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Michigan Representative District 22

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

    Jeff Bonnell
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    John G. Chirkun
    (Dem)

  • Les Townsend
    (UST)

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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 Roseville
Age 54
Family Wife: Donna Daughter: Cheyenne Grandson: Nikolai
Education K-12 Macomb County Macomb County Comm College 24 years of military schools, courses, classes and certifications
Vehicles owned 2
Professional Experience Yes
Political Experience 2014 - Ran for 22nd District State Rep (R) - Lost 2014 - Elected 9th Congressional District (R) Delegate
Race/ethnicity American
Campaign Website http://Bonnell2016.com
Incumbent? false
Audit the municipalities and school districts to find out WHY its financial obligations outstrip their ability to pay, Then find out WHO was responsible for maintaining the solvency of the municipalities and districts. Those involved, if elected, should be asked, and then forced to step down. If they are a government employee, they should be fired for failure to do their jobs competently, Once those who are irresponsible with the tax payer's money are removed, they should be replaced with competent administrators before any funding or assistance is provided. Retirees fulfilled their parts of their contract / promise. The municipalities and districts should honor those commitments.
The responsibility for the safety and services of a city and its residents belongs to the city. The State can assist with funding during TEMPORARY shortfalls, but it's the city's right and responsibility to ensure the safety of its own residents. If the city is constantly behind in its ability to provide the necessary safety and services to its residents, then there needs to be a change in city leadership and management. It is not the State that is mishandling the city's revenue, it's the city's leadership and management. If the leadership and management never changes, then it doesn't matter how much the State assists the city. The State aid will continue to be misused and mismanaged.
If a city is in such dire straits that an emergency manager is required, then the 'bail out' MUST come with strings attached to ensure that the misuse and mismanagement of city revenue is curtailed, The other residents of Michigan should not be required to continually 'bail out" and foot the bill for a city that consistently mismanages its revenue, year after year, Leadership and management need to be changed, through resignations, forced resignations, impeachments or simply fired those who are responsible, Competent individuals should replace the outgoing leadership until the city can prove itself solvent and be able to remain so. If the city doesn't agree, they don't get the assistance
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I wasn't involved in the Flint water crisis, although my family has been and will forever be part of the Camp Lejuene Water crisis, which has affected the health of our family members. The effects of the Flint water crisis will be with us for many generations. Since the State hasn't had much experience is such a large calamity as it saw in Flint, I think their response time and aid was a bit over average, once the problem was significantly identified. There is always room for improvement to any emergency situation, and should another water crisis happen in Michigan like Flint's, I'm hopeful that the State's response will be improved and much quicker and more focused.
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While the State doesn't have much experience in large scale water crisis, such as experienced by the residents of Flint, the federal government HAS responded to numerous water crisis throughout the nation and the world. With each crisis, the federal government should be gaining experience and knowledge through lessons-learned and past experience of what works, what doesn't and how to make it what you do have work, The federal government became involved in the Flint crisis too late, with too little available resources for an agency that has done this type of emergency reaction many times in the past.
A handful of speeding tickets in my youth
No
I believe the Michigan Tax system is NOT fair - too few tax payers who are paying too much in taxes to support people who prefer not to work. We need to continue to increase, not just our jobs, but the quality of jobs. We need to attract more business to Michigan, We need to remove as many 'unqualified' people draining the State coffers and the tax payers' pockets. We need to reapply and redirect those misappropriated funds back to our seniors and qualified individuals. Reducing our tax burden will allow people to keep more of THEIR money to spend on things THEY want, which creates more demand, which requires more workers, which requires more jobs, which also produces more tax income,
YES! The Detroit Public schools are a disaster and an embarrassment to the rest of Michigan. The city has proven they are incapable of maintaining a functional educational system for their residents. A state-run commission should be established and the city of Detroit should be provided with input for the commission but with limited judgement in its findings or rulings. The commission should be manned by individual experts chosen by the State - based on their knowledge, ability and competency. Detroit should be allowed 1 seat for the city to provide a non-voting representative. Once the failing educational system has finally been fixed, control should slowly be returned to the city.
I would like to ensure that both public and charter schools continue to receive equal funding per pupil and if feasible to incorporate some of the charter school techniques and methodology into the public schools.
Whatever a 'straight' person can do or can not do, the same should hold true for a "gay" individual. No special rights or protections, No additional rights or protection. ALL treated EQUALLY. As for those who are uncertain about their gender at any specific moment, I am strongly against having the rights and privacy of over 98% of the country's population infringed upon, violated and downgraded to accommodate less than 2% of the population. Male body parts go with MALE body parts - Female body parts go with FEMALE body parts. PERIOD. It's about anatomy NOT gender. I'd rather be right 99% of the time and apologize once than be wrong all the time and get lucky once.
Yes
No pledges - Strong vocal and written opinions
YES: I think legislative districts should be in simple geometric shapes, no snakes, rubic's cubes, no rorkshaw tests. Simple shapes. Actually, I'm in favor of reducing the number of districts (and legislators) to 55 instead of 110. Combine district 1 with 2, district 3 with 4, district 5 with 6 and so on. Double the number of constituents for each representative. It will make things quicker, cost effective and less expensive for the residents of Michigan, While I support NO POLITICS in drawing the lines, there will always be politics in drawing the lines, whether it's either party or by the "non-partisan" consultants they hire, or by "hired" contractors. They all play politics.
