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Michigan Representative District 73

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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  • Chris Afendoulis
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Deb Havens
    (Dem)

  • Ron Heeren
    (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?

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City of residence Grand Rapids, MI
Age 68
Family Dave Limbaugh, spouse. Two sons, three grandchildren
Education Rockford High School, 1966 Western Michigan University, Bachelor of Arts 1970 University of Florida, Master of Education Administration 1974 Eastern Michigan University, Doctorate Education Leadership 2012
Vehicles owned Ford Focus, Ford Freestar
Professional Experience I’ve had a varied career in education as well as television and radio broadcast, holding several certifications in education, management, leadership, and personal development training. After beginning my career as a high school English teacher in Jacksonville, FL, I returned to Michigan to work as a news reporter and talk show host for an all-news radio station, then to WZZM television to produce and host award-winning documentaries, investigative reports, and public affairs programming. In San Francisco, CA I worked as programming consultant for client television stations in small, medium, and major markets, responsible for staff performance standards and story product development for national broadcast. My freelance career with corporate clients included Walt Disney World, before I accepted a position as Communications Specialist for a Michigan public school district. I’ve served a number of years in non-profit leadership roles: founding Chair of the Board of Directors of the West Michigan Film Video Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to promoting creative and economic health in west Michigan via the film and production community. Since 2005, the Alliance has worked with filmmakers, politicians, economic development experts, and trade organizations. I also cofounded and lead Korean Connection, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to developing cultural, educational and economic exchange opportunities between Michigan and S. Korea.
Political Experience I’ve always had an interest in politics. I ran unsuccessfully for Manchester Village Council back in the 90s. However, I successfully managed millage campaigns for the new Manchester District Library and for the Van Buren School District Sinking Fund. In 2000, I chaired Jennifer Granholm’s Education Issues Committee during her primary run for the Democratic nomination and was elected Precinct Delegate for Northville Township. I volunteered in the past for various campaigns including phone calls and door knocking for Democrats. In the mid-2000’s I worked with both Republicans and Democrats to initiate Michigan film and production incentives that were hugely successful until the 2010 change in administration. My dissertation, completed in 2012, focused on the gender-based challenges facing 7 women first- time governors in seven states across the US. In 2014 I ran for the Michigan Senate in District 28.
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Incumbent? false
This is a double question involving not only the role of Emergency Financial Managers but pension issues that have risen because retirement benefits were often substituted for salary raises when negotiating with public employees. I support the operation of emergency managers established successfully by other states such as North Carolina, which operate to work with municipal governments well in advance of financial crisis. The future of pension plans may be limited. Assisted investing in 401Ks is preferable. For current pensioners a collective defined-contribution plan has the great advantage of fiscal sustainability and low administrative costs, using risk pooling and collective oversight.
A quick glance at the shoddy condition of schools in our largest city of Detroit and the public health disaster currently existing in Flint show the most extreme examples of poor safety and service delivered by the State of Michigan. The crumbling roads that connect our communities, cutbacks in police, fire, education, social services and other public health services confirm that municipal finance is on a last gasp model -- keeping us alive but barely. We need to take off ideological blinders and restore the revenue streams the legislature cut right after Governor Snyder was elected to provide adequate revenue sharing with local governments and invest in our state rather than starve it.
I support the operation of emergency managers established successfully by other states such as North Carolina, which operate to work with municipal governments well in advance of financial crisis. Those EMs operate within established institutions and municipal systems to provide state expertise when required to restore financial and administrative integrity. The Snyder version contributed to financial crisis by first cutting revenue sharing, then imposing dictatorial controls. Inexperienced city or school officials should be expected to undergo training in municipal and district financing in partnership with state expertise, not in submission to virtual slavery or denial of legal contracts.
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The State of Michigan must continue to invest in long range plans to help Flint as well as communities all over the state to avert similar water crisis. The state got us into this mess by refusing to acknowledge the necessity of repairing or replacing our dated infrastructure and cutting grants to cities so they are too cash-strapped to act on their own. Now we have to pay millions more and our people must fear the consequences of poor health and aptitude not only for themselves but sadly and critically, our state's children. The minimum to expect should be long term planning and financial support. But eliminate the expedient PR campaign with the Governor drinking Flint water...embarrassing
