June 17 • 01:50 AM

New jobs the focus of race

82nd District candidates share some common goals, but offer varied ways of reaching them

October 29, 2008
LAPEER COUNTY — The county's two candidates for 82nd District House of Representatives seat have stuck to their promise to run clean campaigns, free of nasty rhetoric and personal attacks.

In fact, both Republican Kevin Daley and Democrat Bill Marquardt claim they will maintain a spirit of bipartisanship if elected on Nov. 4.

The candidates discussed issues and took questions from the audience at last Tuesday's "Good Morning Imlay City" breakfast, sponsored by the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce. Creating jobs was at the top of both men's agendas.

Both Daley and Marquardt agree about the need to create new jobs and to address the state's regressive Business Tax, including a 22-percent surcharge.

"Between taxes and regulations, this is a horrible climate for business owners," said Daley. "Why would people want to stay in this state given these circumstances? We have to find a way to bring businesses back to Michigan.

"The approach to job creation is through less bureaucratic red tape and a better tax structure," said Daley, "which means a more competitive business environment."

Daley pointed to Energy Steel in Lapeer, which is working in collaboration with Mott College to produce components for nuclear power plants, as an example of progressive thinking in new job creation.

"There are going to be lots of jobs in the area of nuclear energy," said Daley. "There is going to be a need for certified workers. This is a good thing for Lapeer."

Regarding job creation, Marquardt suggests offering tax incentives to businesses that hire workers from the ranks of the unemployed.

"The employer would get a break on his employee payroll taxes for five years," said Marquardt, "and the employee would receive a reduced income tax rate. That would result in a win-win-win situation for the employer, the employee and for the state.

"When people are working it makes the rest of their problems comparatively smaller," he said. "We need to be able to put unemployed workers back to work — to give them back their dignity."

Responding to a question about the health care crisis, Marquardt said he would favor a plan to ensure access to Michigan residents.

"I believe that every Michigan citizen should have access to quality health care," he said. "There are people out there whose hours are being cut so employers don't have to pay their health benefits.

"Businesses are in a crunch," he continued. "They want to provide these benefits, but they can't afford it. The only answer is to make sure health insurance is affordable and goes with you wherever you go."

Daley expressed concern that Marquardt's plan to extend health insurance to everyone would not be affordable, nor desirable to residents who are accustomed to expedient, quality care.

"I don't agree with nationalized medicine," Daley said. "I don't think it's doable. I don't believe we owe medical insurance to every person. We already have the greatest health system in the world. We need more choices and we need to work on ways to get insurance to everyone."

Both candidates are critical of term limits and of giving lifetime benefit packages to legislators who serve just six years and are either voted out or choose not to run again.

"These people are getting first-dollar benefits with no deductibles and no co-pays," said Marquardt. "No one else in the world gets this except our legislators. And they get them until they retire. This money comes right out of our state revenue funds."

"There is so much waste in Lansing," added Daley. "Each representative has a $90,000 budget. There are staffs to pay, expense accounts and insurance. When you multiply that by the number of reps, that's a lot of money."

Daley is an Arcadia Township resident, having served in his local government for 24 years including his current post as Supervisor. He is a lifelong farmer and licensed builder and a member of the Lapeer County EMS Board of Directors. Daley and his wife, Debbie, have three grown children.

Marquardt has been chairman of the Democratic Party since 1998. He's retired from longtime career with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and has resided in Lapeer County since 1991. His wife, Debbie, is a Lapeer City Commissioner and director of the Human Development Commission in Lapeer.

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