GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 2021 election cycle, like most so-called off-year elections, has only a few races or issues to decide, depending on where you live. Only one district in West Michigan will select a new state senator due to an early resignation.
Former Sen. Peter MacGregor left his seat to become the treasurer for Kent County. That means the 28th District, which covers part of western and northern Kent County, is having a special election to replace him. There are four individuals running in the general election.
Republican state Rep. Mark Huizenga, the former mayor of Walker, said he is focused on state spending. At a time when the state is flush with money, he says he wants to make sure it is used wisely.
“When it comes to something that most people kind of look aside to, it’s the budget, and my background in finance and accounting has really prepared me to be a good leader, whether chairing the higher education subcommittee or the general government subcommittee; going in and looking at the details about how to be fiscally responsible and now in a very unique position having billions of dollars, literally billions of dollars, on the balance sheet and determining how those dollars are going to be spent,” Huizenga said.
Former Kent County Commissioner Keith Courtade, a Democrat, said he wants to make sure that people are heard.
“I felt that everybody should have a voice with all the voter suppression laws that they’re designing and I felt that everybody needed a voice, should have a voice and that was probably the biggest reason I ran,” he said. “I also felt that the water, our quality of our water, that was a big issue. Infrastructure. Our education system; I feel were losing a lot of our good teachers to other industries.”
Theodore Gerrard, the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan candidate, is electrical contractor who says his real world experience would translate to public office.
“So I’ve spent the last 40 years in the business world effectively as a trouble shooter and problem solver,” Gerrard said. “And when we look at our state government, there are many problems that either people don’t know how to solve or they’re not willing to solve them. One example is that last summer, one of our representatives stated that we really need a guidebook for how to do this. Well, if you look at the state constitution, which would be a guidebook, it’s laid out what to do in time of tragedy, catastrophe.”
Libertarian Alexander Avery is running because he thinks Michigan could benefit from lower car insurance rates and less taxation.
“There are states out there that don’t have state income taxes and don’t have state sales taxes and I don’t think there’s a reason that we need to be in a state that takes money away from us,” he said. “Every single time that we move money, every time money changes hands, the government’s there to take it. We don’t need to do that.”
This will be the last time an election will be held in the current boundaries of the 28th District. All state Senate and House of Representatives seats as well as U.S. congressional seats are now being redrawn, which means whoever is victorious in this race will, if they choose, have to run in a reconfigured district next year.
The election is Nov. 2. You can find your sample ballot and confirm your polling location at the Michigan Voter Information Center online.