Greenville 18-year-old is ‘senator for a day’

Montcalm County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A young West Michigan man with a congenital cardiac condition got to live out his dream in Washington D.C. Tuesday.

Make-A-Wish made it possible for 18-year-old Thomas Stephenson of Greenville to be a senator for a day. He spent the day with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan’s junior senator.

“I could always buy a trip to Disney World or Cedar Point. I wanted to truly do something that I couldn’t buy. And I don’t think, besides being elected, there’s any way to be a senator besides this,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson has been passionate and active in politics for years and has gone door-to-door during previous election seasons, including for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

In 2008, when he was 8 years old, he spent a day with now-retired U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and talked to him about the measure that would become the Affordable Care Act.

On Tuesday, “Sen. Stephenson,” as he was called, expressed concerns about pre-existing health conditions and lifetime caps when it comes to insurance. He has had firsthand experience with those issues.

“He (Stephenson) brings an enthusiasm and a passion for public service. He believes public service is important and that’s incredibly refreshing to see in anybody, but particularly someone as young as Tom,” Peters, a Democrat, said.

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