WSW: Candidate Says Democrat Can Win In "Very Strong" Republican District

Oct 4, 2018

Jen Aniano
Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

Jennifer Aniano is a teacher and says education would be one of her top priorities in she is elected to the state House.

The Democrat teaches at Loy Norrix High school. Aniano is running in the 63rd state House District, which includes eastern Kalamazoo County and part of Calhoun County.


Aniano says education should include more opportunities for skilled labor and agriculture in high school curriculum. She says college should not be the only path for high school students.


As Vice President of the Kalamazoo Education Association, Aniano says she favors rolling back the state’s right to work laws. She says the KEA has been able to keep many teachers in the union, but it’s not easy. Aniano says some changes in state law would allow unions to show benefits of membership.


Aniano says it’s the duty of people in Michigan to protect water and the Great Lakes. She says PFAS’s in drinking water and lead contamination in Flint are unacceptable. Aniano says she understands the desire for less regulation in some areas, but she says when it comes to water regulations are necessary. Asked how much money the state should spend on testing possibly decades-old contamination, Aniano responds “How much is Flint worth?” She says it’s better to be proactive, rather than reactive.


The state has announced an agreement with Enbridge for a tunnel and a new Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. Aniano says she isn’t sure that’s the best solution, but she says something has to be done to prevent a massive oil spill in the Great Lakes.


Aniano says she doesn’t know why roads in Michigan aren’t in better shape. She says the state should look at money dedicated to the roads, and make sure it’s going to construction. Aniano says there should be more transparency in how money is spent on roads.

Auto Insurance

Aniano says she likes that if “god forbid” she is catastrophically injured in an accident, they won’t be a burden on her family. Aniano says many voters support the idea of that system, but they don’t like the cost. She says high insurance rates are hurting people just trying to get by. Aniano says she’s not sure what the solution is, but she says the current system needs change.

Ballot Proposals

Proposal 1 on the November ballot would legalize marijuana for people 21 and older. Aniano says she supports the proposal, and says there’s a possible economic benefit. She also supports Proposal 2 to change Michigan’s redistricting process, and Proposal 3 to promote voting access.


While acknowledging that she is running as a Democrat in a “very strong” Republican district, Aniano says she can win in November. Aniano says she is logical, and open to hearing from people who disagree with her. Aniano says stranger things than a Democrat winning the 63rd state House District have happened, for instance Donald Trump being elected President in 2016.

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

Charter Schools

Aniano says she’s not against charters, but is against the way they are implemented in Michigan. She says if charters are going to be an option, some way has to be found to protecting funding for public education students.


In the discussion on Line 5, Aniano says when a source of energy is removed, a replacement should be found. Aniano says she prefers relying more on renewable energy, but says problems with that must be worked out.

Health Care and Wealth

Aniano says she’s not sure that a single payer system is the best way forward on health care. She says as a teacher, she is fortunate to have good coverage. But Aniano says her premiums and co-pays have also been rising. She says minimum wage is not enough to live on and buy insurance, especially because people need to own a vehicle in Michigan to get back and forth to work.