Candidate Survey: Vote Smart’s Political Courage Test

A week or so ago, I received a letter from Project Vote Smart, asking me to complete their political courage test and submit biographical information to them. I have taken the test, and hopefully all of that will be uploaded soon. When it is, you can find all of my information at their website here:

I have to be honest, I’m a really big fan of the work they’re doing there. They asked tough, pointed questions and gave me some space to talk about why I think the way I do. I think that this is conducive to fostering discussions with politicians, and it help to bring their views into the light. Since I’ve already pledged openness and honesty on all issues and topics, this was no sweat.

As you wait for the results to post, you can peruse my responses, which I’ll post below.

Political_Courage_Test0001 Political_Courage_Test0002 Political_Courage_Test0003 Political_Courage_Test0004 Political_Courage_Test0005 Political_Courage_Test0006 Political_Courage_Test0007Thank you for reading. Leave a comment below, or email me at if you have any questions or comments.


Candidate Survey: Michigan’s Political Action Committee for Animals

This survey, from Michigan’s Political Action Committee for Animals, is a long one. It’s pretty straight forward, and I don’t really have anything else to add besides that which is in the survey. I’ll be posting the first page and then putting the rest of it under a “read more” link.

MI_PACA_Survey0001 Continue reading

Reflections on the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce Forum

Last Tuesday I spoke in the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce Forum. As a candidate for State Representative, I had ten minutes to respond to the question: “What are your top 3 priorities for the State of Michigan and what actions or steps would you take to address these?”

I love data, and I love dealing with facts and figures. I’m a researcher, deep down, and I spent hours collecting data about the issues that I thought were the most important in the coming election. I tried to avoid watering down what I said with useless rhetoric, though every now and then I felt it was necessary to drive a point home. In all honesty, ten minutes was not enough time to speak; I reduced my original outline from 20 pages to 3 and a quarter, and even then I only got through about half of the points I wanted to cover.

While I have a lot of information on the issues, and my opinions are based on information and logical reasoning, I could use improvement in my public speaking abilities. I get nervous in front of large crowds. Knowing this, I decided that, instead of standing and speaking to the crowd from behind the table, I would get up and stand before them. I wanted to address them more directly–to get out in front of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI spoke sincerely, honestly, and passionately. I didn’t want to shy away from avoiding ideas and facts that would have been unpopular–I wanted to look the people in the eye and tell them what I thought needed to be done. And I think a great many of the people at the forum appreciated that. I received many words of encouragement after the forum, and many people told me (Republicans included!) that they liked my ideas and that I had a future in politics.


Fred Sprague (State Senate District 33), Me, Jeff Holmes (U.S. congress District 4)

I just briefly want to say that I think new politicians want to think of themselves as the unpolitician–or perhaps, not even politicians at all. In all honesty, they are. I recognize that my candidacy and involvement in politics makes me a politician. I’d like to think that I’m a better class of politician than the norm; I avoid rhetoric without substance, I find facts to back up my ideas, and if the facts show me to be wrong, I change my views. I speak honestly, I like debate, and I stand up for what I believe in, sometimes fiercely and passionately. I don’t want to be an ideologue; I want all of my views to be formed by data, logic, and a firm adherence to a strict morality and ethics that precludes lying or hiding my views and beliefs. Whenever I go to a forum like this I carry my binder of surveys and responses so people can look through it as they wish. I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know the answer to a question, but I follow that up with “I’ll do my best to learn about it.”

And if anything describes the foundation of my candidacy, it is a love of knowledge and the desire to learn. I think it goes without saying that politicians won’t always agree with their constituents; after all, we’re people with our own views, too. But it is incumbent upon us to act in good faith; to explain why we take the actions we do and be open to feedback and criticism. And, when we run for election again, to be accountable to the people who vote for us.

I presented myself to the voters as I really am. I dressed simply in jeans, tennis shoes, and a button up shirt because I don’t wear tailored suits. There’s no problem with wearing tailored suits, of course, but it isn’t me. I’m a down-to-Earth guy who enjoys debating issues and drinking a craft beer from a Michigan microbrewery every now and then (Founders Pale Ale and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale are my personal favorites). But this doesn’t mean I’m not serious about policy and governance, nor does it mean that, if elected, I will take a laid-back approach as a legislator. I’ll work to represent all of the people of my district, be they in the LGBT community, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, Democrats, religious minorities, homeless, or elderly. Everyone deserves a voice.

All of us have a stake in the long-term prosperity of Michigan, and I feel that I can best represent the people of Michigan by offering a fresh perspective, new ideas, and a different kind of approach to politics and the role of elected officials.

In the interest of openness, I’m going to post the notes I used at the forum, including what I’ve crossed out (in those cases it’s not because they’re not important, but because I was trying to best use my time) and what I had added.

Gratiot_Notes01 Gratiot_Notes02 Gratiot_Notes03 Gratiot_Notes04The study mentioned at the bottom of page 3 can be found here.

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or comments, please contact me via email at or leave a comment below.

Candidate Survey: Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness

The first time I got a survey from Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, I put it in the “to do” pile and there it stayed until I managed to dig it out and realize it was past due. This happens, unfortunately, sometimes when you’re running a campaign and have dozens of surveys coming in, on top of a number of other responsibilities.

The good news is that they recently sent me another survey for the general election, and I made sure to fill it out and send it in this time. I think the survey speaks for itself, so I’ll just post it here.

MCAH_Survey0001 MCAH_Survey0002 MCAH_Survey0003 MCAH_Survey0004Thank you for reading, and remember that you can contact me with any thoughts or comments by dropping a note in the comments section or emailing me at

In the Media

Greetings friends!

