By K.D. Norris
Despite a resounding win over his challenger for the State House District 77 race, Republican Tommy Brann says he prefers to continue to be known as a small businessman rather than politician.
He also does not think the GOP surge in Michigan played much into his win.
“I don’t think so. I focused on the local and I think the more local it is the less the impact of the national,” Brann said Wednesday morning. “When I go to things (public events), when I am out there, I do not want to go there as a politician. I want to go there as a local small businessman. I do not want people to change the way they look at me.”
He also said despite the big win, he knows he is working for all the people, not just the ones who voted for him. “I won with 64 percent … but to those other people, I want to please those people too,” he said.
Brann gained his first statewide office in the Tuesday election, defeating Democrat Dana Knight with 66 percent of the votes (27,946 to 14,526) for the seat representing the City of Wyoming and Byron Township and currently held by Thomas Hooker of Byron Township, who is vacating due to term limits. Hooker recently was elected as the new supervisor for Byron Township, where he lives.
Brann, a Wyoming resident, is the owner of Brann’s Steakhouse and has run the business since he was 19-years-old.
He previously said he ran for office because “I’ve always been interested in politics and admired the people who do it. I believe in free enterprise. There’s a lot of stories of entrepreneurs that I want to share not only with the government.”
He also ran on a simple platform of “keeping government simple” and avoiding debt. He reiterated that stand Wednesday.
“Working in my restaurant, I have learned that when you run a business, you keep it simple. … That is definitely the way to run government,” Brann said. “I am not there yet (in Lansing), so I don’t have specifics. … and you’ve got to have some paperwork and you have some regulations. For instance, the health department, you could call that a county regulation. I really believe in the health department; it is good for me, it is good for my customers, it is good for when I go out to eat at other restaurants. There are good regulations. But I think government and business should work the same way.”
He also stressed that government should be wary of debt.
“There is not sense of urgency” about debt, Brann said. “That debt, on the national level, is a national security problem. And I don’t want to see (debt problems) happen in our state.
“We have problems in our state. (For example) it is not the teachers’ problem, but we are $27 billion in arrears in teachers’ pension. It may be a little paranoid (looking at possible debt problems), but as a small business owner you have to be fiscally responsible. I think it is important government is run that way too. You see some cities that get in arrears, and they cut budgets and they cut services, and that leads to problems. I think Flint is a prime example of that.”
Brann will take office in January.