The newly-installed Adrian College office of government and public relations teamed up with the Lenawee County Association of Realtors to host the first-ever “Meet the Candidate Day” Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. in the Adrian-Tobias Room.
“It is essential for higher education institutions to work with our officials on a local, state and national level in order to see continued growth in academic programming and funding,” said Katie Frye Hammond, AC director of government and foundation relations, in an email.
The event featured local candidates seeking judicial and legislative seats in the Nov. 4 election. Michigan House of Representative candidates for the 57th district Nancy Jenkins (R) and Harvey Schmidt (D); state senate candidates for the 16th district Bruce Caswell (R) and Douglas Spade (D); and judicial candidates for the Lenawee County 2nd District Court John Glaser and Laura Schaedler were on Friday’s program.
Candidates were given five minutes for an opening statement, time for answers to three submitted questions and five minutes for closing comments. Questions were selected from those given to the office of government and public relations by AC students, faculty and community members. Students are encouraged to participate in the election Nov. 4.
Jenkins has previously served as a district representative for Lenawee County under Sen. Cameron Brown in the 16th district.
“By far, the top concern is jobs,” she said. “We need to make the state business-friendly. We (also) need to find some kind of tax structure that’s consistent.”
In addition to reduced business taxes, Jenkins is concerned about agriculture, Michigan’s second-highest source of income. As for her stance on other public issues, she is an advocate for the pro-life movement and would not be opposed to building a freeway in Lenawee County.
“I want to use this experience to be a voice for the people of Michigan,” Jenkins said.
Schmidt, a pharmacist, currently serves as the mayor of Tecumseh. He owns three pharmacies in Tecumseh, Blissfield and Clinton, respectively.
“I understand the challenges of our residents and our businesses,” he said. “I believe the government needs to get out of the way of small business.”
Schmidt said the political structure in Lansing should be reconfigured and tax dollars spent should be posted online. He also is committed to creating more small businesses in Lenawee County and making education affordable for all residents.
“I’m the voice you need to get things done,” Schmidt said. “We deserve a better government and we deserve it now.”
Caswell, a graduate of Michigan State University, has served as supervisor for Adams Township in Hillsdale County for 20 years.
“We have to get people working again in this state,” he said. “We have to make things much more efficient. We have to go back to free enterprise.”
In addition to jobs, Caswell believes students at risk are a top priority in education. He also advocates for building a superior infrastructure, thinks unnecessary government funding should be slashed and supports programs for citizens who are mentally challenged.
“I want solutions to problems,” Caswell said. “[But] no matter how things work out, we’re American first.”
Spade, an AC alumnus, served as a state representative for the 57th district from 1999-2004 and is a partner in four local businesses.
“We are at a very challenging time at our local, state and federal level,” he said. “We need to get this economy turned around and we to get jobs [in the state].”
Spade believes needless government policies should be eliminated and legislative pay should be lowered to save money. He is also concerned with educating Lenawee County youth.
“I’m not running for this position to make money,” Spade said. “I’m running because I want to serve the 16th district.”
Schaedler is a Lenawee County resident with 30 years of experience in trying domestic cases and who has also worked as a county prosecutor.
“I do believe there are some things [in the district court] that can improve,” she said. “We could improve on the way we handle drunk driving in our county.”
In addition to minor adjustments to the district court system, Schaedler believes the Constitution should be preserved for its worth, but interpreted for modern technology and troubled youth should be given flexibility in the judiciary rule.
“The zest for volunteerism was handed down by my parents,” said Schaedler, who grew up in Blissfield and has been active in a variety of local philanthropy and community service groups.
Glaser has served Lenawee County as assistant prosecuting attorney and currently co-owns a private practice in Adrian.
“I think our district court and our whole court system runs well,” he said.
Glaser is focused on preserving the groundwork laid by other judges for the Lenawee County District Court system. He believes offices should have the right to enter a home without acknowledgement as long as they have a proper search warrant and is opposed to the idea of “victimless crime.”
“I think I could be an excellent judge,” Glaser said.