Candidate Survey: Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce

Hello friends!

Today’s survey comes courtesy of the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau Insurance. The questionnaire itself was somewhat confusing to answer because the questions were worded somewhat poorly, so I did the best I could. The entire response was limited to about 500 words because they have the intention, I was told in the letter, of reporting these answers to newspapers in Gratiot County. As such, the answers are kind of truncated into soundbite form, which is not how I would have preferred to answer them. However, I’m going to post the answers that I gave to the questionnaires as they are.

Gratiot_Area_0001Gratiot_Area_0002My answers to these questions are as follows:

  1. I have first-hand experience with many of the issues the legislature deals with, including poverty and education. I earned a full scholarship to the University of Michigan by my own hard work. I’ve been a tutor, and as a college student I came to understand issues involving higher education. I don’t have a career or an education designed for a career in politics, and I believe in the idea of the “citizen legislator.”
  2. Reports say we need $1.2 billion per year in new funding for roads and bridges. This amount cannot be raised by only eliminating waste and fraud, and other proposals fall well short of this amount. As painful and contentious as it may be, a use tax paired with higher license fees may be needed. However, I recognize that the state has failed to garner trust with how it handles the taxes and fees that already exist. As part of raising the new funds there should be, I believe, ironclad provisions that increase the visibility of how the funds are used, and that data be provided to citizen watchdog organizations. Properly funding road repair is vital to grow Michigan’s economy.
  3. Michigan’s energy future is with alternatives like wind and solar. Green jobs are on the rise, and they’re helping to grow the economy. They’ll help us maintain the pristine beauty of the state, from the Great Lakes to our many parks. Agriculture relies on clean soil and water, and alternative energy sources will up us maintain these resources.
  4. The biggest challenges in education are adopting new strict standards, an onerous standardized testing schedule, and a shortfall in funding. To fix these issues, we can increase funding to traditional public schools (prisons get more funding than schools), especially in early-childhood education. Reducing tuition costs for higher education to take the burden off the students and reduce their debt load will also be a positive step. If we scale back standardized testing we can ensure classes don’t just become about test-prep. I have a wealth of experience in agriculture; my grandfather owned and operated a corn farm in Bath, and assisted in its operations from a very early age.
  5. I will be a strong advocate for agriculture. I support science-based policy with respect to hybrid crops and developing agricultural technology, as well as with the environment and energy. My experience on my grandfather’s farm has given me insight into the issues important to farmers. My goals are to establish a clean energy infrastructure to protect Michigan’s soil, water, and other natural resources which agriculture depends on.
  6. I am running because:
    1. I believe in Michigan, and I want to help the state to live up to its vast potential.
    2. I don’t believe that current legislators are working in the best interests of the citizens of Michigan.
    3. I’m not a typical politician; I will make the hard decisions that career politicians in Lansing will not.

The Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting a Candidate forum on the 30th of September, and it is my intention to attend.

I hope to be making more posts about my positions on various issues tonight and tomorrow. I have done a ton of research and organized it into a series of binders and folders, so the only step is to write all my thoughts down.

Thank you for stopping by!



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