Thursday, 21 March 2019

Roads, auto insurance top issues for state House of Representatives candidates

At least three new faces will be part of Macomb County’s delegation in the state House of Representatives in 2019. Voters will decide Tuesday if more will be part of the changeover.

Lori Stone upset incumbent Democratic Rep. Patrick Green in the August primary election, while Republican Pete Lucido is leaving the lower chamber after two terms in an effort to replace term-limited Jack Brandenburg in the state Senate.

And voters in Sterling Heights will select a new legislator as state Rep. Henry Yanez, a Democrat, is also term limited. Republican candidate Jazmine Early will face City Councilman Nate Shannon, a Democrat, for the position.

All 110 House seats are up for election. Heading into Tuesday, Republicans hold a 63-47 majority.

Representatives serve two-year terms and earn a $71,685 salary, plus expenses.

In preparation of this report, The Macomb Daily asked candidates to complete a questionnaire. Here’s a look at the matchups:

18th House District (Eastpointe, St. Clair Shores and part of Grosse Pointe Shores)

Incumbent Democrat Kevin Hertel, 33, of St. Clair Shores, is seeking his second term in office. Kyle McKee, 24, also of St. Clair Shores, is a regional field director for the Michigan Republican Party.

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

McKEE:  The number one issue with our road funding is the unfair way we fund them. We do not need to raise taxes, especially after the recent gas tax and registration fee increase. We need to make funding fair. Currently, the roads are funded based on a formula that was created in 1951. The roads and infrastructure are significantly different than they were in 1951, and we need an updated, modern formula. Rural counties receive a higher amount of funding per mile of road than counties that have more people and more traffic like Macomb. However, these counties will not want to give that funding up, which is why we need to work out a plan that they can accept. We will need to prioritize their items and work with all the elected officials, regardless of party, to make a deal. This could include prioritized funding for rural communities to expand high speed internet access in exchange for a fair amount of the dollars dedicated to road funding. The problem can’t be solved by throwing more money at it. We will need to find bipartisan solutions that are mutually beneficial.


kyle mckee


HERTEL:   Michigan’s current road funding formula under Public Act 51 does not provide Macomb County with an adequate share of state road funding. Instead, it spends our tax dollars on road projects across the state. I have cosponsored legislation to change P.A. 51 to make sure we receive the proper amount road funding in Macomb County. We also need to do more to invest more in infrastructure. I support plans to invest in a Michigan Infrastructure Bank that will leverage local, state and federal dollars to address our aging infrastructure needs. I also support a tax structure in Michigan that requires corporations to pay their fair share.

Is insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose insurance premiums?

McKEE: Auto insurance reform should be one of the highest priorities in Lansing. It is no secret that we are paying significantly more for insurance than other Midwestern states. There is not one simple answer for fixing auto insurance prices, so we will have to approach the problem at multiple angles. We need to have a fee schedule for procedures after no-fault auto accidents so that doctors and hospitals can’t charge an outrageous price at the expense of the taxpayers. The state also needs a way to fight fraud with auto insurance. A large part of our problem is also the number of drivers on the road that do not have insurance because of the price. As we decrease the high cost of auto insurance, more drivers will be able to be insured, which will improve the price of insurance even more. This is a long-term fix and won’t be solved in just a year or two. We will need to continually work for the next few years to solve this issue.

HERTEL:  The cost of auto insurance is too high and reform is absolutely needed. We can lower auto insurance costs without lowering the protections and benefits people across our community rely on. I support a plan that would reduce premiums by outlawing the use of discriminatory non-driving factors, creating a fraud authority with real power to go after those misusing the system, and reducing medical costs through a fee schedule negotiated with hospitals. Furthermore, seniors should not be required to purchase medical coverage through their auto insurance because they are covered by Medicare and all drivers should be able to coordinate their health coverage.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on recreational use of marijuana?

McKEE:  I am not in favor of the proposal. The largest area of concern is what will happen if this passes and we need to edit the law. As a constitutional amendment, it is more difficult for the Legislature and elected representatives to edit the law if it needs to get changed. We need to be able to quickly react to any changes that are needed.

