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Front Page Photo of the Day Log-IN About us November 19, 2006
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Jubilance shows on the faces of Mary Valentine, center, her mother, Phyllis Hostetler, 90, and sister, Margaret Hostetler, after the vote count showed she upset a two-term Republican. (Photo by Katy Bryant)

Mrs. Valentine Goes to Lansing, and Joins the Blue Tiger Democrats

Central High Grad Wins State Representative Seat On First Try at Age 59

November 19, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Remember the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" when political neophyte Jimmy Stewart wins a seat in the U.S. Senate and brings his country-boy attitudes to the nation's capitol.

Well, that kind of story has developed right here in Michigan as the Democrats swept state as well as national races.

Mary Hostetler Valentine, Flint native, daughter of a former Bay City Times police reporter and 1965 Central High graduate, has a new career at age 59.

Recently retired as a speech therapist from the Reeths-Puffer Schools, near Muskegon, she is a brand new state representative, having won her first campaign for political office.

After the election she told the Muskegon Chronicle she sensed the public was ready for a change and sought the challenge of serving in the state House.

Not only did she win the race, she upset a two-term Republican from a well-known political family, David Farhat, who was slated to become chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Mrs. Valentine earned a 20,494 to 16,148 victory over Rep. Farhat in the 91st state House district and helped the Democrats take control of the state House.

And now, in the wake of the victory, Michigan has become the first state to adopt principles of the "Blue Tiger Democrats."

The Blue Tigers aim for civic engagement, campaign finance reform and greater accountability and transparency in government, according to Mark Brewer, state chair of the Democrats.

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Farhat, a former developer from Fruitport Township, was seeking his third term in the 91st district, comprised of the cities of Norton Shores, Roosevelt Park, Whitehall and Montague, other township areas in Muskegon County and Chester Township in Ottawa County.

"It's just a combination of things," Valentine told the Chronicle. I think people are ready for change, a fresh face in Lansing. I think they appreciated me going to their doors and listening to them. I think all those things helped."

Rep. Mary Valentine, who lives in Norton Shores, a suburb of Muskegon, comes from a family of five. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant. Her sister, Margaret, lives in Ann Arbor, and her cousin, Katy Bryant, of Bay City, is also a speech therapist, recently retired from the Bay City Public Schools.

Just like Mr. Smith in Washington in the movie, Mary Valentine will hit Lansing with a fresh breeze. Many observers hope that what she and the Blue Tigers bring is not a repeat of the old ways of doing politics.###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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