Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, August 5, to narrow down and in some instances, select who will represent them in local, county and state government. There are also several proposals on the ballot. (See accompanying story.) These profiles are only tidbits of information, and we encourage you to check out candidate’s websites for more thorough information. Please see last week’s paper online for bios on the judicial candidates.
There are two candidates running for Michigan Governor: current Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Mark Schauer (D). The term ends in 2018.
Gov. Rick Snyder (R) was first elected in 2010. Prior to that, he had no political experience. Instead, he was a businessman whose mission was to create more jobs. Labeling himself “one tough nerd,” and “Michigan’s Comeback Kid,” his website says that since Rick Snyder took office, Michigan has created more than 220,000 private sector jobs, and our state is #1 in the country for states that have recovered most from the Great Recession.
Snyder was born in Battle Creek, and lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Sue. They have three children.
Mark Schauer (D) began his political career as a City Commissioner in Battle Creek, serving 1994-1996. He served as a state representative from 1997-2002; a state senator from 2002-2009, and was a candidate for the US House of Representatives in District 7 in 2010. His website says that when Mark was elected to represent Michigan’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, he was instrumental in passing tougher Buy American laws, helping to rescue the auto industry, ensuring quality health care for millions, and working to make college more affordable for middle-class families.
Schauer was born in Howell, and lives in Battle Creek with his wife, Christine. They have five grandchildren.
He is endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America and the United Food & Commercial Workers.
There is one position open for the U.S. Senate, with the term ending in 2018. Two candidates are running: Terri Lynn Land, Republican, and Gary C. Peters, Democrat.
Terri Lynn Land is running as Republican for the U.S. Senate. She served two terms as Michigan’s 41st Secretary of State (2003-2010). With a message of improving customer service and reducing costs to the taxpayers, Land was elected in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006. Prior to that, she was the Kent County Clerk from 1992-2000. She was born in Grand Rapids, and makes her home in Byron Center, with her husband Dan and two children.
“Now, I am ready to take my work ethic and experience as a mother, small businesswoman and public official to Washington to show them how government should work for the hardworking taxpayers,” says Land.
Endorsedments: Rep. Candice Miller, Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra,
FRC Action PAC, the political action committee affiliated with Family Research Council Action.
Gary C. Peters is running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate. He is currently serving in the U.S. House, 14th District. He has been a member of the United States House of Representatives, 2009-present; Commissioner, Michigan State Lottery; Candidate, Attorney General, Michigan, 2002; Senator, Michigan State Senate, 1994-2002; Councilman, City Council, Rochester Hills, Michigan, 1991-1994. He was born in Pontiac, and makes his home in Bloomfield Township with his wife, Colleen, and three children.
Peters grew up in Oakland County. He was a businessman for 20 years, helping families plan for their retirement and their children’s college education. At 34, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve. Peters ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 because he said he believed that middle class families, like his, did not have a strong, independent voice in Congress. He says he has drawn on his business background to make Washington more transparent and accountable for our tax dollars.
Endorsed by Council for a Livable World; League of Conservation Voters; NARAL Pro-Choice America; and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 3
Three candidates are running for the position of US House Representative of the 3rd District. Candidates are incumbent Justin Amash (R), Brian Ellis (R), and Bob Goodrich (D).
Justin Amash (R), began his political career when he was elected to the state house of representatives in 2008 and served until 2010. He was also a precinct delegate for the Republican party and a house Republican liaison in the Michigan state house. In 2010 he was elected to the US House of Representatives in District 3, and reelected in 2012.
His webpage says that Amash is frequently recognized as America’s most accountable and transparent congressman. He earned this reputation by becoming the first and only member of Congress in the history of the United States to explain every vote he takes, which he does through his official congressional Facebook Page. It says he has been a principled and consistent defender of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.
Born in Grand Rapids, Amash lives in Cascade with his wife Kara. They have three children.
He is endorsed by FreedomWorks and The Club for Growth.
