Despite being fiscally conservative, many of John Milroy’s positions on social policies are more in line with those of his opponent than might be expected of a Republican running against a liberal Democrat.

In the left-leaning 53rd District, comprising most of Ann Arbor, Milroy’s platform could be a political asset as he campaigns for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives.

“My views are in line with a lot of people in this town,” he said in an interview with The Michigan Daily earlier this week, but added that he’s not sure voters will look beyond party.

“I know it’s an uphill battle against an incumbent who’s made politics his life,” he said.

A newcomer to the political scene, Milroy sells advertising for George Milroy and Associates, a family firm that he said he will eventually run. Before joining the firm, the University alum was a criminal defense attorney.

Like Rep. Chris Kolb, the incumbent he will face in the Nov. 5 election, Milroy said he is pro-choice, wants to loosen drug laws and considers environmental protection a top priority.

Kolb advocates directing more funding to the Purchase of Development Rights programs, which allow communities to restrict how land can be used in order to maintain rural areas. Milroy said agricultural preservation is important, but he’s wary of the state halting development.

“You try to preserve an area around a city that’s green to some extent, without actually telling people you can’t … build any more homes,” he said.

Milroy said he wants to lower tax burdens, although he supports the Legislature’s decision to pause the repeal of the Single Business Tax.

“I’m not for raising taxes,” he said. “I think we need to look at across the board being more efficient with the programs we’re running right now.”

Lowering taxes will increase consumer spending and encourage business growth, he said.

Small businesses with histories in Michigan should receive the greatest tax relief, Milroy said. “I don’t think we should give tax breaks to big companies that move in here (and) put it on the backs of people who are already here.”

He said the University is not getting its fair share of state funds, another view he shares with his opponent. Milroy said recent tuition raises are extravagant and the Legislature should help the University increase its endowment.

Prison overcrowding can be addressed by moving drug penalties from incarceration to treatment, Milroy said.

He said he saw the injustices of drug sentencing first-hand when he practiced law.

“They’re locking up 18-year-old kids for life on first time offenses,” Milroy said.

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