Detroit Free Press: Michigan senator helps teen's Make-A-Wish dream come true
WASHINGTON – It turns out not everyone reviles Congress: Some people actually dream of being there.
On Tuesday, 18-year-old Tom Stephenson of Greenville — who has been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition — got to shadow U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic organization, which helps children with critical conditions see their wishes come true.
In name, at least, he got to be "senator for a day."
As part of the day, Stephenson — who is attending Michigan State University this fall — got to sit in on meetings Peters had with college officials and others (including Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia) and ask questions. He also heard from agricultural officials who expressed concerns over Trump administration tariffs and their impact on Michigan's dry bean business.
"It's noon and it's already been a full day of meetings," said Stephenson, who suffers from a life-threatening condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which has been controlled through surgery and other medical interventions. "It's been quite fun."
Stephenson's strong feelings for the legislative process go back about a decade to when he came to Washington with his family to push for passage of health care reform. And while he's headed to Michigan State to study nursing, he says he can see running for office — beginning with state representative or county commissioner — some day.
"It's wonderful to have someone whose wish ... is to be senator for a day," Peters said. "I told Tom I hope he doesn’t run against me some day."
After saying he stood outside the White House on Monday night as President Donald Trump selected Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his new Supreme Court nominee, Stephenson was asked by a reporter what he thought of the nomination.
"I think this nominee will definitely shape the judiciary process," he began, before demurring. "(But) I don’t want to offer my opinion one way or another on my personal feelings about him."
By: Todd Spangler
Source: Detroit Free Press
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