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I credit our US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and Congressman Dan Kildee for swaying Congress and President Obama to grant some federal support to correct what is basically a failure of our ideologue state legislature. The situation is made worse by Governor Snyder’s attempts to blame federal officers for not somehow forcing his appointees to do their jobs. And Snyder continues to stall on any long range planning/funding to correct and maintenance Flint’s problems as well as similar crises waiting to happen in other Michigan cities. Given Michigan’s intractable and defensive Republican leadership, we can thank our Democratic leaders at the federal level for whatever we receive.
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No
I definitely do not believe Michigan’s tax system is fair, since it is the result of a Republican majority in the House, Senate and Governor’s office that has used its majority powers to privilege the few, cutting a billion and a half dollars from corporate taxes without bothering to figure out a fair tax system to replace it. Instead, the Republican laws tax senior pensions, families with kids, even low income workers on the edge of the poverty, while our wealthiest corporations and CEOs pay less. This is not only unfair, it’s shameful and mean-spirited. We need to levy fair and appropriate tax rates to maintain the healthy, safe, and effective operation of our state for all, not the few.
No. This administration’s autocratic approach to solving complex social and economic problems has been riddled with corruption and incompetence with a complete lack of accountability for largely negative results. A business model benefiting profit-based education companies ignores the needs of the kids. After years of Republican Emergency Managers, education commissions and an explosion of charter schools in the Detroit public school district, 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics and 93 percent are not proficient in reading according to the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. Clearly, Republican ideas have failed Detroit children.
1) Immediately halt the expansion of charters-for-profit, which is currently limitless; 2) insist that all charters currently in operation meet exactly the same assessment standards as every public school; 3) ensure that those charters that don’t measure up, move out; 4) demand that all charters prove they are providing curriculum and staff that truly innovate with new opportunities for kids to learn, which is the reason they exist in the first place. Most importantly, we need to provide strong resource support to public schools all over Michigan where students face challenges of poverty . The sad fact is that Republican policies have forced so many kids to miss so many opportunities already
Absolutely. I applaud Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Business Leaders for Michigan, and even Gov. Rick Snyder, all who have called on Republican majority lawmakers to amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. So far, their pleas along with those of LGBTQ families and friends have been ignored. Our nation is built on the principle that all our citizens deserve equal treatment and respect. Treat people fairly and judge them on their merits? Sounds like a great concept to me.
The RFRA was passed in 1993 after two Native Americans were fired from their jobs and denied unemployment benefits because they used peyote in their religious ceremonies. Congress enacted the RFRA with near-unanimous support. Unfortunately it is now often used to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people and others. This sorry situation began after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry. Certain states like North Carolina have made further mockery of this law with recent flurries over trans bathroom use. And now this legislation is actually being considered in Michigan. Once again, our legislature is pushing a mean-spirited past into our future
I never have and never would sign such a pledge. If elected, I serve the people of my district and my state, not some outsider group with an ideological agenda funded by billionaires who want to buy their way into ownership of our government. Republican refusal to pass fair tax legislation, or attempts to repress reproductive services or the rights of LGBTQ and other minorities serves only special radical interests. Legislators who sign such pledges clearly dance to the tune of a particular master and trade their honor and duty to the people for cowardly servitude and personal enrichment. I regard those legislators as particularly undeserving of the name "Representative."
Yes, and we better move fast if we ever hope to have an election where the winners are chosen by voters instead of the ruling Party that happens to be in office at the time. Obviously, the Party in control tries hard to stay that way. Let’s follow one of the best examples of voter redistricting called the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. It consists of equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents with an additional 8 members selected from a pool of voters. Additional members can be added if desired. Such a group considers redistricting based on community growth, geography, and demographics, rather than saving the seats of the majority Party of the moment.
Yes, I think the same laws that govern the recreational use of alcohol for responsible adults should be applied to this substance, with similar criminal penalties applied for misuse or abuse, particularly by underage users. It's clear from the examples of Colorado and Washington States that there are challenges that arise from decriminalization, but at the same time, there have been no significant increases in criminal activity, and new sources of state revenue are a powerful incentive for us to consider this action.

