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Michigan Representative District 62

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

    John Bizon
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Michelle Gregoire
    (L)

  • Candidate picture

    Jim Haadsma
    (Dem)

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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?

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?

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 support decriminalization of recreational marijuana?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s nominee?

Do you support the renewal and/or expansion of renewable energy mandates for Michigan energy producers?

As more boomers enter retirement, the state faces critical shortages in eldercare services and rapidly rising levels of poverty among older Americans. What should the Legislature and the state government do about it?

The state Board of Education’s proposed guidelines for transgender students has ignited a backlash, particularly among some Republicans in the Legislature. Where do you stand? And what is state government’s role in legislating on this issue?

About a quarter of the state’s children live in poverty or live in families in which access to food and other necessities is unreliable. What can the state Legislature be doing to address this issue?

Do you believe that Michigan can improve and maintain its public infrastructure at current funding levels, or do you believe the Legislature should allocate more money to fix roads, bridges and the like?

Is it the Legislature’s role to ensure that every child in Michigan have access to structured, certified child care and preschool from birth until they enter primary grades?

Do you believe it’s too easy to get a concealed weapons permit in Michigan? Do you believe citizens should be able to carry firearms, open or concealed, anywhere?

Do we incarcerate too many people in Michigan? What would you change in the criminal justice system?

Many school districts, particularly in urban communities, are in decline owing to concentrated levels of poverty and policies that siphon way resources. What is your solution?

Do you support further privatization of state services such as the Department of Corrections?

Do you support energy choice for consumers, monopolies for utilities or some combination? How would you promote development of clean energy alternatives?