HERTEL: I am in favor of Proposal 1 to regulate marijuana as alcohol in Michigan and will support the will of Michigan voters. If passed, this would create a regulatory framework for the sale and use of marijuana. I am committed to working with partners in law enforcement and the medical community to ensure proper implementation and any necessary legislative changes that may be needed.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

McKEE:  The highest priority for Macomb County legislators needs to be the quality of our lake and preventing sewage dumps into our waters. I grew up on the lake, fishing, boating, and playing pond hockey. If we do not prioritize our shoreline and our lake, future generations will not have the opportunity to enjoy the water like we all have. We also need to address this issue because of how many of our local small business rely on the lakes and rivers. Another issue near and dear to Macomb County is the opioid crisis and drug addiction. Macomb County has one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the state. I had the pleasure to work with the Governor’s taskforce on prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction to help fix this issue that affects every part of our community. I was also able to work on legislation allowing for anti-overdose medication to be sold over the counter in the state of Michigan which had led to lives being saved. We need to continue to address this issue in Lansing and bring results for Macomb County.

HERTEL:  I believe the three most pressing issues in Michigan are education, infrastructure and water quality. The current legislature has an obligation to work together to find real solutions to the issues facing Michigan families.

22nd District (Roseville and a portion of Warren)

Democratic incumbent Rep. John Chirkun, 66, is seeking his third term in Lansing.  Republican Arthur Blundell, 69, is an engineer from Roseville. Libertarian Matt Kuehnel, 35, of Warren, is a facility maintenance tech.

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

BLUNDELL: Motor fuel taxes appear to be utilized for things not connected to roads. I propose all funds derived from these taxes be used for building, and maintaining our roads.

CHIRKUN: To improve our roads, we need to make sure that we are doing things efficiently and effectively and that we maximize our road funding match from the federal government. We need to implement best practices and techniques when it comes to road construction projects with things like expanding road warranties, video conferencing when feasible, more competitive bidding and increased penalties for violating weight limits. We must better prioritize existing funding in our current budget for roads and infrastructure.

It is important that we have voter input as any potential long-term solution and revenues for roads will come from the taxpayers’ pocket. Legislative support for a constitutionally-protected and voter approved sales tax increase is a tough sell so, additional user fees, elimination of registration fee loopholes or other taxes, or some combination of each, will be needed. I am open to consideration of all potential road funding options. I support legislation (House Bills 6242-6249) that would create a state-wide bond and low interest loans to fund sorely needed water and sewage infrastructure updates.

KUEHNEL: I would like to see those who depend on the roads the most subsidize road maintenance through taxation. That would be largely private businesses, as well as the federal government. I would strive to ensure the funds do not come from struggling families so I would oppose excessive gas tax hikes. I would accept federal funding. I would also support ending the contracting of private businesses for road construction, in favor of putting residents to work through a statewide jobs program, thusly eliminating the waste of private profits from construction costs while improving the lives of our residents and workers.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would propose lowering insurance payments?




BLUNDELL: As we are in the highest cost of insurance in the country, we need some reform. However, as long as there is no top dollar that lawyers can push for, we the premium-payers will have to foot these bills

CHIRKUN: I co-sponsored two different, bipartisan, bill packages to address the cost of auto insurance. One would keep the uniform unlimited benefits currently provided for in law in place while putting in place a fee schedule of 185 percent of the worker’s compensation fee schedule, provide for attendant care limits and other caps on provider charges and services, and prohibit the use of credit scores and other non-driving factors such as occupation and zip code from being used to set auto insurance rates. The legislation also creates a fraud authority and subjects the MCCA to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act. The other package of bills would allow insurance companies the option of offering up more consumer choice by allowing drivers the option of picking the level of coverage they want that is offered, a kind of a la carte option, by auto insurance providers. Unlimited coverage would still be offered as well if drivers choose to purchase it but the bills would allow drivers the ability to better work with their auto insurance agent to come up with a coverage plan that works best for them and their budget.

KUEHNEL: No-fault insurance should be abolished. I would like to remove all requirements to own or maintain insurance on vehicles. Insurance for damages to one’s vehicle should be a voluntary decision to purchase and any damages or claims should be handled case by case. I would like to see a state provided insurance program for damages to public property, funded by the auto makers and oil industry. Providing everyone universal health coverage would greatly reduce costs of auto insurance by eliminating the need for auto insurance to cover injuries.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

BLUNDELL: No, I am not in favor of recreational drugs of any sort.


chirkun hed shot


CHIRKUN: Voters will have the final say on this matter and I will support whatever decision they come to. Any change in marijuana laws must be done with the public’s safety in mind, however. As a retired Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy, I have seen the negative effects of drug abuse on families and the community firsthand. The voter-initiated medical marijuana law has resulted in numerous unintended consequences that voters did not expect. Legalization means regulation and with that increased tax revenue — like we have seen in Washington and Colorado — which could be put toward a number of important things like our roads and schools. If there is any legalization of marijuana, it must be done in a highly regulated manner, similar to the system Michigan uses for alcohol.

