With the November 4th election nearing, Michigan candidates were put in the hot seat tonight. The Upper Peninsula’s Children’s coalition and the Marquette Branch of the  American Association of University Women hosted the event. 14 candidates were invited to the discussion, 7 democrats running for office and 7 republicans. Quite a few seats were left empty as all parties running on the Democratic ticket showed up but only 1 republican was able to make it. But the tough questions promised, still led the charge.

Moderator for the event, Karlyn Rapport, worked to prepare the questions and had this to say regarding the questions for the candidates, “These have to do with the priorities of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Coalition. We are asking questions that have a direct impact on the lives of children and families in the U.P. They need to be concerned with economic security, public policy, decisions that in terms of minimum wage, earned income tax credits and pay equity.”

We spoke with each of the candidates and got their perspective on their campaign platform.

Jim Paige 107th House District candidate had this to say “The one thing they should know is that I want to go to Lansing to represent the common person and the common good, bring both sides together to talk and get the work done for the Michigan people.”

Phil Bellfy, 37th Senate District candidate has a more outdoorsy approach. “The one thing I think is most important is the environment, it’s a non–partisan issue, the democrats, the republicans, independents, everyone should feel that the environment is important especially up here in the north country.”

“The most important thing that differs me from my opponent is the senior pension tax. It is not moral, it is not just and it needs to end. They have taken 355 million out of the economy out of the senior citizens pockets and they put that into 1.8 billion dollar unrestricted tax credit to businesses,” said Christopher Germain, 38th Senate District candidate.

Incumbent, Scott Dianda, 110th House District candidate had a few words for voters to remember. “I want people to understand that I am here and I vote for my counties, I represent only the 110th district with the U.P. of Michigan, that’s my #1 thing. It’s all about constituents services, it’s voting for the people of my district,”

Incumbent, Jon Kivela, 109th House District candidate says his record speaks for itself. “I would say my strong record, when I campaigned two years ago for this seat I identified a bunch of things that I was going to work on very diligently and I passed most of them into law already. I talked about the meth problems, we passed those bills. We talked about vocational, technical education, we got those bills passed. And we talked about creating a economical development zone in central U.P. I got that bill passed. Look at my record, I have done what I said I would do.”

“My priorities are with the district, the people that live here in the U.P. and the people that live in my district, that is where my priorities start and end and making sure I do everything I can to help them,” said Grant Carlson, 108th House District candidate.

And Jerry Cannon, 1st District US says he want to give voters something different. “What I would ask people to think about is are they happy with their constituents? We need to have a congress that is available, approachable and accessible and aware of what is going on in our district. If they are not satisfied with what is going on today then I am offering them a great alternative,”

“I think that part of the problem is that we have created these tiers of beaurocracy. We thought we were able to increase funds for senior services 91% by sending money right to the people who actually do the service,” said Pete Mackin, 109th House District candidate and the only republican whose schedule would allow his participation.

If you want to watch the entire broadcast of tonight’s candidate forum, you can watch it on Charter.

Sault Ste. Marie:

Tuesday October 21, at 1:00PM and Monday November 3, at 1:00 PM

Escanaba :

Thursday October 23 at 2:00 PM and Monday November 3, at 1:00 PM


Friday, October 24 at 6:00 PM – Tuesday, October 28 at 6:00 PM   and on Monday November 3 at 5:00 PM

Houghton’s airing is pending at this time.