City of residence Battle Creek, MI
Age 64
Family Married for 42+ years; three adult daughters and one adult son; five grandchildren.
Education BS - Michigan State University (Magna Cum Laude); M.D. - Wayne State University.
Vehicles owned None
Professional Experience Lt. Colonel (Sep.), U.S. Air Force; Past President, Michigan State Medical Society; Member and Delegate, American Medical Society; Past President, Calhoun County Medical Society; Prior Member, Editorial Board, Calhoun County Medical Society Bulletin; Past District Chairman, Boy Scouts of America; Member, Governing Board, Brookside Surgery Center, Battle Creek; numerous board and committee leadership positions over the years.
Political Experience MI State Representative for District 62 - Calhoun County (2014-16); Past Chair, Board of Directors, Michigan Doctors' PAC; Past President, Board of Directors, Michigan State Medical Society; Member, MSMS Committee on State Legislation and Regulation; Co-Chair, MSMS Council of Physician Organization; Chair, MSMS Taskforce on Medicaid; Member, MSMS Task Force on Certificate of Need Reform; Chair, Calhoun County Medical Society Legislative Committee; participated in hundreds of citizen meetings, events and forums over the years, both in Calhoun County and statewide.
Race/ethnicity Causasian
Campaign Website http://drjohnbizon.com
Incumbent? true
Michigan’s retiree benefit plans (pensions and health care programs) are underfunded by $15.7 billion, according to a detailed MSU study. This is a very serious issue that cannot be ignored. Bold, balanced & innovative solutions are needed now: For example, Boston (MA) cut its "legacy benefits" liability by $772 M by negotiating with a coalition of government, labor and retiree representatives. Key changes included cost-sharing, better Medicare coordination and other plan design revisions. Oakland County (MI) has also taken bold steps to address this issue. Let's build on these innovations in partnership with all stakeholders, including state officials, localities, retirees and taxpayers.
Michigan is required by law to share a percentage of its revenues with localities. That percentage of state-only revenues has ranged from about 42% in 1980 to about 55% in recent years. (The highest % was in 2002.) During the financial crisis, and subsequent great recession, the amount of revenue available for sharing went down: less revenue = less money to share. More importantly, the formula for revenue sharing has changed over the years. The Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) instituted in 2011 was replaced last year (2015) with the City, Village, and Township Revenue Sharing (CVTRS) program. I believe the new CVTRS method is a significant improvement for fairness and adequacy.
Multiple methods of intervention have been used by both GOP and Democratic leaders. These include financial oversight, special appropriations, and the emergency manager law, which provides “last resort” mechanism to help localities avoid bankruptcy in extreme cases of financial crisis. (The EM law was signed by Democratic Gov. Blanchard.) An emergency manager can only be put in place if local elected officials fail to take the steps necessary to prevent a financial emergency. The EM law has worked well in Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Ecorse, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Pontiac and Three Oaks, as well as several Michigan school districts. Flexibility (not automatic bailouts) is best.
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Clearly, every child deserves access to safe drinking water. Period. The mistakes made that led to the Flint water crisis were serious -- inadequate oversight by state, local and federal officials; poor technical decisions at the water plant; lack of follow-up by all parties early on. However, the state's response has improved dramatically since then. When the state legislature recognized the lead problem in Flint they immediately allocated $27 million for recovery services, followed by additional appropriations of $100 million, and also by direct action on the ground in Flint. We aren't finished yet. I will not be satisfied until every resident in Flint has safe, clean drinking water.
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So far, I'm quite disappointed by the federal government's response. The President came to Flint and said he would fix the issue, but when he left the city he didn't leave any money behind for local and state officials to work with. The President and Congress blamed the Governor for the crisis (almost exclusively), yet they took no responsibility for the situation, despite serious documented mistakes made by the EPA in the run-up to the Flint water crisis. Yes, the federal government has distributed FEMA water filters and supported limited expansions to existing programs for Flint residents (e.g., Head Start and SBA). However, none of those actions come close to what is needed.
No.
No.
I do believe Michigan's tax system is generally fair with the proviso that continuous improvements are always needed in response to the changing state and national economy. The top sources of revenue for the state are (in order for 2015, rounded to the nearest full %): Sales & Use Taxes (32%), Individual Income Tax (31%), "Other Revenue" (14%), and the Transportation Tax (7%). In 2012, the previous Michigan Business Tax was replaced with a 6% corporate income tax. Businesses paid $573 million in net state taxes in 2015, not including use taxes. The idea that Michigan businesses pay little or no taxes is clearly false. Compared to other states, MI is #13 in the nation for business taxes.
Yes, as long as others' fundamental rights are not violated in the implementation of that Act. With goodwill and fairness for all, we can eliminate discrimination in all of its forms without sacrificing individual rights in the process.
Again, I would be supportive of a expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Act with the necessary provisions to insure all peoples' rights are not thrown away in the process. How such laws are implemented is key. We have to get away from the notion that one person's rights must come at the expense of another person's rights. It's not an "either / or" situation but rather a "both / and" commitment. We all have a stake in building a more just, fair and compassionate civil society in America. This doesn't happen over night, but it can happen when we relate to each other with mutual respect.
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Yes.
No. I view this as an attempt to limit parental choice and trap children in the worse performing school system in America. We have found much better solutions in other parts of the states, where we assured children of placement in higher preforming school districts. We treated Detroit differently than all the other educational districts that we closed in the state. Throwing $670 million at a failed system -- or setting up a new bureaucracy on top of that system -- is a mistake. We can and must build on the innovative solutions that have succeeded elsewhere in our state. The children of Detroit can't wait -- they need quality education now!
