By: Sarah Blakely
He's put over 80,000 miles on his car during his time as a Michigan lawmaker, and lives further from the capital than any other legislator.
State Representative of the 110th district, Scott Dianda, is a Calumet High School graduate, former small business owner, MDOT equipment operator, and served as elected president of the Michigan State Employees Association for 12 years.
He said during his time serving the Employees Association, he was inspired to run for state rep after experiencing the difficulty of passing legislation.
"I saw that there was room for improvement, and I wanted to be a person to get involved with something to make it better", he said.
Coming from a family of veterans dating back to the Civil War, Dianda has spent many hours during his first term working on legislation for Disabled Veterans, like the Homestead Exemption bill.
"It's very important to me that we take care of our people, our servicemen and women that are coming back from all these wars and conflicts", Dianda explained. "They're in our area, and the reason that we're all here is because of them."
Over the years, Dianda said he's seen immense job creation in the Copper Country, citing the Michigan Tech SmartZone and the resurrection of mining in Gogebic County.
He said he believes preparing children for future jobs is vital, but also wants to be sure there are jobs available for them in the U.P.
"The fact that we're focusing on job creation. To me, I've been working hand in hand with all the different industries that are coming to look at our area", he said. "There's a lot of high-tech positions, high-tech companies. We're in a good spot, I feel, for being able to look at having new industries come into our area."
He's never been reluctant to give out his personal cell phone number to his constituents, and says he takes being the voice of the Copper Country seriously.
Dianda said it's a collaborative effort with Ed McBroom and John Kivela to make sure Yoopers are heard in Lansing.
"Our people in the U.P., and especially in the district that I represent up there, we're the furthest way from Lansing," said Dianda. "There's only four state reps in the U.P. and one-and-a-quarter senator, and the rest of them are down here. So, I really feel strongly that we have to be the voice."
He's running for his second house term, and like McBroom and Kivela, said he will just have to wait until term limits approach to decide where to go next in public policy.
"The natural beauty and the personal freedom to be able to do and go where you want," he said. "It's just so vast, and we just have so much recreation around us, businesses that provide great stuff. Everything from our Stormy Kromer hats to our pasties, we really have a wonderful place to live."