Mary Whiteford runs for final term as state representative, GOP, August 2020
State Rep. Mary Whiteford was first elected in March 2016 to the remainder of an expelled representative’s term. She won election to her first full term in November 2016 and again in 2018. Term limits dictate this is the final representative term for which she can serve. She faces a primary challenge from former Monterey Township supervisor Nevin Cooper-Kiel.
Candidates were each asked to provide responses to the same series of 10 questions and given limited space for each.
Mary Whiteford is a former pediatric nurse who lives in Casco Township, owns a financial planning firm with her husband Kevin, with whom she has three grown children and two grandchildren. She chairs the $26 billion Health and Human Services budget and also serves on the health policy and capital outlay committees.
She has lived in Allegan County for 13 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Northern Illinois University. Whiteford worked in a pediatric neurosurgery unit before working in a pediatric emergency unit. In 1997, she started an accounting business with her husband, Kevin, and they now run their own financial planning firm with their two sons and nephew in South Haven.
She was an active volunteer in her children’s schools, ran homeowner associations, was appointed to city committees and was appointed to the Michigan Women’s Commission where she worked on raising human trafficking awareness.
Whiteford grew up in the Midwest, in the small town of Cary, Ill., and is the oldest of four children.
1. So much of daily life is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. What will you work to accomplish in the legislature to aid small businesses hurt by the crisis?
I will continue to prioritize the health and safety of my district and our state in my role as chair of the health and human services budget.
I will continue to be a voice for our Allegan County businesses who desire to open and run their businesses safely.
I have voted to give small businesses and farmers grants to survive this difficult time.
2. What about assistance for schools to provide education while still trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus?
I voted to maintain and increase funding to assist our schools to provide education to their students safely.
3. To what extent will you support or oppose the emergency measures enacted unilaterally by the governor during the COVID-19 crisis?
The legislature is currently in the court of appeals fighting Gov. Whitmer’s interpretation that she can continue her unilateral governing of our state.
I believe that together we can work to govern our state safely.
4. What action would you take to address concerns sparked by the recent, widespread protests of police brutality, their clashes with protesters, and the connected rioting?
I believe that our Allegan County police officers do their best to keep us safe. I will always support them.
I voted to ensure police officers are trained to keep people safe and stop brutal actions.
5. What is your primary goal when addressing the state budget?
My goal is to find ways to reduce waste, inefficiencies and redundancies so we can maximize the way we use our existing dollars.
I also want to ensure that the vulnerable of our county and state get the important help and services that they so desperately need.
6. Do you believe the state needs to commit more funds toward road improvement? If so, what method to do that would you support?
In 2018, we committed to more than $4 billion to roads, including an additional $1 billion of new investment. We need to continue this prioritization, without raising taxes.
7. What can be done to bring high-speed internet service to more rural areas such as Allegan County?
I was able to convince our previous governor to dedicate $20 million for grants to deliver broadband service to communities. I also worked with Congressman Upton to dedicate over $10 million to establish broadband service to west Michigan, including Lee and Cheshire townships.
8. What is your stance on abortion?
I am 100-percent pro-life.
9. What are your legislative priorities, if elected?
I will continue my efforts to ensure early access and intervention for those struggling with mental illness and drug addiction.
My bill to establish the Michigan Crisis and Access line was signed into law in February and is in the process of implementation in early 2021. It will be the only system in the country offering support to any person needing help from a behavioral health professional.
10. What qualifies you to represent the 80th District?
As your state representative, I am committed to serving the people of Allegan County. We need a conservative voice that represents our district, and it’s my priority to make sure your voice is heard in Lansing.
By meeting with residents, business owners and local officials throughout the district, I’m afforded the opportunity to fight for the needs of our area.