When it comes to providing quality education for our state's children, performance counts -- for both public and charter schools. Charter schools that fail to make the grade in academic performance should be closed promptly. Furthermore, a chartering organization or a charter authorizer should be banned if they have a record of non-performance. Again, we can and must put the children first.
As a physician, I am against smoking tobacco. It does bad things, like burning out lungs and causing cancer. Numerous scientific studies show that smoking marijuana is even more damaging than smoking tobacco, as documented by the American Lung Association. The health risk is very real. Ultimately, the decision to decriminalize recreational marijuana will probably be decided by the voters. I urge people to consider the health consequences carefully before making up their minds.
I do not currently anticipate issuing a formal endorsement for my party's nominee. The GOP national convention is still several weeks away. It would be premature for me to answer this question until after the convention is over.
I am a huge fan of renewable energy sources. I'm especially interested in a salt nuclear process utilizing a liquid fluoride and thorium core. This newer method has many safety and environmental advantages: it shuts down (and does not go bang) when it breaks, uses 98% of the fuel so there is little waste, cannot be weaponized, and can be used to dispose of existing nuclear waste. Harnessing innovative new energy systems such as this should be a priority, much like going to the moon under President Kennedy. We can do this. Clean, safe energy alternatives should be a priority for all of us.
The federal government is running a trillion dollar deficit (all-in figures) annually, largely fueled by our health care spending. We spend just under half of the entire state budget on HHS, mostly (85%) Medicaid. Our children and grandchildren will be paying for our healthcare excesses today. Our healthcare system is broken. We pay too much with too little improvement in our health. That's why my experience, knowledge and leadership on health care issues can help. If we improve the health care system, we'll have more money to focus on other critical issues, as well, including elder poverty.
Under the Michigan constitution, the Board of Education was to have limited legislative input. At the collegiate and postgraduate levels, the U.S. has excelled in higher education. Our track record in the younger students have been mixed, rarely great, often good and too regularly abysmal. The transgender guidelines need to be taken to and approved by the parents in the various school districts prior to implementation. Getting input from the local level is vital. I believe in the collective wisdom of informed individuals and I believe that informed parents will give us the right answer.
If we fix our health care problem, we will have more money available for other social programs. (There is evidence that improving one's socio-economic status can improve one's health more than prescription and conventional medical care.) Growing our economy, reforming our educational system and implementing successful new solutions for strengthening families are all part of the solution to childhood poverty. I see children almost every day in my medical practice setting and I care deeply for their well-being. I know that we've made progress in Michigan with programs such as Great Start, but there is much work yet to be done.
We have allocated an additional $1.2 billion dollars to roads, bringing total spending to $4.5 billion dollars. We have also instituted a Michigan Infrastructure Fund in the current budget. The impact of these recent appropriations will be felt for many years to come, both at the statewide and local levels. Yes, improvements are underway with much more to come.
What is the parent's role in the education of their children? Are parents responsible for anything when it comes to their child's education? Should they be picking the best schools available for their children? Are they negligent if they do not? Preschool has been shown to be beneficial to improve performance in kindergarten and 1st grade and should be available to all children. Having parents who care should also be a prerequisite. The state's Great Start to Learning program has dramatically increased the availability of pre-school education to our children. We've made good progress and we have more work to do.
I believe in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, with proper safeguards and training required for concealed weapons. A recent study shows that people who complete CCW course are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public, and 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses. Criminals obviously need to be restricted, and we must come up with a better method of screening for the mentally ill. We do not get to pick and choose which Constitutional amendments we want to adhere to. All the Constitutional amendments apply to all of us. Implementing our existing laws more effectively is a big part of the solution.
Yes. We incarcerate too many who need psychiatric help, and/or help with their substance abuse problems. We need more treatment facilities,and long term strategies to prevent their recidivism. Prison programs must address a mandatory acquisition of skills useful to society, so former prisoners can re-integrate into society. Post-incarceration "re-entry" programs are another key part of the solution. I'm proud to say that we have at least one such re-entry program right here in Calhoun County that provides mentoring, work experience and real-world transition training.
Are we talking about Detroit? Did anyone suggest breaking up those concentrated pockets of poverty to send the children to good schools? Or at least make sure that the children have a proven administration looking out for them? Do parents have any responsibility for their children's education, to get their children into a good school? We need to break up the concentrated areas of poverty and get the children into districts with sufficient resources. This is what I saw happen to our community in Albion, but the state offered a different solution for Detroit that did not address these problems. We can and we should do better.
Taxpayers deserve to know that we are using state resources wisely. The worst excuse in the world is saying: "We've always done it this way." I support strong partnerships between government, labor and the private sector to explore innovative solutions for delivering public services. Yes, we can learn from successful examples in other states. And yes, we should build on our strengths. Data-driven, results-oriented solutions are the future for effective governance. Let's open our minds to what works and solicit input from all stakeholders. Standing still is not an option.
We need a national effort, similar to the "moonshot" of the 1960s and Manhattan Project of the 1940s -- a national commitment to develop the technology necessary for our energy future in a move away from fossil fuels. America has the smartest, most innovative people in the world. We can do this! The solutions may include any number of options. Instead of fighting against each other about the past, let's work together for the future.
City of residence Battle Creek
Age 25
