SHARE
The four can­di­dates running for the 58th Dis­trict seat in the Michigan State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives par­tic­i­pated in a Q&A with the Hillsdale Col­legian. | Flickr

The Hillsdale Col­legian asked 22 ques­tions to four can­di­dates running for the 58th Dis­trict seat in the Michigan State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The four can­di­dates running for this position are Hillsdale Mayor Adam Stockford ®, local attorney Andrew Fink ®, real estate agent Daren Wiseley ®, and former union rep­re­sen­tative Steven Sowards (D). Responses are edited for grammar and are printed in the order they were sub­mitted. 

 

Where are you from? 

Stockford: Hillsdale, Michigan 

Fink: City of Hillsdale 

Wiseley: Osseo, Michigan 

Sowards: Wheatland Township

How long have you lived in the 58th House Dis­trict for the State of Michigan? 

Stockford: My whole life, born in Hillsdale Hos­pital, raised in Pittsford, Osseo, and Hillsdale.

Fink: Our current stint began about 2.5 years ago in 2017. After I fin­ished law school, we lived in Hillsdale from August 2010 to January of 2011 when I was called up to active duty. I also lived in Hillsdale from 2003 – 2006 while attending Hillsdale College. 

Wiseley: My entire life. 

Sowards: I was born and raised here. I had the chance to live in other places outside of Michigan — San­dusky, Ohio; Orlando, Florida; and Chicago, but I always come back home.

What do you enjoy most about living in the 58th House Dis­trict? 

Stockford: I enjoy that this dis­trict is close knit and inde­pendent. I enjoy the emphasis on edu­cation and the future. 

Fink: The people we get to live and work with make it the place Lauren and I want to raise our family. We love our neighbors and church com­munity, and living in a city with the coun­tryside just a few minutes away. We’re blessed to be a part of such a vibrant com­munity with so many good people in it. 

Wiseley: I enjoy the small town way of life. Everyone knows almost everyone. I love our sense of com­munity. It’s cool to see people I know that have grown up in this com­munity go on to do big things here or else­where. Our local restau­rants and shops. I also take great pride in being in the same dis­trict as Hillsdale College. I love what the school stands for — espe­cially refusing federal aid and standing on prin­ciple. So many people in this com­munity have made an impact on my life growing up — whether that’s school, sports, or church — I’m excited to give back to the com­munity as a way of saying thanks for all those who have done so much for me. 

Sowards: The people, by far. This com­munity is a com­munity that sup­ports each other. That is really hard to find in other places.

What is the primary issue you will be cam­paigning on?

Stockford: The major issue I’m cam­paigning on is local control. I feel like too much authority has been cen­tralized in the state and it hasn’t worked to our benefit. Local town­ships and cities are more in touch with the needs of their cit­izens than Lansing is. 

Fink: The 2020 election is about com­peting ideas of what gov­ernment is for. The dif­ferent visions of what America is all about that are playing out on the national stage are also present in Lansing, even as Gov. Whitmer is intro­ducing plans to incor­porate as much of Oba­macare into Michigan law as pos­sible. That means the most important thing for me is standing up for con­ser­v­ative values and repub­lican gov­ernment, while chal­lenging the bureau­cracy that always wants more control over the cit­izens’ lives. 

Wiseley:  I’m the pro-life, pro-gun, pro-liberty can­didate ded­i­cated to defending the Con­sti­tution. 

Sowards: Com­bating health costs. From insurance pre­miums to out­ra­geous drug prices, the healthcare industry is out of control. As a state rep I would put forth a plan to combat the never-ending rise in health costs to make the action of simply being alive be more con­trol­lable.

What are three other important issues for res­i­dents living in the 58th Dis­trict? 

Stockford: Three other major issues I see are worker’s com­pen­sation insurance reform, reg­u­latory reform, and the big con­sti­tu­tional ques­tions of Right to Life and Second Amendment issues. 

