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Michigan Representative District 83

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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  • Deena Marie Bruderick
    (Grn)

  • Candidate picture

    Jim Frank
    (Dem)

  • Shane Hernandez
    (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?

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City of residence Burtchville
Age 54
Family My wife and I have four children: Patricia is my wife; my children in order of age are Sam, Maddie, Clem, and Sophie.
Education I have an MFA in Literary Translation and Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. Also a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
Vehicles owned Ford Flex
Professional Experience I have taught in higher education for 28 years: 5 years as a graduate assistant on a 50% appointment (2 courses per semester) at the University of Arkansas; 1 year as graduate assistant at the University of Illinois; 1 year as an adjunct at Parkland Community College teaching two courses per semester; 4 years as a full-time professor at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, TN; 17 years as a full-time professor at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, MI. I have also translated a book of art history: Art Brut: On the Origins of Outsider Art. I have also contributed my services pro bono as a translators for indigent individuals and charitable organizations.
Political Experience I worked as a political activist for Wisconsin's Environmental Decade in 1985 and 1986.
Race/ethnicity White
Incumbent? false
The state should attend to the solvency of MPSERS and honor its obligations to retirees. As to future retirees who are in the system, continue with the legislation that was adopted under the Granholm administration except for the the mandatory 3% that was taken from school employees between 2010 and 2012. Return that money with interest. The state has not fully funded MPSERS as they were obligated to do.The state then needs to step in so that our school districts are not crushed by these obligations. The state has shifted responsibility to fund the system to school districts, and it now needs to assist our districts.
The revenue sharing model we used to have to support our municipalities and communities needs to be revisited. The GOP has essentially stripped away that support when they did away with the MBT and replaced it with a new business tax that has not produced adequate revenues to fund state functions. We are planning for 450 million shortfall, which means less money for our schools, universities, community colleges, and communities. These reductions of the appropriations means that we cannot attend to these services that are essential to good government and the public good.
Our cities are in upheaval as they cope with population loss and falling revenues that are connected to that desertion of our cities. When I look at a community like Port Huron, whose population has declined by roughly 25% since I started teaching at the community college, I see a community that needs to be revitalized through investment in its downtown. Our city has worked hard to address unpaid obligations for pensions as well as a costly sewer separation project. I don't think that we can cut our way out of the problem. The EM law robs communities of local control. State monies are welcome. Strings should be attached to insure compliance, but local control needs to be maintained.
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I would separate the DEQ from the DNR so the two regulatory agencies can have their missions refocused and clarified so that they can perform their duties effectively. I would boost funding so that the two agencies can do their jobs. I am opposed to the recent legislation that removes protections for civil service employees. Those protections meant that they would not be exposed if they reported regulatory non-compliance to their managers who are political appointees. Now, these civil service employees will be reluctant to report issues for fear of being fired. I believe the crisis arose because of political appointees--EM and the DEQ--who did not do their jobs due to political pressure.
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The EPA's response was tepid. They met their responsibility. My concern is that in this case dangerous lead levels were identified. That result should mean a more vigorous response. Additionally, the current regulations at the federal level on lead should be revisited and revised so that quicker responses and clearer obligations to respond to lead poisoning are in place.
No.
No.
No. I believe that we should have a progressive income tax. However, implementing that would require difficult political action in the legislature and at the constitutional level. I would support phasing out deductions and income tax credits for individuals and joint returns if their income passes a certain level. I would provide more tax credits for working class families below 60K with two or more children. The revision of the MBT has not improved business and employment in the state so we have not seen promised revenue growth. That tax needs to produce more revenue. I would restore retirees pension tax relief that the GOP eliminated. I would support more tax relief for working poor.
Yes, unequivocally.
I have followed the Free Press's investigative reports on charter schools. I am especially appalled at what our state senator, Phil Pavlov, has marshaled through the legislature. If charter schools receive state appropriated dollars, they should be forced to meet the same compliance requirements in all regards that public schools must meet. As the Free Press pointed out in a recent article, charter schools who are operated by a private management corporation can refuse to be transparent about how they spend their state appropriation. The reconstitution provision for charters needs to be clarified and enforced when needed. I think charters may have a place in our state, but reform is needed.
Yes.
No.
No. I hope to serve the voters of my district. Signing a pledge such as these or for the NRA or other organization means that my allegiance is first for these political action committees and second the voters in the district. That perversion of our political system is not something I will ever subscribe to.
Gerrymandering has become a science of marginalizing one party. SCOTUS' recent rulings on gerrymandering are encouraging. There exist computer programs that can largely eliminate political manipulation of districts in the creation of more or less fair district boundaries. Gerrrymandering threatens the entire idea of each citizen's vote. By packing and cracking districts, parties have in some cases made votes cast by citizens meaningless because the district has become safe for one party or the other. I want to see competitive districts restored. So I would like to eliminate political party influence in establishing legislative districts.
Yes. Marijuana is safer than alcohol and causes fewer problems. It is not without its hazards and can result in irresponsible behavior--driving while under the influence is an example. However, we have that same issue with alcohol and prescription medications. Based on evidence from credible researchers, marijuana will cause fewer problems than alcohol. Let our citizens who are over 21 decide on their own whether to use or not use marijuana.
Sure.
I do. We need to diversify our energy production. I also would work to expand nuclear power production in our state. Nuclear power generation has newer and safer plants. Moreover, if we hope to reduce carbon emissions and maintain adequate baseload--which renewables are unable to do--we need nuclear power. Nuclear does produce hazardous waste, but to be fair, coal burning plants emit enormous quantities of dangerous chemicals including radioactive isotopes and poisons such as arsenic and mercury. So, a diverse array of power production including increased production from renewable sources and nuclear would be policies I would support.
Yes, particularly when it comes to crimes that are not violent. We can find better ways to rehabilitate the non-violent.
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