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July 04, 2013 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-07-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Republican Party.
I think that, as a party, we need to be
certain that all voting Americans, all citi-
zens understand the complete message of
the Republican Party, what we stand for.
Our national platform includes traditional
marriage. While we respect the law, we're
opposed to abortion.
Our job is to make sure the Jewish
community understands the full gamut
of what the GOP stands for. I'll say that
80 percent or more of what we stand for
most Americans, and certainly all Jewish
Americans, would agree with. Some of
them will decide that social issues carry
the day, and I can respect that.
At the last Democrat National
Convention, they couldn't even reach a
vote on Israel without gaveling it through,
which would offend Jews in ways that are
probably even more significant than some
of the social issues.

Q: The lame duck session at the end of
last year, in which Right to Work legisla-
tion was passed, angered many voters.
Do you think there will be consequences
for Gov. Snyder's re-election prospects?
Schostak: When Snyder came fresh into

office, he'd never been an elected official.
He won the general election by nearly 20
percentage points. People saw him as a bet-
ter leader for our state than his opponent.
Any incumbent now has a record. That
record is available for debate.
Snyder has accomplished many things
for our state — from deregulation to tax
policy to efficiency of government, to
budgeting to paying down long-term debt
to rainy day funds, etc. His list is well
over 700 items. As a voter, you weigh that
record against a couple of things you may
not agree with.
Right to Work was a choice issue. It
doesn't outlaw unions. We can't do that,
even if we wanted to. As a member of the
workforce, you can decide going forward
if it serves you best to join that union. If
you think it does, you can pay your dues
and join the union. If you decide you don't
want to join the union, but you still like
working for that company, then you are
not required to join the union. Yes, it was
passed during lame duck, but the discus-
sion about Right to Work has gone on for
the past 10 to 15 years. It comes up every
cycle. This was no secret.
Snyder said during his campaign that
he was in favor of Right to Work. He
thought it to be divisive at that particular
time, but if ultimately the circumstances
were appropriate, which he found to be
the case, he would support it. He worked
very closely with the unions to try to have
a constructive relationship, particularly
as it related to Proposal 2, and yet they
went ahead and put it on the table. He
was put in a position where he was left
with not a lot of choice and signed Right
to Work into law. It will ultimately prove

While I believe Democrats are sup-
portive of Israel, and Republicans and
Democrats in both chambers would call
for support for Israel, you just don't know
what President Obama's response would
be. You think you know, but we've seen the
Arab spring unravel in front of our eyes,
and we're seeing botched policies in Syria
and Libya and so forth.
We just can't hesitate when it comes
to Israel. With a Republican president
and Republican leadership, we would not
hesitate to step in and do what's necessary.
We are unconditional on Israel's right to
defend itself and wouldn't hesitate to step
in if Israel should need our government's
support.

Bobby Schostak discussing the issues with GOP supporter Lena Epstein Koretsky.

to be a very bold, a very smart, produc-
tive and job-creating piece of legislation
that will be part of the whole plan to bring
Michigan back.

Q: The Michigan Republican Party
recently unveiled a new strategy to help
broaden its base. Can you explain it?
Schostak: I asked our team in Lansing

to study the last several elections and
come back to me with an approach on
how Michigan's Republican Party could go
about building relationships with all coali-
tions of voters on a long-term basis, which
will lead to voter identification and voter
turnout.
We're decentralizing and regionalizing
our state political operations and push-
ing as much as possible out of Lansing
and into the field. Five offices opened July
1 and, ultimately, we'll have 10 offices,
including a Detroit office to connect with
different coalitions: black Americans,
Jewish Americans, women, sportsmen,
clubs, schools, etc. We want to build coali-
tions with those Americans on a peer-to-
peer, friend-to-friend basis.

Traditionally, the state party has had
a victory program that opens up in June
of the election year, identifies voters and
introduces them to candidates and hope-
fully turns them out to vote — then shuts
down and reopens again two years later.
These offices will remain open continu-
ously throughout the year and stay open
indefinitely.
We'll have to raise more money, of
course, but we have a very vibrant donor
base in Michigan. Our plan is receiving
a lot of attention nationally. The RNC in
Washington has endorsed it and will be
helping us. Our donor community is step-
ping up as well, and we're receiving the
kinds of financial and operational support
we need to pull this off. It's a major com-
mitment.

Q: Describe the difference between
Republicans and Democrats when it
comes to support of Israel.
Schostak: I think all organizations

understand, Jewish and other, the neces-
sity for Israel's right to defend itself and to
secure its borders.

An Open Seat

0

ne thing the state GOP failed to
do in 2012 was to topple Sen.
Debbie Stabenow, who was up
for re-election. Former Congressman
Pete Hoekstra won the primary, but was
easily defeated by the incumbent come
Election Day.
Republicans will soon get another shot
at a U.S. Senate seat. Sen. Carl Levin
announced his retirement in March,
confirming that he wouldn't run for re-
election in 2014.
Democrats have coalesced around Rep.
Gary Peters, who announced his candi-
dacy for the seat in the spring.
Presumed Republican frontrunner
Mike Rogers announced he would not

run for the Senate seat last month, leav-
ing former Secretary of State Terri Lynn
Land as the first (and only) Republican
to publicly announce her campaign. But
there will be more candidates, Schostak
said.
"Sen. Levin's retirement gave us lots of
notice, way earlier than normally anyone
would have expected:' he said. "It is still
early in the process as far as we're con-
cerned. Generally, we like to field candi-
dates for a primary between Labor Day
and the end of the year."
Some candidates target the GOP's
Mackinac Leadership Conference, this
year Sept. 20-22, to announce their can-
didacies, he said.



Q: Can you tell us about any up-and-
coming Jewish Republican candidates in
the pipeline?
Schostak: I can't get into any specific

names. But there is a lot of interest in the
Jewish community about getting more
active in Lansing and Washington. There
are numerous Jews today that are active
inside our party that have run for state
party offices at our conventions, or for the
house and the senate.
We're seeing a lot of young people
in that 25- to 35-year-old range, young
professionals, men and women, who are
getting very active politically and are
asking what can they do to help their local
county parties, helping in campaigns or
considering running for office themselves.
It's pretty neat.
Many in the Jewish community are
concerned for Michigan and want to
create a good future for our children
and grandchildren. Historically, the
Jewish community looks ahead several
generations: What are we going to be?
Where are we going to go? How are we
going to be successful?
Education is top of mind in the Jewish
community. Fiscal responsibility, top
of mind in the Jewish community. Fair
government that takes care of its business
in a responsible way is important to
the Jewish community as it is to all
communities. I think that the Jewish
community in Michigan, although it isn't a
big percentage, is a pretty good-sized voice.

Q: What are your top goals?
Schostak: To take this political plan

— this ground game for all campaigns
in Michigan — to launch this thing and
really see a wide spectrum of Republican
operatives — Tea Party, activists, libertar-
ians — volunteer and work toward re-
electing our governor and maintaining our
majorities in the house and senate.
Two, I want to raise record sums of money
so we can facilitate our new strategy.
Finally, I want to continue building our
party by reaching out to more and more
independents and unaffiliated voters and
getting them to vote our way.



July 4 • 2013 11

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