by Jenny Haglund

EAST TAWAS – Among the five candidates on the Michigan ballot for U.S. Senate, is Senator Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, a Democrat who is the incumbent. Constituents voting in the Nov. 3 general election will have the option of supporting either Peters or one of his four challengers who are seeking a seat on the U.S. Senate to represent Michigan.

Also running are Marcia Squier of the Green Party, who lives in Sterling Heights; Republican John James of Farmington Hills; Valerie L. Willis, a member of the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan; and Doug Dern of the Natural Law Party.

Squier advanced from the Green Party convention on June 20.

As reported, Peters ran unopposed in the August primary election. He earned 2,028 votes in Iosco County and a total of 1,177,175 votes in the state.

There were two Republican challengers seeking the Republican ticket to be on the November ballot – this included James, as well as Bob Carr, Mackinac Island. James won the state primary with 1,002,235 votes. Carr was disqualified from the election and was not on the ballot.

Questionnaires for pre-election coverage in this publication were sent to Willis and Dern, but they did not respond.

 

Candidate Profile

 

John Edward James, 

U.S. Senate, Republican

John Edward James

John Edward James

 

John Edward James, 39, is a Republican running for the U.S. Senate. He has lived in Farmington Hills sine 2014 with his wife, Elizabeth, and three sons.

James works as the president of his family business, James Group International, and is the CEO of the company’s subsidiary, Renaissance Global Logistics.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, earning a Bachelor of Science degree. He earned a masters degree in supply chain management from Penn State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan in 2015.

After his graduation from West Point in 2004, he became a Ranger-qualified aviation officer, and is honorably discharged.

He has served on a number of boards in his community, including the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Board of Directors, Mayor’s Workforce Development Board, Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board of Directors (former) and Michigan Council on Future Mobility (former).

James has been endorsed by the Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPac, the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Susan B. Anthony List, the National Federation of Independent Business, the American Conservative Union, Associated Builders & Contractors PAC and Family Research Council Action PAC.

 

Questions and Answers

 

What prompts you to seek election at this time?

 

James: “This country needs real, tested leadership on the floor of the US Senate. There are too many people in Michigan who have been overlooked and neglected by career politicians like our current US Senator.  It’s time Michigan had a Senator who will look out for those who cannot fight for themselves.”

 

What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?

 

James: “We need to prepare this nation not only for this pandemic, but the next one. We need to provide the opportunity for prosperity for all who are willing to work for it. My opponent representing this state in the Senate simply isn’t doing the work to get Michigan on track.” 

 

What is your top priority, if elected?

 

James: “1. Improving Our Economy. We must expand economic opportunity for all by increasing access to good paying jobs and by investing in our small businesses and innovators. COVID-19 has significantly hurt businesses and families. Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders are unemployed. The federal government needs to provide business owners all the tools and incentives they need to jumpstart the economy.

“We also must repatriate production to this nation including pharmaceutical and manufacturing, so we have the necessary equipment and supply chain. During and after the recovery, we must focus on prevention and preparedness for the next crisis, with a particular emphasis on making sure our country is able to produce and maintain our manufacturing, stockpiles, labor and supply chains for essential drugs, healthcare equipment, energy and food. These are heavy growth industries with lots of potential to bring jobs to Michigan.

“2. Education and Entrepreneurship. We must expand education opportunities at all levels. We must support all of our schools – public, private, and charter – and make sure that teachers have the resources that they need and parents have the choices they deserve to give our children the best education possible.

“We also must focus on adult education programs that allow people to enhance their careers by learning trades and skills that are in demand while also being able to earn a living. We must focus, not just on creating more jobs, but also creating more job creators.

“3. Public Health. I support reforms to our healthcare system that create a patient-centered, market driven approach that protects people with pre-existing conditions and at-risk populations, without passing along undue burdens to patients, providers and businesses. But we must also focus our energy getting to the root causes of better health. We must be a healthier nation, with a focus on nutrition, wellness and mental health to overcome addiction and trauma.”

 

Would you support increased taxation and mandatory fees? If so, under what circumstances?

