President Joe Biden plans stop in Republican-dominated Howell

Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 18:32:54-04

HOWELL, Mich.(WXYZ) — In Downtown Howell there is a store called the Heart of Michigan, and Howell in some ways is reflective of the heart of America. President Joe Biden is coming to visit an intensely divided community.

Only 38% of voters in Livingston County cast a ballot for President Joe Biden according to the Livingston County Clerk’s Office.

We have covered political protests over vaccines and masks in Howell. Many protesters loudly disapprove of President Joe Biden. Already, protests are being planned in Howell Tuesday for when he is expected to arrive.

“I wish he would stay out of this state and leave us alone,” said Leonard Petty.

It is a common sentiment. So why would President Biden visit Howell?

The president will speak at the Operating Engineers Training Center, where people are training to do the jobs of building infrastructure as he promotes is his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

“We do have needs here, so I am hoping that should this pass in Washington, Howell and our surrounding community gets our fair share of those dollars,” said Nick Proctor, Mayor of Howell.

Nick Proctor has been the Mayor of Howell for more than six years. He says he did not vote for President Biden, but our system of government only allows things to get done with bipartisanship.

“Infrastructure has no political affiliation. We need to come together to serve the people,” said Proctor.

But coming together is not easy. In Howell, many voice frustration with the president or what they are seeing in their community

“Especially working customer service, it is very profound,” said Ella Floto, who works at Gus’s Carry Out.

Gus’s Carry Out employees Bella Brock and Ella Floto say people talk about politics passionately while getting their food. However their work gives them hope the people of Howell and America can find something to agree on.

“If there is anything everyone can agree on it is the breadsticks. Gus’s Bread specifically,” said Floto.

Could we be onto something?

“Amen. My wife sent me up here to get some,” said Petty.

“I am working tomorrow here, so…” said Brock.

“Breadsticks and pizza. Come get it, Joe,” said Floto.