Jon Hoadley has managed campaigns in the past, but this is the first time his name has been on the ballot.
He led the campaign for a nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Kalamazoo. It included protection for sexual orientation and gender identity. Hoadley is one of three Democrats running in the 60th state House District, which includes the city of Kalamazoo. The seat is currently held by Democrat Sean McCann, who is running for state Senate. Kalamazoo County Commissioner Dave Buskirk and Kalamazoo Township Trustee Pamela Brown Goodacre are also running for the state House seat. Hoadley told WMUK's Gordon Evans and Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Alex Mitchell that even though he hasn't run for political office before, he has an understanding of how good public policy is made. A summary of issues:
The interview with Hoadley was recorded on Monday before state lawmakers started voting on a proposal to pay for road repair. But Hoadley says infrastructure has been neglected. He says an "all of the above" approach is needed that includes increasing the gas tax. Hoadley says he's not enthusiastic about toll roads. He calls it the "semi-privatization" of state roads, and says there are are concerns about environmental impacts and users paying their fair share.
The legislature approved an increase in the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour by 2018. Hoadley says he would have voted for the bill, but would have liked to see a ballot measure passed. That proposal would have taken the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Hoadley says someone working a minimum wage job should not end up in poverty.
Hoadley says public policy should consider facts, keep the community safe and allow as much freedom as possible. He says the states that have legalized marijuana provide an experiment to watch play out. Hoadley says if a system can be created that properly regulates marijuana, he would favor legalization.
Governor Rick Snyder has called for state lawmakers to discuss amending the state's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Hoadley says the discussion is about treating people fairly. But he says protecting the rights of gay people also makes economic sense. Hoadley, who is openly gay, says his voice would be one that's lacking right now in Lansing. He says Michigan hasn't had an openly gay lawmaker since Chris Kolb left in 2007.
Both of Hoadley's opponents for the Democratic nomination have served in local government. He says people should vote for the best ideas, energy and vision for the 60th District. Hoadley says he has a track record of strong advocacy on issues that people care about.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview
Allied Paper Landfill
Hoadley says cleaning up PCB contamination from the site should be a top priority for Kalamazoo and the state of Michigan. He says while there is broad agreement that the area should be completely cleaned up. Hoadley says it's important for the community make its voice is heard and "be a good partner" to the EPA in finding solutions.
Hoadley says the state has relied too heavily on the idea that tax cuts for corporations to create jobs. He says the long-term impact is that taxes have shifted to seniors and families. Hoadley says that won't be good for Michigan's bottom line.
Currently Michigan lawmakers are limited to six years in the House and eight years in the state Senate. Hoadley says the combination of term limits, more campaign spending and "gerrymandered districts" is "a trifecta of bad government." He says he hasn't closely studied the idea of a part-time Legislature. Hoadley says he favors measures to increase transparency in campaign contributions. He says state lawmakers should look for ways to "add some more sunlight to what would be an otherwise shady process."
Hoadley says education should be at the top of the priority list. He says a highly-trained, highly educated state will be good for Michigan in the long run. Hoadley says teachers have been under attack in Michigan, and he says more should be done to support them.