Not really MY call - that's a decision for the voters of my district to make. I represent THEIR views and if they are for it, then I support it. If they are against it, then I'm opposed to it. I'd prefer to see it on a State ballot for the people of Michigan to vote on. If it becomes a proposal on the ballot THEN I can have my say in supporting it or not. My vote will be tabulated with the rest of my district and what they decide, I represent.
I do support my presidential nominee. I may or may not appear at campaign events with the nominee should I get invited, but I don't have such an inflated opinion of myself to think that I'd be invited to a presidential event. I think the nominee can get along fine without me standing on a stage behind him or at a microphone stating that "I" support him, I think the nominee has MUCH more political draw and appeal than 1 of 110 State Representatives from 1 of the 50 states. However; should my presidential nominee invite me to assist at a presidential campaign event in Michigan, I will look up one of your reporters and let them know that I'm there.
I'm not sure if reaching 40% of Michigan's electric production from renewable sources is attainable or not, but cleaner energy does sound like a good idea as long as it doesn't cripple the tax payer / consumer. This won't go over well with the energy lobbyists, but all renewable energy research should be funded by the ENERGY companies, not the tax payers. The energy company that makes the 'break-through' is going to reap all the profits from this new or upgraded energy source and those profits aren't going to be shared with the consumers or tax payers. So why should the tax payers / consumers 'invest' in the research when they will get nothing but higher energy bills when it happens?
Yes, Some people we take in from other states at a per prisoner rate, others are individuals who don't belong in this country. The criminal justice system is responsible for a small portion of the problem *for minor crimes and non-violent minor crimes*, but the vast majority of the problem is with the culture of raising our children to BE criminals. The constant attacks on family and social morals and values have resulted in the break down of producing law-abiding citizens. When, "if you want it, take it - because you deserve it" or "it's not fair that they have X and I don't" is taught and promoted rather than hard work, fair play, and honesty, your criminal base is going to increase.
City of residence Roseville
Age 63
Family Wife, Sharon; two children, Jonathan: 31 years old and Denise: 39 years old; foster son, River: 20 years old
Education Aeromechanics High School -Graduate (1970), post-graduate (1971-1972). Attended Macomb Community College and Highland Park Community College. Graduated from the Wayne County Police Academy in 1979 and the State Police Instructor’s School in 1984
Vehicles owned 2
Professional Experience Wayne County Sheriff's Department, 29 years as a Sheriff's Deputy where I retired as an Executive Sergeant and Commanding Officer of the Internet Crimes Unit and Special Operations Division; former Vice President of SEIU Local 502
Political Experience I was first elected to the Roseville City Council in November of 1995 and was reelected each term until I was appointed Roseville Mayor in January 2009 when Harold L. Haugh was elected to the Michigan House. In addition, I served as the Mayor of Roseville and was reelected twice (November 2009 and November 2013). I am also the past Chairman of the SMDA (South Macomb Disposal Authority) and the South Macomb Sanitary District (SMSD). I am currently the State Representative for the 22nd District, which includes Roseville and the eastern portions of Warren from January 2015-present.
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://www.johnchirkun.com
Incumbent? true
The state should leave local governments and schools to run their own affairs and fully fund them by providing them with full revenue sharing and School Aid dollars. If the state is interested in helping municipalities with funding financial obligations for current and future retirees, it should look at incentives to encourage best practices and incentives as an option to become involved in a state-administered retirement system. The state can assist local school districts by lowering the MPSERS cap to 0%, removing the current system where districts are receiving funding in their foundation allowance only to give it back for the unfunded liability, freeing up more resources to educate kids.
I believe that the state's lack of funding has led to a crisis where cities have been forced to look to local taxpayers in the form of millages to fund essential services and stay afloat. The Legislature needs to fully fund statutory revenue sharing, which has been underfunded by over $6 billion dollars since 2001. I support a review of all state tax incentives to see if they are truly working and repeal if not, as well as requiring any new laws that have a local budgetary impact to be funded by General Fund or a dedicated state revenue source. I also support allowing local voter approval for millages to be rolled up when property tax grows by less than inflation to exceed the Headlee cap
I do not support an state-appointed EFM and believe that the money spent on one could be better used by the local governments directly as financial incentives to help solve the issues at hand. Give the power to the locals that are currently granted to the Emergency Financial Manager and let the local community come up with a solution that works best for them by involving the community and employees. The state should provide an advisory role by providing technical advice and best practices that have been used before to solve problems. As a former Mayor, collaboration always makes for a better outcome. We have seen the negative effects of looking to just cut budget corners at DPS and Flint.
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The state must do everything it can to deal with the public health crisis that has occurred under its watch with the State-appointed Emergency Manager. We have made some strides but more needs to be done. So far, the Michigan Legislature has provided Flint about $240.6 million in funding for things like bottled water, water filters, lead service line replacement, health care coverage and reimbursement of water bills. We need to replace all of the lead pipes in Flint and provide more funding for health care and support services for residents. Longer term, we need to fund increases for loans/grants to assist communities in providing safe/clean water and make necessary infrastructure fixes.
