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Michigan Representative District 31

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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  • Mike Saliba
    (L)

  • Candidate picture

    William J. Sowerby
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Lisa Valerio
    (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 Clinton Twp
Incumbent? false
The state should not give money to such institutions. In the private sector, such institutions would need to rely on their own ability to generate funds or face bankruptcy. Public institutions should be held to the same standard. It's that competition which drives ingenuity and that is the way we achieve advancement.
Cities should be accountable for their own fundraising. That is the way cities compete against each other and drive incentive for people to live in those cities. It isn't for the state to bankroll failed institutions. Cities should present themselves as advantageous ventures for both businesses and residents. If a city is advantageous to do business or to live in that city will be successful. That city will thrive and the state need not take an intervention.
The state should not intervene. The city should be held accountable for its own actions and driven by the market to create its own incentives for people to do business and live in that city. Market forces will automatically correct the problems of said city.
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I would work with both state and city officials to open up Flint's water supply to a range of suppliers. Those suppliers would have to compete to make available the best possible water supply to the people of Flint. After rigorous testing and financial due diligence, the best option will present itself and the people of Flint will be afforded the highest quality water at the lowest possible price.
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The Constitution grants no such oversight to local governments so the federal government was under no obligation to correct the situation in Flint, Michigan. However, the federal government DID respond to the situation in Flint, Michigan as a purely political act to further partisan politics. It's entirely up to the city of Flint to address the issues of the Flint water crisis yet members of the federal government have used this crisis to advance the agenda of their particular political party.
I have been convicted of a misdemeanor. Over three years ago I left a party on Memorial Day in a rainstorm. I did crash my vehicle into a telephone pole and alcohol was in my system. However, I was not charged with a DUI. I do believe such a charge was not given because the weather played a greater part in my collision than the alcohol. This does not excuse the level of alcohol in my system. I wasn't aware of the time required for the unacceptable amount of alcohol to leave my system. As it stands, I've not had so much as a single warning on my driving record in the time that has passed since this unfortunate incident.
I have never filed for personal bankruptcy.
No, I do not believe Michigan's tax system is fair. Cuts were made to the business taxes in Michigan which were successful in creating new jobs. But those cuts were paid for by a tax on the pensions of retired citizens. Those cuts should have been paid for by a reduction in the size of the state government which has doubled itself since 1998. I would maintain the cuts to the corporate taxes while returning the pensions of retired people to their previous tax-exempt status. I would also fight to eliminate the state income tax, bringing Michigan on par with the top five highest earning states in the nation which have no income tax.
No. The state of Michigan has been bailing out Detroit Public Schools for far too long. No one is held accountable for the money spent when the money spent is not money earned. When the state simply hands money to Detroit Public Schools, no responsibility is taken for that money given. Private organizations funded by public granted vouchers would instead implement the best possible practices to receive said vouchers. Private individuals will jump at the opportunity to fill the gap created by the ill-managed Detroit Public School system. When this entrepreneurship takes ground, children born in Detroit will have the same opportunities afforded to them as children all over the state.
I would loosen regulations inhibiting new charter schools and I would incentivize their creation by way of a state school voucher system. This would give an equal profit motive for private individuals to create the best practicing school systems in all communities.
No, and this is not that I do not acknowledge the rights of any members of the LGBTQ community, but simply because I acknowledge the fact that business is a voluntary act between two parties not subject to coercion by the state. The market will dictate the business's incentive to serve the LGBTQ community.
Yes. The religious rights of all citizens of the United States are protected by the Constitution and business is a voluntary act between two parties. The state shall not interfere with any interaction between any two free parties.
I have not.
If I am elected state representative, I will fight for legislation that forces a computer-driven model of political districts based on population free of any political influence or gerrymandering.
