The 53rd district of Michigan’s House of Representatives is particularly important for students. That’s because the 53rd district includes most of Ann Arbor and the bulk of campus. This year, Democratic incumbent Rebekah Warren seeks to hold on to her seat against Republican Christina Brewton and Green Party candidate Matt Erard. In heavily Democratic Ann Arbor, Warren is a deserving shoo-in. Her experience, coupled with her energy, makes this outcome the most favorable one.
First elected to a two-year term in 2006, Warren still touts the experience and enthusiasm that earned her an endorsement from this page the last time around. In just two short years, Warren has made a big impact. She sponsored and shepherded the much-needed Great Lakes Compact through the House — a bill that required the kind of bipartisanship we rarely see in Lansing. Because of her committee appointments, she has also worked on civil rights, energy and corrections issues — three of the most important issues in Michigan right now.
Above all, Warren has also been a noteworthy advocate for student concerns. She has been one of the House’s most vocal opponents of Rogers’s Law, the Michigan law that makes voting more difficult for students by requiring that the address on your driver’s license match the one on your voter registration card. She has rightfully acknowledged how embarrassing it is that Michigan is one of only four states that spends more money on prisons than higher education.
Warren’s Republican opponent is Christina Brewton. But her opposition is in print only. To everyone’s detriment, Brewton has been conspicuously absent through the entire race.
Warren’s most visible challenger is Green Party (but actual socialist) candidate and University graduate school student Matt Erard, who also ran against Warren in 2006. An idealist of outrageous proportions, Erard’s main goal is to use the seat as a pulpit to introduce a “systemic challenge of capitalism.” But while idealism is great, it must be tempered with practicality. With his focus on sweeping revolution, Erard offers his constituents rhetoric when they need real change.
Unlike the campaign of his Republican counterpart, Erard’s campaign has been valuable. He has pointed out that Warren’s acceptance of campaign contributions from major corporations’ political action committees raises questions regarding conflicts of interest. While there is no indication that Warren has allowed these contributions to affect her judgment, it is important that she be held accountable for her actions should any conflicts arise.
Warren has performed impressively in the last two years and shown the ability to pass necessary progressive legislation. For these reasons, the Daily enthusiastically endorses REBEKAH WARREN for state representative from the 53rd district.