Fink: 1) Gov. Whitmer has already demon­strated that she does not con­sider rural areas and small towns as important as big cities when it comes to road funding and that her plans will be based around increased taxes and increased spending — I will fight for fair treatment for all of Michigan infra­structure invest­ments; 2) Auto-insurance reg­u­lation will con­tinue to need policy attention as the reforms put in place last year take effect; 3) Ending so-called “sanc­tuary” cities, cracking down on human traf­ficking, and helping to get control of our broken immi­gration system. 

Wiseley: 1) Con­sti­tu­tional Carry. It’s silly that you have to buy a permit to exercise a right you already have. If this issue isn’t in effect by 2021, if elected I would fight to get it here in Michigan. 2) Dis­mem­berment abortion. This may appear as a ballot ini­tiative in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. This would put an end to dis­mem­berment  abor­tions, which dis­member a living baby. I find the pro­cedure dis­gusting and having no place in a civ­i­lized society. 3) Bonds for roads. With the unfa­vor­a­bility of the gas tax, Gov. Whitmer is looking for other funding for the roads, unfor­tu­nately now she is talking about taking on more debt for these projects. Cur­rently Michigan owes $1.1 billion in trans­portation debts. It costs more to borrow from the future due to the interest, but unfor­tu­nately some politi­cians will kick the can down the road just to make it look like they’ve done some­thing now. I think this is a ter­rible idea and the state should con­sider using the resources it cur­rently has more effi­ciently rather than just taking more from the tax­payers, whether that be now or in the future. 

Sowards: Infra­structure, sus­tainable jobs, and edu­cation. All three of these issues would be things that I would have a plan for in my first 100 days in Lansing. They are important to me and they are important to our com­munity. 

What is your position on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Repro­ductive Health Act (RHA), which includes Senate Bill 622 and House Bill 5179?

Stockford: The gov­ernor has shown herself to be an enemy of life and liberty. Her repro­ductive bill is a direct attack on decades of effort to curtail anti-abortion leg­is­lation and doesn’t rep­resent the values of this dis­trict. As a rep­re­sen­tative, I would fight this com­bi­nation of leg­islative and exec­utive action at every oppor­tunity. 

Fink: I’m against it. I’ve been active in the pro-life movement since I was a kid, par­tic­i­pating in pro-life rallies, con­certs, and fundraisers. A law like the RHA would be a major step back­wards. Michigan law already pro­hibits abortion and rec­og­nizes that all human life is inher­ently valuable, and I will fight to prevent policies that will end the lives of more innocent babies.

Wiseley: Last time I checked my Con­sti­tution, there is no “right to an abortion.” If Roe v. Wade were over­turned, Michigan’s ban would become law again and the debate would begin with what to do with it. I would support keeping it in place. I also oppose tax­payer funding of abortion facil­ities. 

Sowards: I am not going to lie to you, I am pro-choice. However, there are many things in this bill that I do not agree with and things that I know the people of this dis­trict do not agree with. The bill on its surface would get a “no” from me. That being said, I am not a can­didate that is going to try to overturn Roe v. Wade in Michigan. It is an issue that has been decided in a federal court, and I plan to focus my energy on other issues. I do believe that abortion should never be used as birth control, and I do intend to put together a plan for easier access to birth control for low-income fam­ilies in an effort to lower the abortion rate at its source.  

After fol­lowing the budget debate between Repub­licans and Gov. Whitmer, what was the biggest success from either side in agreeing to a budget? 

Stockford: The biggest win in the budget debate is that we aren’t cur­rently looking at a 45 cent gas tax. 

Fink: The budget overall was a bipar­tisan com­promise out of necessity. I think the biggest success for both sides was the deter­mi­nation to pass a budget that did not make major changes to the status quo given that Gov. Whitmer’s gas tax plan was going nowhere and the state needed a budget to con­tinue oper­a­tions. 