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The federal government has helped in the distribution of water and water filters, health screenings, blood testing, nutritional assistance, behavior support services, health investigations, oversight/assistance of compliance testing and expanded Medicaid coverage to 15,000 children and pregnant mothers. They have also expanded Head Start to residents. However, the federal government could provide more funding for repairs and updates to Flint's water infrastructure as well as more funding for health care needs of residents and children. They can also update the Lead and Copper Rule by reducing the action level for lead and ban practices that artificially lowered testing samples for lead.
No
No.
The current system is unfair to Michigan’s seniors and the working/middle class as it puts the burden squarely on them. I opposed the pension tax and the road funding package that passed last year that raised registration fees and the gas tax without fully fixing the problem. I would repeal the pension tax and restore the tax credits/deductions that were eliminated or cut like the EITC and Homestead Exemption. I will work with my colleagues to find a road plan that shares the cost of fixing our roads to everyone as opposed to those that could afford it least and to come up with a tax structure where corporations also pay their fair share for services we all use by reviewing tax incentives.
I opposed the DPS package that passed the Michigan Legislature because it failed to incorporate several things that I felt were necessary to successfully provide the district and its students with an opportunity to be successful such as the Detroit Educational Commission. I supported providing adequate funding to cover past debt obligations allowing the district to start fresh while providing a mechanism for accountability, academic success, fiscal responsibility and a plan to site and open/close traditional and charter schools in the city, which the Detroit Education Commission was created to implement. I supported the original, bipartisan Senate plan that incorporated these principles.
First of all, we need to hold consistently failing charter schools accountable by not reauthorizing them. We need to create in law specific criteria for closing a charter school for failing to meet academic standards. Secondly, we need more transparency for charter schools by requiring disclosure of finances, including how much charter schools spend on academics and advertising. These items should be posted online so that the public can review and inspect the spending. Charters should be subject to FOIA and OMA laws as all public schools are. Finally, we need clear conflict of interest requirements so that charters aren’t being used as a shell game to enrich folks but rather to educate kids.
Yes. LGBT individuals deserve the same protections as every other Michigan resident. I will continue to support legislative and citizen efforts to amend the Elliot-Larsen Act to include the LGBT community. I have co-sponsored legislation (House Bill 4538) that would expand protections to all Michigan residents. I believe no one should be discriminated against.
No. I believe state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are unnecessary and are often used as legal cover to discriminate against individuals in certain communities. We should be spending time making sure we address real problems facing our citizens such as creating good paying jobs and also to ensure all people are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their race, background or sexual orientation.
I do not sign pledges.
Yes. I support legislation that would minimize the influence of political parties in the redistricting process. I support a non-partisan redistricting process and co-sponsored legislation (House Bill 4800 and House Joint Resolution AA) that would create a commission of 14 members, five from each political party and four unaffiliated with any party and have not run for office in the last ten years to create a redistricting plan that requires public hearings on any proposal.
Voters will ultimately have the final say on this matter. Any change in marijuana laws must be done with the public's safety in mind. As a retired Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy, I have seen the negative effects of drug abuse on families and the community firsthand. I believe it is a gateway drug that could lead to more serious abuse of drugs in the future for kids and also have concerns about marijuana usage among drivers who could put the community at risk. The voter-initiated medical marijuana law has resulted in numerous unintended consequences that voters did not expect. I would like to review the law and experiences of Colorado and Washington before moving forward as a state.
I support the Democratic nominee for President and will appear at campaign events. I am a Democrat because I believe in social and economic values that provide everyone with a fair opportunity to pursue a successful life. I believe in equality, the right of worker's to collectively bargain and funding important things like public education (including Pre-K and higher ed), our transportation infrastructure and helping those in need of a helping hand. I believe in protecting our environment. I want a nation that is prosperous and inclusive, one that invests in our communities, our people, and our children's futures. Of the candidates, Hillary Clinton represents the values to advance these goal
I believe we must do all that we can to support sustainable and renewable energy in Michigan. We must incentivize the use of wind and solar energy that has less of a carbon footprint on our environment and creates jobs in the process. I support legislation (House Bill 4055) that would double Michigan’s energy efficiency standards and co-sponsored legislation (House Bill 4518) that would increase the state's renewable energy portfolio to 20 percent by 2022, which I believe is attainable as a goal. As the Michigan Legislature debates the future of energy policy in our state, I will push for these concepts to be included in the final product.
We spend more money on incarcerating people than higher education. Over the years, many failed efforts have included closing prisons, cuts in health care and educational programs and privatizing services. We need to focus on proven methods that reduce recidivism and crime such as investing in our local public schools, proving wrap-around services for at-risk youth, creating opportunities for economic and job growth in our communities, funding training programs for parolees, and enforcing sentences for violent crimes. We need to reinvest savings back into our communities and citizens into things like more substance abuse and mental health funding, more supervision and police officers.
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