 

James: “No. We need to increase the tax base in this country, not taxes. We do this not just by creating jobs, but by creating job creators.”

 

If elected, would you face conflicts of personal interest which might preclude you from participating in all functions of the elected office due to personal relationships, contracts, employment, et cetera? If so, please describe the conflict and how you would address it.

 

James: “My Number One priority has been and always will be what’s good for Michigan. I will support anything that will be good for Michigan. That said, nothing on the floor of the US Senate is worth my integrity and nothing is worth jeopardizing the trust of the Michigan public. If that required me to recuse myself on a matter before the US Senate, I would do so.” 

 

What would you do to make your community a better place for its residents?

 

James: “As the world continues to become a more dangerous place, I have been battle-tested in combat, making life and death decisions in a split second. I know what it takes to keep Americans safe because I’ve done it before. I know what it takes to create jobs because I’ve done it before. I have succeeded in the toughest of environments. The best thing we can do for the people in the state of Michigan is to make sure that we have the best representation and the most experienced leadership  as we emerge from the physical and economic struggles of COVID and as we seek to repair hundreds of years of racial injustice. 

“In order to make my community a better place for its residents, I will fight for Michigan, just as I fought in combat. I will bring jobs back to Michigan, just as I did in my current position. I will repatriate the American dream in the hearts and souls of each Michigander, so that we may get on the path to prosperity.

“In West Point you learn ‘mission first, people always’ and that is what I am focused on doing. When I decided to run, I made the commitment that I wasn’t going to wait until I got elected to make a positive difference in the lives of Michiganders. I wanted to make sure this campaign would be more than just talk, and would start helping real people in Michigan right away. That is why we came up with the idea of The Nickel Promise, which pledges to give a nickel for every dollar raised by our campaign to charity. Since the announcement of the Nickel Promise a year ago this campaign has given $547,500 to charitable causes, including $250,000 to COVID relief efforts in Michigan.” 

 

How would you address the perception by many residents that their voices are not being heard by county, state and federal officials?

 

James: “In this race, every voice and every vote matters. I will work for every vote. For too long career politicians have neglected our neighborhoods and forgotten our farms. The status quo has left Michigan lurching from crisis to crisis, while career politicians do nothing and get reelected. People are hurting and career politicians have failed us. Whether your home is urban or rural, a neglected neighborhood or forgotten farm, politicians have failed our state and are pitting us against each other to maintain their power. Michiganders need a change. They need a tested leader who will prioritize common purpose and future focus, fix root causes and address real enemies.”

 

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your community/election district?

 

James: “Americans are hurting and scared right now. Whether it’s concern for their health well-being, loss of employment, or simply hopelessness associated with financial anxiety and socio-economic immobility, Americans are desperately seeking wise and compassionate leadership. We need real unity in Michigan and this nation. Additionally there is too much divisiveness in this country. We need leaders who are proven unifiers because partisanship and divisiveness are tearing this Nation apart.

“Our nation is constantly being tested by those who wish us harm.  We need tested leadership to address the root causes of our persistent challenges with a future focus on a brighter future for America. And tested leadership is what I can bring to the table. I have been battle-tested in combat, making life and death decisions in a split second. I know what it takes to keep Americans safe because I’ve done it before. I know what it takes to create jobs because I’ve done it before. These are skills sets we are going to need. We must clearly identify both our real enemy and our common purpose – and pursue them both with abandon.

“I have been a leader and a unifier for my entire life and I will continue to be for the rest of it. But nothing will happen until we fix the partisanship that divides Washington.”

 

What plans do you have, if elected, to add and/or expand upon the services provided by your election district?

 

James: “Michigan is facing some of the toughest challenges in its history. Our neglected neighborhoods and forgotten farm communities never recovered from the recession 10 years ago and the COVID pandemic situation worse. We must take action to offer, for those who wish to achieve it, a path to prosperity by tearing down barriers, increasing access, and providing economic opportunity to those who are willing to work for it. Let’s build on the Administration’s historic economic achievements, reignite the economy, and lay out a pathway to prosperity for urban and rural America to achieve the American Dream.

