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    Interviewer: You spent thirty years with the Eaton County Sheriff's Department, correct?

    Senator Rick Jones: Thirty-one years. Started as a Deputy on the road and ended as Sherriff. Then I spent six years in the State House as a State Representative and now Senator.
    Interviewer: How was your campaign to be Sherriff?

    . Sen. Jones: My campaign to be Sherriff was quite exciting. It was considered an uphill battle. I was up against an incumbent Sherriff, and I defeated him.

    Interviewer: When you ran your congressional election was that different then when you ran for Sherriff?

    Sen. Jones: Yes, when I ran for the State House people recognized that I was a well-known person and people actually dropped out.

    Interviewer: What about your race for your Senate seat?

    Sen. Jones: Running for the Senate was even easier. I had been in the public eye for ten years, for a decade, as a Sherriff and an active State Rep. and of course there was a lot of media. So, people recognized that and I had no tough opponent. I did have a Republican opponent from Allegan County. Because the Senate district is of course much bigger than a State House district. The House district was Eaton County while the Senate district was Eaton, Barry and Allegan County, so three counties. So, I had someone from the West side of the district run. The man was a bit strange, his name was Randy Brink. At one appearance, where we both appeared, he bounded on the podium and said I am not really a Republican, I'm a libertarian, I'm a member of the tea party, and I will end all your taxes. (Laughs) So, I easily defeated him in the primary. I then went on to defeat the Democratic opponent quite easily, Michelle Disano. It is truly a Republican district. So, it was not much of a battle put up by Michelle Disano, just a name on a ballot.

    Interviewer: What made you want to get into the whole political game?

    Sen. Jones: Well, I originally got into politics when a Sherriff I was working for, made me very unhappy. I felt like promotions were done unfairly. For example in my area, I was trying to become a Sargent and I had a lot of trouble with him. He passed me over for promotion a number of times. I had a degree from MSU, I did very good on a.....it was in three parts to become promoted. You had a written exam, an oral board, three people from outside came in and judged you, and then you had the Sherriff's point system. Like three tiers. Well, I wrote the number one exam on a number of promotions. I had the number one oral board in a number of promotions. Then he would pass me over for people like the Under Sherriff's son. A little nepotism. So, I was disgusted with his behavior. Then he got arrested for drunk driving, and that gave an opening, a political opening. So, I assisted the man that ran against him, and that man Rick Wall defeated him. It was a very intense campaign, and I got involved in politics helping someone else run for office. Then I decided kind of enjoyed it; I went and joined the local Republican party. I began to participate in volunteer work, helped other candidates. I really learned the craft to being a politician and campaigning; the door to door, the mailings, the radio ads, and everything that you do. Well, I had gone on in my career, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain. And I had about 27 years in. By then the Sherriff that I had helped get elected had retired and there was another man in and I wasn't very happy with his activity. He didn't seem to have a lot of work ethic. I wasn't happy at all with how he was running the department. So, I made the decision to run against an incumbent; which is very difficult. And very tough to do when you are an employee. Because had I lost he could of put me anywhere, working midnights in the jail, shoveling dog manure in the dog pound.

    Interviewer: It was very risky.

    Sen. Jones: Yes, it was a big risk. And I made a choice to take that risk. Knocked on 6,000 doors, did a number of mailings. I was not personally wealthy; I did not have the money for the campaign. I was not able to raise a whole bunch of money because I was going against an incumbent. So I had to have what they call "fire in the belly." I got a second mortgage on my house, and I rolled the dice. Of course that made me work even harder. I defeated the man in a hard fought primary, there was no Democrat opponent and went on to be Sherriff.

    Interviewer: How was your term as Sherriff looking back now?

    Sen. Jones: Very successful, a number of notable things happened under my term. We had a train derailment which caused the biggest evacuation in the history of Michigan, I handled. I handled three tornado hits in Eaton County. Eaton Rapids we lost 70 houses. Another year we lost a delta power plant, and then we lost a school in Vermontville. And then we had the big power outage in Delta which was also a disaster. And people say well why was that a disaster? Well you have no burglar alarms you have no traffic lights, you have mass chaos. And so I had handled all those things, I was at the top of my career I had 31 years in. I decided it was time to move on and try to write some of these laws that I had been enforcing. There were a number of things that I had wanted to do. That's why I got interested in the State House. When I announced I was running the other Republican candidates dropped out and it was just me against the Democrat, and so that worked out well.

    Interviewer: Did your decision to run for Sherriff and the campaigns themselves affect your family in any way?

    Sen. Jones: Well, I would not say that my wife was stressed out about it, but if you are truly going to be a good candidate it takes a lot of time away from your family; the family had to accept that.

    Interviewer: You have two children, correct?

    Sen. Jones: Two children, they were old enough where it wasn't a huge problem. They were 18 and 19 and a half. Something like that. So it wasn't a huge problem for them me spending every night out knocking on doors. Because to be a good politician in my opinion when you run for office you've got to be out there every evening Monday through Saturday. Sunday afternoon depending on the district, some districts don't like any Sunday afternoon activity, some districts accept it. Never, of course, Sunday morning. And you are talking a lot of hours and dedication. Then you go home and you have to deal with all the e-mails that you've gotten and all the letters that you've gotten. It's a very involved process. When I ran for Sherriff, because we were trying to run on a shoe string, we did things like sticking labels on mailers. Nowadays, you run for office and you go to a mailing house and they spray the ink right on. All the addresses, it's all done for you automatically. They put them in boxes and sort it to get you a better price from the post office. But back then you maybe sat up all night putting labels on to get a mailing out. We did 5 mailings in like 15,000 pieces, we did that by hand.

    Interviewer: Your wife helped you with that?

    Sen. Jones: Yes, and volunteers, we had some friends that helped.

