Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Guzman Stands Out In Administrative Vice-Chair Race


By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

As Joseph Guzman started speaking at the "4th District Round Up" event in early January, I was instantly impressed. Guzman, currently a Michigan State Professor, was speaking about his campaign for Michigan Republican Party Administrative Vice-Chair.

Guzman recently talked to WMP about the vision, values, and experience he hopes to bring to the position, and even talked about the May 5th road tax package.

What the heck does the Administrative Vice-Chair do?

"They are responsible for all conventions, conferences, candidate events and activities sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party, along with any other duties as directed by the Chair," Guzman said. "It should be a very active position-the way we conduct events is very important."

Guzman has significant experience in Washington D.C.

"I was the director of the Biometrics Management Office at the Department of Defense," Guzman said. "As a result of working in those circles, in the second term of the Bush administration, i went to the Air Force where I was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Manpower And Reserve Affairs," Guzman said.

When his boss left, Guzman went to the Navy.

"I worked in the Comptroller's Office and helped manage the finances of the Navy as a Deputy Assistant Secretary," Guzman said. "It was a $150 billion budget-a lot of detailed work. For the end of the Bush administration, I performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy."

Guzman wants to engage local delegates more and also increase tech use at the State Party level.

"It is really important to implement micro-targeted surveys to fully accommodate event needs beforehand and afterwards, let's figure out how we can do it better next time," Guzman said. "Our events, while serious and important should also be fun-people should look forward to coming. I have a vision. We need to expand our base, appeal to young and newly registered voters, move forward with new technology, and start preparing for 2016," Guzman said.

Guzman opposes the May 5th Road Tax Package.

"I don't support any new taxes," Guzman said. "We are so heavily taxed in this state. My biggest issue is that there is no sunset-they will spend this money forever. New roads and improved infrastructure is vital, but all these other things in the package shouldn't be in the mix, too."

Guzman, left, with Adi Sathi, Coalitions Chair candidate, right

Guzman would also like to "support 'Right To Work' contractors" if possible during MIGOP events.

"Right To Work is a tool we should utilize more," Guzman said.

Guzman believes "unity" between the grassroots and establishment can come through leadership.

"Unity is important but leadership is key," Guzman said. "As a party, we must set the example. We have a lot of great people out there-you can't muzzle someone. People feeling like they have a muzzle causes issues-let people say their bit and let's move on. We should have an open discussion among friends. People should be able to hear from candidates. And if you think someone is acting in bad faith or doing a whisper campaign or cheap attacks, or whatever the issue may be, don't support them. Se the tone, don't write a new rule."

State Rep. Lee Chatfield

Guzman believes State Party officials should stay neutral in primaries like that of Lee Chatfield vs. Frank Foster last year.

"Incumbency is good, but local districts and counties need to make these hard choices as to who will represent them," Guzman said. "The State Party needs to let the grassroots-the foundation of our party-decide issues in their communities. Anything else is probably inappropriate."

 Guzman supports the 2012 GOP Platform.

"The platform is our synthesized statement as a party of what the Constitution means and what our American values are," Guzman said. "We need to stick to it."

 Who is his favorite President?

"In my lifetime at least, Reagan," Guzman said. "He had an amazing sense of humor. He was so courageous and upbeat even in the face of great challenges."

Guzman is ready to hit the ground running.

"It's an office where I think I can make a significant contribution," Guzman said. "And it's imperative we prepare for 2016. This is a big election-the time to build the party is now. I believe I can do the things that are needed well. I would consider success in this role to be that I am able to help elect the candidates the delegates want." 

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics. >>>Email him at 

Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

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