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Concluding thoughts and thanks

To the Editor:

As I have just completed my third and final term under term limits as your state representative, I wanted to provide you with some concluding thoughts regarding affairs in the Michigan House of Representatives.

This session, we passed numerous pieces of legislation that improve the lives of Michigan residents. We managed to balance the state's budget by passing cost-saving measures while protecting important priorities such as K12 education, health and public safety.

In addition, we worked hard to help those who are unemployed by raising unemployment benefits by $62 a week while reducing taxes on employers that retain workers.

We sought to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls by passing legislation allowing Michigan residents to place their name on a "do not call list" and prohibiting telemarketers from blocking their phone number on your caller ID.

Gov. Engler also signed into law several more bills that I sponsored. I ended my legislative career with 49 bills signed into law, including bills to raise jury compensation for the first time in over 30 years, provide for better enforcement of child-custody laws, regulate predatory lending practices and redevelop blighted neighborhoods.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank you for affording me the honor and privilege of serving as your state representative for the past six years. I have always treated the responsibilities of the office with the utmost respect. I have considered it my obligation to never miss a day of session and to put the interests of the people I was elected to serve first.

While some may have disagreed with my position or vote on a particular issue, I have always attempted to treat all interested parties with dignity, respect and compassion. I am proud to say that I have done my best.

I am confident that I am leaving the office of state representative in very capable hands. Our newly elected representative, Ed Gaffney, already has significant Lansing experience and will be able to hit the ground running.

We are fortunate to have such well-qualified people at all levels of government, from our mayors and city councils to our school boards and state offices, who are willing to devote their time and talents to serve our community.

I do want to remind everyone that I am not leaving public life. As you may know, I was just elected to represent the citizens of the State of Michigan on the University of Michigan Board of Regents, much to the chagrin of my wife, Susan, a Spartan!

I hope you will continue to stay in touch and to let me know if I can assist in my new capacity in resolving any concerns that you may have.

As I begin the next chapter of my life, I take with me many fond memories of all the wonderful people I have met and friendships I have made along the way. I am grateful to all of you who have graciously supported me from my days on the Grosse Pointe Park City Council to my current position. I must also give a special word of thanks to Palmer Heenan, Greg Theokas, Nina Hendricks, Steve Sholty and Tom McCleary. I couldn't have done it without you!

I am, of course, particularly grateful to my wife and our son and daughter, who with the ultimate in patience and understanding have endured a decade of campaigns, late-night phone calls and meals with an absent husband and father.

I am also grateful to my mother, Georgiana, who continues to insist that she hates politics, but nevertheless has done her fair share of stuffing envelopes and now is willing to admit that she voted for me in the last election.

God bless you and your family and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year! Go Blue!

Andrew C. Richner

Grosse Pointe Park

Andrew C. Richner
January 09, 2003

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