Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hudsonville Chamber Hosts 90th District Debate

Garcia emphasizes her experience, Haveman focuses on family and local control, Harmsen stays business oriented, Kroll's narrative stresses hard work...

The Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate for the 90th District State House race Tuesday night at Hudsonville City Hall.

Spectrum Health Government Affairs Director Daniela Garcia, Zeeland Attorney Geoff Haveman, small business owner Bob Harmsen, and former Ottawa County Patriots chairman David Kroll were all in attendance. (County Commissioner Jim Holtrop dropped out of the race last Friday.)

Many issues were addressed, including how to address Michigan’s crumbling roads and the controversial gas tax measure proposed in Lansing.

“As I knock on doors, I find people are willing to pay higher taxes to (take care of) problems in infrastructure,” Garcia said.

“We need to prioritize funding,” Haveman said. He then spoke of a friend who was a small business owner who traveled a lot and that a gas tax increase was “a person he can’t employ.”

Kroll said “I haven’t heard what Daniela has, I think we can definitely eliminate spending in some areas.”

Harmsen also opposed the gas tax to deal with the road issue.

“To turn around and say we need to raise the gas tax when we aren’t using the money that’s there is a mistake, Harmsen said.

On the issue of the legislation commonly known as “Obamacare,” Garcia said “I work in healthcare, so I can talk for hours and won’t bore you.”

Garcia believes that “the Affordable Care Act had good intentions,” but “there’s been some major hiccups and the State Legislature has minimal control over this law from 2010."

Garcia hears frustrations. 

"People are experiencing concerns, it's been a troublesome rollout, people heard anecdotally-they thought they could see the same physician."

She also said it’s hard to adhere to free market principles in the healthcare sector.

“Free market is always the way to go, but when 50% of healthcare profits are from government, it’s hard to have a free market. Consumers need to live healthy lifestyles and costs will go down.”

Harmsen said as a small business owner, trying to plan for the future is difficult.

“The biggest thing is uncertainty,” Harmsen said. “We’ll get a 5% increase but it’s only good for a year.”

Haveman and Kroll strongly opposed “Obamacare.”

“Government command control-boards to decide about (this procedure and that procedure) is not the way to go. We have great Doctors in this district, get the government out and let people be free.”

Kroll also echoed Haveman’s sentiments about local hospitals knowing better than the government.

On the issue of Detroit, the race’s frontrunners,Haveman and Garcia continued to differ.

“What’s good for Detroit is good for Michigan,” Garcia said. “Detroit is a part of Michigan.” Speaking about the recent Detroit Settlement, Garcia said she “doesn’t know if it’s right or wrong.”

Haveman spoke out against the legislation,saying “to bring Detroit back, we have to give Detroit back to Detroiters.” He also said he wouldn’t have supported the recent legislation because Detroit is sitting on many valuable assets.

In the debate's final round, when moderator Cal Dykstra asked if the candidates wanted to add anything, Garcia said she was the most experienced and most qualified, saying she has ten years of public policy experience, serves on three community boards, and has endorsements from groups like Right-toLife and GLEP.

Haveman said he has three small children, a wife who is a doctor, he volunteers at the Zeeland Historical Museum and serves on the Ottawa GOP Executive Committee. He asked the crowd for their vote August 5th.

Harmsen said we need to "control spending and develop our children to be informed."

Kroll said he would "work hard" and in his family, if  you're not up by working by 7, "the day is shot."
The next debate for this race is scheduled for July 8th in Zeeland and is hosted by the Ottawa County Patriots.

READ ABOUT THE 90TH Forum at the Chamber Monday HERE:

Monday, June 16, 2014

West Coast Chamber Forum: 90th State House District

West Coast Chamber Hosts Local State House and State Senate Candidates

In the 90th, Haveman and Garcia seem to lead the pack, but Kroll and Harmsen have skin in the game...

Daniela Garcia addressed the crowd first, saying she was born and raised in Holland, and because she is the daughter of two educators, "she takes direction well," while responding to the directions from the event's host, Michael Hill of the West Coast Chamber.

"I have a decade of public policy experience," Garcia said. "I have worked in education and healthcare police at the federal and state level."

Garcia emphasized the need for a strong education system, and said that workforce training will help boost the economy. "Recruitment and retention of talent is very important," Garcia said.

Garcia also emphasized the need to include Kent County in decision making and planning.

"We aren't just a district, we're a region," Garcia said. "I hear the concerns of business owners here and in Kent County and the important thing is the economy."

Garcia closed by saying "I am a fiscal conservative with a heart for the community, I ask for your vote on August 5th."

Next up was Bob Harmsen, 2008 challenger to Joe Haveman, the State Rep. now retiring because of term limits, causing this seat to be vacant. 

Harmsen, a West Ottawa and M-Tech grad, said he was an engineer whose job is to fix things, and Lansing is broken.

"If Lansing gets involved in things they don't know about, it will hurt us," Harmsen said. "I think I can make a difference."

After Harmsen, Zeeland attorney Geoff Haveman spoke.

Haveman said that he grew up on a dairy farm in Blendon Township, graduated from U of M law school, and owns his own law firm in Zeeland. He is also on the Ottawa County Executive Committee.

The main reason he is running is for the future of his kids and to "continue the reinvention of Michigan... make it a more free, more prosperous" state.

Haveman says he knows the concerns of the real people of the district and he can be an advocate for them in Lansing. He wants taxes low and burdensome regulations removed.

Haveman encouraged Cahmber members to call or email him anytime to talk about issues important to them, and asked for their vote in August.