Family Husband - Stephen Monarch Son - Jacob Long Daughter - Izzabella Long Daughter - Nevaeh Gregoire
Education High School CNA Certificate Currently enrolled at KCC for nursing
Vehicles owned 2014 Kia Sorento
Political Experience Worked for Rand Paul 2016 Students for Rand Chapter President Young Americans for Liberty Chapter President Youth for Johnson/Weld Chapter President
Race/ethnicity White
Incumbent? false
We're fixing to pay over a billion dollars in corporate welfare this year. Why don't we cut that and use the money to resolve these issues? I also have been reasearching alternatives that are much cheaper to Michigan's problems so we can not only alieviate taxpayers, but ultimately save the state money. If we cut wasteful spending, which we seem to have a lot of, we can use the funds we save so that school districts and retirees aren't theatened.
No. Some areas are paying the price for other areas. These are issues that should be dealt with more at a local county by county level.
Immediate invetstigation to find out why things are the way they are. Too many times I have seen Michigan assign an emergency manager and send money, only for it all to fall through and the city to fall into deeper despair. We need to hold elected officials accountable, and it shouldn't matter what office they hold.
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There was failure at all levels of government regarding Flint. What the state is keeping quiet, is the fact there were people willing and ready to volunteer for free to help fix the pipes so people could get better water. The state however, told them no. We're putting restrictions on who can help now? All the legislators just want to throw money at Flint, in hopes that will solve the problem, but we all know that's not true. We need to get in there and fix the pipes so people can have clean drinking water again.
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I feel this is more a state's issue. We the people should put those involved on trial.
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No. We're being taxed to death. For instance, a pack of cigarettes should only cost $1.50, but we've taxed them 5 times that and made them incredibly expensive. The same could be saidabout gas, property, ect. The bigger question is, with all this money you're making off the taxpayer's, why are the roads still in such a bad shape and why are our schools closing. I support an amendment that was introduced by Senator Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky. It would alleviate impoverished areas from paying taxes, and make it easier for businesses to hire. Let's get people working again!
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Not yet.
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No, this should be left up to a more local level.
Why don't we leave the education standards up to a more local level.
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Yes.
No, mandates kill jobs and hurt those they are allegedly trying to help.
If we stopped all the wasteful spending we wouldn't have a problem.
This should be left up to the schools. I personally, would just like to see trans bathrooms installed, as it would solve everyone's problems in one fell swoop. The state shouldn't be involved, this should be a more local issue in my honest opinion.
As I stated earlier, Rand Paul had an amendment he tried to pass in the senate, to instill economic free zones. It would help alleviate those who are struggling by drastically cutting their taxes. Not only would the families have their taxes cut, but it would also cut business tax. Making it easier for businesses to hire without having to shell out so much in taxes. Let's get these families working again so that neither them or their children need to go without.
If we cut corporate welfare and put an end to wasteful spending, it would help tremendously. There are also cheaper alternatives we can use to maintain all of our infrastructure. Like legalizing hemp. Hemp can be used to for a variety of things including roads. All while keeping the costs low to taxpayers and making thousands of jobs across the state.
No. This is an issue that should be left up to a local level.
No. I also think we should instill constitutional carry across our state so people don't have to pay the state of Michigan for their rights. I personally bought my first firearm a few months ago. I've never felt safer at home, or when I'm open carrying. I want to see an end to gun free zones. I'm from Chicago. I see how gun control does not work. Criminals do not follow the law, so why should we the people be denied protection?
Yes. We're letting murderers and rapists out early, to throw non violent people behind bars. The whole system needs to be re vamped, as the
A huge part of the problem is common core. We're spending to much on a system that sets our children up to fail. If we got rid of common core and followed something along the lines of what Massachusettes has, the schools would save millions. We also need to see why these schools are in decline and where the money is going. It seems every time the state gives schools money, the money is used wastefully and in no way helps the students or teachers.
No.
I support a free market. We have 80 different kinds of soda to choose from, but only two options for energy? Opening up the market, and allowing competition, will create new ways to have cheap affordable energy. It would also allow cleaner energy alternatives to be an option for the consumers if they so choose.
City of residence Battle Creek
Age 58
Family four children: Tess (24), Stewart (22), Jon (19), Jerry (17)
Education BA (English), Michigan State University, 1980 JD, Wayne State University Law School, 1984
Vehicles owned Chevy Cavalier
Professional Experience Partner, McCroskey Law, P.L.C., 1987-present Legal Aid of Western Michigan, 1984-1987
Political Experience County Commissioner, Calhoun County District 3, 2009-present
Race/ethnicity White
Campaign Website http://jimhaadsma.com
Incumbent? false
The MPSERS cap should be lowered to allow schools to keep more of their allowance funding, and the state must recognize that MPSERS contributions are declining because we have fewer public employees. This is largely due to the increasing privatization of public education, a disturbing trend which can and should be reversed.
Revenue sharing cuts have meant that our cities are unable to properly fund public services like police or education. In order to put our communities back on track, that funding must be restored.
Regardless of whether funding is attached to an intervention, it is important we keep an element of local control. Otherwise, a person or group of persons who are unelected are able to make decisions which impact communities, and if those decisions are wrong or hurt people, there is no mechanism through which the voters can hold them accountable. Making sure that accountability is in place is key.
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State-appointed officials made the decisions that led to this crisis, so it is up to the state to do all it can to help Flint families. This means we should have allocated greater funding immediately, not built in into a budget that will not take effect until October of this year.