KUEHNEL: I do not see Prop 1 as a perfect solution. I prefer complete decriminalization of growing, selling, and consuming cannabis and its products, as well as hemp. I believe the regulation will allow a monopolization of production into the hands of the wealthy and politically connected. I believe minorities and those in poverty will be unfairly targeted with the proposed regulation. I believe the proposal should include a retroactive clause to free the thousands currently serving time for what will now be legal and expunging all records. We should also address federal agencies that continue to enforce laws that the people of Michigan have rejected.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

BLUNDELL: We have a crumbling infrastructure. This is not a new thing. It has required decades of ignoring, a “let sleeping dogs lay” attitude, and now it is catching up to us. We are in need of some drastic cleanup, and overhaul of some government services. Can kicking should no longer be a SOP part of government.

CHIRKUN: The biggest problem facing Michigan is the economy and how to best create an environment that produces the conditions for solid economic growth and hiring. Another significant issue is education and concerns over funding and the futures of their children. A third issue is public safety, whether it is safe neighborhoods, the condition of the roads or clean water. I believe we need to address the high cost of auto insurance, which has impacted our state’s economy by taking money out of people’s pockets and not being spent in the local economy. My priorities are fostering economic growth that creates good paying jobs, investing in public education from pre-k to post-secondary/trade schools, and keeping our communities safe by funding police/fire and fixing our roads and water infrastructure.

KUEHNEL: Most important is healthcare.  Michigan and its residents cannot afford to wait for the federal government to decide healthcare for us. We should be looking into creating a universal healthcare for our state and eliminating the private insurance model that is filled with corruption and waste. I am also extremely against the current immigration practices and the

Michigan legislature should be working on making Michigan a sanctuary state, free from all federal agencies exercising inhumane treatment of those who come to our state to create a better life for themselves and their family. Finally, we need to end the violence and poverty that is both created and required to sustain private ownership of production and our resources. I would like to see an effort to socialize all industries in Michigan to create a plentiful and equal commonwealth for all of our residents through a republic of commonwealth for all of our residents through a republic of unions and local organizations.

24th District  (Harrison Township, and portions of Clinton Township and southern Macomb Township)

Republican incumbent Steve Marino, 29, of Harrison Township is seeking his second term. Democrat Laura Winn, 54, of Macomb Township is owner of Two Girls & A Bucket Cleaning

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?




MARINO: For our community in particular, the appropriate level of funding from Lansing does not until significant changes are made to the state’s road-funding formula, commonly referred to as Public Act 51. Under the current allocation method, the hard-earned tax-dollars of our residents is distributed to the other portions of the state. Macomb County will continue to be a donor county regardless of the level of funding for our roads and infrastructure. As a resident with a work commute that is over 200 miles each day, I believe Michigan must take a deep dive into the MDOT budget and methodically look for inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Reviewing other states and gathering public input will be critical if we ever wish to come up with a real solution instead of a temporary band- aid.

WINN:  We need to repeal the $1.8 billion in corporate tax giveaways that the legislature passed in 2011. I would apply 100 percent of those funds to infrastructure repair and rebuilding.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose powering insurance premiums?

MARINO: Last year, I was joined by over a dozen of my colleagues from both parties and from places across Michigan to co-sponsor legislation for the first real, comprehensive reform package to address the skyrocketing costs of our premiums for auto insurance. This unprecedented solution is aimed at improving Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system and reducing consumer costs by adopting common-sense solutions while still preserving benefits for one of our most vulnerable populations. These common-sense reforms include making all meetings of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association open to the public and making all non-proprietary records available under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

The Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform package tackles many of the obstacles that have stalled previous efforts to overhaul the states auto-insurance system. While big insurance companies claim the legislation is unfeasible, proposed solutions such as the creation of a fraud authority and adopting fair and balanced reforms are overdue for the residents.

WINN: Reform is certainly needed. We can lower people’s premiums by passing the bi-partisan “Fair & Affordable No-Fault Reform Package” which is currently stalled in the house. Some of what this package of bills does is allow seniors to opt out of catastrophic coverage and mandates rate reductions for those who coordinate the personal injury protection with the health coverage.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

MARINO: As a current state Representative, it is illegal and unethical for me to express my opinion on a ballot proposal in my official capacity or while using state resources. Despite acting my capacity as a candidate, my longstanding internal policy is to not comment on any ballot proposal presently before the people of Michigan.

