Democratic State House Candidate Hopes To Address Social Problems From "The Other Side"

Oct 15, 2018

Dennis Smith
Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

Dennis Smith says as a former teacher, his heart is still in education. He says that’s the most effective way to help people out of poverty in the long term.

Smith a retired Lutheran Pastor says he’s become interested in addressing the social ills he’s seen as a pastor and teacher. He is the Democratic candidate for state House in the 59th District, which includes all of St. Joseph County and most of Cass County.

Smith says he would focus on public schools. He says charter schools are a fact in Michigan. But Smith says the state shouldn’t go any further with public money going to schools run by profit making organizations.

Asked about a living wage, Smith calls it kind of a moving target. He says he knows some people who are making minimum wage with various part time jobs because companies don’t way to employ them full time and pay benefits. Smith says $12 an hour would be a bare minimum wage for Michigan.

Smith says while there is some public transportation in St. Joseph and Cass Counties, he says it’s not terribly convenient. He says more funding is needed to improve access.

Smith calls fixing the roads a priority to attract new businesses. He says gas taxes aren’t raising sufficient funds due to electric vehicles and other factors. Smith says it’s also regressive tax that hits poorer people harder.