the Michigan House Freedom Caucus. He is already making a name for himself. He boldly declares he will not participate in creating the daily sewage seeping from the Capitol rotunda.

Freshman MI State Rep. Josh Schriver (R)

Josh Schriver, a 30-year-old resident of Oxford, was elected to be the State Representative for District 66. The area includes many mixed and conservative-leaning areas, including Ortonville, Brandon, Oxford, Addison, Leonard, Oakland, Bruce, Romeo, and Washington townships.

While he is one of the youngest representatives, it isn’t just Schriver’s age that makes him stand out. What is unusual is that he is willing to just say “No!” to the excesses excreted by the newly-emboldened Democrat majority, despite the fallout. And he appears ready to lead others to do things differently.

His plan is simple. He will model the behaviors any principled legislator should follow. He hopes to reverse most people’s negative views about politicians eventually.

First, Schriver is only one of two Members within the group of 110 State Representatives to have raised the majority of election funding from people in his district. That’s a considerable achievement. Shockingly, these politicians solicit money from people and organizations beyond those they represent, even from out of state. Guess where their loyalties lie?

Schriver refuses to go along to get along. Here are some examples from his first month in office:

  • Shriver believes in transparency and the Michigan Constitution. He makes it a point to post his votes on Facebook and why he voted the way he did. Only one other member is doing that. Why aren’t others an open book? 
  • In a legislature where members of each caucus are told by leadership how they should vote, Josh Schriver is his own man. He said he would vote to do what he feels is best for the people, not the party. For example, when the Governor pushed pension income tax breaks aimed chiefly at benefiting government employees, he strongly opposed it. As a constituent, I appreciate that. 
  • Civil rights leaders and the uni-party criticized him for being one of eight representatives to oppose the election of Speaker Joe Tate, Democrat of Detroit. What was his reason? Tate gave them only two hours to read his 37 pages of House Rules before the vote. Tate gave no opportunity to discuss or recommend improvements. Of course, Schriver’s opponents want to paint his “No!” vote as a race issue.
  • Since taking control of the three branches of government last month in Michigan, the Democrat strategy has been to cram through as many bills as possible with little or no Republican input. They also don’t let their rules get in the way of a bill’s passage. For example, Democrats modified a $150 million bill called SB-7 to increase spending to over $1 Billion without going through committees, having a public hearing, or even providing itemized detail for legislators to understand what they proposed. Instead, Democrats used a parliamentary trick to send the bill to a three-person conference committee dominated by two Democrats. Shrewdly bypassing the process is no way to run a government. These practices breed dishonesty and mistrust among members and Michigan residents. Schriver voted “No!”

The Impact

Representative Schriver is a firm believer in the Almighty and sought his office to bring good Christian values and make a difference. He has principles that he says he will not violate. But having principles means being denied the possibility of getting roles on important House committees, such as health and human services, where he could add much value. 

So here are the trade-offs every elected official must consider: 

  • Will you go along to get along, or will you stand up and fight the piss-poor governance practices Lansing politicians allowed for 100 years? 
  • Will you horse-trade your principles so that leadership will love you more? 
  • Will you use your office for personal gain, or will you seek to benefit those in your district and across the state? 

Yes, this story will remain one of the best-kept secrets until the people of Michigan demand more from each of our elected officials. It gives me hope to see membership increasing in the Freedom Caucus, which a few members formed early last month. The caucus is composed of several House Republicans who have agreed to promote issues of personal liberty, free markets, and family values.

Republican leaders of the MI Freedom Caucus include Chair Rep. Steve Carra, Vice-Chair Rep. Matt Maddock, Sec. Rep. Neil Friske and Parliamentarian Rep. Angela Rigas, and Sec. Rep. Rachelle Smit. Other members include Rep. Josh Schriver, Rep. Joseph Fox of Fremont and Rep. Neil Friske of Ellsworth.

House Minority Leader (RINO) Matt Hall has voiced his concern over the conservative group standing up to the far-left Democrats and Republicans beholden to PACs and special interest groups, saying, “This is a very narrow majority, 56-54, and that requires us to come to the middle,” adding, “We can’t go and start pushing down these divisive policies.”

“We won’t get any good legislation through, but hopefully, since it’s only a small majority, not everything is going to get there,” said Rep. Friske. “Hopefully, we can do a lot of stopping of a lot of really bad stuff.”

MI State Rep. Josh Schriver shared this powerful video on his Facebook page, showing him taking the oath of office.

One of the antiquated and crappy practices targeted by the caucus was the excessive authority given to the House Speaker. “We must pass honest and fair rules that benefit the constituents of our districts,” said Representative Steve Carra, the Republican who chairs the new caucus. “These House Rules have progressively given more and more power to the speaker. Letting the speaker fire personal staff, set mailing budgets, and control office space ensures that legislators perform their duties in fear.”

That’s what we need. Show us less fear and more action to push back. Do it now.

A special contribution by Jay R. Taylor.

Jay R. Taylor is a business owner and writer living in Oxford, Michigan. He has been married to Kay for just over forty years, has two grandchildren, and is active at the local, county, and state levels. He currently serves on his township library board as finance officer.

He previously held senior executive roles with General Motors Company, where he established and led the Strategic Risk Management function reporting to the Board of Directors Risk Committee. Earlier roles included leading internal audit teams for global information technology, financial services, North American Operations, and business units across Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Taylor is an author and speaker on topics including risk management, technology risk, finance, compliance, and internal audit. He served as Chairman of the Institute of Internal Auditors’ International Advanced Technology Committee and has provided cyber security awareness training to the national bank board of director members. His interests now revolve around local and Michigan politics and providing small businesses with marketing and copywriting services.

He earned an MBA from the University of Michigan along with four professional certifications and the Board Governance Fellow designation from the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Jay can be reached at [email protected].

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