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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan Poe April 12, 2024

109th Candidate responses


The North Wind emailed each candidate running for the 109th District House seat and gave them an opportunity to present their reason for running. Below are the responses that each candidate submitted, which have been edited for brevity:



Born and raised here in Marquette, I come from parents who gave me the heart of a union nurse and the common sense of an engineer. I’m running for office because I believe the best path forward for Michigan is to get away from selling our state as a place where big businesses and corporations can get the best tax incentives.

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Instead, Michigan should be a state where businesses can get the best trained, highly skilled and educated workforce.

We already have the natural beauty and Great Lakes where people want to live. We already have a diverse economy of manufacturing, natural resources, agriculture and small businesses to grow and expand on. Investing more of our tax dollars in our trades programs, our public K-12 schools and higher Ed universities and less on corporate tax giveaways is how we will achieve long-term economic success and a higher standard of living as a state.

Prioritizing our state budget—not privatizing our public services, will allow elected leaders to invest in Michigan’s greatest resource—our people. Whether it’s our teachers, nurses, veterans, mental healthcare professionals, public safety officials or our skilled laborers, Lansing can’t continue to value corporate tax giveaways over the work government needs to do every day on behalf of its citizens.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s in Public Administration from NMU, with an emphasis in state and local government.

I’ve served over six years as an elected city and charter commissioner and two years as
an appointed planning commissioner. I’ve been employed by the Marquette Area Public Schools as the Director of Adult and Community Education and Kaufman Auditorium for the last 10 years.  Having Type-1 diabetes for over 30 years, I understand how important
having affordable, high-quality healthcare is for people in the 109th district.



I am Wade Roberts of the Green Party of Michigan, running on a simple platform that puts people before corporate profits. Our futures depend upon the sustainable development of our natural resources and our future prosperity lies in the re-establishment of the grassroots democracy and self-sufficient  ideals that originally built the Upper Peninsula.

We can best achieve these goals together by decentralizing our corporately owned electrical grid; establishing micro grids utilizing renewable energy and radically reducing our dependence on the importation of fossil fuels, while at the same time increasing our local and regional agricultural output. Wind, solar and wood biomass are plentiful in the central Upper Peninsula and represent underutilized resources that can provide 100 percent of residential electrical needs and useful thermal energy utilizing proven combined heat and power technologies that are economically competitive with fossil fuels.

Decentralizing our public schools and seeking an expansion of the state’s university system into our county seats while returning to neighborhood schools for kindergarten through the eighth grade level will reduce student transportation costs and revitalize our smaller communities; restoring their lost sense of community while increasing opportunities for regular parental involvement in both child and continuing community education.

Improving the nutrition and food security of the 1 in 4 109th District children currently being raised below the federal poverty guidelines is a top priority challenge we can best meet at the municipal and township levels with community gardens/hoop houses and offering a range of food services for schoolchildren, parental volunteers and needy seniors insuring their regular access to wholesome foods and fresh produce, implemented in conjunction with this return to neighborhood schooling for K-8th grade students. These programs should be locally administered and made eligible for funding by both the USDA and State of Michigan Rural Development Programs.


I’ve been a leader all my life, and what Lansing needs is leadership. My 17 years on the school board reflects that leadership, as we’ve navigated school closures and funding inefficiencies, yet continue to prosper with the expansion of two elementary buildings, a new athletic complex and a three-year contract with all five unions. As Director of Marketing, I increased Bell Hospital’s market share during my seven years.

I was heavily involved with the development of the new hospital. I led the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community as their Community/PR Director for over six years during a tumultuous time, stabilizing their government while growing casino revenues. I worked closely with then Gov. Engler and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in a
bipartisan fashion, rescuing the Harvey casino from a federal closure, saving 200 plus jobs. I spent six years at Teaching Family Homes, a non-profit that cares for abused children, where I increased revenues and led the development and building of a high ropes challenge course.

This election is about who is best qualified to represent the 109th in Lansing. Which candidate best represents the ideals of consensus building and working as a team? Which candidate has a track record of collaborating and working with their fellow board members for the betterment of our community?

I’ve also raised two children, my daughter Rhonda is a Ph.D student and my son Rainger just received his BA in computer science. I understand the challenges that students face with enormous debt and an uncertain future. Our universities need to find better ways to engage their student population so students are better prepared to enter the workforce. I also strongly believe in equality for all individuals, regardless of race, background, sexual persuasion, etc. I am an independent thinker that believes in bipartisanship and finding
common ground.

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