Wiseley: Our state has a budget that is way too large and bloated. Spending needs to be cut sig­nif­i­cantly and more care taken to use tax­payer dollars in a frugal and respon­sible manner. The auto-insurance reform was one good policy that came out of this agreement. While I rarely com­pliment Gov. Whitmer, I’ll give it where it’s due. I am glad she cut Pure Michigan spending. This is perhaps the worst state program we have. For every $1 million increase in state tourism pro­motion spending, there was a cor­re­sponding increase in eco­nomic activity of just $20,000 in the accom­mo­da­tions industry. Fur­thermore, it is unfair because it takes money from the many to give to the few. She did the right thing here and I hope tax­payer funding of the program con­tinues to stay at zero. 

Sowards: The budget was and still is a mess. I have yet to see a real success from either side. Lansing is playing pol­itics as usual and putting party issues ahead of the issues that are important to the people of Michigan. It is very sad to witness, espe­cially in regards to infra­structure. The gov­ernor fought her way into office on the promise of fixing the roads that are crum­bling beneath us, and both parties are standing in the way instead of com­pro­mising on a plan to get it done. 

After fol­lowing the budget debate between Repub­licans and Gov. Whitmer, what was the biggest failure from either side in agreeing to a budget? 

Stockford: The biggest failure is a mere extra $13 million was appro­priated for road repair, despite the acknowl­edgment from both parties that more funding needs to go towards this. Also a major failure would be the political process in the budget. When the budget becomes a political fight, everyone loses. 

Fink: The way Gov. Whitmer played games with important areas of spending, like rural road patrol and certain types of edu­ca­tional ser­vices, was cynical and caused real harm. Much of that was addressed with the sup­ple­mental bills after the main budget was adopted, but the inter­rup­tions caused by her games­manship were unnec­essary and coun­ter­pro­ductive. 

Wiseley: I think the amount of spending that goes on is a loss for tax­payers. County gov­ern­ments took a hit of around $60 million, this is unfor­tunate because a lot of day-to-day oper­a­tions were hit, and I’d like to see more deci­sions made at the local level as opposed to the state level. 

Sowards: Did not respond

Looking ahead to the 2021 budget, which areas do you believe need to receive more funding and why? Are there any areas you believe were des­ig­nated too much money? 

Stockford: It’s quite clear more money needs to go to infra­structure, edu­cation, and public safety. So many depart­ments are indeed over­funded. One thing that comes to mind was an increase to our public uni­ver­sities, which seems a little excessive con­sid­ering the con­stant increase in tuition. Gov­ernment, in general, is not good at any­thing it does, so it would stand to reason it should do less. 

Fink: I would like the state to focus its spending on long-term assets like roads and bridges that the economy of the state depends on. I would prefer to reduce or elim­inate spending that directly inter­feres with market ini­tia­tives — like Michigan Business Devel­opment Program grants and public transit sub­sidies. 

Wiseley: Almost every area receives too much money. I’d like to see more money returned to the local level. 

Sowards: Infra­structure and edu­cation. Both our public schools and local public roads will be issues that I will go to bat for us to get more funding for, espe­cially in the 58th dis­trict.

What would you do to improve the financial oppor­tu­nities for law enforcement depart­ments and indi­viduals in law enforcement? How would you work to improve law enforcement con­di­tions in Dis­trict 58? 

Stockford: While I would like to see our state police well funded, the increase needs to be expe­ri­enced locally, in county sheriff offices, city and village forces. A good way to increase funding to those pro­grams would be to increase revenue sharing by decreasing the depen­dency on grants for pet projects that don’t offer benefit to all res­i­dents as law enforcement does. 

