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We Should All be on Team Michigan

July 6, 2021

By State Representative Tommy Brann, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS on Business magazine

Civility in politics. An easy statement but sometimes, hard to do. Politicians are human beings; we have egos and strong opinions so we are going to go at it at times, but that does not mean we cannot like each other. I have a lot of friends on both sides, even though we may differ on certain ideologies. The problem with politics is that it’s a sport—the R’s versus the D’s. That’s just a sad fact. The whole idea is that we should all be on Team M: Team Michigan. 

I remember during my first term—we were still on the House floor at 2 a.m., which as a bar and restaurant owner for 30 years, I’ve been up at that hour giving last call just a few times. The big deal was we had taken an important vote, and I was stressed out about it. After the vote, a colleague from the other side was verbally cutting down our Speaker and I heard him. I was upset and we clashed. I did not feel bad for sticking up for my Speaker, but I still felt bad about the clash with my Democratic colleague. I got to Lansing early the next day and sat on the floor outside my colleague’s office to personally apologize. We are friends now and continue to strengthen our relationship. 

As an Appropriations subcommittee chair, I have always strived to include my minority vice chair in the budget process. I have worked in good faith to include their priorities so we could come to an agreement. Just like me, they are representing 90,000 people. It would be a disservice to their district to not include them. 

I like the way Governor Snyder governed: no personal attacks, no blame, no drama. If you look at business people, they operate their businesses that way too, and I will tell you why—even as the owner of Brann’s Steakhouse, you will never hear me cut down Outback Steakhouse because I know what they go through. I know how hard Outback works to stay in business.  

You would never see the CEO of GM cut down Ford for there is a mutual respect and understanding that both automakers are in this together. We, as politicians, should learn from these business leaders. We are all in this together.  

I’d like to dedicate my statement to State Representative Jewell Jones, my friend on the other side, who I care about. 

State Representative Tommy Brann has been a member of the Michigan House of Representatives since 2017. He represents the 77th District, which includes Byron Township and the city of Wyoming. He currently is the owner and operator of Brann’s Steakhouse, which has several locations across Michigan, including his very first restaurant that has been open for 49 years. 

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