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August 05, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-08-05

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Continued from Page 2.
on a K-12 system to help out in higher education."
Posthumus supported Gov. Engler's decision
not to spend any of the state's more than $400
million annual paymient from tobacco companies
on smoking cessation or prevention programs.
Instead, he said he .would continue to support
using the money to fund Michigan Merit Award
college scholarships for students who achieve
high scores on the Michigan Educational Assess-
ment Program test.
Senator John "Joe" Schwarz of Battle Creek, a
University alum, is also running for the Republican
nomination. Serving in the State Senate for 16
years, he is currently the vice-chair of the Appropri-
ations Committee and a ranking member of the
community health and higher education subcom-
Schwarz advocates stricter gun control and a
women's right to choose. He has repeatedly con-
demned the current state Republican party, saying it
is not meeting the people's needs.
Health care is also a top priority for Schwarz, a
physician. He wants to establish a program to give
free healthcare for children in lower poverty levels.
"The most worrisome group is the working-class
group, where neither they can afford nor can their
employer afford to have insurance for them,"
Schwarz told The Daily in April.
Schwarz opposed a Senate bill a few months ago
that gave funding priority to health care clinics that
do not provide abortions.
"You can't just exclude one organization because
they give advice on an issue. I think it's inappropri-
ate for the legislature to dictate by dollars that those
dollars be spent on one organization and exclude
others," Schwarz said in May "Its ideological and
that's why we really shouldn't be involved."
Schwarz is in favor of postponing the single

The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 5, 2002 - 9

business tax and state income tax reductions to
raise revenue for state programs. He also advocated
the recent cigarette tax, saying it was a choice
between raising the tax or less education funding.
"It's better than cutting other programs. No
amount of cuts can cover abillion without decimat-
ing state services," he said earlier. "There are some
other options out there, but they're not very pretty."
Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard is also
running for the Democratic party nomination and
has faced many questions as to why, after serving
as governor for two terms and congressman for
four terms, he's up for another race.
Spokesman Erik Mueller said Blanchard's affini-
ty for Michigan is his key motivating factor.
"He loves the state, and he's not going to sit back
and watch the downslide of Michigan. He truly
believes he's the candidate for change, especially
because he's not beholden to special interests like
the other candidates," Mueller said.
The most important issue in Blanchard's cam-
paign is the economy. Like Granholm, Blanchard
also believes in raising unemployment benefits and
has designed a new economic plan to revamp the
system to stimulate the slowing economy. Mueller
said the measures the plan outlines are necessary to
fix Michigan's current economic mess.
"The way the current economic budget is in
Lansing, there's a structural problem," Mueller said.
"Blanchard clearly plans to overhaul the state gov-
ernment and change the current structure of the
departments" to aid with jobs and new investors.
To help families suffering from the recession,
Blanchard promises to push for a "tuition freeze" to
save university students and their parents $500 mil-
lion annually and to expand the Michigan Educa-
tion Trust (MET), the nation's first guaranteed
college tuition program. He also wants to create an
initiative called METplus to offer scholarships to
Michigan students who complete high school with
a B average and maintain the average in college.

Blanchard's state government plan also involves
the creation of a new state department of "Great
Lakes and Water Quality" which will be responsi-
ble forrmanaging Michigan's water policies.
U.S. Rep. David Bonior, a 26-year Congress vet-
eran, is also the highest ranking legislator from
Michigan to serve in the House Democratic leader-
ship. He lists health care as one of his top three
issues, along with secure retirement and fair wages.
Bonior and his running mate, state Sen. Alma
Wheeler Smith, have pledged to dedicate a portion
of funds from the tobacco settlement to ensure
health care coverage to every child under 18. Adri
Jayaratne, Bonior's senior policy advisor, said the
candidate also plans to direct some of the money,
which is now being used by the merit scholarship
program, to university and community college
operating budgets in order to stabilize tuition costs.
Jayaratne also said Bonior will "appoint universi-
ty board members committed to keeping tuition
affordable and provide a tax credit for the purchase
of textbooks."
Unlike Republican gubernatorial candidates
Schwarz and Posthumus, Bonior strongly opposes
the dismantling of the mental health system. As
part of the Michigan Quality Care Program, Bonior
works to place nursing homes in more centralized
To solve Michigan's economic woes, Jayaratne
said Bonior has an unique solution that could spur
the economy while protecting the environment.
"(Bonior) wants to help create jobs and help our
environment at the same time, so he's proposing an
environmental Silicon Valley," Jayaratne said. "He
plans to bring environmental engineering technolo-
gy companies, like those that make hybrid cars and
energy efficient household devices, into Michi-
gan."As for fair wages, Bonior is working on a bill
to raise the minimum wage $1.50 by early next year.
According to an EPIC/MRA poll in The Detroit

Free Press, Michigan's first female attorney gener-
al, Jennifer Granholm, is in the lead for the Democ-
ratic gubernatorial nomination. Granholm, a
Harvard Law graduate, has established herself as
the champion for Michigan's families.
"The central theme in her campaign is protecting
our families, educating our children," campaign
spokesman Chris De Witt said. He also said health
care, education and the environment are other areas
Granholm feels are in dire need of attention.
Mentioning teen suicide, teen smoking and
other youth health concerns, Granholm supports
redirecting some of the state's tobacco settlement
money to fund health care. Two major points in
her fight to improve health care benefits for fami-
lies includes lowering the cost of prescription
drugs and opposing the privatization of Blue
Cross Blue Shield.
Granholm also plans on implementing a "Clean
Water Forever" initiative that promises to reduce
the release of toxins in Michigan's water supplies.
De Witt said Granholm hopes to streamline conser-
vation and environmental protection efforts by
recombining the Department of Natural Resources
and the Department of Environmental Quality.
With regard to education, De Witt said while
Granholm opposes tuition increases at institutions
of higher education, universities will not be receiv-
ing additional state funding to counter this hike.
"The state's budget is very tight. Granholm clear-
ly believes the universities could do a better job
managing the money they have than constantly
raising tuition costs," De Witt said. "Granholm will
use her influence as governor to try to make the
universities run more efficiently."
De Witt said Granholm has "no plans to raise
taxes, with one exception of raising the diesel tax to
match that of the gas tax."
He also said "unemployment benefits should be
raised because they've been frozen for a number of
years and inflation has gone up so that Michigan is
not on an equal level as other states."

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