ELECTION PREVIEW: Candidate questionnaires (local contested races)


By Daily News • Last Updated 10:38 am on Monday, August 04, 2014

The Daily News provided questionnaires to primary election candidates for state and local offices in contested races only. Following are the questions and answers.

 

Questions for 3rd Congressional
District candidates

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Justin Amash, 34, of Cascade Charter Township.

2. U.S. Representative in Congress.

3. University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 2005; University of Michigan, A.B., magna cum laude, economics, 2002; Grand Rapids Christian High School, 1998.

4. I’m running for Congress to stand up for ordinary Americans. When I entered Congress, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and I have followed through on that promise. I believe strongly in government accountability, and I’m the only congressman in history to publicly explain every vote (facebook.com/repjustinamash). I have never missed a vote out of more than 2,500 votes, and I regularly hold town halls.

5. I’m committed to following the Constitution, preserving parental control of education, protecting civil liberties, and fully repealing Obamacare. My opponent says, “If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that,” and he supports Common Core, unconstitutional NSA spying on Americans, and expanding Obamacare in Michigan.

6. Fighting debt and defending liberty. Corporate welfare must be eliminated. I will continue to pursue reforms like the Amash Amendment to prohibit the NSA from spying on Americans in violation of the Constitution.

7. I look forward to winning even more bipartisan support for my Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment, H.J. Res. 24.

 

1. Brian Ellis, 54, of Grand Rapids Township.

2. President/owner of Brooktree Capital Management.

3. University of Michigan: master’s of business administration with a concentration in finance (1984); University of Notre Dame: bachelor’s of business administration with a concentration in accountancy (1982).

4. As a small business owner, I am acutely aware of the financial crisis our country faces. We deserve a Representative who will vote consistently to promote the values of our community and to help hardworking taxpayers.

5. I believe conservative solutions are the best policies to grow our economy and create opportunities for everyone to succeed. I am proud to have earned many endorsements including, Right to Life of Michigan, The Michigan Farm Bureau and the Fraternal Order of Police.

6. We need to balance the budget and improve the tax code to grow our economy and protect opportunities for future generations. We need to repeal Obamacare and advance patient-centered policies that will make health care more affordable.

7. I would vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment, which will require fiscal responsibility now and over the long-term. I also support approving the Keystone XL pipeline and supporting our veterans and men and women currently in the military.

 

Questions for 4th Congressional
District candidates

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Peter Konetchy, age not given, of Roscommon.

2. Partner at Desktop Business Solutions.

3. I graduated from the College of Business at Michigan State University in 1979 with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting.

4. I’ve been a small business owner all my life and I understand the Constitution and the greatness of personal liberty.  My goal is not to control people or make rules governing their lives. The people can take care of their needs much better than a central government. My goal is to provide a safe and secure country with low taxes and regulation, in which a free people can excel.

5. My opponents have accepted the premise that the federal government is supreme and that the people and states must obey its discretion. They want to make additional laws, or change existing ones, controlling people as they think proper. My entire focus is to limit the federal government to its responsibilities and allow the people to address their own needs at they deem proper.

6. Excessive taxation and federal policies which stifle job creation, attack private property, indoctrinate our children rather than educate them, militarize our local police departments and the gross infringement of our constitutionally protected rights.

7. Return control back to the people and states. Right now, Michigan receives about half its budget through federal grants with strict conditions attached. I would also like to restructure federal funding.

 

Paul Mitchell of Saginaw County did not return a questionnaire or a follow-up attempt at contact.

 

1. John Moolenaar, 53, of Midland.

2. Michigan Senate, 36th District.

3. Bachelor of arts degree from Hope College; master’s degree from Harvard University.

4. I worked in the private sector as an industry specialist at Dow Chemical; with the Middle Michigan Development Corporation and MITECH+ to improve the business climate and attract jobs to Michigan; and served as an administrator at the Midland Academy of Advanced and Creative Studies. This private sector experience combined with my experience in the Michigan Legislature equips me with the knowledge and tools needed to be effective in Washington.

