Voter Guide

Voter+Guide

North Wind Staff

The North Wind sent each candidate the same three questions. Candidates received six days to respond.

Scott Dianda

Democrat

Michigan Senate District 38

Dianda


What is the most important issue facing the Upper Peninsula?

We need to create jobs here in the Upper Peninsula. I want to export high-value products from the U.P.—not young graduates of Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech. As stewards of this land, we can preserve the natural beauty of the U.P. to protect our way of life now and for generations to come. We can also create good-paying jobs by making wise use of our vast timber and mineral resources to grow our economy. In addition to logging timber and extracting copper and iron, we can create even more jobs by refining and manufacturing goods right here.

What is your stance on college education and how will your policies benefit college students?

We must prioritize education spending over corporate tax handouts. The Upper Peninsula is very fortunate to have three excellent public universities that educate creative, highly-skilled professionals—but tuition has risen steadily, leaving families and students to pick up more of the tab. Part of the reason for this is that state funding for public higher education has decreased significantly since the 1980s. My opponent voted to cut millions of dollars from Northern Michigan University’s budget, and voted for large corporate tax breaks.

How do you plan on preserving the environment of the Upper Peninsula while supporting the economy?

Unfortunately, after eight years of Republican leadership in Lansing, Michigan citizens distrust environmental regulators. The Flint water crisis was a travesty that must never be repeated. Now, we are learning that regulators were aware of the potential harmful effects of the chemical PFAS that is contaminating groundwater in some regions, but did nothing to warn communities or clean up the problem. Nobody should ever have to think twice about turning on their tap to get a glass of water or fill up a baby bottle. We need to fully fund the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Ed McBroom

Republican

Michigan
Senate District 38

McBroom


What is the most important issue facing the Upper Peninsula?

I believe sustaining a way of life and culture here in the face of government interference and pressures is our biggest challenge. This challenge comes from the burden of regulations and ignorant legislation of our core industries, mining, forestry and agriculture, and attacks on our traditions such as hunting, land access and recreation. Regulatory burdens hinder their ability to start or remain vibrant and diminishes the job opportunities. State mandates on education keep our local communities, parents and education professionals from directing many of our children toward local careers, putting more pressure on the businesses and diminishing our
population.

What is your stance on college education and how will your policies benefit college students?

College education is valuable and
desirable (although not the only path for career and success.) I am a proud NMU alumnus. I sponsored legislation requiring universities to follow the Open Meetings Act and will work to make sure the universities are kept
accountable to the people. We need
robust teacher education programs but will continue to see fewer teachers so long as the state continually alters the profession and offers poor compensation to beginning teachers. My work to decrease state control, increase local control and stop nonsensical test-based teacher evaluations should help return the attractiveness of the job.

How do you plan on preserving the environment of the Upper Peninsula while supporting the economy?

Michigan has some of the best laws in the country regarding mining and logging protections of the environment. It also mandates clean up bonding. Keeping these laws that provide an attainable avenue to a permit while also keeping strict watch over the economy, must be maintained and updated as necessary. Agriculture, through the MEAP, and the forest products industry, through sustainable harvesting legislation passed are other examples to find a balance between the economy and the environment. Local citizen groups also play an important role in keeping agencies
accountable.

Wade Roberts

Green

Michigan
Senate District 38

Roberts


What is the most important issue facing the Upper Peninsula?

Sustainable development. We are blessed with an abundance of natural resources in the Upper Peninsula, but remain almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels. Imported manufactured goods and the bulk of our agricultural products and foodstuffs are imported from outside our region. Offshore wind, rooftop solar and sustainable wood biomass gasified and utilized in township scale, less than 5 MW CHP plants hold the promise of regional energy self sufficiency. Industrial hemp and capital investments in enclosed organic agriculture to produce a broader range of agricultural products regionally can transform our U.P. economy; providing us with increase employment and economic growth.

What is your stance on college education and how will your policies benefit college students?

I’m an advocate of our Green Party platform regarding college student debt forgiveness and insuring a college education is both accessible and affordable. Expounding on that; I favor a decentralized state public college system, where classes are offered in every county seat; dovetailed with existing high school facilities and curriculums to provide continuing adult educational opportunities to every resident within a reasonable distance from their homes and making more use of existing public infrastructure to reduce costs. No student should graduate with monetary debt after making their contribution of time and effort to benefit themselves and our society.

How do you plan on preserving the environment of the Upper Peninsula while supporting the economy?

Tourism is an essential component in the economic future of the U.P. and
depends on environmental protection and key factor in my stand against open-pit sulfide mining. Future generations and the preservation of biological diversity depends upon eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels, chemical agriculture and mitigating the impacts of our mining industry. We have serious issues today with stamp sands degrading an important reef in the Keweenaw from a boom now bust and the political imperative for the short term benefits of open pit sulfide mining; while ignoring the long term economic costs of the
incumbent environmental degradation.

Melody Wagner

Republican

Michigan
House District 109

Wagner


What is the most important issue facing the Upper Peninsula?

Local students desire successful employment following graduation in their field of study. I have personally talked with students who are working fast food restaurants with four-year degrees. They have accumulated astronomical college debt, are emotionally burdened and want to stay in the area. Corrections and Law Enforcement need workers, but Michigan State Benefit Plans are not attractive and potential employees move out of state. Family-financed students sometimes become career college students and secure the best jobs. Add nepotism in the equation and, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” Cost of textbooks and tuition are too high.

What is your stance on college education and how will your policies benefit college students?

College is not for everyone. The previous administration’s student loans have changed a generation and confused many. Increased guidance counselors in high schools should guide students toward a more successful work route. This should include vocational, skilled trades and farming to enhance entrepreneurial spirits which will move the U.P. forward. Students excel with back-to-the-basics work ethic, working in high school, balancing a checkbook and saving money to start their life. If basics were not taught K-12, I would implement college entry to include hands-on life skills with generational housing to assist our increasing elderly population.

How do you plan on preserving the environment of the Upper Peninsula while supporting the economy?

Many college students are saturated with information regarding conservation, mistakes from past industry and disregard for our earth through littering. With increasing rental property, over 40 percent in Marquette City, we continue to deal with illegal dumping in our various communities. I am working to affect change in this area. As we continue advancing our service providers, the talent at our colleges can further high-tech industry. I am researching the return of idle farm acres which are in the Conservation Reserve Program to productive farming with modern farm programs. Continue using safe, effective mining and forestry management on our natural resources.