My parents worked for the Methodist Church as missionaries, working on social and economic development with some of the poorest people in the world, and I grew up all over the world. I got my BA at Harvard studying social science. I joined the Peace Corps and taught mathematics in the Gambia, West Africa, where I met my wife, Aedin, an Irish librarian. I got a master’s and Ph.D. in Public Affairs at Princeton, where I studied economics, political science, and public policy. In 1996 Aedin and I and our daughters, Anna and Bridin, came to Kalamazoo. Since then I’ve taught national economic development, project management, and program evaluation at Western Michigan University. I helped to start our evaluation Ph.D. program at Western, and I’ve worked on evaluations and evaluation systems across the United States and around the world. In the past twenty years, I have been involved in some community and environmental initiatives. I have also served as an elder in my church.

I am running for Congress because I know America can do better. Our economy is working for the wealthy few but not for most Americans. Our political system is broken in many ways. Americans need to come together around a vision that is positive, hopeful and also practical. I can help to offer that vision, and I am committed to the hard work to move it forward.

People of Southwest Michigan deserves better. We have a Congressman who is personally responsible for passing a health care bill that would create higher out of pocket costs, even for people with insurance through their employer, higher prescription drug costs and an age tax that will cost many seniors thousands more while taking health care away from 40,000 people in this district; who has sold out to big oil and pharmaceutical interests; and who refuses to hold open town hall meetings to answer for his terrible votes.

We need a Congressman who will be responsive to all the people of the district and work hard to support their interests.

I believe in listening to people and finding solutions by working with them, rather than telling them what’s best for them. I believe everyone is worthy of respect, regardless of your age, religion, ethnicity, or their political beliefs.

And I believe we can and will do so much better in this country, by listening to regular people and recognizing that the things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us.

I am a runner, a biker, and a swimmer. I love our beautiful corner of Michigan and I am asking for your support so I can work in Congress to make it better.

Paul Clements