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08-01-2018 Statewide voters select candidates for Governor in Tuesday Primary

Statewide voters select candidates for Governor in Tuesday Primary

By Annette Christie

As Michigan State Governor Rick Snyder nears the end of his term in that position, four Republicans and three Democrats will be on the August 7 ballot seeking to move on to the November General Election.

The Republicans include Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Governor Brian Calley, State Senator Patrick Colbeck, and Dr. Jim Hines.

The Democrats include former State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed and businessman Shri Thanedar.

Current Lt. Governor Brian Calley was a community banker for 10 years before entering the political arena.  He has previously served on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners and served two years as a State Representative. In 2010, he became Snyder’s running mate.

Calley has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, an MBA from Grand Valley State University, and an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He and his wife live in Portland, Michigan. They have three children.

Calley states that more than 555,500 jobs have been created in our state since he became Lt. Governor including being #1 in America in new manufacturing jobs. Under his and Snyder’s leadership, Michigan is 8 for 8 in passing balanced budgets.  He states that they reduced the state’s debt by $20 billion and put more than $1 billion in the rainy day fund. He was one of the driving forces behind Michigan becoming a right to work state, prohibiting the requirement of union membership for employment. He led the development of the agreement to create the Gordie How International Bridge between Canada and the United States. He chaired the Mental Health and Wellness Commission and believes that opioid epidemic is a healthcare issue not a criminal justice issue. He chaired the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force, developing statewide best practices for the problem.

He states that he rolled up his sleeves and worked alongside the people of Flint to build a better future amongst the elevated lead levels in the water system and personally expedited the   recovery efforts.

His full plan for taking Michigan to the next level is available on his website

Attorney General Bill Schuette is the 53rd Attorney General in our state. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and obtained his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He and his wife reside in Midland, Michigan and have two children.  

As Attorney General, he formed the Michigan Commission for Human Trafficking and engineered a plan to fund the testing of thousands of long-abandoned DNA evidence boxes to provide justice for victims of sexual assault. He helped recover millions in back child support for children in need. He successfully opposed President Obama’s job-killing energy regulations that would have hurt Michigan’s economy and increased utility bills for Michiganders. He held government officials accountable by bringing 350 charges against former government officials, including the termination of taxpayer-funded pensions for 13 ex-Detroit principals who embezzled millions from school children. He stood up to the governor of his own party to oppose one of the largest tax hikes in Michigan’s history.

He has a plan to make Michigan, “The Jobs State,” to end the opioid crisis, roll back the Granholm income tax hike, cut auto insurance rates, and provide our kids with world-class schools.  You can read about his in-depth plan on his website

Patrick Colbeck has over two decades of private sector experience and two terms in the Michigan Senate. He has a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He was a small business owner for six years before running for the Michigan Senate.

Colbeck led the Senate effort to make Michigan a Right to Work state. His free market health care solutions that lower costs and improve services are nationally recognized.  He has been named Legislator of the Year by the Police Officers Association of Michigan, the Senior Alliance, and the Associated Builders and Contractors.

He has a set of principles that guide him and solutions for some of the issues that plague our state.  Colbeck believes that tax increases always should be the last option considered not the first and that sustained fiscal prosperity cannot be achieved in the absence of a moral and religious society.

His solutions for job growth, education excellence, taxes and budgets, roads and rights, and affordable auto insurance can be found on his website,

Physician Jim Hines is also seeking the Republican vote on Tuesday, August 7.  Hines, who has never run for office, states that he has spent his life putting people first, not politics.  He is a medical doctor that has delivered thousands of babies over the last 38 years.  A missionary medical doctor, he has run two mission hospitals and 20 urgent care facilities for four years in Central African Republic. He is one of the owners of a medical practice.  He and his wife Martha of 43 years, reside in Saginaw.

His top priorities are to improve the job climate, put children first with a good education, protect the environment, and fix our infrastructures.

On his website,,  Hines provides a series of blogs on several topics he classifies as issues.  He also has an in-depth plan for fixing roads and trimming the cost of auto insurance.

Democratic candidate hopeful Gretchen Whitmer is a former Ingham County Prosecutor and was a State Senator.  She holds degrees from Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University.  She was raised in Grand Rapids and East Lansing.  She attended public schools and universities. She is married and has five children.

