3 vying for new Ann Arbor-area seat at Michigan House
ANN ARBOR, MI — Three candidates are vying for a new seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in a district that stretches from northern Ann Arbor to points north and west, including Whitmore Lake and Pinckney.
The newly drawn 48th District includes parts of Jackson, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.
The candidates for the seat so far are Washtenaw County Democrat Jennifer Conlin and Livingston County Republicans Jason Negri and Jason Woolford.
Michigan State House District 48
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Candidates on both sides of the aisle view it as a competitive district, which was one of the goals of Michigan’s redistricting commission when developing the maps.
“This neighborhood is, some say, 50-50, some say 52-48,” Conlin said. “It’s definitely a swing district, and it’s a district that, if the Democrats could win, is one of four districts that could flip the House, so that’s a really exciting challenge for me.”
Conlin, an Ann Arbor Township resident, believes her four decades as a journalist, including reporting for The New York Times and Hour Detroit, have uniquely prepared her to become a lawmaker. ‘State. She’s written about small business, tourism, health care, arts and culture, and economic development, she said, and now after chronicling the challenges Michiganders face, she wants to help raise them.
“We need to overcome these divisions and start finding our common values, not just our differences,” she said.
Negri, a Whitmore Lake lawyer who is the elected treasurer of Hamburg Township, said he is conservative in the organic sense and believes in limited government. The average person just wants to live their life and be left alone by the government, and the government shouldn’t play such a huge role in people’s lives that they look to it to solve their problems or to be as present as they have become, he said.
Noting that the new district is predominantly rural, the concerns of the average rural voter will dominate, he said.
“As we’ve learned over many years of experience, you need the right kind of people representing your views at Lansing,” he said when explaining why he’s running. “Whether it’s managing schools, school funding issues, fixing roads and infrastructure, setting property tax levels, responding properly to health issues, things like that – he is very important that we have people with good judgment who truly understand the nature of government and its limits in our republic.
As a lawyer, Negri said he primarily does transactional work such as estate planning. He also teaches high school civics for two homeschool groups, he said.
Woolford did not respond to a request for comment, but in a video on his website, he describes himself as a Navy veteran, businessman and minister deeply concerned about what is happening in the state. and the nation. He wants to “get back to those fundamentals that made us great,” he said.
“We have a government that is out of control and overriding our constitutional rights, and those are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he said, pledging to defend and protect the religious freedom, elections, law enforcement and the right to own arms and honor service members and veterans. “I want you to know that I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America against foreign and domestic enemies. I want you to know that this oath is near and dear to my heart.
Conlin, whose family has deep roots in Washtenaw County, said she was originally from Ann Arbor and returned to the area 12 years ago and helped promote educational opportunities, including creating a citizen arts journalism project in Detroit and Southeast Michigan, chairing the board of directors. of Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, which his family helped found in 1967, and is working to expand the reach of high school ethics competitions.
“Michigan has been good to me and my family. We are privileged to live in a fascinating and dynamic state, which is reflected in the diversity of this new district,” she said in a statement, noting that her family consists of both Democrats and Republicans. and that a number have served in local, county and state governments. government, including as nonpartisan Washtenaw County judges.
Conlin said she was excited to speak to residents of the district’s three counties to hear their thoughts and concerns about big issues such as education, health care and infrastructure.
“This district has so many lakes and parks, so conservation is also very important,” she said. “But I think those are all issues we can come together on and that will be my focus.”
Citing her background in journalism, Conlin said she knows how to listen to the many facets of issues and gets to the heart of the matter, and is keen to find practical solutions.
Negri said he’s not a “chip-on-the-shoulder, incendiary political animal”, just a worried average citizen who shows up to run, and he also wants to get away from partisan divisions.
“We need to stop being so damn political that we see our neighbors as our enemies all the time just because they might belong to a different political party than ours,” he said.
“I’m trying to get back to a more centrist view of our political situation, so that it’s not all partisan, but we’re just focusing together on the things that matter to all of us,” he added. “We all want strong families, we all want strong schools, we all want a good business climate that rewards prudence and savings. And we want to discourage radical moves like defunding the police and stupid things like that that are basically just partisan things.
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