One of the decisions Ann Arbor voters will have to make Nov. 5 is to select their next state Senator. The choice is between republican Gordon Darr and democrat Liz Brater. While both candidates bring important and innovative ideas to the table, Liz Brater is the better choice for state Senate.

Brater has extensive experience in Michigan politics. She served on the Ann Arbor City Council, was the first woman Mayor of Ann Arbor and was State Representative from 1994 until 2000. She knows how local government and state government function and will be able to use her knowledge to best help both Ann Arbor and Michigan as a whole.

One of Brater’s top priorities is education. With the current budget crisis and inevitable cuts that will need to be made, she is adamant about protecting and improving education. At the top of her list is continued financial support to public schools to promote smaller class size, continuing opportunities for adult education and continuing education for teachers.

Another top priority for Brater is mental health care. Instead of getting the proper medical assistance, many mentally ill people end up in prison costing the state about $20,000 per year per individual. As the former Vice-Chair of the Mental Health Committee, Brater has worked on ways to establish mental health facilities and worked with professionals on how best to treat people with mental illness. She wants to redirect the focus on treating the mentally ill from senseless imprisonment to a workable solution within the medical community.

With the current economic downturn, Michigan has been hit particularly hard. Brater realizes the importance of diversifying the state’s economy in order revitalize it. This includes access to job training, education, child-care and transportation improvements. She understands the concerns of workers and the importance of a living wage, advocating for a state-wide increase of the minimum wage. In addition, Brater is concerned about worker’s rights and safety. Brater is clearly a solid choice for state Senate, but it is important not to overlook some of the ideas Gordon Darr has brought to the campaign. He is a strong believer in encouraging participation in local government, election reform and investing in technology. These issues are vital to the local community and can result in an improved and more representative democracy.

The Michigan Daily endorses Liz Brater for state Senate.

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