Fink: The Michigan Con­sti­tution requires counties to employ sheriffs and pro­vides for certain reg­u­la­tions of the state police. That police entities are specif­i­cally men­tioned in our state’s con­sti­tution is a recog­nition that law enforcement is a fun­da­mental purpose of gov­ernment. Law enforcement officers are vital public ser­vants and it is our duty as cit­izens (and the duty of the leg­is­lature) to make police work an honored pro­fession which can support a family. My dad was a sheriff’s officer when I was a child, and I have worked on behalf of police depart­ments since entering private practice in 2014, so I have been around police officers all my life and admire the hard work they do to make our com­mu­nities better. As the next rep­re­sen­tative from this dis­trict, I will work to prevent the gov­ernor from playing games with public safety like she did by vetoing funding for sec­ondary road patrol. 

Wiseley: We have had problems recently with a shortage of law enforcement and patrols having to be cut. Many of them work long, rig­orous hours and have to deal with extremely stressful and some­times tragic sit­u­a­tions. I think addressing the reality of post trau­matic stress dis­order and trauma as it affects law enforcement is a pos­itive action that could be taken to improve longevity as well as the well-being of law enforcement that puts their lives on the line for us. 

Sowards: Our law enforcement members are a group of people who are always on my mind. I would take a look at the salary, ben­efits and pen­sions to see if there is any room for improvement, I have a feeling there is.

What is your opinion on the no-fault auto insurance reform bill signed in 2019? 

Stockford: I’m proud of our leg­is­lature for trying to address no-fault insurance and I simul­ta­ne­ously worry that it doesn’t do enough. Having had dozens of dis­cus­sions with insurance agents, I think it’s clear that we may have to revisit this in a couple years so we can evaluate the impact the new bill actually has on Michigan res­i­dents. In the meantime, I do think it’s worthy of admi­ration that our leg­is­lature worked so hard on this issue and rec­og­nized our current system was unfair and far too expensive. 

Fink: Auto insurance reform was a nec­essary move to bring down Michigan’s absurd auto insurance rates. As a border-dis­trict, the cit­izens of this dis­trict are par­tic­u­larly aware of how much cheaper insurance is in other states. I was glad to see the cit­izens get some relief from rates that had been the highest in the nation. 

Wiseley: I think it was a great bipar­tisan move that I’m proud of our state gov­ernment for coming together on. Michigan res­i­dents are tired of the extremely high auto insurance rates. It makes no sense to have the state mandate the Rolls Royce of insurance plans on us. Cre­ating more options is always better and leads to lower prices. 

Sowards: The no-fault bill is a good start to low­ering costs for drivers while still pro­viding quality insurance. However, I feel it is just that, a start. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the insurance sector.

If you were elected, what ways would you hope to improve auto insurance for your con­stituents and res­i­dents across Michigan? 

Stockford: As far as auto insurance goes, we need to wait and see what impact the current bill is going to have, but I’m open to any ideas, including elim­i­nating the no-fault system alto­gether.

Fink: I have had some insurance industry rep­re­sen­ta­tives suggest some ancillary reforms to me, but I want to be sure that any other changes we make are con­sistent with the overall concept that the reform was intended to serve — to make it easier and cheaper for Michigan drivers to insure their vehicles — so that the cit­izens can adjust to the new law without addi­tional inter­rup­tions.

Wiseley: I would con­tinue down the path of cre­ating more options for Michi­ganders. When the free market is allowed to solve problems, people are given oppor­tu­nities to choose the cov­erage the need that suits them, rather than have some­thing they don’t want forced on them by law from someone who doesn’t know their sit­u­ation. I will work across the aisle on this because I know con­stituents in Demo­c­ratic dis­tricts will be just as happy to have their cov­erage more affordable as Repub­licans. Cre­ating less choices leads to better options and lower costs. A win for all Michigan res­i­dents. 

Sowards: The biggest issue that still remains is the fact that insurance com­panies can still set fees based on demo­graphics and credit score, two things that do not directly affect one’s ability to drive respon­sibly. I would look for a way to close that loophole and have fees set on driving record and age.

If you were elected, which committee(s) do you hope to be selected to serve on and why? In what committee(s) do you see yourself having the most sig­nif­icant impact? 

