June 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

Restoring Detroit's glory

LaFontaine (Courtesy: Michigan Legislature)

Itís not uncommon for me to hear stories from family members and constituents alike reminiscing about what Detroit once was. When people would dress up, go downtown and shop at Hudsonís in an era when Detroit was booming with jobs and thriving with endless economic activity.

Today, we may visit Detroit for a sporting event or a concert once in a while, but itís more commonly viewed as a city with a history of corrupt politicians, rampant crime and reckless financial decisions, which drove the city to the ground.

I want to see the day when Detroit is restored to its former glory. I want to experience the city I hear about in those stories; a place where my generation can live, work and play, and not just on the weekend.

We lose too many local college graduates every year to successful, sound, job-providing, ďbig citiesĒ all around the country, and itís about time we give our own graduates that ďbig cityĒ option, in the state they call home: Michigan.

As a state lawmaker, I am faced with a decision that is a prime example of good policy versus bad politics. When crafting any significant piece of legislation, a great deal of compromise is always required.

While I do not believe the bills to rescue Detroit are perfect, they are a great start and they are right for Michigan. They incorporate an immense amount of strict oversight and necessary reforms that will provide the stability that the city desperately needs.

At the end of the day, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must decide which is better: vote yes on the settlement package and pay $195 million today, or vote no and pay the price later, which could be $3 billion in taxpayer money? When faced with the opportunity to help solve a systemic problem, do we drag it out through years of uncertainty, or do we make the tough decisions we were elected to make?

Michigan is still recovering from years of its one-state recession, and I fully believe that we will not fully succeed unless our largest city recovers, too. My parents always told me that I should work to leave things better than the way I found them. During my tenure in the Legislature, I intend to do just that, which is why I strongly support Detroitís recovery.

State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-New Baltimore, represents Michiganís 32nd District.

Detroit is much more than Tigers, Lions and Red Wings games. (Tanya Moutzalias / Special to The Detroit News)