I wholeheartedly support the decriminalization of recreational marijuana as well as a full legalization of all federally scheduled drugs. Every citizen is sovereign under his or her own body. Failing such legalization, I support a Colorado style marijuana legalization which has been proven to benefit the state and decrease the workload of the justice system. Failing such legalization, I favor an Ann Arbor style ticket system for marijuana possession to encompass the whole state. Failing such concession, I would further pursue a legalization of industrial hemp. This crop affords great possibilities for Michigan farmers to engage in new high tech fields.
Absolutely! I view Gary Johnson as a hero of mine in both the private and public sectors. I hope to achieve even a fraction as he has achieved in his life. No one is more qualified to be President of these United States as Gary Johnson. His record clearly displays a resume of economic growth and social liberation.
No, so much as I do not accept the role of the state as a central planner. I believe all obstacles should be removed from free enterprise and the market shall dictate the winner.
We absolutely incarcerate too many people in Michigan as we incarcerate too many people in the United States of America. It is completely incomprehensible of a free nation to have the largest number of incarcerated people in the world. We need to work to free such people from incarceration. Any people incarcerated by way of a non-violent crime are worthy of a pardon. Michigan should work to eliminate crimes seeming not to have a victim. Furthermore, the sentences granted to violent criminals should be directed into psychological treatment paid for by the reduction of the penitentiary system.
City of residence Charter Township of Clinton
Age 59
Family Spouse: Martha Higgins; son: Brad
Education Wayne State University, B.A. Degree - 1978; St. Clair Shores Lake Shore High School, Class of 1974
Vehicles owned 2016 Chevy Traverse; 2016 Chevy Equinox; 2009 Chevy Silverado P.U.; 2003 Chevy Corvette
Professional Experience Clinton Township Treasurer, 1996 - present; Macomb County Commissioner, 1989 - 1996; Automotive Sales, 17 years
Political Experience Clinton Township Treasurer, 1996 - present; Macomb County Commissioner, 1989 - 1996
Race/ethnicity White
Campaign Website http://billsowerby.com
Incumbent? false
Ideally the state should offer assistance and consulting to the community to prevent it from becoming insolvent. Through this partnership the community would hopefully pay down some of its legacy costs and return to a more sound fiscal footing. If this partnership does not produce the desired outcome or an agreement cannot be found, a financial review commission may be needed to provide oversight of some financial decisions made by that community. Emergency financial assistance should also be an option in certain cases if financial resources are needed to prevent bankruptcy.
No. Since 2002, Michigan has steadily cut revenue sharing dollars to local communities. Years of state budgets were balanced by routinely slashing revenue sharing dollars. State revenue sharing dollars are the life-blood of communities for providing police and fire, public works services, parks and rec programs and blight control. Local officials had to turn to voters to approve new millages just to retain services. When quality of life services became non-existent and police and fire services were cut which caused falling property values then revenues became too small to balance local budgets. Restoring properly funded state revenue sharing is the answer to adequately fund communities.
When communities are financially struggling, state intervention should consist of partnering to help provide financial, managerial and technical assistance. If further intervention is needed, then a financial review commission may be the next step. However, no state intervention process should be at the expense of that community losing its democratic rights. The citizens of that community, through their duly elected local leaders, should still have an integral part of the day to day decision making role. State dollars should be provided either directly or through special state supported low interest loans. Prevent this problem from occurring by restoring state revenue sharing dollars.
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Clean and safe drinking water is the immediate goal. But restoring flint residents trust in government leaders words that the water is safe to drink can only be accomplished with thorough water analysis for each household in Flint. And if replacing underground pipes and/or household pipes in order to deliver safe drinking water to each family becomes the solution, then the state needs to provide the dollars to meet that goal. And as for the long-term health effects of lead poisoning from the tainted water, the state must provide an irrevocable trust fund of sustainable dollars to address the present and future health needs of any flint resident diagnosed with lead poisoning.