WINN:  I am in favor of the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

MARINO:  1. Promote a job-friendly environment by improving Michigan’s workforce development initiatives through increased flexibility and opportunities for vocational training and careers in skilled trades, competition, and protecting and growing our local and state economies through diversification of and collaboration between key industries in our economic portfolio such as manufacturing, tourism, and defense.

2. Balance the state budget responsibly, reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending, increase government transparency, and require more common-sense disclosures for politicians seeking office.

3. Ensure Michigan is a leader in 21st Century jobs by having a skilled workforce, highlight dual-enrollment opportunities and other cost-saving measures to make post-secondary education more affordable, and foster a culture that encourages and fosters local entrepreneurship and improves our small businesses.

WINN:  1. Rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges

2. Caring for our seniors which includes repealing the tax on seniors pensions

3. Addressing the problems within our foster care system

25th House District (A large chunk of Sterling Heights, and a portion of Warren)

Jasmine Early, 48, a Republican from Sterling Heights, works as an architect and language instructor. Democrat Nate Shannon, 43, is a teacher for L’Anse Creuse Public Schools and a Sterling Heights City Councilman

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

EARLY: The road funding levels are at an all-time high in 2018/2019 fiscal year. It is time to build longer-lasting-higher quality roads. We can achieve this by making sure there is a competitive bidding, MDOT performance, enforce warranties and putting the sales tax at the pump to go only to roads not to the general fund.


jazmine early


SHANNON: We need to make sure we match federal funds and utilize public-private partnerships, and employ modern materials and technologies that work better for our state’s climate and last longer so we’re leveraging our public dollars already going toward roads as much as possible. We need to have tough conversations about additional revenue and bonding options if we are serious about making our roads safe. Corporations must pay their fair share — they cannot succeed in the future if our state is crumbling. I am committed to exploring any options that don’t hurt our working families.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

EARLY: Yes. We need to reduce auto insurance costs by eliminating state mandates. There should be a fee schedule. People should be allowed to choose their benefits to reduce cost of medical health care. Implement a “fraud authority”. Greater transparency for the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association.

SHANNON: Anyone who pays for car insurance in Michigan knows that we’re paying too much. A bipartisan group of representatives in Lansing put together a reasonable solution that would lower rates for drivers without sacrificing coverage by cracking down on insurance fraud, stopping red-lining practices by insurance companies, and lowering health care prices for victims. I would recommend the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform package.


nate shannon


Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

EARLY: As a mom of a teenager, and who agrees with law enforcement that passing this proposal would only create more problems to our society, I am voting no. Those recovering from drug addiction disapprove this proposal too. They are warning us, and I hope our voters listen to their cry.

SHANNON: The Board of State Canvassers has certified the ballot proposal and I support the rights of the voters to decide on this issue.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature:

EARLY:  Stronger and safer Michigan for stronger families.

Job/skill workforce – simplify regulations and lower taxes to promote entrepreneurship. Strengthen training education for skilled trades. Promote youth apprenticeship/internship opportunities.

Education/school safety – Return local control and freedom to parents and educators. Safer school environment. Zero tolerance for drugs and crime.

Repeal the pension tax.

SHANNON:  1. Public Education

2. Fixing our crumbling infrastructure, most notably the roads

3. Exploring options to make health care more affordable

28th District (Large chunk of Warren, Center Line)

Republican Aaron Delikta, 22, of Center Line, works part-time for a service computer company. Lori Stone, 52, a Democrat, is employed as a teacher in Fitzgerald Public Schools. Libertarian Ryan Manier did not respond.

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

DELIKTA: I believe legalizing marijuana and using the money made from the taxes is a great way to fix our infrastructure here in Michigan. I know our current government has taken initiatives into finding ways to increase the infrastructure budget and they haven’t taken full effect yet. A combination of both of these would help Michigan’s road funding greatly.


aaron delikta


STONE: Voters recognize how neglected Michigan’s road and bridge infrastructure are in spite of the taxes they pay. Many people are paying hundreds of dollars a year out-of-pocket for car repairs. I don’t understand how Michigan’s legislature can afford tax cuts for the 1 percent when they have failed to budget for this fundamental government function. Taxpayers are calling for tax revenues dedicated to fully funding repair, maintenance, and improvements for infrastructure that isn’t being diverted to the general fund or piecemeal to other topics.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

DELIKTA:  Michigan has the highest auto insurance premiums in the country and the costs need to be lowered. Putting a cap on personal injury protection (PIP) instead of it being unlimited is one way that could help lower costs. Another way of lowering costs is possibly looking into switching to a different auto insurance system. Instead of being a no fault state, we could switch to tort liability or another system.