    Interviewer: Alright, well I would like to ask you about Senate Bill 17. Now I read that it was passed by the Senate panel and on its way to the Senate.

    Sen. Jones: Remind me which one it is.

    Interviewer: Oh, sorry. It's the bill where regulations and restrictions would be placed on dispensaries to not allow marijuana to be used on the premise.

    Sen. Jones: Oh, ok. No problem.

    Interviewer: So, are you optimistic that it will pass?

    Sen. Jones: I'm optimistic that it will pass. What that particular bill does is the dispensaries that are allowing marijuana to be consumed on the premise, which in my opinion makes it a marijuana bar, 99 percent of the people are going to drive away. We've already had some accidents, and I think if you are going to buy medication, if it is medication, then you can take it home. We don't have vicodin bars, or oxycodone bars, or anything else so if you truly need it for pain or whatever take it home. I think that's a reasonable restriction.

    Interviewer: Has there been a lot of bi-partisanship on this issue. I know that Joan Bauer a Democratic Representative has said that there needs to be stricter restrictions on Proposal 1.

    Sen. Jones: There has been a lot of bi-partisan support for regulating dispensaries and medical marijuana in general. It's out of control. We have doctors dispensing, in my opinion, for money. There were some online doctors for 200 dollars you tell them where is hurts and they give you a card. And none of the Senators or the Reps. That I am aware of want to keep it away from an elderly person that has cancer, or is in true pain. Nobody has a problem with that if you are using it at home. We do have a problem with what's going on right now.

    Interviewer: Former Governor Granholm was opposed to medicinal marijuana in general. Even after Proposal 1 was passed she was still opposed saying that it would be easier to obtain marijuana illegally. Now are you more in line with those views or are you more in line with Governor Rick Snyder's views which he doesn't have a problem with marijuana if it is for medicinal purposes and obtained legally?

    Sen. Jones: Well, I don't have a problem with medical marijuana, again, if it is obtained legally and you have a proper examination by a doctor and you are being prescribed for pain or a cancer patient or something. I don't have a problem with that. I think the problem we have right now is abuse of the system and it's literally out of control. Anybody will tell you if you go to a dispensary you see an awful lot of 20 years old getting there high for a week. And that's not what the law intended, at least that's not what the citizens of Michigan were told it intended.

    Interviewer: You tried to pass a similar bill to Senate Bill 17 when Governor Granholm was in office, correct?

    Sen. Jones: I introduced a bill in minority.

    Interviewer: But given Gov. Granholm's view on the issue where you more optimistic?

    Sen. Jones: No, I didn't have any thought that that would get anywhere. Because many times when you put a bill in in a minority people just ignore you. I did have some bi-partisan support, but the floor leader just decided that she wasn't going to take Republican bills up and just ignored me. And they didn't have a democrat that felt strong enough to put the bill in, so the bill went now where.

    Interviewer: If this bill does pass now when will those regulations take affect and will you need a lot of police in order to enforce that the new restrictions be followed?

    Sen. Jones: No, absolutely not. If the bill where to take effect it would simple be illegal to have a marijuana bar where you consume the product. Police officers already know where the dispensaries are and they are well aware of the ones that allow consumption on the premises. They would be told to comply and if the word got out that they were not complying the police would take action.

    Interviewer: Are there any issues that you feel strongly about that you are planning to bring up now that you have a majority support.

    Sen. Jones: Oh my gosh, I mean how long do you have! Today we just made a monumental change in the sex offender registry. The Adam Walls Child Protection Act, the Federal Act required the state to come into compliance and put the sex offenders into three tiers. Tier One, people like flashers would be put on that list for 15 years, could get off in 10 with no further reoffending, good behavior. Tier Two, much more serious offenders, more dangerous. They would be on the list for 25 years. Have to report to the police where they live, where they work, what they are driving twice a year. Tier Three, the most dangerous predator they would be on the list for life. And they would have to report every three months exactly where they were at what they were doing. So, I've just done that and while I had the act open we took care of the "Romeo and Juliet" cases. 16 is the age of consent in Michigan. If you had a boyfriend/girlfriend in High School, 17 year old boy 15 year old girl that is illegal. Boy gets in trouble, under the old system he would be on the list for 25 years. Can't get in the army, can't get a good job. Totally ruin a man's life. "Romeo and Juliet", that's the nickname for it, will never be on the list again. The ones that are on there now can go see a judge and get off. And we are talking strictly consensual boyfriend, girlfriend kind of deal.

    Senator Jones went on in his bills that he has introduced and hopes will pass. The binder the Senator was reading from was full of these bills and for the sake of longevity I will summarize. The bills varied from environmental to recreational. An example of an environmental bill is one that is trying to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Recreational in the sense of allowing Michigan to sell fireworks that were once illegal and could only be bought outside the State. Senator Jones put it as Michigan losing out on money and it instead going to other states.

    Another included getting rid of Senator Jones' lifetime health benefits that he would receive from being a State Representative for 6 years. The lifetime benefits that State Representatives receive have sparked a surplus of negative feedback. Senator Jones thinks it is unnecessary to have lifetime benefits after six years of work.

    One bill included Bridge Cards; the bill would ban Bridge Cards from being used in casinos. As of right now Bridge Cards could be used in ATM machines in casinos to withdraw cash. This is not what the cards are intended for and therefore the likelihood that this will pass is almost guaranteed to pass.

    An interesting one involved medical marijuana, but different in the sense of Senate Bill 17. It would ban medical marijuana from car insurance. They have these kids coming in saying that they have a bump on their head and they are in pain and I want you to pay for my medical marijuana. That would make our car insurance go up even higher. So the Senator hopes to ban that as well.
    Future plans for Senator Jones consist of running for a second term for Senate.

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