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 joshderke.ruck.us.

Thank you for reading.

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Candidate Survey: Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC

Greetings!

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 jderke2014@gmail.com 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 jderke2014@gmail.com

Candidate Survey: LAHR PAC

I recently received a letter from the Lansing Association for Human Rights Political Action Committee, informing me that I have been rated “Positive” by them for my support of equal rights for all Americans, including those in the LGBT community. I’ll attach the letter, as well as the original survey and my responses. There are nine total pages, so I’ll first post the letter informing me of my positive rating, and then putting the survey below a “read more” link.

LAHR_Survey001

Continue reading

Candidate Survey: Business Leaders for Michigan

Greetings, friends!

This survey isn’t as interesting as the last one, but it does cover some important policies. It comes from the Business Leaders for Michigan PAC, a group that, according to their webpage, works toward “making Michigan a ‘Top Ten’ state for jobs, personal income, and a healthy economy.” This survey is to assess a candidate’s alignment with their “Michigan Turnaround Plan.”

There are some good ideas in the plan, and some ideas that I don’t think are as good. I’m not sure what they’ve rated me, and I’m not entirely sure what metric they use, but I hope that my post will help to elucidate my stances on the issues that they’ve raised. I think my comments are important here, because I don’t think that the turnaround plan was all that detailed, so I could only offer provisional support if certain conditions were met, or I couldn’t agree if I thought that there were unanswered questions that needed to be answered.

There are six pages to this survey, which I completed on the internet and printed off. So please, bear with me.

BLM_01 BLM_02 BLM_03 BLM_04 BLM_05 BLM_06Thank you for reading. My long-standing policy still stands: if you have any comments or suggestions, please drop a reply in the comments section or email me at jderke2014@gmail.com

Candidate Survey: Public Advocate of the United States

When I first received the survey from Public Advocate of the United States, my jaw dropped. I have received some pretty outrageous letters and surveys before, but I just couldn’t be silent about this. Their website seems to be a repository of boilerplate nonsense, and it’s not really the focus of this post. If you want to visit, you’ll be treated to some pretty fringe things, so here’s some fair warning.

I chose not to participate in their survey. I couldn’t. It’s very hard to communicate with special interests and groups of people who do not enter into a dialogue honestly. It’s very obviously targeted to a certain demographic–a certain kind of candidate. I am pledged to being open and honest with people–with not hiding anything about what I believe and what I stand for. I will not pander to anyone. I’m not the kind of candidate that’s going to interact with a group that, well, you’ll see what I mean below.

I elected instead to send a letter. Their survey was hurtful; I have family, and many friends, that are LGBT. They’re not immoral, and they’re not seeking special privileges. They want equality–they want to be treated with respect, and dignity, just like any other person does. I think that they deserve that, without reservation. Groups like Public Advocate would like people to believe that there’s some great conspiracy, that a powerful and monied group of people is trying to usurp special rights and take away American values and destroy families. It’s a lie, of course. A rather malicious one that seeks to make certain citizens second class.

Fighting against this harmful and damaging rhetoric starts with people like you and me standing up and saying, “No, we will not discriminate against people because they’re different. No, we will not allow prejudice to harm and degrade human beings.”

With that said, here’s the letter, the survey, and my response.

Public_Advocate01Public_Advocate02Public_Advocate03Public_Advocate04And if you think I’m being too harsh about the “HON. EUGENE DELGAUDIO” thing, look at the return envelope that came with it.

Public_Advocate_EThis is the most direct I’ve been in a response to a survey. And I believe that it’s really important to be outspoken about these kinds of things. You have to stand up for what you believe–for what’s right. That’s my promise–I stand up for what is right, regardless of politics, or elections.

Like always, if you’d like to leave me some feedback or have a discussion, you can engage me in the comments section or send an email to jderke2014@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading.

Candidate Survey: League of Women Voters of Michigan

This survey from the League of Women Voters of Michigan is pretty straightforward. It’s a nonpartisan series of three questions, and they do not make any endorsements. Their handy Voting & Election Information page can connect Michigan voters to the responses of other candidates throughout the state. People who live in Clinton County might be interested to look into the responses of the Democratic and Republican candidates of the 24th State Senate District, as well as the responses of the Democratic candidate, Jeff Holmes, of the 4th U.S. Congressional District (the Republicans did not respond).

At the time of writing, all of the responses that can be accessed from the website are those submitted for the primary elections on August 5th, and haven’t yet been updated for the general election.

My own responses to the survey can be viewed here (http://www.lwvmi.org/documents/VG2014P.SR093.pdf). I updated it a bit for the general election, but you can generally expect to see the same thing when they update it, if they do decide to do so. I was the only candidate in this State House district to respond at the time of the primary survey. I don’t know if either of the other two now running in the general (there is an Independent running) have responded to the general election survey.

Well, that’s it for this survey. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them at this blog in the comments section or you can write me at jderke2014@gmail.com