5. I am the proven conservative in this race. Voters can look at my voting record and see where I stand on the issues. I was a leader against Obamacare Medicaid expansion and Common Core standards in Michigan.

6. Michigan is coming back from the recession, but there are still parts of this district that haven’t recovered to where they once were. 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 workforces.

7.  I want to repeal Obamacare. This law is increasing costs and reducing health care coverage for American families.

 

Questions for 70th District
state representative

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Ken Hart, 62, of Alma.

2. Retired corrections officer, 20 years service.

3. Associate’s degree in police administration.

4. I have just enough intelligence to have retained enough common sense. I have a background in law enforcement, real estate and insurance. I understand what it is to be poor, middle class and I will serve my district and not the corporations.

5. I have a no fear attitude and will not back down from a good fight.

6. My district has four prisons and am concerned about the direction the Department of Corrections is headed. I am concerned about safety of employees and citizens who live near these prisons. I am also concerned about the taxes imposed on us all and will not vote to increase taxes.

7. I would like to accomplish many things and start with restructuring the way we do business in Lansing. I can reduce every state agency budget and still add needed staff with my plan. I would also like to see campaign money taxed as it is a gratuity, just like the tip tax we have our minimum wage employees burdened with. I also want to repeal the tax on seniors’ pensions! I also want to see charter schools ended and a solid public education system in place as we all once knew it to be.

 

1. James Hoisington, 56, of Stanton.

2. Special needs bus driver for the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District.

3. High school and Montcalm Community College graduate.

4. I have represented people in different facets for many years from people problems, problem solving, contract negotiations and serving with the Task Force when Electrolux was leaving.

5. I believe in representing everyone in the District with a bipartisan mentality not just a select group, and clearly more in tune with the needs of the citizens than my opponent.

6. To develop a fair and reasonable tax system. We need to establish a flat tax where everyone pays the same rate and look to eliminate any wasteful spending.

7. To improve on the way our current educational system is being administered. We need to involve the teachers in each district more for there input on what will work best for the students and get the politics out of it all together. Every child is entitled to the best education we can give them, the same as many of us got when we were in school. Demands have increased immensely over the years so the needs of our children must be put first for there education to prepare them for the future.

 

Questions for 86th District state
representative

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, 34, of Bowne Township.

2. State Representative, 86th District.

3. Graduate of Lowell Public Schools and Michigan State University, bachelor of science in agriculture and natural resources communication.

4. We paid down more than $21 billion in long-term debt and invested more funding into the School Aid Fund. We eliminated 10 regulations for every one added to the books, helping to create 286,000 new jobs in the private sector.

5. This race is about leadership, experience and results and I am the only candidate whose record demonstrates all of these.

6. My top priority for our district and the state as a whole continues to be continued job growth and further improving our economy. I am the mother of four children and I want them to learn the skills they need to be successful adults, and I want them to be able to find jobs and build their lives right here in Michigan.

7. I will continue working on reforming our state’s tax structure to lessen the burden on our hardworking taxpayers. We need to come to a long-term solution on the poor condition of our state’s roads. I will continue to seek reforms to our education system to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education, regardless of where they live.

 

Angela Rigas of Caledonia did not return a questionnaire or a follow-up attempt at contact.

 

Questions for Montcalm County
64B District Court judge

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Kathleen M. Dunne, 54, of Greenville.

2. Self-employed solo practitioner specializing in bankruptcy, Social Security disability and estate planning.

3. Bachelor of arts in liberal arts from Kalamazoo College; JD, with honors, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

4. 18-1/2 years experience in all areas relevant to District Court: criminal, traffic citations, civil litigation (including two successful jury trials), landlord-tenant and land-contract forfeiture. Taught advanced research and writing as an adjunct professor at Thomas Cooley Law School for 10 years.

5. My long history of service to the underprivileged and underserved, my dedication to fairness and increasing access to justice, and my passion for service to the community.

6. My main concern is the district court’s inability or unwillingness to address the conditions that cause criminal defendants to become repeat offenders. I would address the specific problems of drug and alcohol abuse by implementing a drug court for misdemeanor crimes.

