Clawson, TroyJuly 25, 2012
Republican candidates for state House field questions at forum
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
Republican candidates vying to represent their party in the 41st District state House race faced off in Clawson last week.
The League of Women Voters of Troy Area hosted a candidates night for the district, which represents Troy and Clawson, in council chambers of Clawson City Hall July 19.
Republican candidates Deborah DeBacker, former Troy Councilman Martin Howrylak and former Troy Mayor and Councilman Matt Pryor fielded League- screened questions posed by the audience of about 20 people. Democratic candidate and former Troy Mayor Pro Tem Mary Kerwin was invited to participate, but did not because she was recovering from a medical procedure, said Pam Brady, president of the League of Women Voters of Troy Area. Kerwin is running unopposed on the Democratic ballot.
Questions ran the gamut: the new health care mandate, term limits for federal lawmakers, a part-time state Legislature and construction of a new bridge to Canada.
“The bridge deal is done,” DeBacker said, adding that she would not support taxes for the bridge.
“What we have now serves Michigan and Ontario,” Howrylak said. He noted that no solution should involve public funding.
Pryor said that Canada is insisting on another bridge, either here in Michigan or in New York, and if the project bypasses Michigan, the state would lose billions in commerce. “Gov. Snyder’s answer is the correct answer,” he said.
On the subject of term limits for U.S. lawmakers, Howrylak said limits would not be a cure-all, and legislators should be “willing to lose elections and do what’s right.”
DeBacker said term limits should not be as short as “we have in Lansing,” and former lawmakers should not be allowed to be lobbyists.
Pryor said the term limits imposed on state lawmakers have not had the expected results, and it should be up to voters to limit terms of office.
All the Republican candidates said they oppose the new health care mandate.
“Michigan should tell the federal government to go take a hike,” Howrylak said, adding that he favors a multi-state compact, in which two or more states band together to set their own guidelines over a health insurance exchange set up by individual states or the federal government where consumers could shop for health care policies.
DeBacker said any efforts to set up an exchange should be postponed until “we see who is elected,” and voters should elect lawmakers who would reverse the law. She also favored setting up a multi-state compact over an exchange.
“Our responsibility is to create change within the legal system,” Pryor said. He said people should focus on rejecting the bad ideas of the mandate.
Candidates’ thoughts on a part-time Legislature varied.
“It’s not realistic,” Pryor said, adding that he worked 50 hours a week as mayor of Troy in addition to 40 hours a week on his landscape business.
Howrylak said he would support a part-time Legislature and cutting pay for lawmakers.
DeBacker said she would support a part-time Legislature, but for it to be effective, a lot of support staff for lawmakers would be needed. She said that because she’s retired, she would work full time as a legislator.
In closing Pryor said, “I’m a known commodity with a history of getting things done.”
“I am the Republican in this race, and the only socially and fiscally responsible conservative supported by grass-roots and Republicans in other campaigns,” DeBacker said.
Howrylak said that he would help to restore fiscal responsibility by eliminating corporate income taxes and phasing out the personal property tax for businesses, and noted that while on Troy City Council, he worked to ensure the city did not take on wasteful projects.
To view the forum online, visit www.cityofclawson.com and click on Clawson Municipal Channel — Video on Demand. It can also be seen at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. July 25-30 on Clawson WOW Channel 10 and Comcast Channel 17; and at 10:30 p.m. July 26 on Community Media Network in Troy and a time to be announced Aug. 7. For additional information, visit www.lwvtroyarea.org.
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