Strong work ethic guided Senator Hansen during career.

December 14, 2018

Senator Goeff Hansen with his father, Don, inside Hansen Foods in Hart.

Strong work ethic guided Senator Hansen during career.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART – Senator Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) knows that hard work pays off, and it is that strong work ethic that guided him through his impressive 14-year career as a state legislator.

As his time in the state senate winds down, Hansen reflects on the ups and downs he experienced during his career. Due to term limits, he could not seek re-election to the 34th District, which includes Oceana, Newaygo and Muskegon counties.

In 2004, Hansen was first elected to the House, representing the 100th District, which includes Oceana, Newaygo and Lake counties. Following three terms in the House, was elected to the Senate in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

The legislator worked in a bipartisan manner to help stimulate job growth, protect local jobs, establish high standards in education, and support early childhood development programs.

Hansen always takes the time to talk to his community members.

Hansen, 59, learned the value of hard work back in high school, when he started working at his family’s grocery store. He was co-owner of Hansen Foods in Hart. His brother, Dave Hansen, owns the popular grocery store, and their parents, Don and Bev, continue working there.

Don, 90 and Bev, 89, are the epitome of hard workers. When asked if they are still working full-time, Hansen said, “They’re ‘down’ to 40 hours.”

His mom and dad’s strong work ethic was passed down in the Hansen genes. Before Hansen went to Lansing, we simultaneously wore five different professional hats, working in the grocery store, serving as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, serving as the Hart Township Supervisor and coaching freshmen basketball.

He passed that same strong work ethic down to his sons, Collin and Blake. Worried that he may be either too hard or too soft on them at the store, he put them to work on his father-in-law’s farm in the summer. They put in long hours, especially during cherry season. “There aren’t too many 14-year-olds who can say they work 90 hours a week,” he reminisced.

Throughout his career, Hansen would stop at various grocery stores in the district and bag groceries for an hour or so, showing he is a “regular guy.”

One year he visited 50 different schools to read to elementary schoolchildren during the month of March, which is reading month. “That was so much fun,” he said.

The lowest point during his 14-year career was losing his son Collin

Hansen chats with some diners at the Pink Elephant in Hart.

to cancer six years ago. Collin, who died at the age of 31, suffered from the disease for 14 months. His wife, Tami, also lost her mother to cancer last spring.

Last month, the Silver Lake State Park paid tribute to Collin by dedicating the ORV Welcome Center in his name. Collin was a Jeep enthusiast and avid ORV rider on the sand dunes. “He spent so much time there,” Hansen said. “It was an incredible honor for my family.”

Losing his son has taught him to “make it happen.” His philosophy is: “Don’t wait anymore. Life is too short.” That is why he is getting certified in SCUBA this weekend.

A 1978 Hart High School graduate, Hansen went onto Hope College for one year where he played football. He also took business coursework at West Shore Community College in Scottville.

One of the highlights of his career was partnering with parents, community leaders, educators and officials from Detroit to help lead the Senate’s efforts to restructure and stabilize the Detroit Public School system. It resulted in a comprehensive bipartisan proposal, passed by the Senate in March of 2016, to ensure strong, thriving educational options for Detroit families.

He said it was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding tasks he handled. “We helped Detroit turn their schools around in one and a half years. Instead of telling them what to do, we asked what do you want to do?”

An “unfolding” program in Muskegon County aimed at providing 18-week career tech training for adult education students is making a difference in people’s lives. “Eighty percent are finding jobs.” This program has been one of the highlights of his career as he watches the excitement in people’s eyes on their last day of training as job offers come in.

Something of which he takes pride in Oceana County is the Monroe Road reconstruction project. A thoroughfare to a large-scale farming operation, Arbre Farms in Walkerville, the road was built incorrectly. Hansen spearheaded funding to ensure the road was fixed.

The grandfather of four has no plans to retire. Even if he did, he said state senators receive no pension. Plus, he certainly can’t retire while his parents are still working. “I can’t retire before them,” he said with a smile.

“I love going to work every day and I love helping people, but I hate politics.”

He plans to work as a consultant for governmental units. He has no plans to seek a higher office in politics. “I don’t want to go to Washington.”

The senator has witnessed many developments in the state. “The changes Michigan has had from where we were 14 years ago has been unbelievable.”

Hansen has advised young people over the years about being successful at a job. The rules are simple: “(1) Be on time; (2) Be there every day; (3) Be the best at whatever you do. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can work your way out; and (4) Pass a drug test.

“It’s the harder you work, the luckier you are.”

The road may not have always been easy to get to the state senate, but it was well worth the trip. “The journey is more than the destination, and this has been an unbelievable journey.”

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

 

 

 

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