Job creation, the safety and sustainability of communities, guaranteeing that every child has access to a high quality public education and repairing Michigan’s deteriorating infrastructure remain state Rep. Vicki Barnett’s top priorities.
The two-term, 37th District legislator recently announced her bid to seek election to her third and last term. State law limits representatives to three two-year terms.
“My goals haven’t changed in my four years in the state House,” said Barnett, D-Farmington Hills. “If we are not addressing these four things, then we truly aren’t addressing the needs of the people of the state of Michigan.”
The former veteran Farmington Hills mayor and council member will face political newcomer, Republican Bruce Lilley of Farmington, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Barnett is seeking re-election to her 37th District seat to continue repositioning Michigan for an economically healthy and sustainable future.
“There’s still more we can do to create jobs in Michigan. Restructuring the economy is a long-term effort.”
Massive cuts to public education, local communities and state infrastructure aren’t making Michigan a stronger competitor for new business or creating a plan for long-term economic sustainability, Barnett said.
“There are two sides to public tax dollars,” she said. “We have spent a lot of time and debate on massive cuts that are hurting our educational system, punishing retirees and making it harder for working families to make ends meet, but we haven’t spent enough time talking about investment.”
This year Barnett introduced legislation to provide technical assistance through Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the state’s universities to help small businesses to better qualify for loans. The legislation also allows community banks and credit unions to work together to provide small businesses needed capital.
Barnett also played an instrumental role in restoring a portion of funding to Michigan’s developing film industry. A budget amendment eked out in May calls for doubling Gov. Rick Snyder’s $25 million allocation for the fledgling industry. And that’s considerably less that the estimated $160 million anticipated by the 2008 law that created the film industry’s state credit program.
The Farmington Hills resident is again taking up the gauntlet to create a formal designation for socially conscious benefit corporations. These companies have a for-profit mission but also concern themselves with their impact on people, the community and the planet.
“Michigan must keep pace with the need to update corporate laws so that we can attract business to the state,” Barnett said. “Benefit corporations are disproportionately created and run by young talented entrepreneurs – the kind of business leaders we are trying to attract and keep in this state.”
When Barnett walks door-to-door throughout Farmington and Farmington Hills, she finds voters are very concerned about public education. And Barnett is not surprised.
“In the last two budget cycles, House and Senate leadership have cut more than $1 billion a year from K-12 education,” Barnett said. “When people voted for Proposal A in 1994 they expected the state education fund to provide a high quality education to all students, kindergarten through the 12th grade.”
“The Proposal A vote was intended to make sure that our schools received enough money every year to keep pace with inflation. Well, in the last two years that promise has been broken,” added Barnett, who wants to see full funding returned to public education.
“At what point are we going to talk about a world-class education? We have destroyed our educational system with all of the cuts. Our kids need to compete with other kids around the world.”
--Campaign press release