KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — With the general election just five weeks away and absentee voting already underway, News 8 is taking a look at some of the open seats in the Michigan House of Representatives.
One such seat is the 60th House District, which covers the city and township of Kalamazoo. It is currently held by Rep. Jon Hoadley, a Democrat, who was term limited and is now running for U.S. Congress.
The Democrat seeking the seat is current Kalamazoo County Commissioner Julie Rogers, whose profession in the private sector motivated her to run.
“My background as a physical therapist is really my passion and what drives me, so trying to improve access to health care is probably my very top priority,” she said. “I’ve had a number of patients lose their Medicaid because of new work requirements put on by the Republican-led Legislature, and so that’s a very specific policy action that I would like to reverse.”
Given that budgeting for the incoming class of state representatives will be challenging because of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the economy, Rogers says that will take a fresh look.
“Making sure we have flexibility in our thinking, education dollars I think is a must. Giving people the tools that they can to reinvent themselves and restart. It’s not going to be business as usual,” Rogers said.
Republican Gary Mitchell, a Ph.D. and realtor, says he thinks the government should take a science-based approach to fighting the pandemic and he can help.
“Our politicians … say that, ‘Oh, we’re making decisions based on science.’ Well, I’m a scientist and I know that some of the science that they’re using is not good science,” he said. “So I do believe that we need somebody in the Legislature in Lansing that kind of understands science.”
On another front, education, Mitchell has concerns about the outcomes for many schools and thinks more emphasis should be placed on developing curriculum on a number of front, including learning about government.
“You require that students, in order to graduate, have to be able to pass the citizenship test that every new citizen of the United States has to take to become citizens. That includes a lot of American history and government, as I understand it,” Mitchell said.
The 60th is one of four open seats in West Michigan and among 110 races that will determine the makeup of the state House beginning next year. To see the full interviews with the candidates for this and other races, visit the “To The Point” section on woodtv.com.