Some politicians capable of honor


On Michigan Radio | August 1, 2017

... Despite what you might call the White House horrors, despite Flint and legislative gridlock, there are still people out there making a difference.

Coincidentally, while the craziness was unfolding in Washington yesterday, I met with a couple of them. Senator Steve Bieda, a Democrat from Warren, is something of the conscience of the state senate. He has displayed ability to work with his Republican colleagues, a rare commodity today at either the state or local level.

Bieda was the main architect of the bills that compensate exonerated prisoners for the time they spent behind bars. That doesn’t give them their lives back, but it is something, and may spur communities to provide better public defenders.

He’s also the legislature’s leading history buff, is passionate about the Capitol building, and is one of the few Americans to have designed a coin for the U.S. Mint.

Now a youthful 56, he should be approaching the peak of his effectiveness. But thanks to term limits, his political career will likely be over at the end of next year.

That is, unless the Democratic nominee for governor picks him as a running mate. Bieda also would be a logical candidate for Congress -- except that there are no term limits for federal officials, and the incumbent in his district, Sandy Levin, shows no signs of leaving, even though he will be 87 before his current term ends. Bieda won’t starve. He is a tax lawyer, and probably could make more money than he does now. But he has a passion for public service.

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Steve Bieda