By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Incumbent Democrat Jewell Jones, 25, faces Republican James Townsend, 68, the 11th District state House seat in the Nov. 3 general election.
While serving as state representative, Jones is the vice chairman of the Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee and a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee. Townsend is currently a Garden City Public Schools bus driver.
Both candidates are seeking the two-year term seat to serve areas of Garden City, Inkster and parts of Dearborn Heights, Livonia and Westland.
Each were asked to respond to questions with responses limited to a 120-word count for each. All responses exceeding that limit were edited.
Question 1: List your education, experience or skills you posses that make you a qualified candidate.
Jones: State Representative Jewell Jones is serving his second term representing the 11th House District, which comprises all of Garden City and Inkster, and portions of Dearborn Heights, Livonia and Westland. Jones is Vice Chair of the Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee and is also a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee. Before serving in the Michigan House of Representatives, Jones was a member of the Inkster City Council. He was also a member of the Inkster Task Force, the Inkster Youth Coalition, the Inkster Chamber of Commerce and more. Jones attends the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he is pursuing a dual major in Political Science and Business Studies. He is also a member of the Michigan National Guard and Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
Townsend: I have a bachelor of science degree in Business Management, from Spring Arbor University (2013). I worked 17 years for GM Truck and Bus Group; and 20 years with the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, working with the homeless and drug and alcohol addicted. One of my duties was to act as a recipient rights advisor, and I became excellent at problem solving, showing dignity and respect to all persons.
Question 2: If (re)elected, what are three issues facing your constituents would you work to address and how?
Jones: Economic Security. I believe job growth and expanded employment result from maintaining a strong educational system that provides post-secondary and career-technical training opportunities that lead to good jobs. Additionally, increasing financial and technical support for small businesses assures that workers will continue to grow and prosper even in difficult times. The state should provide effective incentives to small businesses that stimulate growth and enable entrepreneurs to provide full-time employment, good wages and benefits to their employees. Social justice and health care. We need investments to fight poverty, racial disparities and inequality in health care and education. I am committed to financial support for policies and programs that eradicate racism and barriers that limit opportunities for disadvantaged minorities.
Townsend: I believe all students are entitled to a quality education, of their choice, in an environment safe from predators. Gun free zones protect no one but the criminals. Improve access to our mental health system for all children, men, women and veterans. I seek to help small business to do what they need to do to be successful: cut, reduce regulations that hinder them.
Question 3: Why are you seeking re(election) Why should people vote for you?
Jones: I am running for re-election to the Michigan House of Representative because I am committed to completing the work I began when I decided to seek this office three years ago. Voters in my community deserve a government that is responsive and willing to provide equitable services and resources that improve the quality of their lives. I represent communities that are still experiencing significant social and financial challenges because of declining economic conditions. These are working class people that relied heavily on auto manufacturers and other industrial companies for employment until innovation and the tech revolution compelled those companies to leave in the ’80s and ’90s.
Townsend: I support Right to Life; and citizens Second Amendment rights; I support investment and programs to create jobs and reduce crime.
For more information on the election or candidates go to www.lwvddh.org or www.vote411.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])