STONE: As I knocked doors, auto insurance reform was resoundingly a priority from the majority of voters. They want to be responsible car owners but are feeling priced out of the market. Auto insurance should be based on driving records instead of arbitrary rates for non-driving factors.  Several voters are concerned the catastrophic claims fund would be eliminated because it is what they rely on for healthcare in the case of a car accident. The fact that auto insurance pays top dollar for medical expenses should be explored in policy revisions.  One idea is allowing senior citizens utilize medicare for medical insurance coverage instead of auto insurance. Let’s analyze what other states have to offer in terms of auto insurance requirements and see what options might better work for us.


lori stone 1


 Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

DELIKTA: I am in favor of recreational marijuana. The money that the government makes from the taxes can be put towards infrastructure, public education, and many other areas in our budget that need help.

STONE: I am in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.  No one should be charged with a felony for possession or use of marijuana, which is no worse than alcohol or cigarettes. In addition, decriminalizing marijuana allows the state can regulate and tax it.  Marijuana also has several medically beneficial health effects.

 List three other issues that should be high priority for the Legislature

DELIKTA: Increasing the public education budget, bridging the divide between the parties in our government, and expanding the term limits for state legislators in Michigan.

STONE: My priority as a professional educator with 14 years of experience teaching students facing some of the greatest challenges to academic achievement, I’m prepared to help create policies to ensure equitable education opportunity.  Public schools need adequate funding. At-risk students need the support and resources necessary to be successful. Teachers to be respected and empowered to use their talents to benefit our students. I will create effective policies that better prepare our students for the future from early childhood education to vocational training and affordable college education.  Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics curriculum should provide students K-12 to experiences with robotics, coding, and skills that prepare students for careers in the 21st century.

In addition, I will create economic policies that support workers ability to support their families and maintain a middle-class standard of living.  These policies include fair wages for all and empowering workers to organize and collectively bargain so they can leverage their value with employers.

We also need greater transparency and accountability in government.  This includes representation that reflects the diversity of our communities.  Representation needs work together to be more responsive to voter needs. Policies need to encourage and facilitate greater participation in the democratic process.

30th District (Utica, parts of Sterling Heights and Shelby Township)

Incumbent Diana Farrington, 53, a Republican from Utica, is employed as a state Representative. Democrat John Spica, 50, of Utica, is employed in auto sales

How do you propose to improve the conditions of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

FARRINGTON: We should prioritize more of our existing revenue for road funding. Since taking office, I have worked on two budgets that provide hundreds of millions of additional dollars for roads without raising taxes. By paying down debt and having increased revenue from a vibrant economy, we should have the funding to make significant funding to make significant infrastructure improvements going forward.




SPICA: By increasing funding, which entails less corporate tax breaks and applying the additional funds collected for our infrastructure. We need to secure more money from the federal government.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

FARRINGTON: Yes, it should absolutely be reformed. I recognize there are benefits to having unlimited no-fault insurance, but requiring it to be the only option for drivers has created an unsustainable system. People should be able to choose a level of coverage that fits their budget. That’s why I voted for a plan that would do just that.




SPICA: Yes. Auto insurance reform is way overdue. We need to develop a fraud task force that works with insurers in our state. We also need to establish a fee schedule similar to work comp to control high medical costs.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

FARRINGTON: I am personally not in favor of the proposal, but I absolutely recognize and respect that there is a desire by many people in Michigan to approve recreational marijuana. I believe the proposal will make it very difficult for our police officers to enforce the law.

SPICA: Yes, I am in favor. It would generate additional dollars and control how marijuana is grown and dispensed.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

FARRINGTON: Repealing the pension tax. Eliminating excessive regulations on small businesses, and closing the skills gap so our citizens can find good paying jobs and have successful careers.

SPICA: 1) Funding public education

2) Repealing the senior pension tax

3) Lower the cost of auto insurance and maintain coverage

31st District (Large chunk of Clinton Township, Fraser and Mount Clemens)

Republican Lisa Valerio-Nowc, 52, of Clinton Township, is a library administrator. Clinton Township resident Bill Sowerby, 62, a Democrat, is the incumbent state Representative

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

NOWC:  Public Act 51 should be replaced and updated to reflect true road usage in Michigan. Areas with high traffic volume should have more funds allocated to them than lower traffic areas. I am not in favor of tax increase or placing any further burdens on citizens who are already paying high taxes. I believe that if we find solutions that bring together cost effective measures that will help maintain the roads in long term planning and partnering with local government to share the costs of the initial fixing the roads, I believe we will have made a step in the right direction.

