The Election brought these Michigan families together in new ways this 2020.
MICHIGAN—All over the state of Michigan, families are coming together, generation after generation, to vote for presidential nominee Joe Biden.
On Election Day, we’re taking a look back at The ‘Gander coverage and recapping what moms, dads, brothers, and others in the family are saying about their hopeful future president.
Soybeans are a livelihood for Michigan farmers like Doug Darling. His farm is a story of survival in these tough times.
Michigan soybean farmer Doug Darling, a well-traveled farmer, along with his parents, Elgin and Joanne, is a partner at Darling Farms—a sesquicentennial farm in Monroe County part of the family since 1833. Darling is a sixth-generation farmer, while his son, Dayton, is seventh generation.
Presidential nominee Joe Biden sows connections with farmers across the nation like Darling.
Biden has made strides as part of his platform to address inequities in rural America, notably agriculture’s economic and cultural significance in states like Michigan.
Biden’s campaign platform vows to strengthen the agricultural sector by reexamining trade agreements and working with allies; expanding a micro-loan program for new and beginning farmers, by doubling the maximum loan amount to $100,000; allowing farmers to negotiate their own prices by forming regional supply chains; and reinvesting in land grant universities’ research so public entities and not private companies own patents.
“The bottom line is, you’ve got 7.8 billion people on this planet,” Darling said. “It doesn’t matter what country you are or what religion you are. You wake up tomorrow and you want to eat. You need people to buy it first.”
For the first time in my life, we’ll be four generations strong for the same candidate—but all for different reasons.
Mid-Michigan mom Harmony Lloyd and her family are not debating who should be the next president. All four living generations—from her 86-year-old grandma to her 20-year-old son—are united in voting for Joe Biden. And each for completely different reasons, from health care to law.
She shares her journey of finding a new family bond this year with even her most conservative family members.
Detroiter Kija Gray doesn’t just take her children to the polls and vote because it’s the right thing to do.
The first-generation, Canadian-American resident [of Caribbean ancestry] pulls from her family’s examples that their matriarch set forth and now she forges a democratic path before her adult children to walk in.
“My mother was a teacher; she’s deceased now. She always took us [to vote]. She would get off of work and we would always go voting with her, even when [we were] little kids,” Gray said. “That was so important to see. I think it is primarily, it is a practice and a habit. One of the things I do…for my children. They need to see us doing that. She made it so we could see the process and understand that.”
Gray, 52, believes in the Democratic party because “[i]f we’re not all okay then none of us are okay.”
She said growing up in Canada, she voted for the first time at 18 years old, and now that her son is 21 and her daughter is 18, she reflected on voting in her youth, and why others should vote for the youth.
The only way to be a part of the conversation is to be engaged in the voting process. I think politics extends beyond just our federal government. Representation matters. We’re focused heavily on the presidential office but all these others bills and initiatives matter.”
Katie Jimmerson, 43, of Plymouth, grew up going to soup kitchens with her family on Thanksgiving. Seeing them help out those who needed a leg up in life.
“That kind of thing—it just has always been the way [of] our family; you help people that need help,” Jimmerson said.
She also recalls growing up watching her parents and grandparents go to the polls and vote—based on who could most help the country stand up stronger, not for those with self-centered interests.
Jimmerson said that whatever “side of the coin” a person selects for their president, it should be centered around who is the most empathetic when it comes to candidates who show concern over issues including health care, race, and beyond.
“Imagine yourself on the other side of that coin: what do you want and how do you want to be treated? That’s why I’m voting for [Joe] Biden,” she said.
Jimmerson’s mother, Plymouth resident Debra Jimmerson, is, too.
“It’s a natural thing for us to vote for Biden because he stands for all the things we miss. We look out for each other and take care of each other. All of this fighting is not getting us anywhere,” she said.
A daughter influences her parents to vote.
Howell resident Jessica Jeffrey, 37, said this election “means everything.”
Jeffrey, who voted Democrat [in every election since she was 18], has encouraged her parents to vote through the years, too—but it never stuck until this year, when they decided to vote for the first time.
“When Biden speaks it lines up with how they feel, and he gives us all hope. The decision to vote Democratic was an easy one for all of us,” she said.
A mother and son march on together.
Kalamazoo County resident Lana Escamilla hopes to create a positive impact with her three older children by voting this year and leading the way.
“It’s definitely important to our family,” Escamilla said of voting.
Escamilla’s 22-year-old son Ethan voted for the first time in the 2016 election, and plans to vote this year for presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Ethan said is impressed with the duo’s campaign policies and societal platform regarding rights for minorities.
“My grandfather, he fought for Latino rights and for everyone in Kalamazoo,” Ethan said. “Voting is the least I can do to fulfill [my duty] as an American citizen. I believe in their track record for equality for everyone.”