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The Hillsdale County Democratic Party held a meet-and-greet with Shri Thanedar, a Democratic candidate for governor, in its meeting on Wednesday.

Jessy Vigelow, vice chairman for the group, said the Hillsdale County Democrats invite all Democratic candidates in order to get the Democratic voice out and provide more options for voters.

(Photo: Wikimedia)

“We get a lot of positive feedback,” Vigelow said. “A lot of our members like the difference in thoughts. They like the out-of-the-box views the various candidates offer.”

Thanedar told The Collegian he hopes to appeal to both sides of the political spectrum and that his history as a small business owner and immigrant helps him bridge the divide.

“Someone like me would come in and say, ‘What is the right thing to do?’ instead of focusing on a particular ideology,” he said.

Born in India, Thanedar said he grew up in a financially struggling family, giving him a unique political perspective. He said he understands the anger and frustration expressed by the working class in the 2016 presidential election.

“There was a lot of anger from the working poor,” he said. “Their lives have not improved over the last 10 to 20 years.”

Thanedar said even though Hillsdale County is predominantly right-leaning, he can offer a financially savvy and compassionate alternative.

“I wouldn’t squander money or use taxpayer dollars inefficiently,” Thanedar said. “And I would do all of this with a heart of compassion, which we haven’t seen in Lansing for the past seven years.”

The election is more than a year away, but the chairman of the Hillsdale County Democrats,  Mike Sutton, said it is never too early to start giving the candidates attention. Sutton said the group will endorse the candidate that wins the primary election on Aug. 7, 2018.

Vigelow said despite Hillsdale County’s Republican edge, the Democratic group doesn’t see it as a battle.

“We’re just trying to stand up for Democratic values. We want to get the Democratic voice out there in Hillsdale County,” she said. “It’s small but fierce.”