I am running for state representative in Michigan's 40th district, which serves the cities of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, and a portion of West Bloomfield. The choice to run was a decision I made as a culmination of several powerful and unexpected “a-ha” moments. I have always been a socially-conscious individual, but the issues of poverty, wealth disparity, and social injustice in our communities increasingly troubled me and made me feel that I needed to do more. Then, in January 2015, my friend and colleague Dr. Michael Davidson was shot and killed by the disgruntled son of a former patient while in his clinic at one of the best medical centers in the country. This was the same hospital where I cut my teeth as an academic dietitian, met my husband, and had my first child. Dr. Davidson was a talented cardiac surgeon who had devoted his life to tirelessly caring for the sickest patients, and was known for his humble nature and compassionate bedside manner. When the doctors were unable to save Michael, they had to deliver the news of his death to his wife, also a physician, who was seven months pregnant with their fourth child.
This tragedy affected me deeply, not only because Michael was someone I knew and respected, but because my husband has similarly devoted his life to caring for the sickest patients. As a transplant surgeon at Beaumont Health, he works countless hours to save the dying through the gift of organ donation, and this process can be emotionally charged for patients and their families. With the current state of firearms culture and laws in our society, there is nothing in place that might prevent this tragedy from happening again -- possibly even happening to my family.
This is not the first time I’ve been touched by gun violence. The death of 20 children and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School took a toll on our whole country, especially those with young children, like myself. The mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI also struck close to home, as my husband's family are Sikh Americans. Michael’s death was the last straw; I took his tragic death as a call to action, and became involved with a grassroots organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Through my activism in the gun violence prevention movement, I’ve spent significant time in Lansing listening to lawmakers propose legislation to allow individuals to carry loaded guns in hospitals, churches, and even schools. That is not my idea of keeping our communities safe.
Like far too many of us, I've been personally impacted by gun violence. And like all of us, I've heard not a single solution from our representative. With your support, I will protect our children by going to Lansing and demanding action on this issue.
Like you, I can clearly see how the state is failing Michigan families. From our crumbling infrastructure to the Flint water crisis, the lack of leadership is staggering. We need representatives who are willing to fight for our kinds and our community. And as a mother of two young children, I am committed to building a bright future for our next generation. As a mother of two young daughters, I'm committed to building a community where they are protected and respected.
These concerns are why I would like to share with you the issues that most move me to run for office:
Gun Violence Prevention: The data is clear. 91 Americans are killed every single day in America, and we citizens need to take action to change the gun culture around us. I will fight to enact evidence-based legislation to keep our communities safer. I believe loaded firearms should not be carried by civilians in sensitive areas like schools, bars, stadiums, and hospitals. I also believe that universal background checks should be required for all firearms purchases.
Public Education: I believe we need to provide adequate funding to promote excellence in public schools, and should provide equitable resources to all districts. Children should not be educationally-disadvantaged based on where they live. Higher education should be affordable, and students attending college should not graduate with crippling debt. Those who do not go to college should receive the support that they need to enter a skilled trade.
Women's Health: I believe that women should be able to make their own decisions about their reproductive health, and should be allowed the access to healthcare that they need to make these decisions.
Support for Working Families: I believe that new parents should be allowed time to bond and nourish newborn infants without financial stress of unpaid family leave. I support paid sick days for all employees, because families shouldn't have to choose between their health and their paycheck.
Water: The crisis in Flint raised our awareness about the health and safety of our drinking water. Our children are especially at risk, which is why I support testing the water in all of our schools for lead and other contaminants. Our kids are worth it.
This is my story, and I look forward to hearing yours. I'm asking for your support and I want to be your voice in Lansing. Vote for me this November, so I can vote for you in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2017.
For more about my positions on the tough issues that affect Michiganders the most, check out the following voter guides:
Nicole Bedi was born and raised in Lincoln Park, Michigan, and graduated from Lincoln Park High School. Growing up Downriver in a working class community, the daughter of small business owners, Nicole learned the value of initiative and hard work. She started her first job at 12 years old, delivering News-Herald newspapers in her neighborhood.
Nicole attended Michigan State University and graduated with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in dietetics and psychology. She was accepted into a prestigious Dietetic Internship program at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she lived for the next twelve years. She spent the majority of her career in the nutrition department of one of the nation's top medical centers, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she specialized in nourishing intensive care patients as they waited for and received the gift of cardiac transplantation. She has been active in academic medicine, publishing textbook chapters and presenting nutritional research at a national level.
After Boston, Nicole spent two years in San Francisco while her husband completed training for his career in transplant surgery. While enjoying the art, culture, and food of the Bay Area, Nicole was also moved by the availability and efficiency of social services available to the homeless and impoverished people residing in San Francisco. She thought of her native Michigan, and realized that her great state could be doing better to meet the needs of all people.
When it came time for Nicole and her family to settle down, a return to Michigan was the obvious choice. She and her husband restored a historic home in Downtown Birmingham, and Nicole has been enjoying time as a stay-at-home mother, taking advantage of all that her new community has to offer.
In order to honor the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School, her sangat at the Oak Creek Gurdwara, her colleague Dr. Michael Davidson of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and all others touched by senseless acts of gun violence in their communities, Nicole became an active volunteer with the Michigan Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, a grassroots organization for gun violence prevention. She has served as the state chapter Membership Lead in charge of recruiting and engaging local volunteers.
When Nicole is not busy in her role as activist or mother, she can be found cooking, trying out new restaurants, or decorating her historic home.
Nicole is currently running as the Democratic candidate for state representative to serve her community in her native Michigan. She understands the changes that are necessary to keep our communities safe and healthy, and to make Michigan a place for families to thrive for generations to come.