Michigan Representative District 69

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    George Nastas III

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    Sam Singh

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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?

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?

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?

Do you favor amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation?

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?

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

The Lansing region is home to nearly 15,000 state workers. What protections should those workers have from lawsuits filed against them for their actions in the performance of their job duties?

The Lansing region for many years had a Capitol Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of a dozen or so legislators from the region’s districts, which focused on solutions to local and regional issues, support for the FRIB being among them. It was disbanded in recent years. Do you support this type of caucus? If not, why? If yes, what specifically would you do to revive it?

Should Michigan’s Right to Work laws be expanded, repealed, or modified? Explain your position.

City of residence Haslett, Michigan
Age 72
Family Wife, two stepsons and daughters-in-law, three granddaughters
Education Ph.D. Business Administration MBA Business Administration BS Mechanical Engineering
Vehicles owned Lincoln and Ford Freestyle
Professional Experience Department of Defense, Retired; UM-F, MSU marketing professor and instructor
Political Experience Ingham County Republican Party, Executive Committee member
Incumbent? false
1. Freeze current defined benefit retirement plans 2. Enroll current, future employees in defined contribution plans

Recognize that past/current politicians have over-promised and under-funded defined benefit retirement plans.
It is the responsibility of local government to adequately fund essential services and cut nonessential services.

It is not the responsibility of non city residents to fund through their state income tax the cost of local governments.

The state should continue to apportion a portion of the state sales tax to local units of government in lieu of a local sales tax.
1. Flint local government is responsible for the water and water distribution system to Flint residents. 2. Flint local government was responsible for operating on a sound fiscal basis. 3. Apparently, Flint government acted in a unresponsible manner resulting in the appointment of a emergency manager. 4. Apparently, the emergency manager switched the source of water from the Detroit system to the Flint river. 5. Apparently, the Flint river water was not properly treated, leading to unhealthy water reaching residents. 6. So, the state has some responsibility to correct the situation and insure clean water reaches residents Bottom Line: the situation should have been handled much better
1. Identify the scope of the problem, the required fix(es), and the cost of correcting the problem. 2. Identify sources of funding the problem correction and secure funding. 3. Develop a plan to correct the problem. 4. Execute the problem solution plan 5. Monitor implementation of plan including water quality, clean pipes, budget
Apparently, not very good.
How does a state legislator improve the federal government's response to the Flint water contamination problem? What leverage does a state legislator have over the federal government?

Initially, state government and Flint government work with U.S. Senators Peters and Stabenow and U.S. Congressman to improve federal government's participation in improving water quality for Flint residents.

Also, relevant state government agencies work with similar federal government agencies to resolve water quality problem.

Perhaps, hold hearings focusing on federal government role in the problem
Michigan does not have a fair tax system or a system that promotes economic growth, business creation and expansion, business relocation to Michigan, job creation, and creation of high wage jobs.

Changes Tax system should copy the income tax systems of Texas, Florida, etc - no state income tax.

Eliminate the real estate transfer tax that increases the cost of real estate transactions.

Eliminate the vehicle registration and gas tax increases recently enacted.

Reduce the business income tax which is really a hidden tax on consumers, employees, and investors
1. First cities should not spend money they do not have, cities should focus on essential services and creating an environment that promotes economic growth.

2. Cities should not promise employee compensation and retirement benefits that the cities do no or cannot fully fund. Cities should freeze defined benefit plans and replace with defined contribution plans

3. State should monitor cities and their fiscal situation

4. State should work with cities to prevent them from getting into financial difficulty

5. It is not the responsibility of non residents to financially bail out cities that were mismanaged.
No. Why is it necessary?
Not clear on what that is.

Businesses should be free to refuse to deal with given customers only for reasonable reasons.
Agree not to increase taxes, agree to support the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Believe quality education for children requires competition among education services suppliers. Detroit is an excellent example of the failure of public education (misuse of taxpayer resources). Parents need alternatives to achieve quality education for their children.
Probably not.
If asked, yes
No. Market place will provide best energy solutions at lowest price
Do not know. Violent people who commit crimes should be locked up because they are a danger to society. Perhaps, there are better ways to deal with nonviolent crime.
State worker protections should be similar to those for workers in the private sector.
Unfamiliar with Capital Caucus. Regional solutions may be helpful as long as does not result in a large, unresponsive, unaccountable bureaucracy.
Expanded to all Michigan workers.

Unions should earn the right to represent workers and accumulate workers based on benefits unions provide to workers.

