Saving money and living within his means has been Jim Delcamp's lifelong mantra. Growing up, he watched his father devise ways to save Ford Motor Co. millions of dollars over a 40-year career. As a result, Delcamp adopted a super-saving mind-set in his own life.
Now Delcamp, a Genoa Township man, wants to bring his passion for saving money to stat government and is making it a cornerstone of his campaign for the 66th House seat.
"I believe in austerity rather than living beyond my means. I will take that passion for thrift to state government. As a token of my passion for frugality, I will accept only half of the regular $80,000 salary paid to a state representative, returning the other half to the state coffers," he said.
"The lifestyle and tastes of my family and I make it possible for us to maintain a comfortable lifestyle on the half that I will keep. In fact, I expect to be able to save part of it towards college for my children."
Delcamp is the only Democrat to file for the House seat. The district includes the townships of Oceola, Marion, Genoa, Brighton, and Green Oak, the city of Brighton, and a portion of the city of Howell in Livingston County and Milford Township in Oakland County.
Delcamp, a resident of the district for 15 years, has a varied background, having worked as an urban planner, an energy efficiency auditor, a computer-assisted designer for the auto industry, a real estate redeveloper, and an author. In 2009, he published, "Zero Cost Living: Exploring Extreme Frugality."
Delcamp demonstrated his own frugality by working as an energy efficiency auditor and designing and building three energy efficient homes.
He said that as a legislator he will make reducing state government’s energy consumption a priority, but would look for savings in all areas of state government, including spending for health care. For example, people who now go to emergency rooms because they can’t pay for their care or have no insurance could at lower cost be treated in outpatient clinics. In Livingston County, for example, the facility cost for an in hospital procedure such as a colonoscopy is $2,500, and as an outpatient procedure $650. Statewide, such savings would be significant, he said.
While Delcamp said he has many more ideas of his own for saving money, "My ears are open and I will listen to and consider any and all ideas that can help solve our complicated, seemingly insoluble economic and financial problems," he said.
He has seen the impact of globalization on the American economy first-hand, watching his CAD career disappear as jobs were out-sourced overseas, but doesn’t believe out-sourcing and corporate cuts mean the end for Michigan jobs. "As a small-scale entrepreneur myself, I believe that Michigan needs to – and can – reignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who put America on wheels," he said.
Stabilizing funding for education and law enforcement will be top priorities, he said, adding that Michigan needs to control the costs of state prisons without endangering public safety.
"I will work to assure that all of these institutions operate with the maximum of efficiency while delivering fully to the best of their ability the services and tasks they have been called upon to accomplish," he said.
"I will look carefully to see if it is possible for all of them to do more with less."