BELDING — Former Belding educator and current Ionia County commissioner Lynn Mason has officially thrown her hat into the ring in the 2014 race for the Michigan House of Representatives 86th District.
In an emotional speech Monday afternoon at East Riverside Park in Belding, Mason, an Otisco Township resident who has always called Belding her home, announced her candidacy among friends and supporters.
“Welcome to my hometown, I’m so proud that you are here,” Mason said to about 20 individuals holding signs that read messages of support on the banks of the Flat River. “Belding is a great place to raise a family, to grow and to find a future.”
Mason, a Democrat, is hoping that her future will include a win in 2014 against incumbent Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto.
“I have over 30 years of public service,” Mason said. “My supporters and my colleagues tell me they appreciate my honesty, dedication and willingness to work hard to find common sense solutions.”
Mason officially declared her candidacy by filing her paperwork last Thursday with the necessary signatures to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.
She is a retired Belding Middle School physical education teacher and is currently serving her fourth term as Ionia County commissioner for District 1.
Mason said she believes there is a negative perception of public officials in Michigan, leaving many residents with negative thoughts toward their current elected officials.
“I’m very disappointed in the terrible legislation that has been passed in Lansing in the past three years,” she said. “Billions of dollars have been cut from our public schools, colleges and universities. State taxes have been raised on the elderly, the poor and the middle class to the tune of $1.4 billion a year in order to support a massive $1.8 billion giveaway to corporations and the rich. Where are the jobs that were supposed to be created?”
Mason said she believes Lyons has performed a disservice to the people of Michigan.
“My opponent, Lisa Posthumus Lyons, voted for all of this and other damaging legislation,” she said. “I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch destructive decisions being made. That is why I have decided to run.”
Mason said she believes that Lyons’ actions since taking office in 2010 are reason enough for a change to occur in the representation of the 86th district.
“She has raised our taxes and favors special interest over our interests,” she said. “Her moral compass is way out of whack. Is it any wonder that Lisa Posthumus Lyons has been identified as Michigan’s least ethical legislator?”
As a former teacher, Mason closed her speech Monday with a statement toward improving the state of education in Michigan.
“It takes arrogance to insult teachers and brag that you are for public education,” Mason said of Lyons. “It takes arrogance to raise taxes when you say you aren’t going to … in my mind this election is about an honest approach verse a hidden agenda, building a future verses putting up road blocks, and my integrity verses her hypocrisy. It’s as simple as that.”
Former District 70 representative Mike Huckleberry said he believes Lynn will provide a necessary change in Lansing.
“Lynn Mason has been serving her community for over 30 years as a teacher and a county commissioner. She is part of the answer, not part of the problem,” Huckleberry said. “Lynn has proven that she has strong leadership locally, statewide and nationally. As a four-term county commissioner, she asks the tough questions and pays attention to the issues. (She) goes the extra mile to see that everyone is treated fairly. Her honesty and integrity is exactly what we need in Lansing.”