Candidates for vacant 28th District Senate share top priorities ahead of 2021 election

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KENT COUNTY, MI – Four candidates compete in the Tuesday November 2 election to fill the vacant seat in the State Senate representing northern and western Kent County.

State Representative Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, Democrat Keith Courtade, Libertarian Alex Avery and Theodore Gerrard of the American Taxpayers Party are vying for the seat of the 28th District Senate.

The district encompasses the northern half of Kent County and part of its western edge, including the towns of Wyoming, Walker and Grandville.

The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the term of former State Senator Peter MacGregor, Township of R-Cannon, which ends in January 2023. A full four-year term is up for grabs in the fall 2022. MacGregor stepped down from the seat in 2020 after winning the election to become Kent County Treasurer.

To help readers learn more about the candidates, MLive sent out a questionnaire to each candidate asking for their basic information and why they are showing up.

General information is provided here in alphabetical order:

Alex avery, 32, is a truck driver. When asked about relevant community experience, Avery said, “I’m just a guy. “

Keith Courtade, 60, is a retired General Motors employee and a graduate of Michigan State University. He previously served on the Kent County Council of Commissioners from 2008-2010. Courtade has also served on the Network180 Board of Directors, the Wyoming-Kentwood Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors of the UAW LOCAL 730.

His candidate website is http://keithcourtade4statesenator.com/.

Theodore Gerrard, 59, is the owner of Wilderness Electric Inc. Gerrard says he’s a US Navy veteran and has a bachelor’s degree in vocational education. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity for over 20 years and with Warriors Set Free for over six years.

Marc Huizenga, 54, owns Mark Huizenga Systems Consulting and Key Green Solutions. He has represented the 74th House District since 2019. He was mayor of Walker from 2013 to 2017 and city commissioner before that. He holds a master’s degree in management from Aquinas College. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Western Michigan and Northern Indiana Division of the Salvation Army, the Council of State Governments, the Midwest Higher Education Compact Commission and the Midwest-Canada Trade Subcommittee, of which he is co-chair.

Its candidate site is https://votehuizenga.com/.

Here’s how applicants answered questions about why they are running and their top priorities. Applicants were asked to limit their responses to 250 words and those who exceeded expectations had their responses cut off at the end. Otherwise, the responses were not edited by MLive.

Why should voters elect you?

Avery:

I want to live in a world where gay, married and polygamous nudists can defend their untaxed cocaine stores with unregulated sawed-off shotguns. I will always fight for your right to live as you see fit as long as you do not interfere with the natural rights of others.

Courtade:

You can count on me to be the voice of families and individuals, the middle class, the poor and the elderly – all residents – if you are elected state senator. I brought this plea to the Kent County Council of Commissioners when I was elected to this service. I maintain a commitment to fiscal responsibility, tax fairness, accountability and open government.

Health and safety are important to watch. I will work to maintain and restore the quality of our groundwater and hold polluters to account. I will stand up for free, fair and accessible elections and I will absolutely oppose all efforts that interfere with our ability to vote. As always, I will demand an open debate on important state issues and I will oppose any efforts to make decisions behind closed doors. Elected officials should be held accountable for their decisions.

I will treat everyone with respect and courtesy. I am committed to providing strong, effective, truthful and fair leadership. I ask for your vote and support, and I look forward to serving you again!

Gerard:

1) I have 40 years of troubleshooting and problem solving experience. 2) Over 20 years as a business owner, I have managed many projects and trained many workers. 3) As a parent of 2 disabled children, I have worked with schools helping them to better serve the community. I have also fought the “government system” on behalf of my sons to ensure that they receive the benefits due to them according to state law. 4) After learning in 8th grade that I probably wouldn’t finish high school due to a learning disability, I excelled to the point of teaching high school and middle school classes. 5) As a volunteer for Warriors Set Free, I have accompanied a number of men in their darkest battles. 6) I believe that the TRUTH matters. 7) I believe that our State Constitution is the basis of our laws and those who violate these laws should be held accountable (from the governor to the county clerk). 8) I believe we should separate Michigan from slavery from the US Department of Education, by returning control of schools to parents and teachers. I believe that killing babies is wrong and as long as society believes it is okay to kill babies, respect for life in general will continue to decline and violent crime will continue to increase. 10) I believe we MUST put others before ourselves or we will continue to fall into dependence on government.

Huizenga:

In addition to educational experience in business principles and practices, I also have the most diverse real-world private business experience among candidates for this race. I was director of pediatric practices for Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, which is the second largest health care provider in the state of Michigan. I have also been a business consultant to several health care entities nationwide. I own two small businesses and employ 12 people. I own and sole proprietor of my own healthcare consulting business as well as the owner of a software company called Key Green Solutions which manages hundreds of thousands of square feet of hospital space across the country. I have a solid background in economic development, especially while being mayor of Walker, my work has generated thousands of jobs, while reducing long-term liabilities and debt. My education, my business experience and my success will allow me to serve my constituents well. In addition to my professional accolades, I am also a longtime conservative Republican who is 100% prolife, pro 2nd Amendment, and pro job creation. My values ​​best reflect the values ​​of the community I seek to represent.

If you are elected, what will be your three priorities?

Huizenga:

1) I have played a vital role in drafting and adopting the parliamentary version of the state budget since my election in 2018. My first priority will always be to produce a balanced and conservative state budget.

2) Financial disclosure for elected officials. Michigan ranks dead last in government transparency. We need to change that and require the disclosure of financial information by elected officials, as candidates for office will help the public better know who represents them and allow them to be effective watchdogs in the event of a conflict of interest.

3) HB 4649 and 4650 offering tax credits to employers who provide housing. We are going through a real estate crisis in western Michigan, where supply and future construction plans are largely outweighed by demand. Reducing government regulations on business owners and getting them to help solve the shortage will bring stability to our region and allow people to live, work and raise families here for generations to come.

Gerard:

1) Bank; When returning an item to a retailer or wholesaler, SHAL funds will be credited to the customer’s account within a similar time frame as the funds transfer at the time of purchase.

2) Stable power generation capacity must be ensured as demand increases.

3) Continue efforts to make Michigan a more business-friendly state.

Courtade:

Free, fair and accessible elections and will oppose all efforts that interfere with our ability to vote.

Health care for all.

Maintain and restore the quality of our groundwater and empower polluters.

Avery:

Put Michigan at the top of the list of the most expensive states in which to insure a car by excluding the state.

Repeal all laws criminalizing non-violent actions that do not violate the natural rights of others.

End qualified immunity.

Read more:

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