Stockford: Two com­mittees jump out at me, the local gov­ernment and munic­i­pality com­mittee and also the reg­u­latory com­mittee. My municipal expe­rience and under­standing the impact state policy has on local gov­ernment would be most ben­e­ficial. 

Fink: My expe­rience as a Marine and civilian attorney, and espe­cially my service on the State Bar of Michigan Board of Com­mis­sioners, have pre­pared me well to serve on the judi­ciary com­mittee. As the only veteran in this race, I am also ready to serve the more than 5,000 vet­erans in this dis­trict on the mil­itary, vet­erans and homeland security com­mittees. I also believe I could be an imme­diate leader on the local gov­ernment and municipal finance and over­sight com­mittees, having worked in local gov­ernment as a Township attorney for the past six years.

Wiseley: Judi­ciary. As one who has prac­ticed law I under­stand the system very well. I am very pas­sionate about playing a role in improving the criminal justice system. Ways and Means; Appro­pri­a­tions; Tax Policy: I would like to serve on all of these com­mittees because bud­geting is the root of all activ­ities the state engages in. I think we need to fun­da­men­tally rethink the amount of spending that goes on at the state level. On these com­mittees I could make an impact on making sure that spending is frugal  and respon­sible and also goes to the right areas as opposed to wasteful activity. When it comes to taxes, I’ve already pledged to oppose all new taxes so that could be a way for me to be involved in keeping that promise. 

Sowards: Did not respond. 

What role, if any, would you hope to have on the House C.A.R.E.S Task Force for mental health? 

Stockford: The C.A.R.E.S. task force has good inten­tions, but as I said before, my own con­tri­bution would be a push towards ensuring counties have the resources and funding to be suc­cessful in addressing mental health. This is a local issue. We’re seeing it in Hillsdale now. Let us keep more of our resources and we’ll do what is needed. 

Fink: Mental health is a policy area that has often been neglected and is now getting some much-needed attention from policy makers, including from this task force. I am encouraged that the task force has sought input from spe­cialty court judges and admin­is­trators, along with mental health pro­fes­sionals from the Department of Vet­erans Admin­is­tration, cor­rec­tional facil­ities, and hos­pitals. I would be glad to be a part of this task force or other efforts to better under­stand and address the issues that mental illness causes in our com­munity, including impacts on emer­gency responders, the court system, and schools. 

Wiseley: Pos­sibly some­thing with sub­stance abuse treatment and recovery. There’s a huge cor­re­lation between mental health and sub­stance abuse, I served in the Hillsdale County Drug Treatment Court, and have seen this first hand. My expe­rience there has pro­vided me with valuable insight that could be used to help combat these issues. 

Sowards: C.A.R.E.S. is def­i­nitely some­thing I would look to get involved in. I believe that the mental health epi­demic is some­thing that does not get enough attention. It would be my role to shed more light on mental health in our com­munity.

What is your opinion on the “Buggy Bills”? What reform, if any, do you think should be con­sidered with respect to the Amish buggy-system and auto-safety? 

Stockford: If buggies are going to use public roads, then they should be required to have the basic safety devices like turn signals, etc in their vehicles for their own and other’s safety. I’m not inter­ested in scape­goating the Amish com­munity because of their reli­gious views or agri­cul­tural lifestyle, but public roads are shared resources, so a few simple pre­cau­tions are not too much of a burden to be noticed or to be an affliction on their reli­gious require­ments. 

Fink: I admire and respect the way that the Amish com­munity in Southern Michigan lives out their tra­di­tions and that they are delib­erate about how they incor­porate tech­no­logical inno­va­tions into their lifestyles. These bills are not meant as a dis­ruption to the Amish way of life but to protect the lives of those in horse-drawn vehicles by requiring them to have lights so they can been seen at night, and to protect the public streets by requiring that buggies have tires made of a material that will not cause the damage to the road that some of the wheels cur­rently in use can cause. I support these common sense reforms to increase safety and reduce spending on our public roads. 

