State Representative Candidates Dennis Poirier and Charles Brunner at the Forum.
Most County Commission Candidates Oppose Health Coverage for Members
October 17, 2010
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By: MyBayCity Staff
All candidates for Bay County Commission except current commissioner Don Tilley are opposed to health care for members.
That was one area of nearly unanimous agreement as the South End Citizens District Council hosted two Candidate Forums at the Bay County Child and Senior Center in Bay City.
Chairman Thomas A. Baird served as the Moderator for the Forums on both nights. This was the fourth year that the CDC has hosted Political Candidate Forums to help the public learn more about the Candidates that are running for public office.
The Great Start Parent Collation was a co-sponsor of the Forums this year to better help spread the word on how candidates would support early childhood development. Great Start representative Amy Trogan said "This was an opportunity for us to get involved and have our elected Representatives better understand the importance of starting education at a very early age."
Both forums had a smaller attendance than hoped for according to Moderator Thomas Baird. "We held similar forums at the end of June, 2010 and had about 100 people in attendance both nights. I was a bit disappointed in the smaller turnout. However we had great numbers in the Candidates and great responses to all of the questions that were put to them."
The first evening saw candidates running for Statewide offices in attendance. Both candidates running for the 96th State Representative seat, 31st State Senate seat and three candidates running for the Fifth Congressional District attended the two hour forum.
Dennis Poirier and Charles Brunner -- These friendly candidates dived right into the questions. Both of the candidates made their positions very clear with Charles Brunner saying "I have a history of fighting for the residents and will continue to do so when going to Lansing."
Dennis Poirier stressed that "Bringing jobs to the Mid-Michigan area is key to helping our area recovery. I favor eliminating the Michigan Business Tax replace it with a corporate tax. It would not be as harmful to a business."
The candidates for the 31st State Senate seat saw current State Representative Jeff Mayes facing off against former State Representative Mike Green from Mayville.
Jeff Mayes spoke of his record over the past six years at State Representative as the reason to vote for him for Senator.
Mike Green who has been away from Lansing for almost a decade didn't envision another run for office. However, Green stated "That we need to go in a different direction today in Lansing. We need to do things that will attract businesses to come into Michigan and want to create jobs."
Three of the four candidates running for the 5th Congressional seat were in attendance. Current U.S. Congressman Dale Kildee campaign stated that he was in Washington D.C. and couldn't attend but did send an opening statement and responses to two questions that provided to all of the candidates.
All three of the other candidates are newcomers in running for political office. John Kupiec Republican from Grand Blanc, Matt Moon Libertarian from Fenton and Green Party candidate Matt DeHues from Bay City all gave very informative opening remarks telling about themselves and why they are running. All agreed that it was time to get new representation in Washington D.C. with Congressman Dale Kildee being in office since 1976.
The Congressional candidates answered questions on Health Care, creating jobs in Michigan and bringing federal tax dollars back to Michigan. Kupiec said "We need to get away from socialized medicine and open the competition up."
The second of the two Forums was held on Thursday October 7,2010 and was for all of the contested Bay County Commission races. That would involve five of the nine Districts in Bay County. There would be nine out of the possible ten candidates in attendance at the Forum. Attendees included 2nd District Adam Reddick and Brandon Krause, 4th District Joe Davis, 7th District Nicholas Shaffer and Tom Ryder, 8th District Chris Rupp and M.J. Gorney and 9th District
Patrick Dailey and Don Tilley.
Moderator Thomas Baird put eight questions to the candidates
covering a wide range of topics. All nine of candidates pledged that they would not raise Bay County taxes if elected. All but one of the candidates were in favor of eliminating the County paid health insurance for the part-time position of County Commissioner. Current Commissioner Don Tilley favored keeping this benefit.
On the topic of the coal-fired energy plant for Consumers Energy in Hampton Township all supported the building of the plant. Candidate Tom Ryder stated "It would bring over 1,800 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs to the plant. It's a great thing." Adam Reddick said" This is 1.5 billion dollar investment by Consumer Energy." All of the other candidates stated similar comments on the building of a new plant.
On the hot topic of creating jobs in Bay County candidate Joe Davis stated "We have to get new businesses into Bay County." Republican Chris Rupp and Democrat Tom Ryder agreed on one thing that "Job retention is very important. Be supportive of keeping the existing jobs here in Bay County to stay in Bay County." M.J. Gorney stressed "That we need to diversify the economy in Bay County and not be so dependent on G.M."
All of the candidates stressed their commitment and involvement in Bay County over the years and why they wanted to serve on the Bay County Commission for the next two years. It was also a general theme between them that benefits currently received by County
Commissioners have to end.
At the end of both Forums Moderator Thomas Baird reminded the public that their greatest right as an American is the right to vote. He reminded all that they needed to go to the polls on Tuesday November 2, 2010 and vote. He further said "I was very pleased with the way both Forums came off. We had great numbers for virtually all of the Candidates on the ballots in attendance. We plan on doing this again in the future. We are the community group that has stepped forward and do this needed community service."
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