She helped negotiate the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion which expanded heath care to 630,000 working Michiganders. She passed a minimum wage increase with a cost-of-living adjustment and fought for more.  She has fought against leaders of both parties when they stole money from the state education fund and failed to lift up poor performing schools. She fought for paid family leave so workers can take time off to care for a sick loved one or a new baby.

She sees the important issues as fixing the roads, making health care more affordable, repealing the Snyder Retirement Tax, improving education and skills training, providing better jobs, and cleaning up our drinking water. Whitmer seeks to defend woman’s rights, hold the government accountable, fight urban poverty, combat the opioid crisis, protect the citizens’ freedoms, and serve Michigan’s veterans.

Her full plan for addressing all of these issues can be found at

Abdul El-Sayed was born and raised in Michigan. His family reflects the diversity of the state including immigrants who left Egypt to pursue a greater opportunity in America. He attended public school and went on to play lacrosse for the University of Michigan.

He is the youngest health official of a major American city.  He rebuilt the Detroit Health Department after it was privatized during the city’s bankruptcy

El-Sayed’s platform includes the following: Fight inequality in all forms; raise minimum wage to $15 hour; implement state level single payer healthcare; protect a woman’s right to choose and eliminate the gender pay gap; never accept a dime of corporate money and get the money out of politics; rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges; make college tuition free for families earning under $150K & reinvest in public education; end the profit motive in public education; reform auto insurance to reduce costs while protecting people; fund and implement universal pre-kindergarten; amend civil rights legislation to enumerate protections for LGBTQ & Michiganders; reform the criminal justice system and tackle mass incarceration and police violence; aggressive action on climate, environmental justice, and no new fossil fuel infrastructure; legalize marijuana; fight for clean water for all and shut down Enbridge’s Line 5; tackle the opioid epidemic through comprehensive mental health reform; stand with labor to end right to work and protect prevailing wage; provide high-speed broadband internet to every community in Michigan and protect net neutrality; support child and elderly care for Michiganders; end gerrymandering and legislative term limits and reinstate FOIA for public officials.

For further discussion of all these issues and his solutions, visit

Shri Thanedar was raised in India and became a U.S. citizen in 1988. H has a degree from the University of Bombay and Akron University.  He and his wife have two children.  He owns a chemical testing laboratory. He describes himself as a progressive Democrat and a scientist. 

He will work to make our educational system world class.  He hopes to legalize marijuana, tax and regulate it and release all non-violent drug offenders who have been convicted of marijuana-based crimes. He will fight for a fair and compassionate immigration policy in our state that doesn’t throw millions of men, women, and children out of our country. He seeks to have Michigan named a “Sanctuary State.”  While he states that he supports the right to bear arms, he believes that we need sensible gun patrol. For more information visit his website at

Upton is the lone Republican running for U.S. House District 6

Michigan’s U.S. House District 6 includes all of Van Buren and Berrien County as well as Allegan, Kalamazoo, Cass, and St. Joseph counties.  Fred Upton, our current Congressman faces no opposition on the Republican side.

The four Democrats hoping to clinch a spot on the November ballot are David Benac, Rich Eichholz, George Franklin, and Matt Longjohn.

David Benac of Kalamazoo is a history professor at Western Michigan University. He has a bachelor’s degree in history at Michigan State University and a Ph. D. from the University of Missouri.

He does not believe that the federal government is working in the best interests of the American people. He has official policy statements on several issues including firearms, marijuana, environment, workers’ rights, and agriculture on his website at

Rich Eichholz of New Buffalo Township is a retired scientist. He has 30 years of business leadership experience in healthcare and other technical industries. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Cornell University.

He is running for Congress to help revitalize our business climate here in Southwest Michigan in an environmentally friendly way and to expand opportunities for job growth. His policy positions can be found on his website

George Franklin spent most of his career working at Kellogg. He is not a career politician.  He has served on the Board of Trustees for Western Michigan University.

If elected he will attract good paying jobs here, guarantee access to affordable quality healthcare, support workers, champion women, provide quality education, protect our Great Lakes, and work for a criminal justice reform.  His plans can be found at

Matt Longjohn is a physician from Portage.   He is a former National Health Officer for YMCA. His family has been in Southwest Michigan for over 150 years.  He is running for Congress to improve the health and quality of life for everyone in Southwest Michigan.

His plans for how to fix issues such as the economy, the environment, equality and equity, education, common sense gun legislation, and standing up to Trump can be found at

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