This story was produced by our partners at WJMN-Local Three News.
Candidates in the Upper Peninsula running for various state and federal positions participated in a debate forum Wednesday night in Escanaba.
Local 3 asked each candidate what they feel is an important issue facing the U.P. and here’s what they each had to say.
State Rep. Scott Dianda, 38th State Senate District candidate (D), says, “Rebuilding the state of Michigan and have a better future for our children. That’s why I’m running for the 38th Senate District, that’s why I’m here tonight, to answer the questions.”
“It’s all about the people.” Dianda continues, “We’ve got to be able to trust the drinking water, we have to be able to have bread and butter on the table, to fix our cars, to put a new roof on the house, and to make sure we’ve got a future in Michigan.”
Former State Rep. Ed McBroom, 38th State Senate District candidate (R), says, “The issue of auto insurance reform, they’re saying it’s very expensive, it’s driving a lot of the conversation I’m having with people. I’m also passionate about, what we can do for education and curriculum freedom, for students to choose so we can pursue the jobs and career opportunities that we have here in the Upper Peninsula.”
McBroom also spoke about government transparency, saying, “I introduced quite a bit of legislation on reforms internally, having a permanent ethics committee, subjecting the legislature and Governor’s office to have open records. I think those are things we really need to have a better, more transparent government.”
Matt Morgan, U.S. Rep. for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District candidate (D), says, “Social Security and Medicare. You know, there’s almost 1 in 4 people in this congressional district are Social Security beneficiaries, they want to know that that benefit, that they paid into over the course of their lives, is going to be protected and two, they want access to quality, affordable healthcare.”
Morgan also spoke about the importance of the Soo Locks. He continues, “It’s important that we take this message to Washington that we need to invest in our aging infrastructure. Everything from the Soo Locks, to make sure we’re actually getting the money not just authorizing it. Because the Soo Locks were first authorized when I was a freshman in high school and the government still hasn’t found the money for it.”
U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, U.S. Rep. for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District candidate (R (incumbent), spoke about job growth saying, “I want to hear them ask me a question about, you know, ‘what are you doing for jobs?’, ‘what are you doing for the U.P. to bring more good paying jobs?’.”
“I represent everybody, doesn’t make any difference whether you voted for me or not.” Continues Bergman, “It’s about representing everybody in the 1st District. I’m passionate about listening, to hear what people have to say and then I’ll figure out a way to help them out.”
Bob Romps, 108th State House District candidate (D), pushed for better mental health care, saying, “I work in the mental health field, our mental health has been hit and hit and hit again. You know, we’ve had all these school shootings and yet mental health keeps on getting under-funded. It’s something that has to be taken care of and I think it should be taken care of now.”
Romps touched on his interest in the Back Forty Mine in Stephenson. He says, “Our current representation isn’t taking care of that issue, has not talked to his constituents enough. This is something that is very important to the people in Menominee County, and it’s just been ignored. It’s something that’s really, really important to our water and I don’t think it’s something that should be ignored.”
Beau LaFave, 108th State House District candidate (R) (incumbent), says, “An important question on the minds of voters is what our representatives and senators are going to do to lower the highest car insurance prices in America. The average cost is a thousand dollars a year more than Wisconsin. I’ve got a bill that can do exactly that, I just need some more support in the house.”
LaFave also spoke of the importance of job growth in the U.P. He continues, “From the beginning, my campaign has always been about keeping people in the U.P., getting them jobs, and making sure that they can get to work. We’re talking about making it easier for kids to get an internship and making sure that when they do that, they don’t have to pay the highest car insurance rates in the nation.”
Candidates were asked questions about healthcare, unions, and Social Security among other topics tonight.