Democrat Rebekah Warren and Republican John Hochstetler are facing to represent the 18th District in the state Senate. And since Warren — the current representative for the 53rd District in the state House — is favored to win the District’s Democratic population, Hochstetler has been forced to mainstream his stance on several issues. But despite his acquiescence to the area’s liberal streak, Hochstetler still lacks Warren’s experience and an understanding of what Michigan needs.
One of the main differences between the two candidates centers around social issues. Warren has a history of pushing for important causes like women’s rights, pro-choice legislation, marriage equality and stem cell research, which has earned her the Daily’s endorsement in her campaigns for the state House of Representatives. And Warren is also a strong supporter of the state’s film incentive program — which has boosted the film industry and created a large number of jobs in the private film sector. In contrast, Hochstetler has criticized the program, stating that the state isn’t making back the money it’s spending. And though Hochstetler hasn’t run his campaign on the basis of social conservatism, he doesn’t have Warren’s track record of pushing for more progressive legislation.
The state’s troubling budget deficit and continually decreasing services have been on the many voters’ minds this election season, and both Warren and Hochstetler have specific ideas of how to get the state’s budget back on track. Warren favors implementing a reformed tax system that would introduce a graduated state income tax to bring in necessary revenue to public schools and infrastructure.
On the other hand, Hochstetler favors a tax abatement that could potentially stimulate the economy. And Hochstetler has also expressed dissatisfaction over the six-figure salaries of many public school officials. While cutting taxes could be beneficial, Hochstetler hasn’t made clear what he’s going to cut to account for resulting decreased revenues — an especially troubling fact when the state is already running a massive deficit. Cutting public school official salaries could also draw more qualified candidates away from the public education system or to other states.
Both candidates also have ideas to reform the state’s sentencing system to save money on corrections. But Hochstetler’s proposed work program probably isn’t viable, whereas Warren’s idea to decrease the amount of time that must be served before a prisoner is eligible for parole could save the state a lot.
Hochstetler may mean well, but his lack of enthusiasm for social progressivism and proposed economic policies aren’t in keeping with what Michigan needs. Because of her progressive history on social issues and her sound fiscal policy proposals, the Daily endorses REBEKAH WARREN for the 18th District state Senate seat.