SOWERBY: I co-sponsored legislation to reform Michigan’s road funding formula, which will allocate more funding to Macomb County, due to our multi-lane roadways. New funding is also necessary.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

NOWC:  Yes , I do. Auto insurance should not be so expensive that one has to decide it’s better to break the law and get the work than to lose their job because they couldn’t afford the insurance. I believe in a free market system where the consumer can pick from a cafeteria style plan on what coverage they want. Therefore, they would be able to pick a plan that best suits their needs and their pocketbooks.

SOWERBY: I co-sponsored the Fair and Affordable Auto Insurance Plan. This bipartisan plan maintains comprehensive health care coverage for those that need it, while making insurance more affordable. Insurance companies would be prohibited from using discriminatory factors, like zip code, gender, marital status and education, as currently allowed, in determining your insurance rates.


bill sowerby 1


Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the use of recreational marijuana?

NOWC: As a librarian of over 25 years, I have worked in many educational organizations and I have seen what drugs can do to hurt a family. I am 100 percent against recreational marijuana because there are too many risks involved such as higher rates of auto accidents involving being under the influence of drugs, health concerns such as addiction and as stated previously, the harm it has already done to families.

SOWERBY: I support the proposal to legalize marijuana. Arrests for marijuana disproportionately impact persons of color. By passing this, we will be positively reforming our criminal justice system. Taxpayers will also save tax dollars spent in courts and jails concerning marijuana offenses.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

NOWC:  I am concerned about the failing schools, especially when it comes to reading skills. It is unacceptable that our children are falling behind in reading and math skills. We need to make it a top priority that children in Michigan are prepared for the real world by equipping them with the knowledge they need to get ahead.

Cleaner water and preserving the Great Lakes are also important. As a legislator I will make it a priority to be sure that those who are polluting our natural waterways will be stopped and investigate the best possible solutions to make sure the Great Lakes will remain Great and clean for generations to come.

SOWERBY:  Increase wages and reduce income inequality. People are working harder than ever but they are not seeing their wages rise significantly. People feel the economy is rigged against them. Improving our public education system by increasing funding and ensuring that teachers and schools have the resources needed to successfully prepare students for a modern economy.

Better protect our natural resources. We should be valuing clean air, water, and land more than we currently do.

32nd District (includes New Baltimore, portions of Memphis and Richmond, Chesterfield Township, and St. Clair County communities Casco, Columbus, Ira, Kenockee, Kimball, Riley and Wales townships)

Pamela Hornberger, 50, a Republican from Chesterfield, is the incumbent Representative. Democrat Paul Manley, 69, also of Chesterfield is a retiree of Ford Motor Co.

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

HORNBERGER: The $1.2 billion tax increase approved by the legislature in a prior term includes an increased state gas tax and vehicle registration fees. It will gradually increase over the next few years. An increase in state taxes and fees on top of that should not be necessary to fix state roads. Macomb County does not have a road millage. A county road millage would add to the improvements that can be made to Macomb County roads. I urge our County Commission to put a road millage on the ballot. Give Macomb County residents the chance to decide if they want to spend more for county roads.


pamela hornberger


I have always voted against corporate welfare and tax breaks and will continue to do so. Unfortunately, majorities in both the Democratic and Republican parties voted to support corporate welfare.

MANLEY: Most studies indicate it will take 25 years at $4B per year to take our roads from poor conditions to good conditions. I believe we already have the funds available for this job and we only need to find a way to make them available.

With the resent increase in gas tax and increase in registrations, we have increased the road funding by $2.6B, we also charge a 6 percent sales tax for every gallon of fuel at the pump, if we add this 6 percent  to our road funding we will have the $4B,when we add the funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which is an average yield of $100M per year, we will have our funding.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

HORNBERGER: Yes, desperately. We need to consider all options that will provide Michigan drivers cost relief for their auto insurance. Going back to full tort or reforming our current system by moving to purchaser choice of coverage levels in personal injury protection instead of mandatory unlimited coverage if a driver has other medical coverage. Lowering caps and creating fee schedules for hospitals. Basing rates on a driver’s record not their credit score, zip code or education level.

MANLEY: Auto insurance reform is needed; however, I believe we need to create a new program that is fair to all citizens. Many states have programs that cover their drivers with affordable, inexpensive, cost efficient coverage. I believe we should copy one or more of these programs.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

HORNBERGER: No. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Michigan legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes a decade ago and we still haven’t been able to figure out how to effectively implement it. Claiming marijuana will be regulated like alcohol is highly misleading.