Brian Ellis (R) has been president of Brooktree Capital Management (which he founded) since 1996. He is also president of the Kent Intermediate School Board. His webiste says that Brian Ellis is a conservative small business owner who strongly supports the Balanced Budget Amendment and repealing ObamaCare. He is 100% pro-life, pro-second amendment, and will work to advance conservative solutions to help hardworking taxpayers and build a brighter future.
Ellis lives in Grand Rapids with his wife JoAnn. They have three children.
He is endorsed by the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Right to Life, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Farm Bureau, Fraternal Order of Police, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Bob Goodrich (D), of Grand Rapids, has been the President and CEO of Goodrich Quality Theaters since 1967. His theaters number 30 multiplexes with 277 screens, in four states. His father, W. Emmett Goodrich founded the company. Bob Goodrich also owns several non-commercial radio stations. His website says that Bob understands changes are needed to be made to reach economic fairness for all Americans. Inadequate jobs, women’s rights, and government protecting our economic health are just a few of the realities Bob wants to bring to West Michigan citizens’ political discussions.
“I decided to run for Congress because we need representatives who understand what government workers do to help our economy grow,” said Goodrich.
STATE SENATOR 28th DISTRICT
Three candidates are running for state senator in the 28th district: Kevin Green (R), Peter MacGregor (R), and Deb Havens (D). The 28th District covers Algoma, Alpine, Byron, Cannon, Courtland, Grattan, Nelson, Plainfield, Solon, Sparta, Spencer, Tyrone, and Vergennes Townships, and the cities of Cedar Springs, Grandville, Rockford, Walker and Wyoming.
Kevin Green (R), of Cedar Springs, recently moved here from Wyoming, Mich. But he is no stranger to the area, having interned here for the City Manager from 1994-1995. In 1999, he was the youngest person elected to a position on the Wyoming City Council. He served there until 2004, when he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the City of Wyoming and Byron Township. He became Whip of the party, and served as a state rep from 2005 to 2010.
Green has faced some adversity over the last several years and Green says he wants to be honest about it. He tells the story on his website: “In 2007, we lost our daughter Skylar Anne Green. In 2008, I received a DUI shortly after the one-year anniversary of Skylar’s death and faced the consequences of my reckless actions. In 2013, my wife and I went through a difficult divorce, leaving me with majority custody and requiring me to leave my well paying job to raise my young children. But through this hardship I have decided not to give up on my self or the people of the 28th district. As a single father raising two beautiful toddlers, I have gained a deep understanding and empathy for our struggling families. As owner of a new, small business, I understand the challenges our businesses face.”
Green noted that he will forego many of the political events to be home with his family, and that the residents of our state are ready for a part-time legislature and to be done with the ugly politics that plague our state and our country.
Peter MacGregor (R), of Cannon Township, is currently serving as Michigan state representative for the 73rd District. He was elected in 2010, and again in 2012. Prior to that, he was Cannon Township Supervisor, and also served on the planning commission. As a former business owner and job provider, MacGregor believes we should apply business “best practices” to local and state government—attempting to find efficiencies, cut red tape and demand more accountability. His website lists some of his highlights in office as cutting legislator pay; eliminating lifetime benefits for legislators; cutting his office budget by 18 percent; cutting income taxes; passing freedom to work legislation (right to work); eliminating lifetime welfare benefits; reducing state spending by more than $1 billion; sponsoring and passing legislation to end double taxation of Michigan businesses; etc.
MacGregor is endorsed by Associated Builders & Contractors of Michigan (ABC); Citizens for Traditional Values (CTV); Commercial Alliance of Realtors; Grand Rapids Association of Realtors; Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce; Great Lakes Education Project; Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners – A+ Rating; Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA); Michigan Retailers Association; Right to Life of Michigan; and Small Business Association of Michigan.
MacGregor and his wife, Christine, have three children, and live in Cannon Township.
