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: http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/153598/josh-derke#.VDHtvVeKVEM.

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 jderke2014@gmail.com 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

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 jderke2014@gmail.com

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