From pot to roads, Senate 12, 13, 40 candidates offer views on issues

By Brad Kadrich, Hometown Life

Hometown Life offered candidates in state House and Senate races the chance to offer their views leading up to the Nov. 6 general election.

State Senate, 12th District
Rosemary Bayer
Residence: Beverly Hills
Party: Democrat
Family: Husband, John Lisiecki; Daughter: Dr. Erin Mack
Education: Bachelor of Science, Computer Science and Math, Central Michigan University; MBA, Business, Lawrence Technological University.
Current/prior elected office(s): None; this is my first run.

Hometown Life: With Republicans and Democrats seemingly galvanized within their party, independent voters could be a key constituency in November. Why are you telling independent voters they should vote for you rather than your opponent?

Bayer: This is my first attempt at running for political office. I was inspired by the debacle of the 2016 national elections coupled with knowledge that Michigan currently ranks 50th (of 50 states) in governmental ethics according to nonpartisan research groups; ranks 46th in education; is facing unprecedented environmental challenges. I am a small business co-owner.  All the state government’s promises that we would become an entrepreneurial “mecca” have gone unrealized due to our crumbling infrastructure and weak education systems.  I would like to improve our state so that we can achieve the economic, cultural, and community ascendancy that reflect Michigan's proud history, amazing people, and unparalleled natural resources .

Hometown Life: Are there any examples of issues or policy you support or oppose that go against your political party's platform/belief? Tell us about it, and why?

Bayer: There are no specific differences that I know of. One thing that is important to my party but needs a much stronger focus and dedication to fixing is campaign finance reform.  I will make this a priority as a state legislator. As a person new to politics, I am appalled by how entrenched big money is in everything that happens in state and federal government. With such a laser focus on raising money for elections, our representatives, in office, already lose much of the time that should be spent working for citizens. Perhaps worst of all, our legislation is, at best, tainted by the fact that access is given to those big donors. At worst, we see legislation for sale in our current state and federal legislatures’ majority party.

Hometown Life: What's the one main issue that got you first involved in politics and contributed to your decision to run for elected office?

Bayer: My family history (and my own) is one of service to our community. The growing income inequality gap, increasing racial tensions, reductions in rights and support for working families caused me to become more politically active in recent years. In my concern about how the election in 2016 was going, I volunteered, and canvassed for Hillary Clinton that year. I felt both despair and fury at the result. So I became active in resistance groups. I started the first one, myself, and  then became active in Indivisible. I also volunteered for Voters not Politicians (for Michigan). I felt it was imperative we do more. I felt we really needed to step in and do whatever we could to fix the mess, both on the state and national levels. I came to realize that I have the skills, experience and passion to do more.

Hometown Life: A petition drive added the question of legalizing recreational marijuana on the November ballot. What are your views on legalizing marijuana for recreational use? Why?

Bayer: I’m glad the issue of legalization of marijuana is on the 2018 general ballot for voters to decide. Marijuana’s physiological effects are much like those of alcohol, so I believe we should manage and regulate this substance like alcohol.  It will take some time and effort to effect that management. I am willing to work on logical, sensible legislation to safely regulate marijuana use, and  also enable the full benefit of taxes on marijuana to be used for many positive programs to address our current statewide challenges.

Hometown Life: Nearly everyone agrees Michigan roads are substandard. The candidates for governor have outlined their plans, but haven’t really said how they’ll be funded. What’s your plan for expediting road funding, and where will that money come from?

Bayer: Per the Michigan Roads Commission studies in 2008 and 2016, in Michigan it costs $4 billion per year to adequately maintain our roads and bridges. We need to create and stick with a multi-year plan that incorporates the best technology to provide long-lasting fixes to the roads, bridges, pipes, electrical grids, and broadband access statewide.  To pay for this, among other things I would support cutting corporate welfare, an increased tax on commercial trucking and I would support a hefty tax on cannabis suppliers and would advocate that much of that surplus taxation would go to both education and infrastructure repairs.

Hometown Life: What are your views on the process to create political districts. Are you happy with the current process? Why? Would you like to see it changed? How?

Bayer: I am a strong supporter (and was a volunteer for) Voters Not Politicians, the group leading the effort to introduce an anti-gerrymandering initiative to obtain a Constitutional amendment for nonpartisan redistricting in Michigan. It is now on the November ballot. When that amendment passes, it will mandate that new maps be drawn by a citizens’ commission, NOT by politicians.  The process will happen in public meetings, and every criteria and tool used to draw the new maps will be publicly published.

Hometown Life: What is the biggest issue in your district, and what would you do about it?

Bayer: In every single community in my district, the declining state of public education is one of the biggest issues. Our children deserve better. We must provide equitable access to free quality public education (pre-K through post-12th grade) to the point where each individual is prepared for a job/career that pays a living wage.   Some schools and students cost more to educate; equitable means put more resources where they are needed. In particular, we must ensure equitable access to pre-K schooling, equitable access to post 12th grade schooling through college or skills based education, listen to experts, make a long term plan, set effective goals and assess outcome changes before pivoting.

Hometown Life: When the voters ask, “Why should I vote for you?” what are you telling them?

Bayer: I am not a politician. I’m an engineer, a technologist, a business owner and a mom. As an engineer, I excel at problem solving and working collaboratively. My career in technology brings skills I can apply to fixing problems within our government, making it more efficient and responsive, and freeing up funds to improve schools and roads. We need problem-solvers with real world experience, and a willingness to collaborate to get things done. As a mom, I know it’s critical to have good healthcare we can afford, water we can drink and roads we can safely drive on. I will refuse to support more corporate tax breaks and fight for basic services people need every day for safe, healthy living.

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Paid for by Rosemary Bayer for Senate
PO Box 7887, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302