Two members of Christian Reformed churches located just three miles apart are seeking the same seat in the Michigan legislature.
Winnie Brinks, 44, a member of Sherman Street CRC, a caseworker, and a parent-teacher association member, is running for the democratic party.
Bing Goei, 64, of East Leonard CRC, a local businessman and entrepreneur, is running for the seat as an independent candidate. Goei was at one time the director of the Office of Race Relations for the CRC.
Brinks and Goei both cited the unethical behavior of the current representative, Roy Schimdt, as motivation for entering the race. Schmidt was under grand jury investigation for election tampering. “Roy Schmidt’s actions would have prevented voters from making a choice,” said Goei.
Both candidates spoke of their participation in local politics as acting out of their faith and as a response to a biblical call to justice. Goei invoked the prophet Isaiah’s call to “maintain justice and do what is right.” Brinks spoke of “specific ways that government can promote justice for those who are more vulnerable and for the care of creation.”
“As a denomination we value justice as reflected in World Renew, the Office of Social Justice, Disability Concerns, and the Canadian Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue,” says Goei. He is glad that two members from the CRC in Grand Rapids are involved politically. “Though we share similar values, we may differ on public policy.”
“We all come from different life experiences and perspectives,” adds Brinks, “Whatever our differences, we can treat one another with respect and have a civil discourse.”