WSW: Democratic Candidate Says She's Paying Tax Debt, Calls Ad "Debt Shaming"

Oct 11, 2018

Alberta Griffin - file photo
Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

Alberta Griffin says she’s running for state House to protect educational standards, make sure families feel safe and improve infrastructure and water quality.


Griffin won the Democratic nomination in the 61st state House District, which includes the city of Portage as well as Oshtemo, Schoolcraft, Prairie Rhonde and Texas Townships. The district is currently represented by Republican Brandt Iden, who is running for his third term in the House. Griffin spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans.

PFASes

Griffin says the elevated levels of PFASes in Parchment and other places, including three wells in Portage, show the need to focus on public health infrastructure. She says that requires public health officials on the job and funding to keep track of contamination.

Education

Griffin says education policy should examine equity and the distribution of resources. She says when testing shows that schools are underperforming, it’s important to look at other factors. Griffin says there should be a balance between the time for testing and care for student and teacher in classroom. Griffin says it’s important to measure how students develop over the school year.

Auto Insurance

Griffin says Michigan needs to revisit it’s auto insurance system with the highest rates in country. She says because of the expense many people don’t get insurance. Griffin says she’s open to letting people have the option of buying less expensive insurance that does not include lifetime benefits for people seriously injured in auto accidents. But she’s not sure that the benefit needs to be eliminated.

Safety

Asked for more detail about people “feeling safe,” Griffin says transparency and open communication are concerns she hears about from voters. Griffin says residents have concerns about guns in schools. She says people feel safer when they feel that their voice is being heard.

Transparency

Griffin says the governor and legislature should be subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. She says a public servant has to accept scrutiny. Griffin says “perfection is not the end game,” integrity is. Paying Taxes

Political

Advertising has accused Griffin of not paying her taxes. Griffin says her small business had a very good year, so the taxes owed turned out to be more than was estimated. Griffin says she went on a tax payment plan like many other small business owners. Griffin says the amount was less than $4,000. She says she made sure that her staff was paid, and now she’s paying her debt. Griffin says it’s “unnerving” that it was an attack on her character for being transparent.

A blog post called The Debt Shaming of Alberta Griffin was written by Griffin in response to the ads. She says the ads are an attempt to shame her for being an entrepreneur, but not being a large enough company to get away with not paying taxes.

Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview. 

Roads

Asked whether more money is needed for roads, Griffin says it’s important to set priorities. She says she doesn’t want to increase taxes. Griffin says more investment is also needed in water infrastructure.

Guns

Griffin says the 2nd amendment is important, and says her family goes hunting every November. But Griffin says experience and training with a firearm are important. She says it’s also important that vetting is in place to screen people who decide to purchase a firearm.

Mental Health

Related to guns, Griffin says it’s important to not automatically link mental health and gun violence. She says not everyone who has a mental health issue needs to be restricted from owning a firearm, and Griffin says people shouldn’t lose the right to own a gun in perpetuity.

Campaign

Asked about running in a Democrat in a district where Republicans have won consistently, Griffin says the district is full of people like her who own small businesses and side businesses. Griffin says she plans to work with them and for them.