Source: Sherman Publications

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Eight candidates vying for state representative seat

by Andrea Beaudoin

July 23, 2014

Clarkston area voters will narrow the field of candidates for state representative and other offices, and decide the future of the library and other issues in the Aug. 5 primary.

Voters will narrow a field of eight candidates for Michigan District 43, a two-year term representing Independence Township, City of the Village of Clarkston, city of Lake Angelus and parts of Waterford.

During the August election, voters will select one candidate to represent the Republican and Democratic party for the Nov. 4 general election.

Vying for the Republican nomination are Jose Aliaga, Paul Greenawalt, Nate Knapper, Andrea Schroeder, and Jim Tedder. Running for the Democratic nomination are Neil Billington, Robin McGregor, and Dennis Ritter. The candidates responded to questionnaires submitted by the Clarkston News.

Jose Aliaga is an Independence Township trustee.

"I worked to move the media-equipment for Public Access TV to Clarkston High for the students to use, saving us $55,000. I motioned to lower our Cable Taxes. I voted 'Yes' to bring 120 manufacturing jobs to Clarkston," Aliaga said.

To fix the roads, he proposes a dedicated road fund and the sale of guaranteed Michigan Road Bonds to provide extra revenue.

"I'm a trusted Conservative, and I will not support new or higher taxes," he said. "My accomplishments and dynamic agenda establish me as the candidate most qualified to properly represent the 43rd district."

His main goals are economic growth and creating jobs.

"I will support policies that maintain a healthy business climate, with lower taxes and fewer business-crippling regulations, motivating more corporations to move here, while also making it easier for Michigan entrepreneurial start-ups," he said.

"I will sponsor a bill approving the new privately funded $400 Million McLaren Hospital in Clarkston, which will bring 4,000 new jobs, revenue, and huge sales for local businesses. Also, my goal is to protect life and defend the Second Amendment."

Nate Knapper said effective service at the capitol requires a working knowledge of Lansing's legislative players and process.

"As an Assistant Attorney General, I routinely work with AG executives, gubernatorial staffers, and legislative leaders to shape public policy at the highest levels of state government," he said. "I have a proven record of effective service in Lansing. No other candidate in the race can claim such a record."

His main goals if elected include fixing roads, facilitating job creation and focusing on school safety.

Road repair is a unanimous public concern that must be addressed as soon as possible. Job creation remains an urgent priority that can be facilitated by lowering taxes and eliminating unnecessary regulations. And school safety is critical to ensuring the success of our students.

Ultimately, elections are about the future. When citizens vote, they confer the responsibilities of leadership upon a candidate and trust in his ability to help usher in a brighter future for the district, he said.

"That's why this 'New Wave in Republican Leadership' we've been talking about is so important because it provides a concrete framework for meeting the challenges of tomorrow. The 'New Wave' represents a brand of public engagement that combines thorough preparation with strong conservative principles and a practical disposition. These elements empower leaders to bear up under the weight of responsibility conferred upon them," he said. "I want citizens to know that I feel the weight of responsibility that comes with asking them for their vote. It's a responsibility I take seriously. I also want them to know that my adoption of a prepared, principled, practical brand of engagement has equipped me to manage and surpass the expectations projected on today's political leaders. This form of engagement is the wave of the future. It's a wave our district will want to ride."

Andrea Schroeder said she is pro-jobs, pro-life, pro-family values, and pro-2nd Amendment Republican who believes "We the People" have to be in charge of our government

"As an Independence Township trustee, I have worked hard to make government more accountable and to cut government spending. I am am developing a plan that will bring new ideas and insight to Lansing," she said. "Thework with our board to make sure information about our government operations is open, transparent, and accessible. Our board packets, tax information, budget, and meeting videos are available online and on-demand."

She has demonstrated commitment to the community through leadership as the creator of the No Spice/K2 pledge, an active member of the Clarkston Optimists, a preschool teacher in my church, and also a successful career as a sales executive and full-time small business owner, along with prior experience as a teacher, she said.

"I'll use my skills and experience to help make our area and state a better more prosperous place to live," she said. "My primary goal is to go to Lansing to help Governor Snyder and the legislature create more jobs and build our economy. The more people looking for creative answers to tough questions, the more likely we are to solve the serious problems facing our state. Second, we need to find a long-term solution to the roads problem that is plaguing our area and the state. Finally, we need to cut spending, not raise taxes."

Jim Tedder is a 27 year small business owner, a local school administrator and former teacher.

"I am the candidate that intimately understands the opportunities and challenges of the 43rd District," he said. "I am committed to supporting economic growth, job creation, and better days for Michigan. I have personal relationships in the district extending more than 40 years and the professional background to make ethical and sound decisions at the state level."

He has over 24 years of political experience as a grassroots activist, serving leadership roles in many organizations and, over the last four years, as an elected Independence Township Precinct Delegate.

He also has a business and labor policy background having previously worked for Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, DC.

"I come from a working-class upbringing, founded in hard work and integrity; I am the candidate who understands the economic challenges facing working class people and business owners. I value personal responsibility, transparency, and humility. If elected, I will take these values and my blue collar work ethic to Lansing to support the people of this district and state. Improve the economy: I will support an economic climate that encourages growth and prosperity for all, not just those who are politically connected or in a politically favored industry. My efforts will lead to job creation, elimination of burdensome regulations, and lower taxes for businesses and the hard working people of this district," he said.

His goals are also to fix roads and improve education.

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Running for the Democratic nomination are Neil Billington, Robin McGregor, and Dennis Ritter.

Robin McGregor says she is a leader that inspires hope.

"I believe this community inspires hope by embarking on issues that matter. I will reinforce the importance of confronting tough issues rather than shying away or insulating our community. I always think about the well-being of those in our community. It is important to communicate transparently, honestly, and in a timely manner. I will do this," she said.

Her goals include improving education with adequate funding, repeal EAA, and focus on inspiring, empowering, and enhancing learning for students rather than teaching to tests; improve equality for men and woman and with healthcare rights; and improve infrastructure, including roads.

"I believe that the most important qualifications that I would bring to this position are my experiences as a union president, school board member, parent, small business owner, and community activist. Examples of my work include fighting against Right-to-Work for less, getting the Waterford landfill, which was polluting our lakes, closed and capped, working on educational reform, and testifying about infrastructure in front of Congress," she said.

Dennis Ritter said he is the best candidate because of his experience.

"I am the most experienced public servant who knows firsthand how the actions of Lansing legislators affect individuals and communities on the local level. I listen to people, understand what their issues and needs are, and respond by bringing people together to resolve matters," he said.

Goals include fixing the roads by garnering support to allocate the entire $1 billion consumers pay in state sales tax on fuel for repairing and improving our roads and infrastructure as was its intention.

Also, reallocate a portion of the General Fund to insure the money to build and maintain a first class road system; ensure schools have the resources they need and return funds taken out of the School Aid Fund over the last three years; and defend middle class families by restoring the $1,200 Homestead Property Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, reinstate the $600 per-child tax deduction and help seniors by repealing the 4% tax on their pensions.

"As the former City Manager of the City of the Village of Clarkston, I know all too well how legislation and the lack of action impact the local level. The revenue lost due to the falling property values brought about the reduction of services and the dismantling of our police department. Many improvement projects were put on hold or eliminated all together. Planning for community improvements, historic preservation and park restoration were eliminated from the budget. Only basic services were retained, a low blow for our community," he said.

Candidates Paul Greenawalt and Neil Billington did not respond to questionnaires. See next week's edition for more election coverage.