MANLEY: I am in favor of legal recreational marijuana. Adding a new industry will increase the tax base, at the same time decriminalizing it we lower the already strained prison system.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

HORNBERGER: Education reform.

MANLEY: 1. Repeal Right to Work 2. Reinstate prevailing wage  3. Early childhood education

33rd District (Armada, Lenox, Ray and Richmond Township, most of Macomb Township, Richmond, Memphis and villages of New Haven and Armada)

Republican Jeff Yaroch, 48, of Richmond, is the incumbent representative. Democrat Andrea Geralds, 39, is a personal chef from Macomb.

How do you propose to improve the conditions of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

YAROCH: As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, I worked to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and reprioritize spending to significantly increase road funding in 2017-2018.   I have introduced HB 5706 to change PA 51 to more equitably distribute road funding in Michigan so Macomb County is no longer a “donor” county. Macomb County has roughly 8.7 percent of the population, yet we only receive 7 percent of the road money, which equates to about $22 million going to other counties. I have also introduced HB 5490, which would allow townships to become road agencies and better plan their infrastructure. I introduced HB 6445 which commits Michigan Strategic Funds to roads, and I introduced HB 5932, which would accelerate the schedule on the 2015 road repair funding plan. I do not support increasing taxes and fees. I think it is a local decision whether a community wants to raise taxes to increase their road investment beyond what the state supports. We must also continue to look for innovative ways to fix our infrastructure.




GERALDS: If legalization of marijuana occurs, 30 percent of that will go to the roads. Legal pro sport betting in the state has just become a reality and that can also be taxed to help pay for the roads. The rest needs to come from those who are doing the most damage to the roads. Massive semi trucks loaded at significantly more than the national average are killing our roads. They need to be paying their share, instead of dumping it on the back of the regular residents who suffer from their excess. We need to insist that any company that rebuilds the road is responsible for any repair required from faulty work within 5 years is required to repair it free of charge. Current warranties only kick in after 2 or three years, leaving the state to pay again for work they paid for the previous year. We also need to look into innovative paving methods, such as using plastic/rubber and solar equipped road materials.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

YAROCH: We need to address our high insurance costs and bring transparency to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, which recently increased the fee it charges drivers. I support bills that will make the MCCA show how it calculates the fee it charges, so we know whether it is fair. I have introduced legislation (HB 5552) that would allow drivers to opt out of paying the MCCA fee. I have also supported many of the reform bills that have been introduced, including one to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against widows.


andrea geralds


GERALDS: I propose capping lifetime payouts for accidents at $5 million, grandfathering in those currently covered. Over that amount, the insurance company of the at-fault person would be responsible. I believe we need to adjust rules so that if an accident happens, the person at fault is responsible for ensuring the repair of the damaged vehicle, like normal insurance plans all over the country.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the statewide ballot question on the recreational use of marijuana?

YAROCH: Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and as I have pledged to follow the US Constitution, I cannot support violating federal law. To that end, I introduced, and the Michigan House approved, a resolution asking the federal government to clarify its position on the legality of marijuana. The issue of recreational marijuana will be on the ballot in November, and if the people vote to decriminalize recreational marijuana at the state level, I will follow the will of the people.

GERALDS: I favor this only because I am sick and tired of wasting resources on imprisoning potheads. Over the decades of scare tactics, I have seen no real evidence that smoking marijuana is causing social ills, it has been shown to help prevent things like opioid addiction, it has no link to being a “gateway” drug, unlike alcohol. People will need to be clear on the fact they can still get fired for failing a drug test, get tossed in jail or lose their license for driving high, go to jail for providing to minors and all the other restrictions that we place on alcohol and tobacco purchases and usage. I think smoking pot is a waste of money, but I think that of alcohol too and I don’t feel the need to have the police arrest people for it. It is simple overreach, beyond the fact that we can get legal pills like Xanax and Oxycontin that create long term dependency legally, but can’t buy a plant in a store that does not. The double standards are stupid, jailing people over it is stupid, the whole thing is stupid.

List three other issues that should be a high priority for the Legislature

YAROCH: 1. Clean water, including addressing PFAS contamination and sewage overflows; 2. Education, including vocational education and school safety; and 3. Mental health Issues, including the opioid crisis.

GERALDS: Education is the single most important thing. Why are we planning on luring people from out of state to do jobs we can train our highly intelligent residents to do? Why are we not creating generation after generation of highly educated people to make our state thrive? Water- this is a no brainer. We literally need it to live. Most of the state and the vast majority of my district, can’t afford to install whole house reverse osmosis water filters to prevent drinking and absorbing nasty chemicals into their skin. We can sell Nestle water at give away prices, but can’t provide residents with drinkable water at really expensive prices. This is absurd and falls directly, directly in the laps of every single member of the people in charge of this state.