“We must expand education opportunities at all levels. We must support all of our schools – public, private, and charter – and make sure that teachers have the resources that they need and parents have the choices they deserve to give our children the best education possible. We also must focus on adult education programs that allow people to enhance their careers by learning trades and skills that are in demand while also being able to earn a living. 

“We must expand the tax base in this country and build up our workforce and our manufacturing at home so that we are more prosperous and more secure. We must act on ways to get more capital in the hands of rural and urban entrepreneurs and let them open up small businesses in disadvantaged and distressed communities.

“In too many parts of our state, health, ‘wealth’ and security are constantly under threat. This is what happens when our leaders put their personal concerns first and lose sight of those hurting the most. Michiganders deserve better. They deserve leadership that will put their health and their concerns above political gamesmanship. 

“We must emphasize preventative care and more wellness coverage including trauma, addiction, nutrition and fitness, and health insurance options that are affordable and increase access.  And, we must absolutely continue to safeguard health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.

“After a lifetime of hard work, we must protect social security and Medicare from career politicians who will raid today what they promised yesterday. We must stop any attempts to raid and/or underfund the Social Security trust fund or cut our Senior Citizens’ benefits; and oppose any attempts to raid and/or underfund Medicare trust fund or cut our Senior Citizens’ benefits.”

 

What would you do, if elected, to help attract and retain business and industry?

 

James: “I know what it takes to create jobs and attract business because I’ve done it before. I came back from the Army and helped to create jobs in a state that was in a recession, in a city that went bankrupt in an industry that needed to bail out. These are skills sets we are going to need. We need Senators who have real-world experience in Washington, not career politicians who are just trying to get re-elected.”

 

Is there additional information you wish to share with voters?

 

James: “My family went from poverty to prosperity in one generation. I am the walking result of the American dream. My father was born in Starkville, Mississippi, in the Jim Crow south. He grew up across the street from Mississippi State University, a school he could not attend because he was black. However, he never let that define him. He believed in America, he fought for America in the Vietnam war, and then moved to Detroit for a better life. He saw opportunity and a chance at the American dream. With moving to Detroit, my father founded his own business with one truck and trailer, and that business has grown and expanded to be a major trading partner with Michigan’s auto industry. One of the lessons he taught me was to always expect excellence. When you expect excellence, you don’t accept mediocrity from yourself or others. Increasingly in this country we have begun to accept less than excellence. We need to stop worrying about who to blame and start trying to fix the problems we face as a country.”

 

Candidate Profile

 

Gary Peters, 

U.S. Senate, Democrat

Gary Peters

Gary Peters

 

Senator Gary Peters, 61, Bloomfield Township, is a Democrat seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Born in Pontiac and raised in Southeast Michigan, he is a lifelong Oakland County resident and Michigander. 

Peters – who is married to wife, Colleen, and has three children – is currently serving his first term as United States Senator representing Michigan.

He graduated from Rochester High School and then Alma College, after which he started raising his family and working full-time. He went on to earn an M.A. from Michigan State University, a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School and an M.B.A. from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Peters also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and earned a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist designation.

He has served on the Rochester Hills City Council, in the Michigan State Senate, as Michigan State Lottery Commissioner and as a member of the U.S. House.

Peters says he has spent his life in service to Michigan – as a financial advisor helping families save for their children’s education and retirement, in the Navy Reserve and now in public office.

 

Questions and Answers

 

What prompts you to seek election at this time?

 

Peters: “I’m running for Senate to put Michigan families first and continue my proven record of delivering results on the issues that matter to our state. That means addressing our economic and health crises, protecting access to affordable, quality health care, and continuing my fight to protect the Great Lakes and clean up toxic PFAS chemicals.”

 

What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?

 

Peters: “I believe Michiganders need a strong, independent voice fighting for the needs of our middle class. In my fight for Michigan, I am running to lower prescription drug costs and expand health care; to support small business and expand career opportunities in the skilled trades while cutting governmental red tape and making government more efficient; and finally, to protect and restore our Great Lakes.”

