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PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan Representative District 47

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

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Keith Van Houten
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Hank Vaupel
    (Rep)

  • Rodger Young
    (L)

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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 Howell, MI
Age 48
Family 2 sons, 20 and 17.
Education BS, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech; MS, Strategic Management, Indiana University
Vehicles owned 2 - American
Professional Experience 25 year engineering career in the automotive industry
Political Experience None
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://www.votevanhouten.com
Incumbent? false
I support State funding to guarantee the pension benefits of past and current workers. I also support a shift to 401k style retirement benefits for all new public workers.
No. The funding model is unrealistic and unsustainable. I support increased revenue sharing from the State and an increase in the amount that revenue that municipalities can raise locally.
I would like to see a funding model that would enable fewer emergency managers to be named in the first place. When the state does intervene, I think the State should provide additional funding, so that problems can be addressed and resolved - rather than long term state control.
Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent
I think the State should have intervened much more quickly. I also haven't seen much from the State to address the lasting health effects that will result from lead exposure.
Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent
9 state and local officials have faced criminal charges. The Federal government has provided substantial support. This issue is of our own doing, I don't think we can expect much more from Washington DC.
No.
No.
I believe a progressive income tax makes more sense. I do not support increases in the sales tax.
Yes. Badly underperforming schools that are not showing signs of steady improvement should be closed. Our kids deserve better.
I believe charter schools undermine the ability of local school districts to operate in a cost effective way. I generally would not be in favor of authorizing additional charter schools, unless there was evidence to suggest public schools would not be harmed.
Yes.
Not when they enable discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything else.
No.
Absolutely.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes, we do. The US typically has the highest incarceration rate in the world. I'd support giving judges more latitude to determine effective sentences, by eliminating policies such as mandatory minimums. We're spending far too much on prisons.
City of residence Fowlerville, MI
Age 72
Family Wife-Cathy Son-Matthew-Daughter in Law Kelly Son-Zachary-Daughter in Law Carli Grandchildren-Vivienne, Everrett, Hayes
Education BS, DVM
Vehicles owned Ford Explorer Ford Escape
Professional Experience Veterinarian-Practice Owner University Instructor Military Officer
Political Experience State Representative Township Supervisor Township Trustee School Board Member
Race/ethnicity White
Campaign Website http://votevaupel.com
Incumbent? true
State should provide emergency management assistance and in some cases financial assistance with strict accountability.
Current Revenue Sharing is adequate in most municipalities.
The emergency manager law has been effective in most instances. When financial assistance is needed it should come with strict accountability and transparency. Financial assistance should come in the form of loans that can be paid back and if there is a road to solvency.
Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent
The state's response to the crisis was excellent. The governments handling of the initial water situation was poor. There has to be accountability at all levels of government so that tragic situations like this do not happen.
Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent
The federal government could have reacted more rapidly with significant aid. The initial bureaucratic response was poor also.
No
No
Michigan's tax system has improved for businesses. Income tax percentage should be lowered as tax revenues increase.
No.
Charter schools should be held to the same standards as public schools.
No.
I support the right to practice ones religion and religious beliefs if they are breaking no laws free from government restriction
No.
Current statute does minimize political party influence.
No.
Yes.
I would support current mandates with increased goals for renewable energy. Reliability of available energy is necessary.
Michigan's prison population has decreased in recent years. Judges should have some discretion in sentencing. Judges should have some discretion in parole.
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