Wiseley: There’s been a lot of acci­dents lately and this hazard has brought the subject to the fore­front of dis­cussion again. Rep. Leutheuser’s bill requiring lights should def­i­nitely help reduce acci­dents at night. There are three bills in the senate, one also addressing the issue of lights. Another requires a horse and buggy reg­is­tration and manual, I’m not too con­vinced on the necessity of that one. The third requires rubber tires to stop the buggy wheels from tearing up the roads. 

Sowards: The Buggy Bills could easily be a bipar­tisan issue we could come together on, espe­cially SB 643 and SB 644 calling for safety fea­tures that would aid both the buggy drivers as well as the auto drivers.

What strategies would you use to improve rela­tions between Repub­licans and Democrats in the House to pass leg­is­lation that ben­efits the res­i­dents of the 58th Dis­trict? Stockford: Fore­going the political the­atrics and treating those with dif­ferent views with the common courtesy they deserve would go a long way to improving those rela­tion­ships between Rs and Ds. Agreeing to dis­agree seems to be a thing of the past in American pol­itics.

Fink: I am not sure that rela­tions between Repub­licans and Democrats in the house are par­tic­u­larly in need of repair, but my approach to all my col­leagues will be to be honest and open about what I think is good for Michigan and good for the 58th Dis­trict. There will always be dis­agree­ments between the parties, and leg­is­lators must be real­istic about what they can achieve and how to achieve it, but my main concern will be good policy, not warm feelings. I can get along with people I dis­agree with and I won’t change my mind about what’s good for the cit­izens just to be nice to another rep­re­sen­tative. 

Wiseley: Finding common ground on areas we can agree on that benefit all Michi­ganders. Auto-insurance reform is a great example of this. 

Sowards: Did not respond. 

What do you think is the best approach to reaching bipar­tisan agree­ments with Gov. Whitmer? 

Stockford: Under­standing that Gov. Whitmer has a con­stituency she is trying to please and approaching her with that men­tality might help. She did win the election, so we can assume she feels a charge as a result of that. If addressing her with that basic respect in regards to com­mu­ni­ca­tions, hope­fully she might realize that each Repub­lican in office also has a con­stituency with certain expec­ta­tions and that can be a common ground moving forward. That being said, I can’t see many issues or sit­u­a­tions where, polit­i­cally speaking, wed have common ground enough to find more common solu­tions, con­sid­ering her views on gun control, gov­ernment size, and abortion. 

Fink: Unfor­tu­nately, Gov. Whitmer has not made it easy for con­ser­v­a­tives to work with her.  Her sig­nature pro­posal so far has been a tax increase that would have raised Michigan’s gas tax by almost 150%.  She has also used the powers of the exec­utive branch capri­ciously to avoid fol­lowing policy that the people’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives have put in place. And now she’s driving the Repro­ductive Health Act, which is an extreme attempt to make abortion more common in Michigan. I think the best way to deal with this gov­ernor is to con­tinue to talk to the people and report back to Lansing what the men and women of Michigan actually think about enormous tax increases and cen­tral­izing power in the governor’s office. Even­tually, reality has to set in, and Gov. Whitmer will have to rec­ognize that the cit­izens that elected her also elected the leg­is­lators who are not inter­ested in repeating the lost decade of the 2000s in Michigan and need her to be real­istic about her approach to gov­erning. 

Wiseley: I will never sac­rifice prin­ciple to “get things done.” My answer to this is similar to that of the last question, in areas where we can come together to improve liberty and pros­perity for Michi­ganders I am happy to work with whoever to accom­plish that goal. My objective is to always put the people first, regardless of who is the gov­ernor or any other office. 