 

What is your top priority, if elected?

 

Peters: “First and foremost, I am focused on continuing to address our public health and economic crises, and getting Michiganders the relief and resources they need – that has to be our main priority.”

 

Would you support increased taxation and mandatory fees? If so, under what circumstances?

 

Peters: “Michiganders know me as a pretty frugal person and that I have a proven track record of being transparent and fiscally responsible with taxpayer money. I oppose efforts and legislation that balloon the national debt and disproportionately benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of middle class families. And I continue to push for a bipartisan solution for a tax code that is fairer, simpler, and more responsible, that levels the playing field for our small businesses, and keeps good jobs here at home in the United States.”

 

If elected, would you face conflicts of personal interest which might preclude you from participating in all functions of the elected office due to personal relationships, contracts, employment, et cetera? If so, please describe the conflict and how you would address it.

 

Peters: (No response given).

 

What would you do to make your community a better place for its residents?

 

Peters: “I’ve made it my top priority to work across the aisle to get results and make government work for Michigan. No other Democratic Senator has written and passed more laws during Trump’s presidency than me. In fact, I recently passed my 9th bill through the Senate with bipartisan support – passing more bills than any other Senator over the last two years to expand apprenticeship opportunities, help small businesses, protect the Great Lakes, and address the crisis of PFAS contaminated water.”

 

How would you address the perception by many residents that their voices are not being heard by county, state and federal officials?

 

Peters: “Representing the needs of Michigan’s many constituencies is a job I take extremely seriously. That’s why it’s important to listen, and throughout my time in the Senate I have sought to listen at every opportunity. I’ve always looked to build consensus and bring people together to get things done. That’s why nonpartisan groups like the Center for Effective Lawmaking and the McCourt School of Public Policy have ranked me as one of the most effective and bipartisan members of the Senate, and I’m proud to have received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship.”

 

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your community/election district?

 

Peters: “We must address the health and economic crises we’re facing. That’s why I fought to provide Michigan with relief and resources they need during this pandemic, including free testing, support for small businesses, expanded unemployment benefits, and funding for hospitals.

“I’m also proud to have passed legislation to reduce the use of toxic PFAS chemicals and secure funding to clean PFAS up, as well as held oil pipeline operators to more stringent standards to prevent an oil spill. But more work needs to be done to ensure a strong economic recovery and continue to protect our waters. Which is why I’ll continue to work across bipartisan lines to deliver results for Michigan.”

 

What plans do you have, if elected, to add and/or expand upon the services provided by your election district?

 

Peters: “During this pandemic I have fought for, secured, and continue to work tirelessly to get Michigan’s workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and health care workers the help, relief, and resources they need to get through this crisis. This includes free testing, relief for small businesses, expanded unemployment benefits, and funding for hospitals. I also helped secure nearly $3.9 billion for Michigan’s state and local governments, nearly $850 million for Michigan schools, and $3 billion for Michigan’s health system, and I will continue fighting to get Michigan the relief, resources, and additional funding it needs to keep essential services running.”

 

What would you do, if elected, to help attract and retain business and industry?

 

Peters: “Facing an economic crisis, it’s crucial that we rebuild our economy, create good-paying jobs in Michigan and strengthen our middle class. Improving our economy has to start with recovering from the economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. That’s why I have worked hard to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, through which over 121,000 Michigan businesses have been able to secure loans.

“More broadly, I’ve always fought to support small businesses and expand skills training programs. That’s why I’ve been an advocate for the Minority Business Development Agency, and helped pass the Small Business Jobs Act to boost small businesses.”

 

Is there additional information you wish to share with voters?

 

Peters: (No response given).

 

Candidate Profile

 

Marcia Squier, 

U.S. Senate, Green Party

Marcia Squier

Marcia Squier

 

Marcia Squier, 45, is a lifelong Michigander who has been a resident of Sterling Heights for two years. A member of the Green Party, the mother of three is seeking to join the U.S. Senate.

Squier has been employed since 2018 as a valet supervisor for First Class Valet, which she says is a small, independent, minority-owned business.

