District 72 Michigan House of Representatives: Draayer, Lewis, Johnson

Nov. 6, 2018, general election

Three candidates are seeking election to the 72nd State Representative District seat. After his first term of office, Republican Rep. Steve Johnson of Wayland is being challenged for re-election to the two-year term by Democrat Ron Draayer of Kentwood and Libertarian Jamie Lewis of Grand Rapids.

The district includes Allegan County’s Dorr, Leighton and Wayland townships and the City of Wayland along with Gaines Township and part of the City of Kentwood in Kent County.

Candidates were asked to provide a brief background about themselves as well as answer the same set of 11 questions.

 

Ron Draayer

Democrat

Draayer was a classroom teacher for 40 years at Davenport University in Grand Rapids in technology and cyber security. Ron has been very involved with the FBI InfraGard program in Michigan which protects critical infrastructures such as electrical, water and transportation systems. He was also a State Advisor for the Business Professionals of America program for students in Michigan. Draayer has three children and is a homeowner in Kentwood.

 

1. Do you believe the state needs to commit more funds toward road improvement? If so, what method to do that would you support?

Yes, our crumbling infrastructure is in need of major repair. This will require a combination of cleanup of fraud and waste in other Michigan programs, using better materials and processes to build our roads, and have those who operate heavy trucks pay their fair share to help fix our highway systems.

 

2. Be it funding or policy, what is your major goal when addressing public education?

My major goal in public education in Michigan is to increase funding for schools so that teachers can have adequate resources to teach our children. We should also expand our community college programs to include more training for technical jobs and the skilled trades. 

 

3. What will you pursue to protect places like public schools from mass shootings?

Unfortunately, our school buildings and public buildings will need to be redesigned and constructed in the future to be similar to the system used at airport security checkpoints. Schools should be given adequate funding for safety officers.

 

4. What is your primary goal when addressing the state budget?

I support the Michigan Constitution, which requires a balanced state budget. As a Certified Fraud Examiner, I will lead the effort to reduce the fraud and abuse that occurs within our state systems.

 

5. What are your legislative priorities if elected?

My top legislative priority if elected will be to make sure that our schools are adequately funded so that our talented Michigan teachers can have the resources to do their jobs. Our roads, bridges and water systems must not continue to cripple our state. Our automobile insurance must be reduced for all citizens. 

 

6. What is your stance on abortion?

I think we all have the same goal: to reduce or eliminate the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies. I believe the best way to reach this goal is by increasing access to contraception and ensuring there is comprehensive sex education taught in public schools. If a woman is faced with a difficult decision such as having an abortion, this decision should be made between a woman and her health care provider after consultation with family members and trusted spiritual and religious advisors. I do not believe the state should be involved in these private decisions.

 

7. List any organizations that have endorsed your campaign.

I believe we need to put families before wealthy corporate interests and have not accepted any corporate endorsements. My endorsements are: Allegan County Democrats and Kent County Democrats and I’m supported by Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

 

8. What strategies do you plan to pursue to reduce the price of Michigan’s auto insurance rates?

We must end the process of allowing insurance companies to use credit scores and “red-lining” to determine insurance rates. Our legislature must side with the victims of automobile accidents, not the protection of the profits of insurance companies.

 

9. Do you have any goals to help make health insurance more available and/or affordable?

I support the Medicaid expansion in Michigan to provide health care to people in Michigan who cannot afford health care coverage on their own. We should move to a system where every citizen in Michigan has access to basic health coverage, especially our children. The profits of insurance companies should not be a consideration as part of this discussion. 

 

10. What can be done to bring high-speed internet service to more rural areas such as Allegan County?

The lack of the availability of high-speed internet in Allegan County is hurting our educational system. Many children cannot do homework without access to internet service. A partnership between Allegan County, the state of Michigan and service providers must be in place to insure internet service for all of the residents of Allegan County.

 

11. What qualifies you to represent the 72nd District?

I have dedicated my lifetime to the service and training of young adults.  I have the experience to find and implement programs that everyone can access to help them develop the skills that will be necessary in the future and to work with people of all different backgrounds and beliefs.

 

Jamie Lewis

Libertarian

Lewis is the Chair of the Libertarian Party of West Michigan. He first moved into the district in 1977. After studying Political Science at Western Michigan University he bought a house in the district in 1989 and has lived here ever since. He has raised two kids here who both attended Kentwood Public Schools. Jamie was very active in the schools, serving as Cubmaster, PTO Vice Chair and the Vice President of the Kentwood Public Schools Parent Advisory Committee.