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President Obama's visit to Flint along with the congressional hearings about the crisis, brought much needed world-wide attention to the dire situation. But federal assistance dollars were lacking for the gravity of the situation. This crisis may not have been a "natural disaster" for qualifying fed dollars, but it was a disaster of government leaders and officials forcing a flood of poisoned water upon an unsuspecting Flint population. Congress should change its rules for federal disaster assistance to allow dollars to be spent for crisis events like Flint's. Hurricanes, frequent tornadoes and massive flooding with their disaster relief dollars don't occur here, Flint is a disaster too.
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No. The state in recent years has unfairly shifted too much of tax burden onto hard working middle class families and seniors. Corporate taxes have been reduced along with dwindling state sales tax revenue. All with the result of depleted state funds and no legislative solutions to properly fund infrastructure improvements and public education system. Make corporations accountable for tax breaks with conditions of specific and lasting quality jobs produced and/or products produced that generate specified sales tax revenue with unmet goals resulting in financial penalties. Eliminate senior pension tax and restore Earned Income Tax Credit and Homestead Property Tax Credit to pre-2011 levels.
Yes, the DEC was a very good solution to solve Detroit's public education crisis. The commission would have created a fiscally sound process to decide where public and charter schools should be created or eliminated depending upon the city's student population needs. Right now in Detroit there are neighborhoods that have too few schools and neighborhoods that have too many schools for the amount of children living nearby. It is an unregulated system where charter and traditional public schools are fighting over the same children and yet the education outcomes aren't much different. The DEC made up of educators, Detroit elected officials and business leaders would create better results.
Charter schools should have more regulation with increased transparency and accountability. Charter schools should operate under the same rules and guidelines as traditional public schools. For-profit companies should be prohibited from opening and operating charter schools. Charter schools should be required to comply with the same open record requests and abide by conflict-of-interest requirements that traditional public schools do. And then it should only charter school operators with a strong academic track record should be allowed to open more charter schools.
Yes, a person should not be legally discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. It should not be legal in Michigan to fire an employee or deny a person housing due their sexual orientation or gender identity. Amending the Elliot-Larsen civil Rights act will make Michigan a more welcoming state. Many workers of all ages and large businesses support this amendment as well to in order attract and retain people who want to work, raise a family and live in a state that is inclusive.
No. What I do support is freedom of religion but not the ability to discriminate against someone based on religion or religious beliefs.
No, I have not.
Yes. I believe in establishing a non-partisan redistricting commission.
No, I do not.
Yes, I will support and appear with the Democratic presidential nominee.
Yes. As the state becomes more energy efficient, lower demands for energy becomes the result. Energy consumers have benefited from utility companies meeting the optimization of the 2008 state law. New energy efficiency goals need to be encouraged for passage within State Legislature to further support a healthier environment. Investing in renewable energy provides numerous benefits. Reducing pollution and further protecting the environment is a big benefit. The production of renewable energy is now more affordable and even cheaper than traditional energy sources. This means that the state should lead on renewable energy production and capitalize on the economic benefit of creating new jobs
Yes. The state spends nearly $2 billion a year on corrections. Dollars needed for infrastructure and public education improvements. Bipartisan efforts are now occurring to reform criminal justice system. Good legislative reform has passed the State House and Senate that still keeps residents safe yet saves taxpayer dollars. We need to stop incarcerating non-violent offenders with lengthy prison terms. Reconsider if current punishment for drug users best deters that behavior. Focus more on prisoner rehabilitation to reduce recidivism. Create a more comprehensive mental health system that stops incarcerating mentally ill persons which treats prisons like mental health hospitals.

City of residence ClintonTwp
Age 49
Family James (Spouse)
Education M.S. L.S. Wayne State Univeristy
Professional Experience I have been a librarian for my entire career. At this point, I am founder of a nonprofit Librarian At Large
Political Experience State Committee Person 9th District for Michigan Republican Party
Facebook http://lisa4mi31
Incumbent? false
The state should do all that they can to assist the municipalities and school districts but it seems that throwing money at the problem has not solved the situations in many cases. There must be accountability from all sides. If there is going to be a cooperation between the state and municipalities there also must be room for compromise to find common ground to financial stability and management. All too often, it seems that municipalities and school districts politics get into the way of sound financial practices that would have kept them on the right track and avoid having the state come in to take over.
