Incumbent state Sen. wants to make student voting easier

Jessica Boullion
State Sen. Liz Brater (top) and Rebekah Warren (bottom) celebrate their election victories last night at a Democratic Party gathering at the Arbor Brewing Company. They both won by comfortable margins. (BEN SIMON/Daily)
Jessica Boullion

By Brian Tengel

Incumbent state Sen. Liz Brater defeated Republican challenger John Kopinski yesterday to earn her second term in the Legislature.

Brater represents the 18th District, which includes most of Washtenaw County.

Celebrating at the Arbor Brewing Company last night with fellow Democrats, Brater said she plans to continue working on environmental and education initiatives as part of what will likely be a Democratic minority in the state Senate.

“If Democrats control the Legislature, we would put a higher priority on spending for upper-level education,” she said.

In the past, Brater has devoted much of her time to environmental issues. She has also introduced bills in the state Senate aimed at making it easier for college students to vote on campus.

At a Monday-night rally for Gov. Jennifer Granholm in the Michigan Union, many Democratic candidates didn’t discuss the specifics of policy issues, instead using their time on stage to fire up the crowd.

But not Brater.

Before a raucous crowd of College Democrats and other supporters, she displayed her ardent enthusiasm for the environment.

Brater’s commitment to environmental activism has earned her national recognition.

Strong student support helped propel newcomer to victory

By Jessica Vosgerchian

Democrat and pro-choice activist Rebekah Warren beat Republican Erik Sheagren and Independent Matt Erard for the 53rd District’s state representative seat yesterday, taking 80 percent of the vote. Sheagren won 17.5 percent and Erard, an LSA senior, took 2 percent.

Current Representative Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) had reached his term limit.

In the August primary, Warren defeated City Council member Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3).

Liberal student activists supported Warren early on and throughout the election cycle.

Warren’s positions on issues like education, health care and abortion rights are solidly Democratic. Her ideas on local issues are decidedly pro-student: Warren is against both banning couches on porches and stricter regulation of street parking.

In Lansing, she plans to seek an appointment to the House Appropriations Committee to address the state’s economic problems. She also said she will work to lower the cost of higher education.

Erard, Warren’s independent opponent, is chair of the Socialist Party of Michigan. Because the Secretary of State does not recognize the party, Erard appeared on the ballot without party affiliation.

He conceded the loss last night.

“That we got the campaign on the ballot and provided working people with an alternative to corporate candidates is a victory in and of itself,” he said.

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