Unions should focus on workers and their needs and wants; not social, progressive issues, points of view
City of residence East Lansing
Age 45
Family Kerry Ebersole Singh
Education B.S. in History with a Global Specialization, Michigan State University, 1994
Vehicles owned Ford Fusion
Professional Experience Prior to being elected State Representative, I worked as Senior Policy Consultant for Public Policy Associates, Senior Consultant for the New Economy Initiative, President and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.
Political Experience I served on the City Council and as Mayor of East Lansing.
Race/ethnicity Indian-American
Campaign Website
Incumbent? true
Long-term solvency issues facing our schools are associated with their funding liability for the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System. The 2012 cap placed on MPSERS is diverting funds from schools to pay for these retirement costs. Several issues contributing to this includes charter schools, whose teachers do not participate in and do not pay into MPSERS. The second is privatization of services, an attempt to cut costs, which results in a further reduction in the number of people paying into MPSERS. Additionally, diverting over $400 million from the School Aid Fund to higher education puts further stress on K-12 schools. We should be investing all SAF dollars in K-12 schools.
Proposal A limited the ways in which local governments could collect revenue, with the promise that the state would share the revenue it collected. While the state continues to meet its constitutional revenue sharing obligation, it has fallen far short of its statutory obligations by $6.2 billion over the past 15 years. As a result, local budgets have been cut, reserve funds spent down, and services, both non-essential and essential, have been cut back. The state needs to fulfill its statutory revenue sharing responsibilities to reverse this trend.
I would rate the state’s response as slow and incomplete. Governor Snyder’s appointed task force made it clear that the crisis in Flint is a result of actions taken by the emergency manager and a culture created inside of the governor’s administration. As such, the state has a responsibility to fix the problems it created. While I believe that we have taken the right steps to address some of the most immediate concerns, we have to recognize that the harmful effects of lead exposure could last for generations. Our short-term financial intervention must be paired with a long-term investment that fully funds the on-going healthcare and educational needs of the children and adults of Flint.
The state’s initial reaction to the crisis was slow, and the state still struggles with challenges of water filter and storage distribution. The state needs to address the long-term infrastructure issues facing the city. The state should be investing the funds to replace the unsafe pipes in Flint. The Legislature should create an independent fund for long-term healthcare needs that cannot be touched by future legislators. The state also needs to pay 100% of past water bills, no one should be expected to pay for poisonous water being pumped into their houses. The legislature should take action on two legislative packages addressing water quality and water availability.
The federal government was not forceful enough in making the state address the issue early on. I am disappointed the EPA did not make their concerns public regarding the response of both the Governor and the DEQ to the crisis. If those concerns had been brought to the public sooner, this crisis could have addressed much earlier. While I am pleased individual members of Congress have introduced legislation that would provide funding for Flint's infrastructure needs, Congress still must act to pass this legislation and should do so quickly.
Federal agencies need greater authority to require states to respond in times of crisis, or to have the authority to respond themselves in the absence of state action. Congress also needs to put forward a nationwide plan for dealing with the country’s aging infrastructure in order to prevent a similar crisis from happening again.
Our current tax system favors credits for corporations at the expense of Michigan’s families, balancing large business tax cuts by increasing taxes on individuals. The state needs to find a better balance that includes corporations paying for their fair share of resources used. Lower-income individuals and families tend to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than higher earners. The legislature should fully restore the Earned Income Tax Credit. The state should also amend its constitution to allow for a graduated income tax.
The current Emergency Manager Law gives the manager powers beyond those needed to address a financial crisis. The law also removes democratic control of a city. After the experiences in Flint and Detroit Public Schools, it is clear that the emergency manager law should be reformed. Additionally, dollars should be attached when an Emergency Manager is appointed. Financially struggling cities should not have to pick up the costs associated with the manager.
Yes, as well as including gender identity and gender expression. I have sponsored legislation to amend this act.
Freedom of Religion is already enshrined in the First Amendment. I do not support the passage of laws that will create a legal shield for discrimination.
No. I have not, and will not, sign pledges to outlaw abortion or to not raise taxes.
Yes. Michigan should look at what other states have done to move toward nonpartisan redistricting commissions.
Yes. I would follow the advice of teachers, administrators, local officials, and parents from Detroit who recommended the DEC as a best practice. The people most impacted by these policies should have a say in how these decisions are made. Similar regulatory structures have been successful in other parts of the country. Notably, the District of Columbia Education Commission, who authorizes its local personnel to administer the budget and oversee the schools that function in their district. Charter schools and public schools should function together with the same transparency and regulations.
The first issue that needs to be addressed is that charter schools must face the same level of oversight and transparency as traditional public schools. Any statewide charter authorizer that has underperforming schools should be prohibited from authorizing new charters until all schools under their authorization meet state standards. Similarly, any charter operators with underperforming schools should be prohibited from opening new schools until all of their schools meet state standards.
I support the decriminalization of recreational marijuana. I also support the petition drive allowing citizens to decide this issue.
Yes, I support Secretary Clinton and I would happily appear at campaign events with her.
Yes, I support increasing renewable energy standards in the state of Michigan. I have also sponsored legislation that would double our energy efficiency standards.
Yes. The state has a responsibility to keep our communities safe, but we also have to take corrections spending into consideration. The state should look at populations that are costly to incarcerate, such as the elderly and chronically ill, and consider alternatives. We also need to address mental health issues, as those individuals often end up in our prisons rather than getting the medical attention they need. Finally, we can reduce incarnation levels by addressing issues that lead to crime in the first place. Investing more in education, giving our children a pathway to being productive members of society, is a far better use of resources.
We have a system in place that addresses legal and disciplinary issues concerning civil servants. This process has worked well for decades, ensuring that employees with poor performance are handled appropriately, but without fear of being subjected to arbitrary or politically motivated retaliation.
Yes, I support this type of caucus, and I am a member of the current Capitol Caucus. Bipartisan cooperation helps to represent the diverse interests of our region. This collaborative effort gives our region a distinct voice in the legislature.
The so called “Right to Work” laws should be repealed. These laws undermine the rights of individuals to collectively bargain. These laws allow individuals to benefit from labor negotiations without contributing to the costs associated with those negotiations. As we have seen in other states, these laws drive down wages in all sectors, not just for unionized work places.