September 14th, 2009
07:26 PM ET
5 years ago

Former NFL player to run for Congress

Former professional football player Jay Riemersma announced Monday that he is running for Congress in Michigan in 2010.
Former professional football player Jay Riemersma announced Monday that he is running for Congress in Michigan in 2010.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former professional football player Jay Riemersma announced Monday that he is running for Congress in Michigan in 2010.

The GOP candidate is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican vying to become the next governor of Michigan. Riemersma set up an exploratory committee in June, but made it official on Monday with a speech in Holland, Michigan.

Comparing Congress to the National Football League, the former Buffalo Bills tight end promised to "never vote to raise your taxes."

"I'm announcing my candidacy today because we need a Republican renaissance – a return to our conservative principles of governance – and I'm ready to help lead this movement," Riemersma said, in remarks released by his campaign.


Since retiring from professional sports, Riemersma has been working for the conservative Family Research Council and coaching high school football. In November 2008, he penned a letter to the editor in the Holland Sentinal entitled "How could Christians vote for Obama?"

In the article, he said that "faith should permeate every aspect of our lives" and said any Christian who chose to support Barack Obama's presidential bid did so "from a lack of understanding."

"Too many Christians shroud their God-given light with misguided intentions and uninformed choices," Riemersma wrote. "Moving forward to the next election, I implore all Christians to base their vote not on a political party or a polished politician, but rather on Biblical principle."

Riemersma already has other opponents in the Republican primary - state Rep. Bill Huizenga announced last December that he is running, and state Sen. Wayne Kuipers is reportedly considering a bid.


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soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Ben in Texas

    Yeah, a pro football player ought to fit right in as a Repugnant politician. Pro sports teaches everyone that the only thing important is "our team" and making obscene amounts of money. In the old days, there was something called sportsmanship, but that's all gone now. Now, it's "kill the other team" and "get bloody rich".

    Does anybody believe that this guy will have one single idea that could help his fellow Americans? I mean, working Americans, not those guys flying around in private jets and getting millions in ripped off money every year.

    September 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Vote out all republicans

    Haven't republicans destroyed this country enough?????

    September 14, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is troubling to hear someone think that everyone will follow "biblical principles" without any understanding as to what needs to be done. I guess the guiding princples that I would have like to have heard him say is something along the lines of this: We need to protect those that are defenseless and be honest and fair in our dealings.

    September 14, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. John Black Hills/SD

    Maybe Riemersma makes sense in a football helmet...He wants to "lead a republican renaissance", but then he says he wants to "return to the parties conservative principles of governance". I believe renaissance is defined as a rebirth, not the same old and dusty ideology in the party today. He's not saying something new, he's saying the republican leadership today aren't who they claim to be.

    September 14, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. carlos, that one

    In the article, he said that "faith should permeate every aspect of our lives" and said any Christian who chose to support Barack Obama's presidential bid did so "from a lack of understanding."

    ANOTHER HATER!!!!!!!get rid of him...................mark sanford is tutoring him on family values and to "lie" and a disciple of that criminal and so called pastor from phoenix-andreson_ (_X_)

    "How could Christians vote for Obama?" he asked, well, those of us who voted for President Obama are the GOOD CHRISTIANS, whatever your name is..........

    September 14, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    No christian, or God loving person with a conscience could be a conservative/ republican as it exists today. It's impossible! republicans lie, promote hate, are exclusive, self righteous, non compassionate and for the rich only.

    September 14, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. NO MORE REPUBLICANS!

    Just what this country doesn't need – a right wing, bible toten lunatic republican.

    September 14, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. John B

    With all its problems, the last thing MI needs is a religious nut who thinks blind faith is a substitute for rational judgement. I'm sure he was a fine football player although it sounds like he played more than a few without a helmet.

    September 14, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. virginia johnson

    That's all Michigan needs is another pompus former football player, Jay Riemersma, who wants to get into polictics to feather his own nest. Michigan doesn't need that kind of talent. No ideas, no plan or no compassion. Just go to Washington, sit on their hands and be rude. Of course they will have to walk lockstep with their leaders and the party of "NO". Where was he when the Bush Administration was selling out the country and so much money was flowing to the upper class. Sad times for this state with this type of a so called leader.

    September 14, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Jeb

    Great. A teabagger and a birther with a helmet, which means possible further brain damage. I know he has to be at least mildly retarded for being a Republican.

    September 14, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Republican Renaissance

    Count me all in for a Republican reanaissance.

    September 14, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Jackson

    "I'm announcing my candidacy today because we need a Republican renaissance – a return to our conservative principles of governance – and I'm ready to help lead this movement," Riemersma said, in remarks released by his campaign.

    I think he was hit in the head one to many times..the last thing we need is a republican renaissance...what we need is our goverment and politicians to work for we the people and not for a political party.

    September 14, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Jane/Seattle

    And Money and Power will help him in this process! Not another Republican trying to control our Commons with his version of Christian Theology!?

    September 14, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. bendal

    This sounds great! We all know that Christians follow the teacings of Jesus. I'm sure jesus would want us to feed the hnugry and heal the sick just like he did. I can't wait for Riemersma to push bills that will help poor people feed their kids and surely he will be in favor of health care for all. WWJD?

    How can a so called "Christian" be against the teachings of the Bible he proudly waives?

    September 14, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Allen

    Mr. Riemersma, as a congressman you represent ALL members of your district, not just those like yourself who use Christ as a weapon to further your own political ambitions. Christians need to reclaim their religion not through people like you, but from people like you. If you want to live in a theocracy I invite you to move to Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Syria and see how you like it.

    September 14, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Brad

    Jay needs a little history lesson. Check how many times Reagan actually raised taxes after his famous TV address showing growth actually balancing the budget. Woops. How about George the first. Any lip readers out there. How about Junior and his great economic record. Sure he cut taxes, but isn't borrowing a tax on my children grandchildren

    September 14, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. Frank, Las Vegas

    He sounds like just what our country needs, another right wing religious nut case. He says don't vote on political issues, vote on biblical principles. God help MI and the USA if this fruit cake is elected.

    September 14, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Rick

    As a wealthy millionaire, I'm sure he'll stand up for protecting his right to be wealthy, to stay wealthy and to pass that wealth on indefinitely to his heirs.

    September 14, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. ex-Republican

    We need a Republican renaissance. Get real, you guys almost started the second Great Depression and was going to kill the Auto Industry. Michigan, do not fall for their lies and deceipt again...

    September 14, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. tim in NH

    Sounds like a really open minded guy...I wonder if he felt that it was OK for Christians to vote for McCain?

    September 14, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. katiec

    So, he was a football player.
    What are his qualificiations to be a politician??
    Silly question, from the actions of his fellow republicans all you
    need to be able to do is lie, distort, fear monger, pander, and
    say NO to any progress of our country.

    September 14, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    All members of Congress and Senators should be paid whatever the median household income is (around $45K I think). Then our elected so-called leaders would know what it is like to live like the people they represent.

    September 14, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. Devin

    Wow, what a terrible thing for him to say, that people shouldn't vote based on politics but rather on religion, and he doesn't even say 'religion', he says 'Christian'. Could he be more egocentric?

    September 14, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. Charlie Brown

    Great! Another looney who gets his marching orders from the Bible.

    How do you feel about unions and collective bargaining, Jay?

    September 14, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Slacko

    Fantastic, another meathead wingnut. Republicans: this is not who you want representing you.

    September 14, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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