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Candidates for 28th District Senate seat

By Judy Reed

Last fall, former state senator Peter MacGregor, who was the senator in the 28th district, won the election to become the new Kent County treasurer. That left a vacant state senate seat, and there are four candidates running for this seat. Mark Huizenga (R), and Keith Courtade (D) gave us info last summer during the primary. The other two running—Alex Avery (LIB) and Theodore Gerrard (UST)—did not send us a response to our email inquiry. 

Rep. Mark Huizenga (R), 74th District

I am a life-long resident of Kent County. I grew up on a small farm in Walker where I learned the value of hard work. I attended Calvin University, where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and then completed a Master’s Degree in Management at Aquinas College. 

I have a strong background in finance and accounting, which has helped me throughout my business career. I am a small business owner, working with hospitals and physician groups. I also am the owner of a software company that helps manage energy, waste, water, and food data for hospitals throughout the US. I currently live in Walker, and I have three grown children: Elaina, Olivia, and Blake. Each of them has chosen service-focused careers, and Blake is currently serving in the US Marine Corps.

I have been involved in local politics in Walker where I served on the Planning Commission. I was elected to the City Commission and I served as Mayor for five years. During my time as mayor, we worked to bring thousands of new jobs to Walker, rebuild roads, and grow our water infrastructure. I was heavily involved in fundraising for the bike tunnel that goes under Lake Michigan Drive in Standale. Some of my most important work in Walker was as the Chair of the Finance Committee. We paid down debt early, accelerated payments on bonded projects, and reduced the city’s long-term liabilities. 

I currently serve as the State Representative for the 74th District. I previously was the chair of the General Government Appropriations Committee and presently chair the Higher Education and Community College Appropriations Committee. I also serve on the Transportation, Department of Health & Human Services, and K-12 appropriations committees. I believe firmly in being responsible with every hard-working taxpayer dollar (state or federal) and I pledge to continue to be fiscally responsible with your money.

As a state representative, I firmly believe in representing the people and have always run on Transparency, Accountability, and Availability – constituents may call me any time at 616-334-4885.  Compared to my opponents, I have hosted “office hours” five times a month throughout the district, including Big Boy in Cedar Springs (excluding during the pandemic shutdown). 

Have you served on other types of committees or boards?

It has been my honor to serve on many community boards including The Salvation Army Advisory Board, Council of State Governments, Midwestern Higher Education Compact Commission, Grandville Walker Community Foundation advisory board, Calvin Christian School Education Foundation board, Health Development International board, and the Asthma Network of West Michigan. 

What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

Upon being elected, I will work to ensure that our community has continued access to the American Dream. My conservative principles and faith will guide me in my service as doing so will ensure that our children have access to that dream. Be it producing a balanced state budget, protecting individual liberties, or halting government overreach, I will make government responsible to We the People. I also believe that we must hold our Governor accountable for her actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, support our law enforcement, and ensure the integrity of our future elections. 

Election website address for more info: www.votehuizenga.com

Keith Courtade (D)

You can count on me to be a voice for families and individuals, the middle class, the poor and senior citizens—all of the residents—if elected as your state senator. I brought that advocacy to the Kent County Board of Commissioners when I was elected to that service. I maintain a commitment to fiscal responsibility, tax fairness, accountability and open government. Health and safety are important to watch and guard. I will work to maintain and restore the quality of our ground water and hold polluters accountable. I will stand up for free, fair, accessible elections and will absolutely oppose all efforts that interfere with our ability to vote. I will demand open debate on important state issues and oppose any efforts to make  decisions behind closed doors. Elected officials should be held accountable for their decisions. I will treat each and every person with respect and courtesy. I pledge to provide strong, effective leadership that it truthful and fair. I ask for your vote Nov. 2, 2021 and I look forward to serving you once again.

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