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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Michigan House District 65

Duties: The Michigan House of Representatives shares responsibility with the Michigan Senate to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws.Qualifications: State Representatives may serve a maximum of three full terms. They must be at least 21 years of age and a registered voter in their district. There are 110 State House districts which are re-apportioned after each census.Term: 2 years

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  • Candidate picture

    Nancy Smith
    (Dem)

  • Sarah L. Lightner
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

EDUCATION: What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

ECONOMIC SECURITY: What policies do you support to increase jobs and help Michigan residents improve their economic positions, in general and given the pandemic?

ELECTIONS: What state policies do you support regarding Michigan elections, voting and campaign funding? Do you support mailing ballots to all eligible voters?

ENVIRONMENT/ENERGY: What actions or policies do you support to protect Michigan’s water, air and land for current and future generations? What is your position on energy efficiency and renewable energy?

SOCIAL JUSTICE: How would you address the racial, economic, health, education, etc. inequities, including Michigan’s 20% of children and 17% of seniors living in poverty?

GUNS: Do you believe that Michigan has a gun violence problem? If so, what measures would you support to alleviate this problem?

Occupation / Current Position 2001-2020, Special Education Teacher, Hanover-Horton High School
Education B.S. University of Michigan (School of Natural Resources), M.Ed. University of Toledo (College of Education)
Qualifications and Experience Hanover-Horton Educ. Assoc. Board; Jackson Community Forum, founding member; U.U. Church of E. Liberty, Various Leadership Roles; Jackson Personal Care Ministry, volunteer
Michigan's school funding is still below what it was pre-Great Recession. Funding must be increased, and made more equitable. I support current proposals to make school funding account for the fact that schools with more at-risk, special education, and ELL populations have greater expenses. Also, funding negatively impacts teacher pay, with Michigan having low starting salaries compared to other states. Teacher shortages are worsening each year with few young people entering colleges of education in Michigan. I support legislation to increase state funding for public K-12 schools, ISDs, and higher education.
Michigan workers and their families continue to struggle to make ends meet. I support an increased minimum wage, as originally written in the One Fair Wage ballot initiative, but rewritten during the 2018 Lame Duck session. I support the repeal of "right to work" legislation, which has weakened unions and hurt workers. I oppose measures to privatize basic services in the public sector. I support policies that will help rebuild the middle class and result in fair pay and safe workplaces. In a post-COVID, comeback economy, we should build sustainable transportation, energy and water systems with good-paying, union jobs.
I support Prop. 18-2, which created the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission as a fair and nonpartisan solution to gerrymandering in MI. I also support Prop. 18-3 (no-reason absentee voting, same-day registration) to make voting more accessible. I support mailing ballots to eligible voters, especially in light of COVID-19, so that voters may exercise their rights in the manner most safe and convenient to them. Related to this, the federal govt. must adequately fund the USPS so that it can deliver all ballots. I support tighter campaign finance rules and an end to the lawmaker-to-lobbyist revolving door.
Michigan's policies should be guided by science. I accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and demands a decisive response at all levels of govt. I'll work to counteract climate change by proposing legislation to increase MI's renewable energy standard to 50% by 2030. I support policies and projects that reduce carbon emissions, encouraging public entities to transition to all-electric vehicle fleets, investing in EV charging infrastructure & expanding access to mass transit. I support investing in wind & solar projects. To protect our waterways and Great Lakes, I'll work to secure all pipelines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought MI’s racial & socioeconomic inequalities into sharp focus. The pandemic has affected some communities more harshly than others. Consider the disparate racial impact: African-Americans comprise 14% of MI’s overall population, yet they account for 40% of COVID-related deaths. To bridge these disparities, I will work to protect & expand access to healthcare, particularly within rural communities and communities of color. In addition, I will work to address underlying causes by pushing to build more affordable housing, funding our schools, and creating high-quality jobs.
Death by firearm is a leading cause of death for Michigan youth. I support common-sense measures to make gun ownership safer in households, and to keep firearms out of the hands of children, the mentally ill, and those who are abusive or violent. I support red flag laws, increased background checks, closing loopholes for online and gun-show sales, and disarming domestic abusers.
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