Yes, I believe it is adequate. Although some may suggest that the cap on how much a municipality can increase property tax based on home values may have been short sighted, I don't believe that to be true. If municipalities want to increase their revenue, they should find ways that can do so without raising taxes but rather improving in management of cities. This can be done with making smarter financial decisions and cutting costs when possible.
This is a double edged sword, placing the state in a no win situation. If the state does intervene, especially at the request of the municipality, there must be room for compromise. There should be complete transparency and accountability for all funding that is provided by state and municipality. Municipality should not expect a "free" money bag with no strings attached when asking for financial assistance.
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The state should have responded quicker to the response. There is no excuse for how the buck was passed from Flint, Detroit, the State and finally to the nation's capital. In the Flint case, there should have been steps blocked from leaving the Detroit water system before another system was put into place. When the safety of the citizens are at risk, every precaution should be taken and followed through until it is proven that the lives of citizens will not be placed in jeopardy.
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Again, in the case of Flint, too many fingers being pointed and the blame is passed around. The Federal government's response should have been to ask that the Michigan State Government prove that they have done everything in their power to be sure the water was safe for consumption and use. From that point, it is the municipality and the State's responsibility to be sure everything runs smoothly.
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The Michigan Tax system is burdensome for many folks. The economy has not picked up quite as quickly as we would like or hoped. I would support a Fair Tax system, which is based on state sales tax rather than income. In my opinion, this seems to be a fairer system then taxing on what is earned.
Yes I would. Whenever public funds are used, there should be some oversight as to how the money is spent and consequences for mismanagement of funds and schools. It's the only fair way to be sure that schools are running properly and doing the best possible job for the students. I do not think that this proposed Commission should be appointed, however. The members of the Commission should be voted on by the taxpayers so they will be accountable to the citizens of the community.
It seems interesting to me that charter schools have more stringent rules to follow in managing their schools than public schools do? They must show more accountability. One has to ask why? If there were any changes that should be made is that Charter and public schools should have the same rules to follow in school management and student achievement expectations, and those rules should be the more stringent rules. Our public schools need to be brought up, not our charter schools down.
There should be no discrimination based on race, ethnicity or gender identity. Should there be a specific law for this? Quite frankly, no. Any crime that is committed is a crime. It should be prosecuted as such and it should not matter if the victim was black, white, gay or straight. If a crime was committed against someone who was gay, does that make it more of a crime than if it was committed against someone who was straight? A man? A woman? Far too often, our society finds way to separate us rather than unite us. We should all be treated equally under the law.
Yes I do. I feel it is based in the U.S. Constitution that all citizens, no matter what faith they choose to follow, should be free to do so without fear of punishment from our Government. We the people are free to practice our religion, and I feel the restoration of the Religious Freedom Act is a good reminder to all that we can not abandon our core American liberty that accompanies freedom of speech, and the pursuit of happiness.
I am endorsed by the Right To Life of Michigan PAC, I do not support abortion or feel that citizens should be forced to pay for abortions with tax dollars. Yes I would sign a public pledge to bar taxes for supporting abortion.
Yes I would. The political games the are played in gerrymandering all to often comes to hurt the voters the most. It creates, a system that is rigged in order that certain political party stay in control and at the time taking away the voice of the voters.
No I do not. Quite simply, marijuana's medical usage is just an excuse for those to make it acceptable to smoke in public. There is no sustaining research that proves the medical benefits of the drug.
Yes and if asked to be at the campaign events I will be available.
Yes. Anything that can be done to find renewable energy and safer for the environment is a step in the right direction for Michigan.
Our jails and prisons are over crowded and expensive. I would be in favor of reduced jail time for nonviolent crimes for first time offenders.

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