Referring to his success in appealing to Democratic voters and his ambition to continue Secretary of State Candice Miller”s technological renovation of her office, Sen. Loren Bennett yesterday made his case for becoming Michigan”s next secretary of state.
As proof of his ability to transcend party lines, Bennett (R-Canton) cited his first election to the state Senate despite a Democratic base vote of 56.3 percent.
He also commended Miller”s modernization of her department during her tenure, which he said he plans to maintain by digitizing driver information in Michigan. The new system would decrease the storage space needed for records, enhance the speed with which employees can access them and allow employees involved with paperwork to work at the service branches.
“(My office) will be an extension of what (Miller) has been doing,” the senator said.
Bennett stressed that he would not have an extended budget during his tenure. To provide more services he said he would need to improve the efficiency of his office.
Bennett also explained that his candidacy would balance the party ticket if Republicans select Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus as their candidate for governor. He said Posthumus would have no trouble securing the solid Republican Kent County in which the lieutenant governor lives, but would need help carrying less conservative areas a task Bennett”s candidacy could help accomplish.
Bennett indicated any assistance that Posthumus receives will benefit him because if Attorney General Jennifer Granholm wins the Democratic nomination, she will be the “toughest candidate that Dick will be facing.”
In the question-and-answer session that followed Bennett”s speech to about 25 members of the University”s College Republicans, he admitted he would seek to reform current term limit laws in the Legislature, despite having voted for such provisions as a senator. He said the Senate has had few problems with the regulations, but the more rapidly changing House has encountered several more.
One of the problems with term limits, Bennett said, is that members of the state House can serve only six years, thereby diminishing the experience of officeholders.
Bennett”s speech encouraged some students in attendance to support him in his endeavor for the candidacy.
“I think that he is the kind of candidate who has proven his record,” said LSA senior Julie Marcal, president of the College Republicans. “Clearly in a district where Democrats are in the majority he”s been able to reach across party lines, and people like him for the candidate that he is, not because he”s a Democrat or a Republican.”
Engineering freshman Tucker Berckmann left the meeting with mixed feelings about Bennett. He was impressed with some of issues the senator discussed, but “I still have questions about his goals,” he said.
Competing for the Republican nomination are former Kent County Clerk Terri Land and Calhoun County Clerk Ann Norlander.