Farmington Hills Candidate Forum: Michigan House 37th District
An incumbent state representative and Republican challenger talk education, 'right to life' and renewable energy at the Council of Homeowners Associations Tuesday event.
This is one in a series of articles on a three-hour candidate forum held Tuesday at Farmington Hills city hall. The event was hosted by the Council of Homeowners Associations, the League of Women Voters Oakland Area (LWVOA) and the City of Farmington Hills Committee to Increase Voter Participation.
Incumbent Democrat Vicki Barnett and Republican Bruce Lilley, candidates for the 37th District State House seat, gave voters a taste of their positions on a wide range of issues during a Tuesday candidate forum held at Farmington Hills city hall. Here are just a few of the topics they discussed:
Barnett said the Republican-dominated Michigan House leadership took $1 billion away from education to make up for revenue cuts, which cost Farmington Public Schools $417 per pupil. She said while "throwing money at something" doesn't make it better, those cuts broke a promise made that schools would not be hurt by Proposal A, which shifted school funding from local to state revenues in 1994.
Lilley pointed out that Michigan is the 5th largest spender when it comes to education dollars. He said he would like to find out how the money is being diverted and where it's going. He said he wants to see education dollars spent in the classroom.
'Right to Life'
Lilley described himself as an "extremely Right to Life individual". He said he believes in the sanctity of life. He pointed out that Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and without life, the other two are moot. However, Lilley added, he could not predict how he would vote on particular bills until he sees them.
Barnett said while she is on record supporting reproductive choice, she also considers herself "right to life", in that she believes there should be no distinction between how children are taken care of before and after they are born. Barnett criticized cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit for families and other programs that support children. She said government should not be involved in family life decisions, whether at the beginning or end of life.
Proposal 3 - Renewable energy
Barnett favors the proposal, Lilley opposes it. While she believes getting Michigan to getting 25 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2025, he said energy costs have already skyrocketed as the state attempts to reach the current 10 percent goal by 2015. Barnett pointed out there is a "fail-safe" 1 percent cap on increased costs to consumers, and said not enacting the new standard is "closing our eyes to the future". Lilley said the problem is the technology isn't ready and called the proposed mandate "dangerous" and "reckless".
The forum will be rebroadcast on City of Farmington Hills channel 8 for Bright House cable customers. Learn more and watch on-line at swoccstudios.com.