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Michigan Representative District 51

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

    Ryan Bladzik
    (Dem)

  • Joseph Graves
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Mark L. Sanborn
    (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 Holly
Age 38
Family Wife: Amanda Children: Alex (11), Max (7), Nick (2)
Education BA Political Science, Michigan State University 2000 BA International Studies, Michigan State University, 2002 MA Communication, Michigan State University 2004
Vehicles owned Chevy Impala, Buick Enclaves
Professional Experience Former Executive Director, Oakland Schools Education Foundation Marketing & Membership Manager, Oakland University Director of Alumni Communication & Digital Media, University of Miami
Political Experience Village of Holly Council/President Pro-Tem 2012-2013 Village of Holly President 2013-Present
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://www.ryanbladzik.com
Incumbent? false
The state and its taxpayers have a vested interest to avoid the failure of municipal or school districts who are overburdened by financial obligations through providing legal and financial resources without voiding promises or guarantees previously made in good faith or subverting the democratic process, such as low-cost lending. Moreover, the state needs to recognize that in many cases, threatened solvency is the product of reduced funding and investment by the state (education foundation allowance and municipal revenue sharing), as well as reduced property values and resulting tax revenue, so providing needed funding to begin with is the best form of assistance.
The main flaw in the model for municipal funding is the abject discretion the Legislature has over statutory revenue sharing. Townships have not received statutory revenue sharing since 2005, and cities and villages have actually seen a disinvestment in support from the State--the matter is simply priorities.