7. If elected, I would implement a drug court for misdemeanor crimes, as well as a teen court for youthful offenders who can be successfully diverted from the juvenile justice track. I would establish a self-help legal center for those who cannot afford an attorney, and re-evaluate the selection process for court-appointed legal counsel.

 

1. Ronald Finegood, 63, of Stanton.

2. Attorney, law office of Ronald Finegood in Stanton.

3. 1973 bachelor of business administration Eastern Michigan University; 1979 graduate of Detroit College Of Law; November 1979: admitted to State Bar of Michigan.

4. I am approachable and friendly. I am an active member of our community, where I give my time and energy back to the community. I have handled almost every kind of case that District Court has jurisdiction and responsibility over.

5. No comment.

6.  I have been approached by many citizens who have expressed concern that they believe favoritism plays a part in the “justice” that is handed out in our courtroom. If you know someone, you get a “break” that someone else does not get. My first priority will be to ensure that favoritism does not enter the courtroom, nor any decision that comes from the court.

7. I would like to start a Veterans Treatment Court. Educating the public and youth about the role of the courts and the court system. Take the court into the schools or bring the students into the courtroom for a firsthand look at how the court system works. Address high level of frustration with the court system.

 

1. Don Hemingsen, 64, of Sheridan.

2. Judge, 64B District Court.

3. Bachelor of science, Michigan State University, 1972; Juris Doctor with honors, Detroit College of Law, 1978.

4. From 1978 through 1996, in private practice in Stanton, I appeared extensively in district court trying hundreds of cases. For the past 17 1/2 years I’ve been District Court judge.

5. First, experience as noted above. Between them, my opponents have conducted one criminal trial and no jury trials of any kind in our court. I also have a record of successfully leading the court for the past 17 1/2 years. I’m endorsed by every attorney who has a law office in Montcalm County (except my two opponents) and all judges in Montcalm, Ionia, Clinton, and Gratiot counties.

6. Budget cuts have forced staff reductions. We will continue meeting this challenge by improving efficiency, and joining with other nearby courts to share resources and better deliver services.

7. We’ve been invited with other counties to apply for status as a regional mental health court and also to join with Gratiot County in a recovery court. As always, our primary goal is to timely hear and decide cases with fairness, professionalism, and integrity.

 

Questions for Ionia County Board of Commissioners District 1

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Debra Bach, no age given, of Otisco Township.

2. Independent psychologist.

3. Doctorate, Ph.D. in psychology

4. Experience as an elected official, serving three consecutive terms on the Belding Area Schools Board of Education; three years as president. Trained listener and proactive management style. Raised in a rural farming community. Started and operated a small business.

5. Professional experience working collaboratively as a team member, including university department chairperson. Policy development, budget management, and strategic planning experience.

6. Ionia County is currently experiencing declining revenue along with increased utilization of services. The board’s most important role is to budget and appropriate county funds. My recommendations include: 1. Budget analysis with a focus on reducing expenditures while maintaining public safety. 2. Implementing a multi-year budget. 3. Focusing on efficiency of services. 4. Communicating and collaborating with the interested parties during the budget process.

7. Ionia County does not currently have a long term strategic plan and initiating this process would be a significant accomplishment. Government runs more efficiently when long term plans are clearly identified and everyone is working toward the same goals.

 

1. David Hodges, 50, of Belding.

2. Co-owner of North Woods Furniture, North Woods Lawn Service, M-44 Store & Lock, Uhaul.

3. Belding High School 1981 graduate; Cornerstone University bachelor’s in business management.

4. During my four years in the United States Army, I learned discipline, leadership and how to work as a team. My five years on the Belding Police Reserve taught me to respect the laws of our land and how important it is to protect the people of our community. My eight years on the Belding school board taught me what a wonderful education system we have and our staff at Belding schools that strive for excellence. My 10 years as the voice of Belding football has been a dream come true. My two years on the Otisco Township Planning Commission has taught me there is always more than one side to an issue.

5. No comment given.

6. I’ve heard from both Belding and Otisco boards that they need to know what’s going on at the county level. Also, I would work hard on getting our share of county money back here where it belongs.

7. I would start by keeping our city and township boards informed about what is transpiring at the county level. I would do this by attending their monthly meetings.

