Candidates who care

To the editor:
Governing bodies have an obligation to share their business with the public and allow citizens a chance to speak as well. A need for this transparency is cited by candidate Judy Nelson in her quest for a seat on the County Commission. Not only has the Redistricting Committee reduced the number of commissioners from seven to five, thereby limiting both perspective and debate, the County Commission has also made decisions — with the reduced number of commissioners — on spending without voter input and on occasion have forbidden folks to speak.
Speaking of debate: forums are fine for candidates to introduce themselves, their stand on issues, and their plans if they are elected. Next should be a debate. This allows voters to assess candidates’ views, command of facts, and temperament as they are in the hot seat. Granted — it is more comfortable to speak from prepared remarks, but it doesn’t showcase knowledge or elasticity of intellect. WHY ARE THERE NO REAL DEBATES? Dennis Smith, who is running for the 59th state district seat, and Ian Haight, candidate for the state senate, are ready, willing, and able to debate.
Smith and Haight believe education should not be a partisan issue. Not only have budget cuts gutted the public education fund, a fund SPECIFICALLY allocated for K-12, but the state has used these funds for higher education. Michigan’s public education rating has slipped dramatically in the past years (down to 36 out of 50). Michigan public schools once had counselors to counsel instead of spending their time scheduling, and they employed a nurse on campus. Several states, including Michigan, have seen a decrease in college graduates choosing a teaching career, due to budget cuts (and scapegoating of educators, but that’s another story).
Why is so much DeVoss money going to fund Kim LaSata’s campaign? Is the motive to further undermine public education by increasing for-profit charter schools? That state representative Dave Pagel is aligned with Haight on this issue instead of fellow Republican LaSata has much to do with his support of public education and his work while in office to put an end to the siphoning of public education funds.
Regarding our taxes, we must scrutinize spending and determine what the money from taxes will be allocated for, and if tax-cutting proposals emerge, we need to know what will be eliminated. Sometimes cuts target services essential to the Common Good. Why not consider taxes as an investment in the future: in schools for our children, infrastructure and roads (to attract business and tourists and provide jobs — not to mention saving our cars and our teeth), and healthcare?
Dennis Smith advocates affordable health care for all, believing that it is a right. His view is informed by his years as an educator and a pastor, professions where care of people is at the core. Even as the minimum wage goes up, workers will not be able to afford healthcare after they pay for housing, food, and a vehicle to drive to work. It is proven that early and preventative care results in much less money being spent for emergency care. Our current health care system is the most expensive and inefficient in the developed world. This is the US of A; we can do better to take care of our people.
Please consider supporting these candidates.

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