I also feel that after several economic cycles and the resulting condition of our state, that a look at the effectiveness of Headlee and Proposal A are in order, not to eliminate or rescind, but to take lessons from their effects on schools and municipalities that have gone through recessions and are looking at 30-year recoveries due to the limitations currently in place.
Emergency managers and consent decrees have no practical effect when the municipality is struggling due to reduced revenue sharing and lower property values. Municipalities, arguably, attempt to provide services at the best cost and extent for current conditions, yet it's external and uncontrollable circumstances that change their situation. The state wouldn't have to intervene if they provided adequate and stable funding for municipalities; but in cases where intervention or extraordinary measures are deemed necessary, it should come with the resources to close the funding gap.
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The most disappointing aspect of the State's response to the Flint water crisis was the public relations spin and the deflection of blame and responsibility. Instead of scapegoating and pointing blame, the State needed to, and still needs to, take the lead on ensuring that ALL Flint residents had safe drinking water as soon as physically/humanly possible, which includes whatever financial support is necessary.
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I feel the federal government responded adequately through emergency resources and measures and broad-based funding to help in abating the problem.
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No, majority of the tax burden in Michigan is carried by working families and small businesses, whereas the majority of the wealth in the state is held in property. I believe that Headlee and Proposal A need to be examined for adjustments to ensure that the tax burden is more adequately distributed so that Michigan residents can have the services and schools they want and deserve.
Absolutely. Just as we did 100 years ago to regulate and break trusts that engaged in unfair competition, a Detroit Educational Commission is a necessary tool to ensure that unscrupulous or unfair practices will not harm well-performing charter or public schools.
I believe all charter schools should be non-profit organizations and should be held to the same requirements as public schools.
Yes. Discrimination is wrong and damaging to our communities and economies. I support a strong legal foundation for anti-discrimination in Michigan.
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I have pledged to support the repeal of "Right to Work" statutes.
I believe that a non-partisan commission should draw the boundaries for legislative districts.
Yes.
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Yes. Corrections is a major issue in Michigan, both from a budgetary standpoint and a social justice perspective. I believe the best way to reduce the toll corrections has on our budget and community is to devote resources to the predominant causes of crime--poverty, lack of opportunity and discrimination--education and workforce training, productive assistance programs, and a relaxing of mandatory minimums.
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City of residence Gaines
Family Chere Sanborn-Bernhard (daughter); Mark Sanborn Jr. (son)
Education HS grad, some college; self-taught in political/government/American history
Vehicles owned irrelevant
Professional Experience expert/instructor of "Failure Mode and Effects Analysis" and "Lean Manufacturing"
Political Experience 2010 Independent candidate for State Senate Dist #26
Race/ethnicity irrelevant
Incumbent? false
They shouldn’t, other than by making loans, if necessary, and only after that governing entity and its staffing have reached agreements which are “workable” and “repayable” to the State. These bargaining agreements were between the governing body and its’ workers- not the State. This was, is, and will be, their responsibility (including any annual adjustments needed) and not by strapping their excesses onto taxpayers backs. It’s not that difficult, nor complicated...live within your means, just as everyone else in the State is expected to do…including the maintaining of “emergency funds”.
I would support making changes in the current process by reducing the "COST" of contracts, and by mandating that all government contracts (state-wide) must be "live-bid" and issued only to the lowest bidder, after they have proven that they have the funds and means to deliver the "specifications" of the contract for quality, quantity, and on time delivery. Accepting a contract then failing to meet the specifications would subject the bidder to supplying repairs, exchanges, or overtime out of their own pockets (not taxpayer funds). And if not done, failure would further subject the contractor to loss of license to operate within the State for non-compliance. Total Savings: $4 Billion!
No. “State Funds” are those that everyone in the State contributed to. To make everyone pay for all the irresponsible accounting and budgeting that was conducted in Detroit’s corrupt government over so many years is wrong. Every local government agency, whether it is a city, township, village, or county, must be held accountable for their own budgets, that do not exceed their revenue, and that do not borrow on the backs of their children, or by expecting the State or Federal government to bail them out. Irresponsible budgeting must stop now!
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Everyone has a right to expect their government water supply to be sufficiently safe at all times. Although the question asks about the "response", there never should have been a need for a "response", because it never should have happened in the 1st place. Before disconnecting from the previous source, all testing should have been performed BEFORE CONNECTING to the new source, so that there never would have been a crisis with tainted water. It boggles the mind to know that this ever even happened. How irresponsible can the Flint city managers be...and where was the State oversight? There were no "innocent's" in this fiasco!
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Water for it's citizens is not within the Federal authority. It is a State matter. The only time that it became a "Federal matter" is when citizens were harmed due to the failures. When the Federal authority did involve itself, it did no more than the minimum to placate the people of Flint.
No. Only a minor traffic violation years ago.
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No. The "tax system" is broken. Taxpayers have no means to control where their tax dollars go, nor how much is enough. Whenever you are asked about taxation, you are only asked if you want to raise your taxes- never lower. You are given the option of paying more to get what you should already have, or not getting the improvements needed at all. You are "held hostage" to pay ever more in taxation for roads that are falling apart or under funded schools. What the State, counties, and cities should all be required to do, is fund these "priorities" FIRST, then with what's left, fund any secondary projects, but only after these priorities are met! Remember Proposal 1? That was extortion!
No. Just as the old saying goes: "There's 50 ways to skin a cat", there are also many ways to teach...some better than others. And "new" ways are not better just because they are new. "Common Core" is one of the new ways which may also arrive at the same answer, but is clearly not any better. Just because you add steps into a process, doesn't make it better...in fact, it just makes it cumbersome and illogical. I would support NOT "re-inventing the wheel". There are Federal standards already established. I would support using those, and then raising the bar a couple of notches higher. As far as a commission- let that be a decision of the people- put it on their ballot!
Charter schools are a business. If they fail to teach our children either as well, or better than those in public schools, the people will stop sending their children to them and they will fail. As long as the children are developing as they should and are "making the grade", why should we burden the charter schools with more regulation? This is my opinion- and it is just an opinion. I would want to hear what the people think before casting a vote either way on the issue.
These "civil rights" arguments are getting to be absurd, in my opinion. If there is enough support, then put it on the Peoples ballots and let's see where it goes from there. I don't need to either support it, or fight against it. There are far more important issues that are not being addressed at all. "THIS ISSUE" is one of the "issues" the Parties created to distract us from the "real issues" in America. This does nothing but pit one American against another. My job is to pull every American together and unite them...and this isn't how you do it.
I will only say this...We have a constitution, and we have a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights were created, and ratified, with the sole purpose of putting a leash on the Federal government, in particularly the 10th Amendment tells us this, by stating that if the Federal government was not given a power within the Constitution, then it DOES NOT HAVE IT AT ALL! Yet the Federal government has usurped hundreds of powers from the States. This needs to stop NOW! No additional powers were ever given to the Federal government in any one of the 17 additional Amendments. And there is no such thing as an "Executive Order" nor are laws supposed to be made by "9 Unelected Men". We need a leash!
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Yes, of course. No "party" should be changing district lines just to get an advantage over their competition. This is called "gerrymandering" and my district is so gerrymandered that it's almost laughable. It should be stopped. Districts themselves should be eliminated entirely! There's no legitimate purpose for it other than to maintain the strangle hold the two party system has on our elections. If districts were eliminated, and only the top vote "getters" were elected "State- Wide", Libertarians, and Independents would also be elected into office and be heard. There is so much that is not being heard, simply because all other "opposition" is kept out of office! That's your loss!
I'm on the fence on this one, and see two near equal sides to it. When we look at the criminal aspect of it, we see that simply because it is "illegal", crime is profiting from it, just like it did in Al Capone's' day. But I've said this before, and I'll say it again. This shouldn't be up to me. My campaign's main thrust is to empower citizens to decide for themselves, especially on the issues that divide one American against another. This is one of those issues. Let's put the issue on the ballot and let you, the People decide for yourselves.
Tough question: Personally, I find it hard to support any of the candidates...because none are talking about the right issues. The single greatest problem in America today, is that we no longer have a Republic! Our candidates don't represent us. They represent their party chairmen. And even though he wasn't elected by us, he leads the party wherever the money takes him. Parties aren't part of America's problem...they are the entire problem. I envision a Michigan government where we can lead America in the right direction by setting the example of what is possible, if we only think "outside the box". This is what I do best. I have the answers to the questions no party will even ask!
No. The reason is not because they are not something needed...the reason is because of who will profit from them. With these "mandates" comes more tax dollars being allocated to the projects, yet who reaps the profits? Certainly not the citizens that are forced to fund it! If citizens are made to pay, then they should reap the rewards in reduced rates. Monopolies were supposed to be outlawed at one time, yet here they are, healthier than ever, raking in huge profits, while we citizens have no leash on them. And our legislature just keeps giving them more and more rate hikes! I want to see these monopolies ended, and I want to put a leash on every energy company...and our legislature!
Many are incarcerated due to non-violent crimes that hurt no one but themselves. If we were to "decriminalize" some illegal acts, we would probably have fewer people incarcerated. However, my main concern is not this, so much as it is the financial burden that crime puts on our citizens. Costs go far beyond the crime itself. We have costs for police, prosecutors, judges, jails, prison guards, and all these buildings and facilities, and then there's parole, and half way house...and much more. I have a plan to make Michigan's prison system a "self-funded" budget, but my plan calls for far more explanation than I am allowed here today. Total savings: $2.5 Billion!

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