By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Michigan House of Representatives 9th District will have a new face in January, and three Democrats are vying to face off in November against Republican James Stephens.
Democrats Gary Pollard, Donald Stuckey II and Karen Whitsett are on the Aug. 7 primary ballot seeking the two-year position.
The seat that represents part of Dearborn and Detroit is open because state Rep. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) is running for the 3rd District State Senate seat.
Candidates were contacted and asked to answer questions about why they are interested in the senate position. Each of the following question had a 100-word limit.
Pollard and Whitsett did not respond to questions by deadline.
Question 1: Why are you running for state representative?
Stuckey II: Given the state of our current politics, the Ninth District representation in Lansing that will not only stand in the gap for our communities but also be uniter and not a divider. I am the candidate that can help unite our district and other members in the Legislature to make progress on issues that have been plaguing our state much too long.
Question 2: What skills, education or experience do you possess that make you a qualified candidate for the position you are running for?
Stuckey II: B.A in Political Science from Eastern Michigan University, M.A. Dispute Resolution at Wayne State University. I have over 10 years of experience in community service and politics. I am the only candidate that has worked in both Detroit and Dearborn school. I have served as City Year Detroit in AmeriCorps NCCC. As a mediator at the Wayne Dispute Resolution Center, I have helped everyday individual stay out court, live in their legal bills and take a primary role in solving their own problems.
Question 3: What is the one most important issue facing your district and what will you do in your position if (re)elected to solve it?
Stuckey II: Every time I talk to voters in the Ninth District they are asking that something is done about auto insurance. Detroit pays the highest rate in Michigan; Dearborn pays the second highest. I do not support driver choice. It does not guarantee rate relief and the people of Detroit and Dearborn will only be given the option of purchasing insurance that was not fully cover their medical automobile. Instead, I support the Fair and Affordable No-Fault reform legislation. It addresses many of the areas that I believe would help to lower insurance rates. It would ban non-driving factors like ZIP code and credit score from being used to determine your insurance rates. It addresses fraud and it holds the insurance companies accountable.
Question 4: Why should people vote for you?
Stuckey II: For years we have had political candidates and politicians make promises this letter down year in year out. I am the candidate that has the skill to make real progress on the issue that people are concerned about. It is critically important that those who are elected are only influenced by the people of the Ninth District. This is why my campaign has taken no money from corporate political action committees or lobbyists.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])