Ever since I wrote my letter in reply to the vile survey from Eugene Delgaudio and Public Advocate of the United States, I’ve had many people contact me with letters of thanks, appreciation, and support. Some have chosen to share with me life stories that have been deeply touching and, at times, tragic. I think that this underscores how important LGBTQ rights and equality are to people from all over the world, and I’m honored to use my position to bring awareness to these issues.

What’s been really amazing is that several blogs and news organizations have picked up the story and have written about it, and I wanted to share them with everyone here.

Michigan State House Candidate Responds to Bigoted Survey Questions with Incredible Letter Defending LGBT Rights by Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist

Delgaudio Working Hard… in Michigan? by FirewallNOVA Left

‘Pedophilia’ survey a ‘pile of excrement,’ says Michigan House candidate backing LGBT rights by Jonathan Oosting at MLive

Michigan House Candidate Rips Republican Group For Conflating Homosexuality And Pedophilia by Jean Ann Esselink at The New Civil Rights Movement

Dem candidate for Michigan’s 93rd House District sends epic response to anti-gay hate group by Chris Savage at Elcectablog

Chris Savage then cross-posted his article to Daily Kos, where it spent almost an entire day at the top of the Recommended List:

Dem candidate for Michigan’s 93rd House District sends epic response to anti-gay hate group by Chris Savage at Daily Kos

I have also been endorsed by the Facebook group “Pro-Choice Liberals“:

10599502_812943172084467_2447005138221351988_nAnd, finally, I wanted to write that I’ve set up a way to donate to my campaign online at my other website, which can be found at

Thank you for reading.

Candidate Survey: Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC


I received a pretty straightforward survey from the Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC. This PAC is made up of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association.

Auto_Survey01 Auto_Survey02 Auto_Survey03 Auto_Survey04 Auto_Survey05Remember, if you have any questions or comments, you can contact me by email at or drop a comment in the comments section.

Candidate Survey: Michigan Manufacturers Association

This survey format will be a little different than the others I have posted so far. I completed the Michigan Manufacturers Association survey over the internet, and printed my answers and the questions before I submitted it. I’m going to post the two pages that contain the questions and answers, and then retype the answers under them because the type is extremely small.

MMA_Survey01 MMA_Survey025. I believe there is a place for regulations and mandates that provide for basic and preventative services that increase positive health outcomes for individuals and for the public, including mental health and cardiovascular health, among other things. Which specific Michigan-only coverage mandates are so onerous? It’s not hard to image that, state-by-state, there might be unique health issues that might need to be covered by Michigan-only coverage mandates that wouldn’t be required for others states.

6. I cannot answer this question without having specific knowledge of what employer-based workplace regulations are up for discussion. I cannot say that I would oppose new employer-based workplace mandates if I do not know what those new mandates might be, nor can I say that I support them. Those are the kinds of complex, consequential issues that need to be taken on a case-by-case basis, and committing one way or another before I have knowledge of these new mandates is not only inappropriate, but depending on what the mandates are, an abdication of responsibility.

7. I am very supportive of different kinds of education. Programs that will help residents attain the skills and knowledge they need to get the jobs that the manufacturing industry can provide are, naturally, worthy of strong support, and I do support them. Providing better access to career and technical education, and giving the citizens of the state the help to get there, is a high priority so that we can cut the unemployment rate and continue to build Michigan’s economy. I don’t think, however, that this should come at the expense of funding for other higher-education options and opportunities, as Michigan’s economy is dynamic and we have some of the best universities in the country.

8. No. This question presumes that these regulations are inherently bad, or distasteful, or unnecessary. I cannot comment on the nature of new Michigan-only regulations before they’re proposed, and I cannot comment on them without knowing the specific circumstances that led to these regulations being proposed. I believe that these issues shouldn’t be restricted with legislation–and instead, a governmental or regulatory body should be allowed to adapt to new situations.

9. This is a tough question to answer. I support policies that make Michigan’s industries competitive around the country and around the world. According to your website, you’d like to benchmark the tax system and tax rates based on other states and other countries around the world. Certainly, we don’t want to make business taxes too onerous; however, benchmarking the taxes on the tax systems of other countries, even in the name of being competitive with countries like Chine, will probably work to our detriment if they’re allowed to drop too low. As it is, Michigan doesn’t have the funds to repair and maintain its own infrastructure (roads, bridges, pump stations, sewers,etc).

10. Yes, but we shouldn’t let price alone dictate what kinds of energy we pursue. We know that coal is an especially dirty energy, pumping several thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. I support science-based energy and climate policies; as such, I support switching over to renewable and green energy sources such as solar and wind power. It’s hard to find compromise here as more extreme and more numerous weather events are wreaking havoc across the country. This is a problem we all need to address; we have the technology to do so, and it might come with a slightly higher price tag, but these are problems that aren’t going to go away.

11. This policy provides incentives for businesses to increase their energy efficiency, which is funded by surcharges to ratepayers. I do not immediately see a problem with this policy, or a reason why it should be removed.

12. As I’ve said above, we need to institute sound, science-based policies that move us away from polluting fossil fuels like coal that are harming our environment. The evidence is clear on this: it poses a grave risk to public health in many ways, and I don’t feel that this is something that can be left to the free market alone. If it were simply a matter of picking the energy source that is the cheapest, the cost to the environment would be dear. Unfortunately, moving from the highly polluting energy sources to cleaner sources of energy will cost money.

Thank you for reading. If you have a comment, please post it in the comments section or send me an email at