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Michigan Representative District 12

Choose one candidate. Representatives in the Michigan State House serve two-year terms and receive an annual salary of $71,685.

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  • Candidate picture

    Erika Geiss
    (Dem)

  • Erik Soderquist
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

How should the state assist other municipalities and school districts whose solvency is threatened by its financial obligations to current and future retirees?

Is the way the state funds our cities adequate to ensure safety and service delivery? If not, what changes would you support to our municipal finance model?

When cities are struggling, what is the appropriate way for the state to intervene? Should state intervention – through the emergency manager law or some other avenue – come with dollars attached? Why or why not?

How would you rate the state’s response to the Flint water crisis?

Explain your answer and what you would do, if anything, to improve the state’s response.

How would you rate the federal government’s response to the Flint water crisis?

Explain your answer and what you would do, if anything, to improve the federal government’s response.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

Do you believe Michigan’s tax system is generally fair? If not, what changes do you support?

Would you support the establishment of a Detroit Educational Commission that would have authority to site, open and close traditional public and charter schools?

What changes, if any, would you support in the way Michigan authorizes and regulates charter schools?

Do you favor amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity?

Do you support state-level laws modeled on the federal Restoration of Religious Freedom Act?

Have you signed any public pledge to support or oppose any organization’s public policy objectives, such as outlawing abortion or barring any increase in taxes?

Do you support legislation to minimize or eliminate the influence of political parties on drawing lines for legislative districts?

Do you support decriminalization of recreational marijuana?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Do you support the renewal and/or expansion of renewable energy mandates for Michigan energy producers?

Do we incarcerate too many people in Michigan? What would you change in the criminal justice system?

City of residence Taylor, MI
Age 45
Family Husband: Doug Geiss Two children, ages 10 and 7.
Education BA Brandeis University, 1993 MA Tufts University, 1998
Vehicles owned Ford Explorer Ford Mustang (husband)
Professional Experience Adjunct Faculty, Humanities WCCCD (on hiatus) Adjunct Faculty, Art Inst. of Michigan (2011-14) Editor (freelance/solopreneur) 2001-present Contributing Editor, World Energy Monthly Review & Copy Editor, World Energy Magazine 2006-10 Curatorial Liaison, Charles H. Wright Museum 2003-2005 Dir. of Education, Rose Art Museum 2000-2003 Adjunct Faculty, UNH-Durham 1999, 2000 Muriel G.S. Lewis Fellow, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1998-2000 Barbara F. Lee Fellow, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1997
Political Experience Current State Rep. for House District 12 Commissioner (appointed): Taylor Cultural Arts Commission Commissioner (appointed): Master Plan Steering Committee for the City of Taylor
Race/ethnicity Black (U.S. & West Indian) Hispanic (Central American)
Campaign Website http://www.electgeiss.com
Incumbent? true
The state could help municipalities by increasing revenue sharing. We could also help traditional school districts by lowering the MPSERS unfunded liability from the 20.96% cap to half (or less) so that districts don’t end up using their foundation allowance towards the unfunded liability instead where it belongs—in classrooms. All publicly funded schools (including PSAs) should play by the same rules, including paying into MSPERS. Further, we need to reduce the privatization & outsourcing in our districts. When we privatize parts of our public education, MPSERS contributions are reduced & the burden of funding legacy costs is placed on the backs of the students in today’s classrooms.
If the state increased revenue sharing (especially in light of lost property taxes from population loss and the loss of revenue from the vote for the removal of the PPT), local municipalities might be better funded to adequately ensure safety and service delivery.
There should be something in place in terms of state intervention when municipalities are struggling, but the way the Emergency Manager law is currently written has proven to be an ineffective and flawed model (Flint and the Detroit Public Schools are perfect examples of this). Any type of state intervention should include the elected bodies that were elected by the municipality's people. There should be additional legislative oversight of EMs as well as a way for those under emergency management to appeal decisions made by an EM. And finally, EMs should not be able to make the salaries that they do and there should be an ethics ordinance/conflict of interest legislation in place for EMs.
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The state should have responded immediately when Flint residents were indicating that there was something wrong with the water. Resources needed to be allocated sooner, not only to ensure that people stopped using the water, but to address the short-term and long-term effects of Pb exposure on humans and pets. The corrosion control measures should have been put in place already and affected pipes should have already been replaced. This has been going on for far too long, this community needs to be made whole and everything about the situation needs to be documented to ensure that it NEVER happens again, anywhere.
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The federal government should have been more insistent on the state taking action to address the crisis and much sooner.
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I believe our tax system places too much tax burden on middle class and lower-income families. A graduated tax is a change that I would support as well as a restoration of the EITC.
Yes. So that the playing field could be leveled when it comes to educational choices for families, but such an entity would need to be made up of a group of people from within the community and who understood the community and its needs along with experts in education and a working knowledge of how to transition school closures and openings to reduce stress upon students and their families.
Since charter schools are public school academies and receive public funding, they should have to abide by the same rules for and guidelines for student achievement, closure if failing (without loopholes), transportation and providing services to special education students. Caps on authorizers need to be in place and if an authorizer has a disproportionate number of schools that are not performing adequately, they should lose their ability to authorize additional schools.
Yes.
No.
I would oppose any legislation that would sanction discrimination or limits a woman's access to healthcare.
Yes. An independent group that is diverse (including in political points of view) should work together to draw legislative districts based upon population and logical contiguous communities.
While some states may have already done so for small quantities, here in Michigan, we need to examine how states such as Colorado are faring with its legalization from a community health to law enforcement standpoints. We are still navigating the new terrain of legalized medical marijuana. I don’t think that we are ready to take on legalizing recreational marijuana, especially without a clear regulatory structure for it.
Yes and possibly--making such appearances would entirely depend upon how such events would align with my family's schedule and my work schedule both in the district and in Lansing.
Yes. We need to have a robust and diversified energy portfolio that includes renewable energy not just fossil fuels. But we also need to continually address consumption and behavioral changes to be more energy efficient.
Yes. We need to address the sentencing guidelines so that judges have more options including alternatives to incarceration from behavioral ones to community service to work programs and others depending upon what the infraction/crime is and that it’s not a violent crime, serious drug offense or an epic repeat offender. Reducing the incarceration rate would also reduce criminal justice spending. We need to help reduce and eliminate crime by improving equitable access to education and jobs as well as working with communities, businesses and non-profits to provide programs and services that help engage individuals to be productive members of society rather than engaging in criminal activity.
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