When last we left Dennis Lennox, the school administration at Central Michigan University had formally disciplinedthe Junior in a meeting that was held in secret without his participation. He had been involved with a nearly year long confrontation with his administration over Gary Peters. Peters was simultaneously holding the distinguished Griffin Chair and running for U.S. Congress in a district hundreds of miles away. As the confrontation got more intense over time, it lead to more extreme actions. Eventually, was charged with all sorts of charges that I consider dubious at best, and now just recently the administration finally, after scheduling and postponing multiple hearings, formally disciplined Lennox in secret without allowing him to attend. At the time, no one, including Lennox himself, thought that his next move would be to announce his intention to run for state office. Yet, that is exactly what he has done. Here is a portion of the press release I received...
Topinabee resident Dennis Lennox announced his candidacy for the 105th state House seat currently held by retiring Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer on Wednesday.
"With Representative Elsenheimer's decision not to run again, it's important to ensure a conservative voice continues to represent us," said Lennox. "The people of northern Michigan want someone willing to cut taxes, improve the economy and vote their values."
Lennox, 23, is active in Republican politics and has worked for President
George W. Bush, Congressman David Camp and Senate Republicans in Lansing under
then-Majority Leader Ken Sikkema. He has also represented the GOP abroad – building important relationships with center-right political parties and leaders. Earlier this year, he was elected as an alternate delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Events unraveled as they normally do in such cases. First, Lennox told me that he had been eyeing a run at this seat in 2010. In the Michigan state legislature, state reps are term limited to three terms. The Representative in his home district, Kevin Elsenheimer, was finishing his second term. Just recently, Elsenheimer announced that instead of seeking another re election, he was going to retire.
The whole the situation was ripe for Lennox to take advantage. First, the 105th District is pretty solid Republican. Second, the primary is scheduled for August. If he were to win the primary, that means that he would be near assured of winning the general election. If he were to lose in the primaries, he could take the newly gained experience back to school or to whatever opportunity happened to come up. It still remains unclear how the Peters saga will fit in within the election. It certainly has no direct relevance and could only be used tangentially.
Lennox told me that he is leaving behind a functioning apparatus to continue the fight against Peters dually holding the Griffin Chair and running for U.S. Congress. While this is so, it is obviously unclear how the group will function without its leader. My first question was a rather cynical one...why shouldn't we see this as you using these events to further your own ambitions?
Lennox' answer was both political and statesman like depending on your perspective. He told me that he always believed that public service was a noble endeavor, and that he saw this as an opportunity to serve the people.
The issues he will be dealing with are in most ways totally different from the ordeal that has consumed his life over the previous ten months. Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the country. The state government recently passed record tax increases. Furthermore, Michigan has been far more dependent on manufacturing than the average states. The automobile industry is in decline, and Lennox believes that Michigan sets out far too many regulations.
He believes the solutions to Michigan's economic malaise is getting back to good old fashioned traditional conservative, libertarian, and free market principles. He believes the way out of this malaise is with lower taxes, less government intrusion, and less regulations. He has already signed Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge
. He mentioned that he was also going to look to aggressively eliminate those bureaucracies that he felt weren't performing. He also mentioned that deregulation was another goal of his. By removing government and lowering the tax burden, he believes the free market will work to revolutionize Michigan's economy.
Lennox mentioned that of course since the campaign is only days old that his entire platform hadn't yet been developed. With that caveat, I took away that he would try and run as a consistent, reliable, conservative that was going to work to get the Republicans back to their roots.
So far he is leading and that's because he is the first to announce. Ironically enough, Jon Benet Ramsey's dad could possibly be one of his opponents. Jon Ramsey ran for office here a few years back
. It is far too early to determine his prospects, but we will keep an eye out.