 

1. Do you believe the state needs to commit more funds toward road improvement? If so, what method to do that would you support?

Yes, there are many areas where programs can be cut, with the money being redirected towards roads, such as all economic development programs.

 

2. Be it funding or policy, what is your major goal when addressing public education?

Only parents know their children and what is truly best for them. I support giving parents complete choice in their children’s education.

 

3. What will you pursue to protect places like public schools from mass shootings?

Every school should be able to set it’s own policies, including safety policy. Parents should then be free to send their kids to the school that they feel is the best match for their kids.

 

4. What is your primary goal when addressing the state budget?

Zero Based Budgeting. Instead of deciding each year how much more a program needs. Every program will need to justified.

 

5. What are your legislative priorities if elected?

Road Improvement; Repeal of No Fault Auto Insurance; Tax Reduction

 

6. What is your stance on abortion?

I consider myself to be Pro-Life

 

7. List any organizations that have endorsed your campaign.

Michigan Vaccine Freedom Political Action Committee; Received an “A” rating from Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners

 

8. What strategies do you plan to pursue to reduce the price of Michigan’s auto insurance rates?

Repeal No Fault Auto Insurance. North Carolina has the lowest rates in the country, $2,000 per year on average lower than Michigan. I want to adopt the same insurance standards here.

 

9. Do you have any goals to help make health insurance more available and/or affordable?

Expand choice as much as possible. Let everyone choose what is included in their policy instead of the state dictating coverage.

 

10. What can be done to bring high-speed internet service to more rural areas such as Allegan County?

Rely on private industry, which is expanding access at no cost or risk to taxpayers. Make broadband deployment cheaper and faster by streamlining state and local rules

 

8. What qualifies you to represent the 72nd District?

I recognize that this district is made up of over 100,000 individuals. Each person is unique. Everyone has their own goals and needs. What will work for one person will not work for someone else. You need to be allowed to decide what is best for you. I will support all legislation that will increase your ability to make your own decisions and oppose any measure that takes choice away from you.

 

Stephen Johnson

Republican

incumbent

Johnson was born and raised in Wayland. He graduated from South Christian High School and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving for four years where he was a staff sergeant responsible for leading a team of airmen to repair nuclear missile weapon systems. He then moved back to Michigan and graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science. He was elected to his first term in the House in 2016.

NOTE: Rep. Johnson did not respond to requests to fill out the questionnaire, so this profile includes only his answers to questions asked for our profiles leading up to the August primary.

 

1. Do you believe the state needs to commit more funds toward road improvement? If so, what method to do that would you support?

The state needs to cut wasteful spending and use those savings to fix our roads.

 

2. Be it funding or policy, what is your major goal when addressing public education?

No one cares more about a child’s education than his parents and as such they should have more control over their child’s education. I oppose Common Core. No one cares more about a child’s education than his parents and as such they should have more control over their child’s education. I oppose Common Core.

 

3. What will you pursue to protect places like public schools from mass shootings?

We need to stop these ridiculous gun-free zones where mass shooters know that people are defenseless. It’s time to stand up for the innocent law abiding citizens who have been stripped of their God given rights.

 

4. What is your primary goal when addressing the state budget?

The State budget continues to grow every year. This needs to end and I will work towards a smaller more reasonable budget to allow hard working taxpayers retain more of their hard-earned money.

 

5. What are your legislative priorities if elected?

Defend the unborn, cut spending, stop Common Core, stop Obama’s dangerous transgender policy that lets men into girl’s bathrooms.

 

6. What is your stance on abortion?

I am 100 percent pro-life and believe that life begins at conception and should be protected from that point forward.

 

7. List any organizations that have endorsed your campaign.

Right to Life of Michigan, Michigan Farm Bureau, Small Business Association of Michigan, Citizens for Traditional Values, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, perfect rating from the NRA.

 

8. What strategies do you plan to pursue to reduce the price of Michigan’s auto insurance rates?

(Did not respond.)

 

9. Do you have any goals to help make health insurance more available and/or affordable?

(Did not respond.)

 

10. What can be done to bring high-speed internet service to more rural areas such as Allegan County?

(Did not respond.)

 

11. What qualifies you to represent the 26th District?

I am the clear conservative choice in this race. I am the only candidate with a proven conservative voting record.

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