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Michigan Representative District 76

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

    Winnie Brinks
    (Dem)

  • John George
    (L)

  • Candidate picture

    Brandon Hoezee
    (UST)

  • Casey J. O'Neill
    (Rep)

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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 Grand Rapids
Age 48
Family My husband, Steve and I have three children: Olivia, Annalise and Emma.
Education I am a graduate of Calvin College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and a concentration in Sociology.
Vehicles owned Ford Escape
Professional Experience I am currently serving my second term in the Michigan House of Representatives, joining the Michigan Legislature in 2013. Prior to this, I worked as a caseworker at The Source where I worked with businesses and nonprofits to improve workplaces while helping companies grow and retain employees. Prior to that, I served as the executive director of The One Way House for women, a community-based corrections agency. I also held a variety of positions in schools and non-profit organizations and have been an active PTA member.
Political Experience I am currently serving my second two-year term in the Michigan House of Representatives, joining the Michigan Legislature in 2013.
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://www.winniebrinks.com
Incumbent? true
Funding for the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) relies, in part, on contributions paid in by school districts based on the size of their payroll. Changes Republicans have made have diminished the size of these contributions and undermined MPSERS. These include the legislative Republican policies of introducing cyber schools to Michigan, removing limits on charter school growth and encouraging school districts to privatize non-instructional services. If Republicans are serious about shoring up MPSERS, they would reconsider the way in which it is funded and stop adding more policies that undermine it.
Local communities have taken a hit because the Legislature continues to cut revenue sharing funds. Revenue sharing provides the funding cities, townships and counties rely on to provide police and fire services, maintain roads and deliver other programs that people depend on. I support restoring revenue sharing to local communities.
Intervention cannot be used to void democratic institutions such as city councils or school boards. When an emergency manager is used, there must be checks put in place that will hold the emergency manager accountable to the people of that city or school district.
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Besides the obvious need to supply Flint businesses and residences with clean, safe water as soon as possible, the city will also need wrap-around services for people affected by lead poisoning and educational support for children who have been irreparably harmed by lead. There must also be checks put in place to ensure this will never happen again, such as requiring periodic testing of water at schools and day care centers, where there is currently no such requirement at all.
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The EPA should ban practices such as pre-flushing a water system before testing that would produce inaccurate results. The federal government could also provide more funding to replace the damaged water lines in Flint.
No
No
Changes made to the tax system in 2011 disproportionately hit families with higher taxes. Individuals are now paying 45 percent more in taxes, while the state has issued more tax refunds to corporations than it got from them in revenue. Working and middle-class families need relief.
Yes. I supported the Detroit Educational Commission because it would have brought together teachers, administrators, business and community leaders to address the problems Detroit Public Schools are facing. This plan had bipartisan support in the Senate and was strongly supported by House Democrats, and it was a shame that extremists in the House Republican caucus sent it to defeat.
Charter school authorizers must be held accountable. When an authorizer oversees several failing charter schools that don't show improvement year after year, there should be consequences.
Yes. No one should suffer from discrimination.
No. Faith should never be used as a shield for discrimination.
No
I favor replacing the current partisan system of redistricting with a nonpartisan redistricting commission.
It's worth evaluating what has happened in places such as Washington and Colorado since the recreational use of marijuana was legalized. However, the safety of Michigan residents and communities must always come first, no matter what we as a state ultimately decide to do.
Yes
Not only is renewable energy cleaner, it is also creating numerous job opportunities in Michigan. I support programs that would encourage the widespread adoption of renewable fuels and improving energy efficiency.
The purpose of the criminal justice system is to create safe communities, and the question that should be asked is whether Michiganders are safe. We can work to prevent crime by increasing support for our education system, providing wrap-around services for at-risk youth and fighting to bring good jobs with living wages to our communities. There should be tough sentences for those who choose to commit violent crimes.
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City of residence Grand Rapids
Age 31
Education Kuyper College, Bachelor of Science, Communication Arts, 2009
Vehicles owned Pontiac
Professional Experience stocker, Menards 2004-present, plus other part time jobs
Political Experience Precinct and state convention delegate in the Republican Party. Served two years on Kent County Republican Party executive committee.
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Incumbent? false
We should find a way for municipalities and school districts to raise the funds in their area. They should not use the state to steal money from taxpayers around the state.
Matters of local government should be local. We should have local governments collecting the funds they need for local services.
We should get rid of the emergency manager laws because it strips local communities of their sovereignty. The state can help by providing advice on the matter. Tax dollars should not be stolen from other parts of the state to fix a local matter.
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The state should assist since it played a hand in creating the mess.
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The federal government has no constitutional authority on the matter.
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No
We should decrease the state's power and revenue. We should return power and money back to individuals and local governments.
I believe that education should be under local control and the people of Detroit should decide what is best for their school districts.
We should provide as many options a possible for parents to consider to educate their kids. The state should maintain a set of standards for schools and rate them. The ratings should be available to the public so parents can make the best choice for their kids.
No, because I feel it would be used as a weapon against religious liberty and would increase the state's power.
I don't approve of passing any laws unless it is proven to be necessary. I believe in protecting religious freedom and would support bills that do so if they are necessary.
I have not but would sign to outlaw abortion and not to raise taxes by the state govenment.
I think the lines should be drawn up by a committee with all ballot qualified parties represented.
I think it should be regulated similar to alcohol and cigarettes.
I support Darrell Castle and may appear with him at campaign events if he returns to Michigan.
I am usually going to side with less government interference. I would like to collect more information on this subject before voting on it.
Yes, we should change the laws to only incarcerate people if they endangering or causing harm to another person, some animals, liberty or property. Also for damage against property for first time offenders they should have to pay restitution instead of incarceration where possible.
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