 

Questions for Ionia County Board
of Commissioners District 5

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Chad Murphy, 43, of Orleans Township.

2. I am currently the managing partner at the Sears retail stores at the Ionia and Comstock Park locations.

3.  I am a graduate of Montcalm Community College, graduated with Presidential Honors. I transferred my college credits to Davenport University where I am pursuing a master’s degree in strategic management.

4. I have a positive track record of achieving success in the goals I set forth. My unique talent that sets me apart from others is my ability to adapt and overcome these difficult obstacles in my path. I am experienced in the field of business and team building. I plan on using my expertise in these areas to help resolve matters facing Ionia County in today’s tough economic climate.

5. No comment given.

6. I will make it a goal of mine to ensure that all measures are in place to enhance our county’s security programs, to maintain a safe environment for all citizens of Ionia County and to make Ionia a safer place for people to work, live, and to enjoy.  I also plan on studying where we may save money, raise needed funds and prioritize spending.

7. When elected, I will report these findings to the county and to the people I serve in Ionia County.

 

Scott Wirtz of Fenwick did not return a questionnaire or a follow-up attempt at contact.

 

Questions for Montcalm County Board of Commissioners District 1

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Brian K. Greene, 45, of Greenville.

2. Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Montcalm County.

3. A.A. law enforcement/criminal justice; B.S. business management.

4. I have served in numerous leadership positions in the U.S. Army, including 12 years as an infantry officer. I was elected to serve on the Greenville City Council and appointed to the Greenville City Planning Commission. I have worked closely and personally with community members and leaders in crisis.

5. I know my opponent, and he is a man of character and integrity. However, I believe that my years and previous experience in government and administration, along with a solid record of accomplishment sets me apart from my opponent.

6. The unanimous vote on July 7 by the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners to contribute $25,000 to the Montcalm Alliance through the next three years is an outstanding example of leadership and is an issue facing this office. The Montcalm Alliance agreed to use the funds in partnership with The Right Place. These are the characteristics that will carry Montcalm County financially into the future.

7. To be able to complete a term or terms of office and reflect back, and knowing that for each decision I made, I approached them with character, ethics and integrity.

 

1. Dale D. Reyburn, 63, of Greenville.

2. Self-employed investment adviser representative with Consolidated Financial of Southfield.

3. I have a B.S. from Central Michigan University and Life, Health, Series 7, 66 licenses.

4. I have previously been a county commissioner and have a good idea of what it takes to help the county move forward in the way of economic development, yet at the same time preserve our recreational opportunities here. As a member of the Greenville Planning Commission and a former commissioner ,and with the business background I have, I believe I have well-rounded look at what we need in leadership to mold our opportunities.

5. No comment given.

6. Animal protection and animal control are important areas of the county and I would like to see that taken care of in a humane and satisfactory way. Economic development is of great importance to our county and doing the best that we can to help new employers see the opportunities here are important.

7. If at the end of my term, if there were 1,000 more jobs, an increased tax base from new businesses, increased recreational opportunities in the way of hunting and camping and a budget that was in the black, I would have accomplished my goals.

 

Questions for Winfield Township
Board trustee position

1. Name, age and hometown?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?

 

1. Catherine “Cathy” R. Killinger, 71, of Winfield Township.

2. Retired to family centennial farm after working in my community as hospital receptionist and cook and school bus driver, cook and custodian.

3. Three year’s math major and music minor, returning after five children to obtain an associate’s degree in applied arts and sciences.

4. Served 11 years as deputy clerk, one and one half years as treasurer, currently Planning Commission secretary, having served one and one half years. This has given me experience and background in our township government. Also worked with my husband, the late Roy Killinger, in tropical fish shop and commercial dry cleaners.

5. I have time to listen and am concerned with the people’s ideas, issues and suggestions.

6. I believe in smaller, rather than larger, government, and want to keep our township a clean, happy place to live, raise a family and retire in.

7. I would like to keep the rural nature of our township and keep our zoning intact and functional.

 

Benjamin Kinsey of Winfield Township did not return a questionnaire or a follow-up attempt at contact.

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