Garnet Lewis says she was ready for retirement after a career as an educator and university administrator. But she says the 2016 election made her decide to get reengaged in the political process.
Lewis is the Democratic candidate for state Senate in the 26th district, which includes all of Van Buren and Allegan Counties, as well as the city of Kentwood and Gaines Township in Kent County. Lewis says education funding, the environment and health care are her top priorities.
Asked how to pay for expanding pre-school, Lewis says there is money in Michigan’s budget. She says it’s a matter of priorities. Lewis says the state has to decide that kind of place it wants to be when it comes to schools, roads and other public services.
Lewis says an investigation is needed into all companies and business that have contributed to PFAS contamination. She says those companies need to be held accountable and pay for cleaning up contamination.
Lewis says Medicaid expansion has been good for Michigan. She says the long-range plan should be a single-payer health care system. Lewis says she would make the case to business leaders that a single payer system would cost less than companies paying for their own health care plans. Lewis says a single payer system would also help for mental health care.
Lewis describes herself as a supporter of “farm to table” initiatives. She says smaller family owned farms have a more difficult time making produce available, compared with large farming operations. Lewis says removing those barriers requires taking the farm market approach and expanding it to restaurants.
Asked about making the Legislature and governor’s office subject to the Freedom of Information Act, Lewis says everything should be transparent. She says if decisions are being made, they should be done in the public eye.
More than 60% of voters cast their ballot for Republican Tonya Schuitmaker in the 26th state Senate district in 2014. But Lewis says she hears from voters that they are tired of one party representation. She says they are ready for another choice. Lewis says the voters want someone who will work across the aisle to get things done.