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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.”