Reliable internet- we are living in the 21st century acting like it’s the 20th century. If we have reliable internet the elderly can get medications delivered in the dead of winter. We can switch to skype and save the state $10,000 per legislator in per diem costs a year by telecommuting. We can email announcements instead of printing out papers to mail to residents. We are looking at savings in the millions and tens of millions of dollars, just by making sure everyone has access to the internet. We need to modernize.

36th District (includes Bruce and Washington townships, and a portion of Shelby Township)

Republican Douglas Wozniak, 70, is a lawyer, realtor, insurance agent and a Shelby Township trustee. Robert Murphy, 61, a Democrat from Romeo, is a retired physical fitness consultant.  Libertarian Shelby resident Benjamin Dryke, 38, is employed as a laborer.

How do you propose to improve the condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges?

WOZNIAK: Prop 1 failed miserably across the state. In Macomb County more than 80 percent of voters sent a message to fix the roads without raising taxes. This has not changed and people are even more fired up to have the roads fixed with existing funds or funds that need to be found. Besides for looking at the budget and seeing what money can be reallocated to fixing the roads, we need to look at funds such as the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Fund. There are millions in interest alone that could be used for the roads without touching the principle. Transparency of this fund is non-existent, yet it taxpayers must pay the fees that go into this fund. We also need to look at the materials we are using for the roads. Why do other states with similar weather conditions have longer lasing roads? We need to have road funding determined by the number of lanes and amount of traffic, not simply by the mile.  Where there is a supply, i.e., the amount of traffic, there needs to be an equal demand and delivery for funding.


douglas wozniak


MURPHY: Rubber coat all steel used in roads and bridges, municipalities, county and state-owned barrels, barricades, signage. Politicians say government is not the business of making money but we sure do make others rich.

DRYKE:  If elected, I intend to tax corporate profits and annual incomes exceeding $250,000 to fund infrastructure. I’ll be advocating for a complete abolition of gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. I’d also like to see a drastic reduction in load limits on trucks.

Is auto insurance reform needed? If so, how would you propose lowering insurance premiums?

WOZNIAK: Auto Insurance is one of the biggest issues in the state. We pay some of the highest rates in the country.  People who live in Detroit have to be pay even more. I think the medical companies and the insurance companies point the finger at one another as to the reason we have such high rates.  We need a more competitive market for both medical insurance and auto insurance. We also need legislation that will put an end to auto related injuries being at least four times more the same non-auto related injury. Too many organizations are taking advantage of the existing system. 

MURPHY: Want to save hundreds or thousands on your auto insurance? Eliminate the Catastrophic Claims Fund, one better, refund every driver that’s paid into it. Our money shouldn’t be a slush fund for others to get wealthy off of.


robert murphy 1


DRYKE: I would immediately move to abolish mandatory vehicle insurance. Then I propose we take advantage of advancements in technology and use state resources to fund the world’s first fully autonomous transportation infrastructure.

Are you in favor of Proposal 1, the ballot question on the use of recreational marijuana?

WOZNIAK: I understand there are many benefits for medical marijuana. Those who legally apply and use for medical conditions should have controlled and monitored access. I am concerned that if we have medical marijuana and smoke shops becoming more common, it would interfere and disrupt the medical marijuana industry.  Although many states sold recreational marijuana as a great tax base, studies have shown that predictions over promise and under deliver. Constituents in my district are concerned about the increase in smoke shops, decreased productivity at work, interference in the medical marijuana business, and what kind of marijuana actually will be available both legal and illegally. I share their concerns and am not in support of the marijuana ballot initiative.

MURPHY: Imagine the revenue. Problem is, special interest will waste it. Claiming begged necessities elsewhere.


ben dryke


DRYKE: I support Proposal 1, but will continue to fight for further reforms such as ending the barbaric practice of prosecuting victimless crimes. I say, ‘Let them eat brownies’.

List three other issues that should be high priority for the Legislature

WOZNIAK: 1. Act 51, how roads are funded

2. Prop A, the popup on real estate transfers can be a rude surprise for a home buyer.

3. The Catastrophic Claims Fund, how are those insurance rates determined and what role do insurance companies have in lobbying for new laws

MURPHY: Reform state pay, no one should be paid more than the governor. Invasive species. Consolidate as many as 400 school districts, if it amounts to average 500,000 each, that’s $200 million dollars.


« »