DOWNTOWN OXFORD – A standing-room-only crowd packed HomeGrown Brewing Company’s second floor Feb. 21 for the first local campaign event of the 2020 election.
Folks were there to support Oxford Township resident Jody LaMacchia, 47, as she officially announced her candidacy for the 46th District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives.
“I promise to represent all of the people of District 46, to find common ground, to bridge the divide, to raise your voice in Lansing, to fight for policies and legislation that will benefit our entire community,” she said.
LaMacchia, who is running as a Democrat, grew up in Holt, Michigan. She was raised by her great aunt and uncle, Lyle and Jeannine Job. She said they “have always just been mom and dad to me.”
Her aunt grew up in poverty on a small family farm in Stanton during the Great Depression. “She had true grit and resiliency, and she worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known,” LaMacchia said.
Her uncle served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard a destroyer and a minesweeper.
LaMacchia’s desire to serve the people seems to be something she inherited from her aunt and uncle in that they both worked for state government. Her aunt did office work for the Michigan State Police, while her uncle was employed by the Department of Transportation, where he helped build roads and bridges.
LaMacchia has lived in Oxford since 2001.
For the last 17 years, she’s worked for Oakland County Friend of the Court as a family counselor and mediator. She said she deals with “highly-contentious custody disputes” where “the kids (are) caught in the middle.”
“They tell me, ‘we’re never going to agree on anything,’ and yet they do because I (get) them to always focus on what’s in their children’s best interest – even when it’s not exactly what either parent wants,” she said. “I’ve negotiated these agreements thousands of times.”
LaMacchia believes compromise is the key to any disagreement, whether it’s between parents or partisans
“It is possible to bring people together on issues that matter most to them – even (with) people that have nothing but animosity towards one another, even (with) Democrats and Republicans,” she said.
LaMacchia told the crowd she believes “the position of state representative means that you represent everyone in your district” and “you bring (them) together through shared interests and common goals, no matter what their political persuasion.”
“Our current representative is not doing that,” she said.
The 46th District seat is held by Republican John Reilly, of Oakland Township.
“I do not believe that his extreme viewpoints are an accurate description of this community and our neighbors,” LaMacchia said.
The 46th District includes Oxford, Addison, Orion, Brandon and Oakland townships as well as the villages of Oxford, Leonard, Lake Orion and Ortonville.
In LaMacchia’s view, the main issues of this campaign are providing access to “affordable” health care and prescription drugs, “protecting our water,” ensuring children “get a good, safe education” and ensuring people receive “a fair wage after a hard day of work.”
“For me, these aren’t political issues at all. They’re moral issues,” she told the crowd. “Lifting up our neighbors improves our community and makes it stronger. It moves us forward. That will be my priority when I’m elected.”
LaMacchia’s campaign kickoff was attended by some prominent Democrats, including Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan K. Cavanagh, state House Democratic Leader Christine Greig, state Sen. Rosemary Bayer and Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.