The state should not only focus on providing clean drinking water to every resident, but on the preventative and wrap-around services the community will now need as it attempts to recover from the crisis in the coming years. We need to have funding for educational programs that will work with children who have now suffered brain damage, as well as funding for any as-yet-unknown effects.
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The federal support we have received so far has been helpful, but the government could have done more to prevent the crisis from escalating to the level that it did. Had it pushed the state sooner to acknowledge the problem, families would have had access to help and clean water sooner.

Moving forward, the federal government can best help by allocating funds for repairs and improvements to Flint’s water systems, ensuring that families are able to get clean water from their taps sooner. The EPA must also change the testing regulations which allowed the lead in Flint’s water to go undetected (or ignored) for so long.
No.
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The tax system in Michigan cannot be considered fair until corporations are no longer given better tax breaks than hardworking families. After the tax shift in 2011, middle-class families in found themselves unable to stay ahead of bills or pay for basic necessities, because things like the Earned Income Tax credit, which once kept them afloat, were drastically reduced. Instead that money went to fund tax breaks for wealthy CEOs and special interest groups, and until those tax credits are returned to the people who need them most, we will continue to have an unbalanced system.
There is no possible justification for discriminating against someone, and I fully support amending Elliott-Larsen.
Religion should never be used as an excuse to put hate into action.
Candidate did not provide a response.
I support a separate commission made up of nonpartisan delegates who would prioritize the best interests of the people over the interests of a particular party.
It is important to have a nonpartisan authority in place that would hold charter and traditional public schools equally accountable for student performance, by being able to independently open and close schools. While there could be some concerns about the lack of immediate and full local control, I think the DEC is an excellent start.
Charter schools must be held to the same accountability and regulatory framework as traditional public schools; otherwise, there is no way to ensure that every child is receiving a quality education. It is also important that authorizes who are not appropriately monitoring school performance are held accountable, too.
While maintaining public safety should always be our first priority, I would welcome the examination of current laws in Colorado and Washington, and discussion as to how those could be applied in Michigan.
Yes.
I believe one of the best ways to advocate for the use of clean, renewable energy is through the expansion of Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). I support the House Democratic plan to expand that portfolio to 20 percent by 2022.
Our first step in protecting the elderly is to understand their needs, which would mean conducting a comprehensive assessment of what care and support is necessary. We need to make sure that workers in the industry are properly trained in all aspects of eldercare, including relatives caring for loved ones. We also need to work on attracting and retaining talented workers in the field, to ensure that our elderly will be consistently taken care of.
In reality, this is an issue that deals with personal privacy more than anything else, and will ultimately be decided by our judicial system. While those in Lansing seem to think bathroom use is an important issue, when I have been out on doors I hear that people are far more concerned with whether or not their kids will be able to receive a quality education at their local public school. Families in Michigan care more about building an economy that works for everyone. They’ve seen the corruption in the Capitol and want leaders and representatives who will fight to make their state government transparent and accountable to the people.
There are a number of things we can do to address poverty, and many of them involve the budget. Initially, the House Democrats were able to have included in this year’s budget the Heat & Eat program, which would provide some food assistance recipients with an additional $76 a month, as it would have leveraged $138.2 million federal dollars allocated for the program. This provision was ultimately struck from the final budget, but if elected this is exactly the kind of funding I would fight for.
The roads package that was passed last year will not adequately fund infrastructure repairs until 2021, meaning our roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate. We need to make funding such repairs an immediate priority and ensure everyone who uses the roads pays their fair share for road maintenance.
Children benefit measurably from certified child care from birth. It is vital that we provide access to these programs for every Michigan family, to ensure that each and every child has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background.
The 2nd Amendment is enshrined in the Constitution, and reasonable steps to secure a firearm are appropriate. That being said, a gun owner should not have the right to openly carry firearms in otherwise gun free zones.
Before addressing issues with the criminal justice system, it is important for us to ask ourselves why there is so much crime in the first place. While we should always punish violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law, it is often easier and more cost-effective to build supportive communities that divert young people away from otherwise dangerous activities. This means making sure every public school is well funded, that students in high-risk neighborhoods have the wrap-around services needed to keep them out of trouble and that good, well-paying jobs are available in every community.
As a June 28, 2016 educational finance study points out, we are not appropriately funding at-risk programs in any schools in Michigan. The best and strongest resource for our children is to provide them with the wrap-around services needed to keep them in school and out of dangerous situations.
The two services we have privatized thus far in Michigan — prison food services and care at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans — have been an absolute disaster. When the focus is on profits over people, everyone suffers. Further privatization would be a mistake.
Clean energy innovation is a rapidly growing and important industry, not only because of its benefits to the environment, but because it creates jobs and lowers utility costs for families as well. Families and businesses looking for alternative means of energy should be able to purchase and use it.

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