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Michigan Representative District 71

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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    Theresa Abed
    (Dem)

  • Tom Barrett
    (Rep)

  • Mark Lord
    (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?

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 Grand Ledge
Age 61
Family Two children. David, 31, graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in theater, small business owner (social media consulting). Kimberly, 28, graduated from MSU with a BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Michigan, working for a non-profit organization.
Education Received a B.S.W. (Bachelor's of Social Work) in 1976 and M.S.W. (Master's of Social Work) in 1977 from Wayne State University. Received a fellowship from M.S.U. for the Michigan Political Leadership Program in 2008.
Vehicles owned 2009 Ford Fusion
Professional Experience 2015-present: Mental health therapist, Delta-Waverly Psychology & Counseling Associates 2008-2012: MSU School of Social Work Field Liaison 2007-2012: Special education school social worker, Eaton Intermediate School District 2007-2012: Therapist, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, Lansing 1990-2006: General education school social worker, Grand Ledge Public Schools 1985-1990: Special education school social worker, Lansing Public Schools 1980-1985: School social worker, Westminster Public Schools, Westminster, CO 1977-1980: School social worker, Lakeview Public Schools, St. Clair Shores, MI
Political Experience 2007-2010: Eaton County Commissioner, two terms 2013-2014: State Representative
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://votetheresaabed.com
Incumbent? false
Retirement cost is one piece of the solvency puzzle. With our municipalities there are many variables impacting that cost depending on what type of system is used, how it is funded and how the market is doing. Fully funding statutory revenue sharing is critical to ensuring financial stability.

In regard to our schools, fully funding them is critical to their solvency as well as capping the number of charter schools and reducing the foundation allowance for cyber schools that have no building, transportation or food costs. Also any mandates for our public schools should be applied to our charters as well.
As an Eaton County Commissioner for four years, I saw directly the impact of cuts to revenue sharing and the negative impact on our communities. Our cities need a stable revenue source and one that is fully restored so they can meet the needs of their residents and businesses.
This was an avoidable, preventable crisis under Governor Snyder’s administration. To put the bottom dollar ahead of the health and well-being of the residents is inexcusable. It is the responsibility of Governor Snyder to rectify this wrong. Due to the culture within the administration, not only will many people suffer for years to come, but the taxpayer has to foot the bill to resolve the situation and pay Governor Snyder’s legal bills. Not only should there be a fast, effective response but the priorities of this administration need to change to put the people first. It's an outrage that the majority of funding directed to the city will not go into effect until the next fiscal year.
Aside from allocating funds immediately, our top priority should be making sure that Flint residents have safe, healthy water in their homes. The state must also make sure that funding includes the money needed to provide support programs for the families and children who are now suffering the effects of lead poisoning. This includes everything from funding for special education, to wrap-around services, to an emergency fund for any effects that might emerge down the road.
Michigan did not declare a state of emergency. However the federal government did so that funds and resources could be directed to Flint. Again, my biggest concern is that action was not taken soon enough. If they had put pressure on the state sooner, the problem could have been acknowledged and addressed more quickly.
The federal government should help our efforts to repair and improve water infrastructure in the city by allocating funding towards it, but another important step is to make sure this kind of disaster does not happen again. Every community with aging water systems would be safer were the EPA to prohibit water testing methods which allow harmful lead content to go undetected, including the pre-flushing of pipes.
No.
No.
No. When everyday people cannot get ahead and are living paycheck to paycheck, yet our economy is slowly recovering, there is something wrong. In 2011, Gov. Snyder and the Republican-led legislature passed sweeping tax code changes, removing credits and deductions many working families and seniors relied on. Since the tax shift, individuals are paying 45% more in taxes while large corporations are paying little to nothing. While in office, I cosponsored legislation to fully restore the Homestead Property Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the $600 per child deduction, as well as introduced the repeal of the retirement tax. It is time to stop burdening working families and seniors.
The voters gave a resounding "no" to emergency managers in a ballot proposal in 2012 yet with some minor changes the law was re-enacted anyway. This law takes away the voters ability to elect the people who run their cities and spend their hard-earned tax dollars. It allows unelected officials to take control of cities and school districts and the services they provide and requires no accountability to the people of those communities. The Flint water crisis is a good example of what can happen with an emergency manager. I believe strongly in local control and democratic principles.
I do not favor discrimination in any form, for any reason. I am in favor of expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.
There is never an excuse to discriminate.
No.
Definitely. The public is tired of their vote being manipulated to determine a certain outcome. Lines should be drawn in an equitable fashion not favorable to either party. Let’s let the voters decide the outcome of an election and not political parties.
The Detroit Education Commission is an excellent way to balance the interests of charter and public schools, by making sure both are held to the same performance standards when it comes to evaluating the opening or closure of a school.
Charter schools need to disclose their finances in relation to the funds received for operation of the school as well as prohibiting self-dealing arrangements on renting space for schools. There also needs to be more accountability in charter schools, just as public schools are held to. The thorough, well-researched series by the Free Press in 2013 brought to light issues within our charter schools that reinforces this need.
My first priority will always be public safety. We should study the impact of Colorado and Washington's decriminalization laws before considering changes in our state.
Yes.
When I first held state office in 2013, I was proud to support legislation that would update Michigan's energy portfolio. Bills reintroduced this session by the House Democrats would be beneficial for both the environment and our economy, including the provision to expand our RPS (renewable portfolio standard) to 20% by 2022. Making energy more affordable for customers and creating jobs for our state is a win-win.
Study after study shows us that the best way to prevent crime in our communities is to make sure that we are providing quality education to every student, that we are adequately funding programs to divert at-risk youth from potentially dangerous situations, and that we are making sure our communities have job opportunities that pay well. Violent criminals should always be punished, but in this case, it is important to look at the big picture and attempt to address the root causes of crime before they occur.
The system already in place to dismiss bad employees is one that has worked for us for decades. More than that, it has helped preserve a system of government employees whose job attainment is based on merit, not on whether or not they supported or gave money to the "right" person.
During my term as state representative, I was a part of the Capitol Caucus and would like to see it revived. I always welcomed the opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to help our communities and would welcome that opportunity again.
Right to work is not right for Michigan. Michigan’s labor force and management particularly in the auto industry have worked together to put Michigan back on the track of economic recovery. The divisiveness of right to work legislation was not needed and has in fact shown no real impact on job creation. Right to work was crafted to specifically weaken our unions and as a result communities have suffered. Right to work needs to be repealed.
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