John LaPietra says his main goal would be to work on ethics and accountability if he is elected to the state House. The Green Party Candidate is running in the district that includes parts of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties.
Four candidates are on the ballot in the 63rd state House District, including LaPietra. There will be a new representative in the district next year because the incumbent, David Maturen, was defeated in the Republican primary.
Ethics and Accountability
LaPietra says his main goal as a state Representative would be a government “of, by and for the people.” The Center for Public Integrity has found Michigan lags the nation in ethics and accountability. LaPietra says Michigan could learn from other states’ best practices. He says the Freedom of Information Act should apply to the governor’s office and the Legislature. LaPietra says the burden of proof for shielding something from FOIA should be on those who want to keep information from the public. He says the state needs a stronger Opening Meetings Act and better rules on disclosure and conflict of interest. LaPietra says incumbent officer holders should not promote themselves “on the public dollar.”
LaPietra says his time working in transportation planning taught him the “Field of Dreams” lesson of roads – “if you build it they will drive.” He says more highway building leads to more driving and more wear and tear. LaPietra says while he would not say that the state should “never” build a new highway, a sustainable transportation system and warranties for road repair are needed.
Asked about high auto insurance rates, LaPietra says the state needs to have an open fully informed discussion about catastrophic claims. He says it’s a unique system, and people should understand the benefits as well as costs. LaPeitra says an insurance commission might be needed to examine the practices of insurance companies.
LaPietra says he’s not sure one figure can be used for a living wage nationwide or statewide. He says while the Michigan Constitution does not allow for a graduated income tax there are some deductions that could be put back in the tax code that would make the system more progressive.
Like the Green Party, LaPietra supports legalizing marijuana. He says approval of Proposal 1 on the November ballot would reduce the impact of the war on drugs and school to prison pipeline. LaPietra says he supports expunging the records of people with convictions just for possession. He says legalization would also open the door for industrial hemp.
LaPietra calls the proposal for an independent redistricting commission “somewhat flawed” because he says Republicans and Democrats would still control system, but he says it should be a first step.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview.
LaPietra says there should be more testing for PFASes. He says a lower standard is needed than the current 70 parts per trillion for PFASes in drinking water.
Lessons of Flint
LaPietra says emergency manager laws should be repealed. He says the state should find out where problems already exist now with lead water lines. LaPietra says people should be in charge of their own waters. He says people in Flint knew there were problems, and couldn’t get state to act on them.
Voting and “Alternative Parties”
Like Proposal 2, La Pietra says he has some problems with Proposal 3 designed to improve voting access. He says straight ticket voting encourages people to vote for Republicans and Democrats, but he says the proposal is somewhat better than what’s in place. LaPietra says there are restrictions that make it tough on the Green Party or other “alternative parties” to compete He says that includes the different systems (primary or convention) that parties use for nominating candidates.