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Michigan Representative District 26

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

    Jim Ellison
    (Dem)

  • Randy LeVasseur
    (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 Royal Oak
Age 64
Family Wife: Jodie; Children: Emilie; Brian; Bradley; Sarah; Jonathan; Jacob; Madeline; Isaac
Education Kimball High School -- Class of 1970
Vehicles owned 2009 Ford Escape, 2008 Pontiac Solstice, 1955 Ford Customline
Professional Experience Construction Cost Estimator with Barton Malow Inc & Ronnisch Construction Group for a total of approx 30 years
Political Experience Mayor, City of Royal Oak since 2003, 12.5 years to date City Commissioner, City of Royal Oak 1991 to 1995, 4 years
Race/ethnicity White
Campaign Website http://www.Jim4MI.com
Incumbent? false
If the state would stop decreasing state shared revenues to the local governments, that would be a start. Many cities are in a position to bond for the debt, however many are not. The state should assist in offering funds to lower the debt to cities. Long term legacy costs are a serious problem for municipalities that could affect their futures.
How the state funds our cities significantly hinders delivery of services, sometimes including vital services necessary to ensure public safety. e.g., to address shortfalls, Royal Oak enacted by a vote of the citizens a millage to support public safety. It is urgently apparent that the state needs to rightsize shared revenues and give the cities what they are due. Cities cannot rely totally on state funds, yet the ability of cities to collect revenue on increased assessed value is limited by the affects of Headlee and Prop A which stymies their ability to collect full funding; a tweaking or reworking of both of those mechanisms may be necessary to bring them in line with fiscal realities.
I do not support the state's emergency manager program as as it is currently written and implemented, as this program allows unelected officials to literally negate voters' choices regarding chosen representatives and funding priorities. If the state continues with the EM law, it needs to be adjusted so as to not take away local control from the elected officials. Some type of oversight with some executive powers may be required in rare instances where perhaps corruption has impacted the cities, but executive power should not be invoked on cities that have made good effort but fall short due to factors that they can't control, like Headlee, Prop A and reduced state shared revenues.
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The crises happened for many reasons but it was precipitated by the state's overeager intervention and consequent lack of oversight over what they created. The state's initial attempt to minimize and ignore the crisis was an arrogant attempt to divert responsibility from the problem. It took significant, sustained public pressure to force them to actually look into what happened and commit to working to fix it. Even still, the primary impulse from Lansing is to pillory underlings but not the higher ups to whom they reported. Since cost savings rather than residents' needs undergirded the state's decision to use Flint water, they must remain on the front lines of providing recovery funding.
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The federal government was the back up player in this and stepped in when it was obvious that the state was reneging on its responsibility. The fed's intervention was similar to what they do whenever a state has a catastrophe that it is unable to fully handle locally: take over direction of support, mitigation, and recovery efforts; supply organizational, logistical, and personnel support; and provide emergency resources.
No.
No.
We need to be diligent that undue burden is not placed on those that can least afford it in the form of added sales/use taxes. Income tax should be assessed on a much fairer scale so that middle to lower incomes do not continue to pay an unfairly disproportionate percentage of their income to the state for the same services that all income levels in the state enjoy.
I would, as long as the commission's authority extended not only to traditional public schools but to the charters and academies as well.
The point of charters and cyber schools was to allow for innovation and novel pedagogical approaches; they were never meant to act as competition to traditional public schools, but rather to complement the existing system. There is a place for these entities in a regulated, controlled system with strong accountability measures in place. But the unregulated, wild-west system the state has fostered to date is creating chaos for parents and teachers and inhibiting the ability for our schools to meet the needs of children.
Yes. As Royal Oak's longest serving Mayor I fought to include LGBT workplace and housing protections in our human rights ordnance. The opponents of Obergefell will continue to try to roll back these and other such protections for years to come, so it remains incredibly important that our statewide civil rights act proves sufficient to the task.
I do not.
No.
Unequivocally. Apportioning voters to ensure particular political outcomes is fundamentally contrary to real democracy.
I do. Although the precise regulatory framework Michigan ought to implement will deserve serious consideration, a system of regulation, taxation, and oversight will yield vastly superior outcomes in terms of public resource allocation, sentencing for non-violent crime, and treatment options for users suffering from drug abuse or addiction.
Yes.
I do. Increasing the state's renewal energy mandates will not only cut back on contributions to air pollution from energy production, but due to the potential market impact of increasingly affordable renewable energy sources relative to fossil fuels, expanding investment in renewable over traditional energy production will likely contribute to Michigan's and the producers' economic well-being in the next decade and beyond.
Yes. We need to do all we can to shut down the school-to-prison pipeline, including adequately funding our school systems. Probation and embedded community programs should be expanded, in particular for nonviolent and misdemeanor offenders, and the permissibility of solitary confinement for these offenders should be challenged. Expanding scope of and access to mental health services might drastically cut back on rates of incarceration for individuals who should more properly be receiving expert care. Finally, if incarceration is to mean anything beyond social control and punishment, we should Ban the Box and restore the Constitutional right of franchise once a sentence has been served.
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