90th District LWV Debate: From "Common Core" to "Obamacare": The Top 10 Issues You Need to Know
The League of Women Voters hosted a debate for State House candidates in the 90th District Thursday night in Holland. 28 questions were posed to the candidates.
All four candidates were in attendance. Daniela Garcia, Director of Government Affairs at Spectrum, Zeeland lawyer Geoff Haveman, Harmsen Contruction owner Bob Harmsen, and Republican activist and Precinct Delegate David Kroll discussed the issues for an hour and a half.
Here is WMP's breakdown of the top 10 issues that were discussed, in no particular order.
When asked how we insure money recently passed by the legislature for Detroit is spent appropriately:
Haveman: "Taking money from taxpayers when sufficient assets are available to pay off the debt sets a bad precedent for other municipalities...We can't do anything about the past-what can we do for our future?"
Harmsen: "I Detroit is a popular city (and a) black eye on Michigan... Something had to be done, (but i worry) Detroit will fall back."
Garcia: "Detroit is Michigan and Michigan is Detroit. If we were in trouble in (the 90th District), I'd hope their would some assistance that would come our way."
Kroll: "We need to support fiscally conservative candidates for (Detroit) City Council."
Harmsen: "I don't support it. It starts with money, then the tests will have to reflect Common Core. We need to move back to local control over our schools."
Haveman: One curriculum for 400 million people in 50 states is wrong headed. Education is not in the limited enumerated powers of the federal government...(curriculum) can definitely be done locally."
Garcia: "Let's be clear. Common Core is a grassroots program that the Governor's Association created... Every educator I talk to supports (Common Core)."
Kroll: Our founding fathers had a much more rigorous education and graduated college at 17, "We need a more complete education system-we need to challenge our kids more"
Harmsen: "If people are here illegally, no drivers license, no voting rights...(we need to) control the flow."
Garcia: "I hope the Senate and House come to a resolution on this difficult issue."
Haveman: This is a federal issue, but we can work in the parameters of the US and Michigan constitution.
Gas tax increase:
When a college student asked a question about the gas tax increase, candidates must have forgot their college days because they did not see a correlation between being a college student already struggling and the gas tax being increased...
Harmsen: "I don't know how they go together...working families are struggling too."
Haveman: "I wouldn't support (raising the) gas tax."
Garcia: "When I go to doors and talk to constituents, they're willing to pay higher taxes" (for our roads), (they are willing to pay) a number of taxes."
Kroll: "I would not support raising the gas tax."
How do we address school violence? A question was posed that quoted the number of school shootings since Sandy Hook, implying an increase. (In truth , gun violence in our schools is down recently, the media just reports on it significantly more)
Garcia: "The bigger issue is mental health...people should receive some assistance."
Harmsen: "No major concerns in Michigan for a while...the mental health issue is big."
Haveman: "We need to embrace a culture of life."
Kroll: "we need to get retired police in schools...(and possibly) have the Senior class take self defense classes."
How will you be accessible to citizens, as Dan Kreuger exemplified?
Harmsen: "it's very important... I'll give out my phone and email and set up regular office hours ... an individual contacted me (recently) because our current State Rep. (Joe Haveman) blew him off and wouldn't talk to him."
Haveman: "I'll tell you why I'm voting the way I am. I'll tell you why I think that way and give reasons. I'll hold town halls and have open office hours...send me a text, I'll write you back-call me, I'll answer the phone."
Kroll: "I'll post my votes to Facebook and... hold monthly town hall meetings in six parts of the district."
Garcia: (being accessible is a priority and I will meet regularly with the Superintendent's Association and Healthcare and Agricultural interests because) "they are very important to me. Dan Kreuger has a wonderful replacement in Justin Roebuck...best of luck to Dan."
Marijuana: should it be decriminalized/legalized if it came to a vote of the people?
Harmsen: "too many problems..."
Kroll: "Keep it illegal...(it's a ) gateway drug."
Garcia: "I would not support it at this time."
Haveman: "It wouldn't be a priority...let's look at what happens in Washington and Colorado."
Daniela Garcia was asked if she would support Medicaid Expansion, as her supporter and current State Rep. Joe Haveman did. This prompted the candidates to discuss "Obamacare."
Garcia: "Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, whatever you want to call it...parts of Obamacare will never be replaced because of public demand...We all pay for individuals who don't have coverage, it was a hard decision the legislature had to make."
Kroll: I don't agree with Joe Haveman's vote when he did that and it's one reason I am running."
Haveman: Would have voted no and said "we need the free market, not a failed government system."
Harmsen: Would have voted no and said "the biggest things for business is uncertainty" re: Obamacare...
Proposal One in August-will it work?
Garcia: "I believe it will work if voters understand the issue... if voters vote yes, it should work."
Kroll: "I'm in favor of it... it will do some good."
Haveman: "I don't know if it will work."
***READ MORE About the 90th District Race BELOW***Haveman vs. Haveman: You Decide
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