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Who’s on the ballot: 2018 election will impact all levels of government

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Story by Anna Schlutt, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Voters will head to the polls next Tuesday for Michigan’s 2018 midterm election, which involves many important and contentious races.

There are many open offices on the ballot, including Michigan’s governor, secretary of state, attorney general and U.S. senator.

Governor

The race for governor involves two major party candidates: Bill Schuette, republican, and Gretchen Whitmer, democrat.

Schuette is the state’s current attorney general, and is known for repeatedly clashing with current Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder did not endorse Schuette in his candidacy for governor.

Schuette places a heavy emphasis on literacy in schools, while Whitmer intends to target early childhood intervention and education. Whitmer also proposes two-year college education debt-free to students with good grades and community involvement.

Though Whitmer’s plan involves more active change in Michigan’s education system, it would also require more money from taxpayers, while Schuette’s plan would aim to gain support from business and philanthropic groups.

Whitmer’s environmental goals include a heavier focus on renewable energy and a decommission of the controversial Enbridge Line 5. Schuette supports the Line 5 tunnel, proposed by Rick Snyder.

Schuette also has a record of suing the EPA for environmental regulations. He places a heavy emphasis on state laws as opposed to federal regulations.

Another high-priority issue throughout Michigan has been fixing the roads. Whitmer has plans to address this problem which include massive funding, possibly through gas taxes and car registration fees. Schuette has no tangible plan to address Michigan’s road issues.

While the gubernatorial race is critical, many other positions are on the ballot that are just as vital. These include the race for attorney general.

Attorney General

A state attorney general is essentially the lawyer of the state. In Michigan, the attorney general will be responsible for prosecuting those involved in the Flint water crisis and the current PFAS crisis. They will also set the tone for how issues are handled in the state, including the potential legalization of marijuana.

Candidates for attorney general include Tom Leonard and Dana Nessel. Leonard’s focus is on elder abuse and mental health, but his main goal is to appropriately enforce existing laws. Nessel places an extremely high priority on the environment, and is known for her work in overturning Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

Senate and House of Representatives

Currently, Republicans control the all three branches of the federal government. Control of the Senate and House of Representatives are important issues this midterm.

The race for the U.S. Senate involves Debbie Stabenow, democrat, and John James, republican. Stabenow is running as an incumbent in her fourth senate race, while James has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.

The House race in the local district involves Justin Amash, republican, and Cathy Albro, democrat. Albro has focused her campaign on education and child development. Amash, an incumbent, is known for voting according to his principles rather than siding with his party on all issues.

Education

Michigan voters will also have the opportunity to vote for leaders of education this midterm, including Trustees of Michigan State University. While this vote might seem inconsequential, this board will have influence on who leads the college following the Larry Nassar scandal.

Michigan Supreme Court

Judges of the Michigan Supreme Court are on the upcoming ballot. This section is defined as nonpartisan, so the affiliation of candidates will not be shown. Megan Kathleen Cavanagh and Sam Bagenstos tend to side with liberals, while Elizabeth T. Clement and Kurtis T. Wilder lean conservative.

Clement was the subject of recent controversy, having voted against the Republican Party to allow ballot Proposal 2, which involves redistricting, to remain on the ballot.

This election holds a great stake in the future of the nation. The upcoming races will set the tone for years to come at every level of government.

“It is imperative that you all go out and light a fire,” said Joeanne Peterson, a retired educator, speaking to a crowd of eligible voters at an informational meeting.

According to Peterson, “This next week is going to be one of the most important weeks of our lives.”

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