Of course, I am proud of both contenders for my Party’s nomination.
Yes. I think Michigan should respond to renewable energy mandates as a challenge to prove we are still the innovation capital of the world. This is the kind of high profile, R&D high jump that we should welcome as the positive version of the Manhattan Project of our time – let’s prove we have the brains, collaboration, and commitment to blow the mind of every auto maker, industrialist, or manufacturer in the world with results that go BEYOND the mandates. We know Climate Change is no longer debatable - this is a way to create new jobs, new technologies, and lead the world again. Go Team!
Yes, and an unfairly large proportion are African American men. Michigan continues to spend a larger portion of its general fund on prisons and keeps prisoners behind bars longer than any other state. Last year the Citizens’ Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending outlined reducing the inmate population to save Michigan 250 million dollars annually by releasing inmates who served their minimum sentences, unless they were a danger. Hundreds of inmates are still locked up for nonviolent offenses like possession of small amounts of marijuana or not paying child support, even stealing coins from a parking meter. Legislators need to give up election slogans like “tough on crime” for solutions.
City of residence Plainfield Township
Age 64
Family Wife Dennise, Son Daniel, Daughter Amanda, Stepson Christopher Jacques
Education College plus
Vehicles owned One, a Chrysler 300 imported from Detroit.
Professional Experience Reporter Grand Rapids Press, Postal Service, Freelance Writer, lay science and agriculture.
Political Experience Student Government Senate Ferris State College: Senator Six terms, Speaker of the Student Government Senate 3 terms, Chair of the Academics Committee 3 terms.
Race/ethnicity Race human, lived in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Incumbent? false
The Districts created the problem with improper planning. They have to decide how to fix it. Improper funding of Retirement Funds has created a whipsaw crack like a Ponzi Scheme. Insolvency will not go away. Passing the issue to the State will not solve fundamental mismanagement. Voters must decide to raise taxes to pay those bills.
Cities should not rely on the State. They have to decide on their services based on their tax bases. State Government should only provide relief for property that it has in each Unit that pays for Fire and Police Services. Roads are addressed separately by Highway commission.
State intervention compounds problems as seen in Flint and Detroit. Art Museums are not important, schools and libraries are. Lesson that should be taken from the mess in Detroit and it's mismanaged Bankruptcy.
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It never should have happened. Continual sweeping issues under the rug was a major failure. Forcing reliance on one source for water through government only was another. Failure over the last 75 years to make the Auto Industry clean up the mess it made in the Flint River made things even worse. Remember what happened in the past, while rebuilding the system with better planning will help. Allow people to choose wells as an alternative source of water if they choose.
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Be more proactive with monitoring how regulations are enforced and followed.
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I would like to see a flat tax and elimination of the sales tax and property tax. It's as fair as it can be under the current circumstances but their is always room for improvements. Changing the current funding of roads to tolls for all limited access Highways and Freeways should be considered in the future due to the changes of transportation that will take place in the next century.
That is a decision for Wayne Co. and the City of Detroit or it's Metropolitan Citizens to decide. That State should not be required to decide such an issue.
not at this time until the current charter issues are resolved.
Orientation, yes. Identity is what is currently between one's legs that is the determining factor of social normality. Use it.
I have not studied the Act. But my feeling is bake the cake but let the buyer decorate it. End Marriage Licensing, it is not now nor ever should have been necessary.
I pledged to vote against all forms of crony capitalism and to vote against it while making sure their is a level economic playing field.
Minimize them.
Put it on the ballot for legalization or legalize it outright. The ban is simply ludicrous.
Absolutely and along with 950 thousand of my fellow Citizens and growing who have signed a petition Demanding that the alleged "Non Partisan" actually bipartisan biased Commission on the (Prevention) Presidential Debates include a fair hearing before the Court of the People to hear Governor Gary Johnson and Governor William Weld appear the on same stage as Hillary Clinton and donald trump for a more honest assessment of the future of our Great Nation.
No, market solutions will work best. Solar Power is competitive make sure we have a level playing field that will allow it to compete and that Michigan Residents will be free to apply it and use it on their homes. The Future is indeed electric lets make sure it flows freely and clean.
It is absurd. We need fully informed peer juries and the complete elimination of pre-emptive challenges of juries. Juries need to be chosen from the nearest precincts or within one mile of the accused's home and that all juries try both the laws and the facts of the case. Penalty revisions and laws of the criminal justice system are a must also.

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