The person sitting next to me on my flight home from DC on Friday turned out to be Terri Lynn Land, the red team candidate for the US Senate in Michigan to fill the seat being vacated due to the retirement of Carl Levin.
Plane time is usually work time for me, but once in a while I will talk if the person seems interesting enough, and Terri passed that bar. I think the last person to pass the bar (other than people I know - I've ended up next to both Randy Eberts and John Abowd on flights from DTW to DCA) was a Rolling Stone reporter going to Amsterdam for a pot festival a few years ago.
Terri and I talked about her activities as county clerk and then Michigan Secretary of State, about legalizing marijuana (she seemed open) and legalizing prostitution (she did not seem open but was surprised to learn it is legal in Canada), about building more (literal) bridges to Canada from Michigan and about border openness in general (she seemed quite keen on this, which you would expect from a Michigan politician of either flavor), about the corrupting (in a broad sense) influence of life as a politician in DC, and about our common appreciation for former president Gerald Ford.
Terri seemed most passionate about the public management aspects of what she accomplished as county clerk and secretary of state, such as making lines shorter at the DMV via sensible administrative and technological reforms. It is certainly true that the DMV in Michigan is substantially better run than what I experienced in Maryland.
Overall, I came away with a positive impression, in large part because she seemed eager to listen and not so eager to push for my vote.
Who was my favorite student this term?
8 months ago