Last up was David Kroll, a Baker College graduate who said he liked what State Senator Meekhof said earlier that morning about Prevailing Wage laws.

Kroll told the crowd that he had worked "on a turkey farm, in a factory, in a retirement home, picking my CDL... I know what it means to work. In my family, if you aren't up at 7, the day is shot."

Kroll said Lansing needed to control spending and focus on infrastructure.
He also said we need to look at what taxes we can reduce...

These candidates will meet again Tuesday June 17th in Hudsonville for the Hudsonville Chamber Forum, and it should be good-stay tuned!

West Coast Chamber Forum: 89th District State House Candidates

West Coast Chamber Hosts Local State House and State Senate Candidates

In the 89th, Price Touts Voting Record While Wiedenhoeft Says There Is Room For Improvement

The West Coast Chamber (formerly the Holland/Zeeland Chamber) held a candidate forum at its Government Affairs Breakfast this morning in Holland. The event featured candidates from local State House and State Senate races... Fred Upton also spoke, updating the crowd on what was happening in Washington.

In the 89th District State House race, State Rep. Amanda Price spoke first, confidently listing multiple pieces of legislation she was proud to be a part of.

"GDP was 50th before, now we are 6th...We repealed the MBT. We repealed item-pricing. We limited welfare benefits. Our 1.8 billion dollar budget defecit is gone...we reduced unemployment benefits...and we passed right-to-work..."

Price says the legislature has shown bold leadership.

"I ran to turn our state around," Price said. "I was lucky to have a team that had the same goal. We put the pedal to the metal...and made tough decisions to turn Michigan around."

Price's challenger, Matt Wiedenhoeft, a former semi-professional hockey player, warned the crowd of his predilection for sports analogies, and his warning was prophetic.

Wiedenhoeft told the crowd about his work at Baker and Davenport, his consulting company, and said his family has a history of being self-employed business owners.

"I understand you don't stop thinking about your business when you get home," Wiedenhoeft said. "You don't punch a clock and stop thinking about your business when you get home."

Seemingly playing off of Price's comment about the "team" in Lansing, Wiedenhoeft said that "We are reinventing Michigan, we have a great team, but we aren't making the playoffs."

Wiedenhoeft said Price's votes to raise the minimum wage and to support Governor Snyder's "Healthy Michigan" program were not helpful to the business community. As someone who has started four businesses since he was 18, he says he has what it takes to represent the interests of area businesses.

Wiedenhoeft, left, with Rick Albin of WOOD TV 8.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Huizenga Hosts Annual "Pancakes and Politics" Breakfast in Zeeland Next Saturday

Huizenga Hosts Annual "Pancakes and Politics" Breakfast in Zeeland Next Saturday

Congressman Bill Huizenga, who hosts a "Pancakes and Politics" breakfast fundraiser every year since he was a State Rep, will continue the tradition Saturday, June 21st in Zeeland.

The event takes place from 8 am to 10 am Saturday in the fittingly named Huizenga Park.

"Come on out for my annual Pancakes and Politics at Huizenga Park in Zeeland. Saturday June 21 We'll have a great breakfast, terrific conversation, and activities for the kids. Tickets are $25 per person, or $50 for the whole family. Contact for more details and to make your reservation."

It should be a fun, well planned event as always from Bill and his team.

Breaking: Holtrop Withdraws From State House Race

Breaking: Ottawa County Commissioner Jim Holtrop has ended his campaign for State House. More from WMP soon...

On his Facebook page Thursday night, Holtrop posted:

"In my 32 years of public office, I have always tried to be honest with the people I have been blessed by God to serve. For the past several weeks I have been suffering from some personal health issues which have significantly hampered my ability to engage in a vigorous campaign. I have prayed and wrestled over this a great deal. I felt called by the Lord and supported by many to pursue this opportunity to run as a Republican for the 90th District State Representative. But I have had to face a very painful reality that I am not in a condition that allows me to pursue this dream any further. I had hoped my health would improve so that I could follow through on my intentions. I so deeply appreciate the support given me and do not want to disappoint anyone. So it is with sadness, yet also with peace, that I am officially announcing my withdrawal from the campaign.
I announce this now so my endorsers and other supporters have sufficient time before the August 5 primary to consider the other four Republicans on the ballot. I am very thankful to God for those who have supported me in this campaign and also in all my years of public service. And may He bless all the candidates as they continue in the race."

Breaking: Police In Holland KIll Dog After It Attacks Woman, Then Set its Eyes On Officers

Breaking: Police In Holland KIll Dog After It Attacks Woman, Then Set its Eyes On Officers

According to WZZM 13, police shot two dogs in Holland (killing one) after they attacked a woman in her own backyard, and subsequently, one of the dogs attempted to attack an Ottawa County Sheriff's Deputy.


"Police shot two dogs, killing one, after they attacked a woman around 9 a.m. Friday at a home in the 2300 block of Brickyard Lane.

Police say the 61-year-old woman and her small dog were in a fenced backyard when two larger dogs rushed in. The woman tried to protect her pet and the dogs began attacking her.
Officers describe the aggressive dogs as a "pit bull variety."

During the attack, a neighbor tried to intervene and sprayed the pit bulls with a garden hose, but they continued to be aggressive, officers said.

A Zeeland police officer was called to the scene and fired a shot, hitting one of the dogs. Both dogs ran off, but one returned and charged an Ottawa County Sheriff's deputy. That dog was shot and killed; the injured dog was captured by animal control officers."