ELECTION PREVIEW: 3 vying for open 4th District seat

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:09 am on Monday, August 04, 2014

Peter Konetchy

John Moolenaar

Three Republicans are facing off in Tuesday’s primary election to see who will go up against a Democrat in the general election for the open 4th Congressional District seat.

Longtime Congressman Dave Camp is not pursuing re-election to the 4th District, which encompasses the central and northwest section of Michigan, including 15 counties: Clare, Clinton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montcalm, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, Saginaw, Shiawassee and Wexford.

Peter Konetchy of Roscommon, Paul Mitchell of Saginaw and John Moolenaar of Midland are all vying for the Republican win on Tuesday. The winner will face off against Democrat Jeff Holmes of Alma in November.

Mitchell did not return repeated messages seeking comment for this story.

Konetchy, age unavailable, is a partner at Desktop Business Solutions, a company that provides time, billing and accounting software to attorneys. He has been endorsed for the 4th District seat by former State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk.

Konetchy said he bases all his positions on his understanding of the U.S. Constitution.

“I believe the United States is the greatest nation this world has ever seen because of our Constitutionally-limited government, which unleashed the infinite potential of a free people,” he said.

One of Konetchy’s primary goals is to “restrain Washington” and limit federal government to just its own responsibilities, allowing the people to address their own needs as they deem proper.

“The U.S. Constitution requires that every federal, state and local officer be bound by oath, their sacred word of honor, to support the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “Therefore, if a clearly unconstitutional dictate is passed by Washington, such as gun control or Obamacare, it is the Constitutional obligation of those within the state to refuse to honor, implement or enforce such a dictate within the jurisdiction of the state … otherwise they will be imposing tyranny on the people.”

Konetchy believes the nation’s current excessive taxation and policies stifle job creation, attack private property, indoctrinate children rather than education them, militarize local people departments and grossly infringe on Constitutional rights. He said he would address these issues by working with like-minded colleagues in Washington eliminate invasive policies all the while encouraging states and the people to stand firm, exercise their Constitutional rights and refuse to submit to unauthorized federal dictates.

Konetchy said Michigan currently receives about half its budget through federal grants with strict conditions attached, meaning if Michigan needs money for roads the conditions often require the money to be spent elsewhere.

“I would like to pass legislation against the federal government allowing the states to determine how to best utilize grant money rather than the federal government,” he said. “I would also like to restructure federal funding.”

Moolenaar, 53, is currently senator for the state’s 36th District and has also worked in the private sector. He has been endorsed for the 4th District seat by Camp, Attorney General Bill Schuette, former congressman Pete Hoekstra and the Michigan tea party, among others.

“My private sector experience, combined with my experience in the Michigan Legislature, equips me with the knowledge and tools needed to be effective in Washington,” Moolenaar said. “I am the proven conservative in this race. Voters can look at my voting record and see where I stand on the issues.”

An outspoken voice against the Obama administration, Moolenaar described himself as “a leader” against Obamacare, Medicaid expansion and Common Core standards in Michigan.

Moolenaar wants to repeal Obamacare — which he says is “increasing costs and reducing health care coverage for American families” — and replace with it a better healthcare system that emphasizes the private sector, market-base quality, accessibility and affordability.

Moolenaar says Michigan is currently ranked 44th in the nation with an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. He wants to replace the “spend then tax spree” by the Obama administration with efforts focused on free markets, free enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurs.

Moolenaar says he plans to help create jobs by repealing and replacing the most egregious provisions in Obamacare so small and large businesses alike aren’t crushed by skyrocketing health care costs, taxes and penalties; lowering the tax burden on all families and businesses; getting energy prices under control (including gas prices and electricity rates); enforcing trade laws so other countries don’t have an unfair advantage when competing with American workers; and investing in Michigan’s workers and research and development to create the best retraining programs.

“Michigan is coming back from the recession, but there are still parts of this district that haven’t recovered to where they once were,” he said. “My focus in Washington will be to make Michigan and the United States a better place to do business, encouraging job creators to expand their operations and grow their workforce.”

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