Sowards: The best thing we can do is find a middle ground that ben­efits the people of Michigan. For so long, Lansing has been bogged down with party pol­itics and has not been nearly as pro­ductive as they could have been if they just found the middle ground and took the high road. I am not a far left Democrat, I know that there are some issues I am going to have to break from the party for because it is what best rep­re­sents the will of the people of the 58th dis­trict. I plan to focus my energy on finding that middle ground, cham­pi­oning com­promise and getting things done.

What posi­tions have you held in the past that have pre­pared you to serve as the State Rep. for the 58th Dis­trict? 

Stockford: Besides Mayor, I was a city coun­cilman for four years, and have half a decade expe­rience in business and work­force devel­opment, where I’ve helped hun­dreds of local res­i­dents find work and hun­dreds of local busi­nesses better their oper­a­tions and find employees. This gives me a pretty good grasp on local needs and local issues. On top of that, I think I’ve probably served on more com­mittees than any can­didate in this race or any other. I’ve also worked for various PACs at the federal level in the policy area, all con­ser­v­ative ones, such as former Con­gressman Jim Ryun’s Madison Project. That gives me the com­bi­nation of political and business expe­rience to be an effective leg­is­lator for this area. 

Fink: All of my pro­fes­sional expe­rience is rel­evant to the work of a leg­is­lator. My years as a Marine officer taught me how to be focused on mission accom­plishment even as cir­cum­stances change. My years as an attorney in private practice have taught me how to work with people com­pletely opposed to my client’s and achieve success.  And my work on Sen. Mike Shirkey’s staff has given me direct expe­rience in the important role that leg­is­lators play in helping the cit­izens of their dis­trict overcome the bureau­cracy in Lansing. Working with Senator Shirkey and working for Con­gressman Tim Walberg’s cam­paign has also given me insight into how to work toward con­ser­v­ative solu­tions when much of the leg­is­lature is more inter­ested in their next election than policy. 

Wiseley: Assistant Pros­e­cuting Attorney; Indiana Senate Legal/ Leg­islative Intern; Vice Pres­ident of Indiana Uni­versity Public Interest Law Foun­dation; Real Estate Pro­fes­sional; Dis­ability Law Clinic. I have a variety of expe­ri­ences in the public and private sectors. These include dif­ferent aspects of the legal system as well as behind the scenes of the leg­islative process. These expe­ri­ences give me insight into the issues we might face and how to combat them. More impor­tantly, the prin­ciples I’m grounded in will allow me to stick to ends that create liberty and abide by the Con­sti­tution, which I have an unwa­vering com­mitment to.

Sowards: As a union rep for the Asso­ci­ation of Flight Atten­dants I learned how to put others ahead of myself and best rep­resent the will of the people. That was a very valuable lesson, my opinion is just that, my opinion.

If you could point to a single moment or expe­rience that finalized your decision to run for the State House, what would it be? 

Stockford: If I had to pick a single moment, I’d say it was when I realized the dif­fi­culty in oper­ating a small city as a result of the states actions and reg­u­la­tions. Truly the most dif­ficult part of keeping a city moving forward is keeping the state pleased and off your back. They expect more and more every year and give less and less back. 

Fink: I had a con­ver­sation a few months ago with a friend of mine. We talked about our con­cerns about the direction the country is headed in, and about the kind of world that my kids might inherit from my gen­er­ation.  He pointed out to me that if I want to influence that sit­u­ation, I can’t wait until my kids are grown up — it will be too late. Afterward, I reflected on the expe­rience and talents that I can bring to the leg­is­lature and decided that now is the time to serve. Wiseley: Hard to point to a single moment, quite frankly I’m tired of our lib­erties being second fiddle to political ambi­tions. I’m tired of the Con­sti­tution being viewed as a mere nui­sance in the way of gov­ernment doing whatever it wants. I’m sick of politi­cians not thinking about the long term con­se­quences of a decision and failing to under­stand even basic eco­nomics. These feelings lead up to that decision. But the closest thing was when a friend called me up to meet for breakfast, encour­aging me to run. The fact that someone had so much con­fi­dence in me was hum­bling and pushed me over the edge in the decision. 

