Oct 12, 2009

Former State Representative Doug Spade announces run for Michigan Senate

In a bit of great news, former State Representative Doug Spade, D-Adrian, formally announced today he is a candidate for the 16th District State Senate District that covers Lenawee, Hillsdale, Branch and St. Joseph Counties.

“With two government shut-downs in the past three years, a seeming inability to act on pressing matters in a timely fashion, and a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude of inflexibility exhibited by all too many elected officials, it’s no surprise the public has lost confidence in state government,” Spade said in a press release announcing his candidacy.

The 16h District Senate seat is currently occupied by rightwing Republican Cameron Brown, but he is term limited and running for Michigan Secretary of State. But winning in a conservative district is nothing new to Spade. When he was elected to the first of his three terms in the House in 1998 he was the first Democrat to serve Lenawee County in the House since 1914.

I have met Doug Spade a few times, and I had the same impressions as everybody else: he’s a class act, and they think they already know him from listening to the radio show he hosted on WLEN Adrian for 25 years.

I first met him when I was working for my first newspaper, the mom and pop weekly Blissfield Advance. He and I were the “celebrity” guests at a diner hosted by a Girl Scout troop in Blissfield. All I can tell you is that his seeing eye dog was much more popular than both of us.

Spade was the operations manager at WLEN, and for 25 years he hosted a call-in show called “Party Line.” It was not your conventional talk show. The show began at noon, and people just called in to talk about anything they wanted. He made the show about the callers, and they could talk about anything under the sun; from their garden to current affairs. I would listen to see what people were talking about.

I ran across him again when I went to work for the Adrian Daily Telegram. I had only been there a few months when the 1996 election occurred. Doug Spade made his first run at the state House against then incumbent extremist right-winger Tim Walberg, and Walberg kept his seat by just a few votes after a recount. When he retired in 1998, Doug won the seat handily; now held by his brother, Dudley Spade.

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