05/08/2012 11:05 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2012

The Race in Michigan's Third -- Gerald Ford's Old District

Considering what is happening to the Republican party today, Gerald Ford couldn't win a primary in his old congressional district. No one could hold views that are further away from Ford's than the current holder of that seat, Tea Party conservative Justin Amash.

Ford was a lifelong moderate who understood the role of government and the need to ensure that people were treated equally and fairly. Ford was an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. He eventually adopted a personal pro-choice stance and publicly advocated for a woman's right to choose.

But today Gerald Ford would lose a Republican primary against the likes of the ultra-conservative Justin Amash. But the majority of the people of the 3rd District aren't Republican Primary voters. They don't have to abide by what the Tea Party thinks is right. Moderate Republicans, Independents and Democrats can actually have a real choice on the ballot this November.

The Democratic primary in August features two very different candidates running to oppose Justin Amash in November. One is supported by some of the old-line Democratic leaders who actually believe their best bet to win is by putting up a candidate with similar views to Amash and having him wear a donkey mask to fool the people. Steve Pestka's views are actually to the right of Gerald Ford's. I think the people of the third are smarter, won't be fooled, and will force Pestka to unmask and really ask him where he stands on the issues they; their children and parents care about. I think that the Democratic voters of the third are as smart as or smarter than those in Pennsylvania who recently did that to two Congressmen who were pretend Democrats but voted against their president and their party on major issues. They were thrown out by those smart voters.

Mr. Pestka and Mr. Amash clearly share the antiquated view that women shouldn't have control of their own lives or their own bodies. I wouldn't be surprised that if asked they would say they would have opposed the ERA back in 1976 and still do today. They are both pro-life and they both voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Today Pestka is trying to say he has changed his views. That just makes him more like another Republican, Mitt Romney, who is willing to say anything to get elected. Again the voters of the third won't be fooled.

The alternative to Mr. Pestka in the Democratic primary is a bright young man named Trevor Thomas. Mr. Thomas grew up in the District in a UAW home. His parents met on the line and worked there for 34 years. Today their son is running for Congress to fight to see that they and their fellow auto workers get to keep their pensions and their health care benefits. Trevor was educated in Michigan at Grand Valley State and went on to work at a local TV station and then to serve in the administration of Governor Granholm. She will tell you how smart Trevor is and that is why she endorsed him as soon as he announced his campaign.

There are many people that understand it is time for new blood in politics both in Michigan and in Washington. If we are to move forward in the Democratic Party we can't keep recycling the same people. Trevor left Michigan for a few years to make his mark in Washington, D.C. working in the non-profit field and in a short time he made a difference. He was instrumental in the successful effort to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He did that because of the many men and women he met who told him they only wanted the right to be able to fight for, and if G-D chose, die for their country.

Trevor believes in 'Choice' and learnt from a strong woman, his mother, that women should have full and equal rights. Trevor has met with students across the District and supports them and will fight to ensure that the rates on student loans stay at the low rate they are today. He supports increasing the availability of Pell grants so that more of the young people of the third district can afford to go to college, get a decent job, and support themselves and their families.

He doesn't bow to Amash or anyone in his understanding and commitment to cutting federal spending and doing it now. But contrary to Amash, Trevor Thomas won't do it on the backs of the poor and middle class. He has stated that while he will cut the federal budget he will also raise taxes on those millionaires and billionaires who now pay less of a percentage of their income than his parents and the other auto workers and middle class citizens of the district. This isn't class warfare as some Republican's like to call it; rather it is simple fairness in a nation where everyone should do their fair share and where we all work to make our family's lives better.

The voters of Michigan's third district have the chance to make a statement this year by electing Trevor Thomas. By electing Trevor they are saying they want a Congressperson who shares their values and will support their president. Who will work on those issues close to home to make life better for all the people in the 3rd Congressional District.

Some have said to Thomas that he sounds like he wants to go back to the days of 'mom and apple pie'. Well he does! But when Trevor Thomas says it you know what he means is to have our country move into the future with equal rights for all; a strong middle class; a strong economy; and the commitment to care of those who are least able to care for themselves; our children and our seniors.

Consider President Ford again: his support for women's rights led him to sign a Presidential Proclamation that said, "In this Land of the Free, it is right, and by nature it ought to be, that all men and all women are equal before the law. Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America, to remind all Americans that it is fitting and just to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment adopted by the Congress of the United States of America, in order to secure legal equality for all women and men, do hereby designate and proclaim August 26, 1975, as Women's Equality Day." He was for increasing spending on education and actually streamlined the EPA. On health care he said, "The Federal role in overcoming barriers to needed healthcare should emphasize healthcare financing programs -- such as Medicare and Medicaid". Even on the issue of gay rights back in 1976 he understood that this would be an evolving issue and confronted it with passion, earnestly and honestly.

Trevor Thomas will be a Representative for the people of Michigan's third District that they can be proud of. He will serve in the spirit of Gerry Ford. Looking at the records of his opponents, Amash and Pestka, it is clear they wouldn't have President Ford's support.