Sowards: I was sitting in a hos­pital one day in Toledo. I looked around me and saw the facility and how they seemed to flaunt their wealth — foun­tains, fancy lights and expensive artwork. I thought to myself, who was cur­rently in $100,000’s in medical debt “this is fun­da­men­tally wrong.” Hos­pitals should be com­fortable and clean but should be more focused on getting people better, not gold-plated photo frames. That was when I knew I had to do some­thing about the out­ra­geous healthcare costs.

What college did you attend? What year did you graduate? What did you study? 

Stockford: Hillsdale College with a degree in pol­itics, also a graduate of Jackson College with a degree in criminal justice and law enforcement. 

Fink: Hillsdale College and grad­uated in 2006 with a degree in political science as a recipient of the Jeanne E. Bray Memorial Schol­arship from the National Rifle Asso­ci­ation. 

Wiseley: Indiana Institute of Tech­nology, Business, 2015; Indiana Uni­versity Maurer School of Law J.D., 2018. 

Sowards: Uni­versity of Central Florida for a Bach­elors in Com­mu­ni­ca­tions — Public Rela­tions.

Is your cam­paign working on any­thing exciting at this time to prepare for the election? 

Stockford: I’d rather not give away too much of what the cam­paign is working on, but we’re working. 

Fink: We’ve been working throughout the winter and preparing to see as many folks as we can before the primary in August. We’re excited to share our con­ser­v­ative message across the dis­trict by all available means! We just launched our Facebook page and will be doing a lot more in the months to come. 

Wiseley: Just getting the word out.

 Sowards: We are cur­rently working on boosting our online presence. Our website and Facebook page are live, and we are cur­rently working on reaching out to our com­munity more. 

Is there any­thing else you hope to share with the potential voters? 

Stockford: I would just say I’ve kept my cam­paign promises as mayor and as a result we’ve seen revenue increases each year, a raise in starting wages, a drop in the poverty rate, new busi­nesses and business expansion, and a record number of infra­structure repair and main­te­nance projects. I’ve stayed accountable to the people who’ve elected me, and I treat every res­ident like they’re my stead and also my employer. I’ve stood up for the rights of the indi­vidual and fol­lowed the city charter and the con­sti­tution. I’ve worked hard for this area in so many dif­ferent aspects. I’m not a perfect can­didate who has lived a flawless, squeaky clean life, but I’ve done what I said I would and Hillsdale is all the better for it. Like me or not, no one can legit­i­mately deny that things aren’t better than they were three years ago, and although that’s been a result of many people, not just myself, I’m glad to have played a leading role. I love this com­munity and it’s paid me back with love and support in spades. I’m con­fident no one will work harder or be more accountable to the people than I will. I under­stand this dis­trict, what makes it unique, it’s strengths and it’s chal­lenges, and I was born to hold this office. 

Fink: This election is about choosing who will do the best job of pro­tecting Michigan from the socialist vision that is taking over the Demo­c­ratic party which does not rec­ognize that Michigan values include roles for indi­viduals, fam­ilies, churches, and com­mu­nities in taking care of one another. The right person for the job is someone with a com­mitment to faith and family, a will­ingness to take on the radical lib­erals, and a history of service. I am ready to serve and ask for your support. 

Wiseley: As a lifelong dis­trict res­ident I’m com­mitted to serving them and will not com­promise on our values. I appre­ciate their time and con­sid­er­ation. They can find out more at choosewiseley.org 

Sowards: I want people to know that I am always here. Democrat or Repub­lican, I care about everyone in our com­munity and I want to hear from you. I want you to tell me about the issues that keep you up at night so I can find a plan to fix them. Life is full of worry, but there are some things that your local leaders should be respon­sible for wor­rying about. Let me do that, let me do the wor­rying so you can live your best life. Please also reach out to facebook.com/SowardsforMI58 to send me a message and keep updated on the cam­paign.