Republican state House candidate William Baker says he wants to get Michigan on a fiscally sustainable track. He’s running in the district that includes the city of Kalamazoo and most of Kalamazoo Township.
Baker is challenging Democrat Jon Hoadley in the 60th District race. He has lived in Kalamazoo for the past six years. This is his first run for public office.
Baker says the next 15-20 years will be difficult if there aren’t changes at the federal and state level. Baker says he anticipates less money coming from the federal government, so he would like Michigan state government to be able to run only on state revenue. Baker says nothing will be safe and it won’t be easy. Asked where to cut, Banker says economic development. He says Michigan is spending millions of dollars on tax breaks and subsidies, and not getting much in return.
Baker acknowledges his plan would mean a smaller state government. Asked what he would get rid of, Baker says the state Public Service Commission could be eliminated. He says energy should be opened up to the free market. Baker says that would allow more small companies to move in and could increase green energy in Michigan.
Asked how to improve the state’s roads, Baker says he would like to see some highways privatized. He says those could become toll roads managed by private companies. Baker says that would free up state money for other roads.
Baker says money for education should go from the state to students instead of state to school district. He says education savings accounts could be used for any educational expense they choose. Baker says that would allow for more individualized education. But he does acknowledge it would require changing the state constitution.
Proposal 1 would legalize marijuana. Baker says he is torn on the proposal. Baker says he has no legal problem with legalized marijuana, but he has campaigned on no excise taxes. Baker says it’s hard to support ending additional taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, and then vote to approve it for marijuana. Baker says he is opposed to Proposal 2 for creating an independent redistricting commission. Baker says that responsibility should stay with elected officials.
Baker says the governor’s office and legislature should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. He says any public office from governor down to city council should be subject to freedom of information.
Bridge reported on a friendly meeting between Baker and Hoadley in Kalamazoo. Baker says he would hope that candidates who disagree on issues can conduct a campaign in a civil manner. He says while we are living in a turbulent time, eventually we need to come together and be civil with one another. Hoadley won 69% of the vote in 2016, but Baker says he is trying to convince people not to be blindly held by a party. He says the end goal is to do what you think is right for state of Michigan.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview.
Baker says water infrastructure has to be replaced and is up to date. He says people have to be held accountable for that. Baker says that should be a local issue, but he says depending on the situation the state can step in.
Baker says more options are needed for auto insurance. He says unlimited benefits for serious injuries could be kept as one of those options, but he says it would be the most expensive and he expects few people take it.
Asked about homelessness, Baker says states should not have a role in the issue. He says that should rest with local units of government.
Baker says he gets questions about President Trump while campaigning. He says no party should be blindly behind the current President or current leader. Baker says he supports President Trump some of the time, but there are some issues where he disagrees with the President.