The former Fraser Public Schools student was among the Top 10 in her graduating class. She later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, from Wayne State University.

 Squier was the 2016 and 2018 Green Party Nominee for U.S. House and Senate, the 2016 and 2020 Green Party National Delegate and the 2020 Green Party Presidential Elector.

Her community involvement/volunteer service has included time as secretary of the Kennedy Middle School PTA; serving two terms on the Board of Directors for the Ingleside-Grossedale Park Association (Chairman and 2nd Vice President); being a volunteer DJ for local church, school and charity events; and being a caregiver for rescued cats and dogs.

As for any political action committee endorsements, Squier says she has none and that she refuses to associate with PACs and SuperPACs, in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

 

Questions and Answers

 

What prompts you to seek election at this time?

 

Squier: “I was initially inspired to run for higher office because of superdelegates’ massive voter disenfranchisement in 2016. I decided to run again because Michigan deserves a Pro-Peace, noncorporate option for US Senate on the ballot.”

 

What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?

 

Squier: “Guaranteed healthcare and education for all, with skilled trades geared toward infrastructure and renewables. Ending the War on Drugs and the endless wars overseas.”

 

What is your top priority, if elected?

 

Squier: “My top priority would be ending the War on Drugs by retroactively legalizing cannabis & decriminalization of illicit drug use, with rehabilitation instead of incarceration. This would help the most people in innumerable ways, including personal health, reuniting families, better income potential, and reduced prison & judiciary costs for the public.”

 

Would you support increased taxation and mandatory fees? If so, under what circumstances?

 

Squier: “No. We are already being overtaxed in order to fund the overbloated executive branch, which currently receives over 50 percent of our budget, even though it’s only 1/3 of our government. Reallocation of these revenues/funds would be extremely beneficial.”

 

If elected, would you face conflicts of personal interest which might preclude you from participating in all functions of the elected office due to personal relationships, contracts, employment, et cetera? If so, please describe the conflict and how you would address it.

 

Squier: “No. I’m a natural born citizen and lifelong Michigander. I refuse all corporate donations, PAC money, SuperPAC money, and foreign influence. I do this in order to prevent conflicts of interest.”

 

What would you do to make your community a better place for its residents?

 

Squier: “I would work to ensure they get the resources they need in order to prosper and thrive in a truly sustainable and healthy way.”

 

How would you address the perception by many residents that their voices are not being heard by county, state and federal officials?

 

Squier: “I agree with them wholeheartedly. It’s why I decided to run. I felt my voice wasn’t being heard and my vote didn’t matter. I’m running as a representative of people like me – people who aren’t wealthy and therefore can’t afford to buy politicians. Politicians that take big money are simply unable to represent the silenced. In fact, my 2020 campaign slogan is ‘Let Our Voices Be Heard.’”

 

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your community/election district?

 

Squier: “I believe healthcare is our most pressing issue right now, given that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Everyone needs access to healthcare, regardless of unemployment levels and jobs tied to health insurance coverage. However, our current healthcare system has shown us we are not properly equipped to handle any major health concerns. Taking care of ourselves should be our top priority.”

 

What plans do you have, if elected, to add and/or expand upon the services provided by your election district?

 

Squier: “I would like to expand upon the G.I. Bill to include everyone, with both military and community service options. Healthcare and education for all would be an amazing investment in all of our futures – a government that works for all of us.”

 

What would you do, if elected, to help attract and retain business and industry?

 

Squier: “I would focus on 4 keys areas for job growth – Healthcare, Infrastructure, Renewables & Education (#HIRE). I would incentivize small businesses by giving smaller companies the biggest tax breaks, and holding gigantic companies accountable by closing tax loopholes and discouraging outsourcing jobs to other countries.”

 

Is there additional information you wish to share with voters?

 

Squier: “I would be an excellent catalyst between the 2 major parties that keep us in political gridlock. I would like to close by thanking the Iosco County News-Herald and Oscoda Press for this opportunity to share my answers to such important issues, and by thanking the readers for their time and consideration.”

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