Deb Havens (D), of Plainfield Township, Deb is a proud wife and mother of two and grandmother of three grandchildren, a retired educator and television producer, honored to serve currently through leadership in several non-profit and community organizations. According to her website, her broadcast career began in Grand Rapids where she worked as a radio news reporter and talk show host and later produced award-winning documentaries, investigative reports, and public affairs programming for WZZM TV. She later moved to San Francisco to serve as programming consultant for client television stations in small, medium, and major markets. She also worked as a Communications Specialist for Van Buren Public Schools and wrote curriculum and taught in the Arts & Communication Academy for Southfield Public Schools. Most recently, she taught scriptwriting and broadcast courses as an Adjunct Professor at Grand Valley State University. She is a founding member of the Grand Rapids Screenwriters Group and has written a number of screenplays and teleplays profiled on her website www.TravelingMoon.com. She is also the founding Chair of the Board of Directors of the West Michigan Film Video Alliance (www.wmfva.org), a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to growing a new digital tech industry here to attract and retain our younger creative and entrepreneurial population.
Deb is running for the State Senate to fight for fair treatment for Michigan residents and businesses. “As your next Senator from the 28th District, Deb will fight to restore the funding for good schools, safe neighborhoods, and well-maintained roads and infrastructure we once enjoyed in Michigan. Our businesses are the life-blood of our state, no question. However, we depend on business leaders not only to provide jobs but to care about the health and well-being of our communities. Businesses can well-afford to pay their fair share for services we all depend on to keep Michigan healthy, strong, and vibrant.”
STATE REPRESENTATIVE 73RD DISTRICT
Seven Republicans are vying with one Democratic candidate for representation of the 73rd District. The 73rd District is made up of Cannon, Courtland, Grand Rapids, Nelson, Oakfield, Plainfield and Spencer Townships and the City of East Grand Rapids.
Chris Afendoulis (R) has lived most of his life in Grand Rapids Township. Co-owner of Afendoulis Cleaners and Tuxedoes. Has been Grand Rapids Township Treasurer since 2007.
John Decker (R), former owner of Decker Chevrolet. Now retired. Lives in Belmont. Endorsed by Tom Pearce, former 73rd District Rep, Right to Life, FarmBureau AgriPac, Dr. Mike Shibler, Rockford Public Schools, and more.
Brian Downs (R), an engineer and register patent attorney. Lives in Rockford.
Brady Middleton (R), has a po box in Byron Center. Says he is running because he was almost murdered in Grand Rapids five years ago when he was a Papa John’s pizza delivery person. He was then mentored by one of Michigan’s senators. No other personal info on his website.
Tom Norton (R), of Sand Lake, is an Afghanistan war veteran. Endorsed by Steve Grimm, Cannon Twp. Supervisor, Dave Agema, Republican national committee, and other individuals.
Frank Pfaff Jr. (R), of Comstock Park, has worked in the fine jewelry business for 30 years. He has worked for the Kent County GOP since 2009, and is currently a precinct delegate chair. He is endorsed by Right to Life, and Tom Hooker, house representative from the 77nd District.
Robert Regan (R), was born in Lansing and lives in Grand Rapids. He most recently has been a professional recruiter. Endorsed by Right to Life, Commercial Alliance of Realtors, GR Police Officer Labor Council, GR Association of Realtors.
Mary Polonowski (D), of Rockford. Could not find any personal information.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE 74th DISTRICT
One Republican and one Democrat are vying for representative in this district—incumbent Rob Verheulen (R) and Richard Erdman (D). The 74th District encompasses the cities of Walker, Grandville, Rockford and Cedar Springs, as well as Solon, Tyrone, Sparta, Algoma and Alpine townships.
Rob Verheulen (R), Robert J. VerHeulen is currently serving in the Michigan House of Representatives. Prior to his election to the House, VerHeulen served as the mayor of Walker, Michigan. He was born in Grand Rapids, and lives in Walker with his family.
Richard Erdman (D), no info found.
Please note that if there are positions on the ballot with not more than one person running, we have not printed info for those.