Ann Arbor is the site of two important state House races this year. In the 52nd House District, which covers portions of North Campus, Washtenaw County Road Commissioner Pam Byrnes (D) will be challenging incumbent Rep. Gene DeRossett (R). Despite DeRossett’s experience in the State Legislature, Pam Byrnes would make a stronger representative for the 52nd District.

Pam Byrnes wants the state to implement a program of universal pre-kindergarten education. This is an important investment in Michigan’s children. Her desires to decrease the bloated corrections budget, contain urban sprawl and improve mental health services are all important for the future of Michigan. Pam Byrnes, who is a University graduate, would also be another voice for the University in Lansing, where politics can become a battle between Michigan State University graduates and University of Michigan graduates. Because of the legislature’s proximity to Michigan State University, there are often not enough voices on behalf of the University in the legislature, and the University has sometimes suffered as a result of its disproportionately low representation. The Michigan Daily endorses Pam Byrnes for state House in the 52nd District.

The race in the 53rd state House District pits challenger John Milroy (R) against incumbent Rep. Chris Kolb (D). This district covers a significant portion of the city of Ann Arbor. Even though Milroy has taken a variety of moderate positions, Chris Kolb is the superior candidate.

As the ranking member of the Land Use and Environment Committee, Kolb has been working to implement policies which would try to slow urban sprawl. Michigan’s growing land problems are a crucial issue that has not been receiving enough attention in the general public. Kolb should be commended for bringing attention to such an important issue.

Rep. Kolb also wants to improve higher education, health care, the environment and work to improve the economy. He has sought to reduce the corrections budget by looking at crime and abuse prevention strategies and by possibly altering the mandatory minimum sentencing policy for nonviolent drug offenders. The state simply cannot afford the mandatory sentencing polices currently in place.

In addition, Kolb is a University graduate and would be another voice fighting for the institution in Lansing. His intelligence and vast knowledge of the issues facing Michigan make him an even more attractive candidate.

The challenger, John Milroy, has taken a number of commendable positions. It is unfortunate that he has not made a more serious effort to actively challenge Kolb. The residents of the 53rd District deserve a more serious race and a more vibrant political debate. Elections should be about choices, not voting for the one visible candidate.

Because of his intelligence, successful experience in Lansing and the stances he has taken on important issues, The Michigan Daily endorses, without any reservation, Rep. Chris Kolb for state House in the 53rd District.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.