Gubernatorial election predicted to be close
By Lauren Lukens and Joe Zylka
Editor-In-Chief and Staff Writer
On Tuesday, Nov. 4, American citizens across the country have the chance to contest all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate, 46 state legislatures, four territorial legislatures, numerous state and local races and 38 state and territorial governorships. Michigan is one state that is participating in a gubernatorial election. Recent polls indicate incumbent Republican Party candidate Govenor Rick Snyder and Democratic Party candidate Mark Schauer are nearly deadlocked in voters’ support with less than a month to go before the election.
According to an anonymous survey of 110 Schoolcraft students distributed at School Daze on Sept. 16 and 17, the number of responders that are informed and knowledgeable about the preferred candidates is appalling. Only 56 people of the 110 polled were knowledgeable about the upcoming election before taking the survey. Almost half of those polled were completely unaware of the possibility of future change on the upcoming ballot.
“We are very fortunate to live in a country where we can choose our leaders and they are not forced on us. As a woman, I am very interested in voting because, for over 200 years, we couldn’t vote, and it took 72 years to finally get this right. I think all women should vote, but all men should vote too,” said Laura Callow, Livonia resident and League of Women Voters member. “If we don’t vote, we don’t know what type of leadership we could get, and we shouldn’t complain if we don’t like what they are doing when we don’t vote.”
In addition, out of the 110 individuals surveyed, there were 73 people registered to vote and 37 not registered. Out of those individuals that are not registered, approximately 54% plan to register before the Oct. 6 deadline.
“Young people need to vote because the decisions being made involve their futures. This demographic has a viewpoint that is valid and deserves to be recognized just as much as any other group,” said Civil Rights Action Club President Eric Watson, a sophomore at Schoolcraft.
Republican candidate Snyder is currently making his pitch for reelection, while Democratic challenger Schauer is looking to unseat him. According to those surveyed approximately 80% are undecided on their vote, while approximately 7% favored Snyder and about 13% sided with Schauer. As the race is tight, every vote counts, and as many are still undecided of whom to vote for, becoming familiar with both candidates before the election could have a major impact on the future of Michigan.
“It’s very important [to vote] because elections are won and lost sometimes on a very few number of votes; some communities one vote, or no votes—it’s tied,” said Livonia resident Roberta Young, who has been a member of the League of Women voters for over 50 years. “It’s very important to see who’s running, what they stand for and whether you agree with them or not. There’s always a choice to be made.”
“ONE TOUGH NERD” LOOKS TOWARD FOUR MORE YEARS
Governor Snyder, 56, was born in Battle Creek in 1958 where he grew up and helped his father operate a window-cleaning business. Snyder attended the University of Michigan and earned his Bachelor of General Studies, Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate there. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Snyder currently resides in Ann Arbor with his wife Sue and three children.
During the 1980s and 90s, Snyder was a successful businessman, venture capitalist and even served as an interim CEO for Gateway, a computer company.
In 2010, Snyder ran for governor under the Republican Party nomination. Although he had no prior political experience, Snyder received 58% of the vote and was declared the winner over the Democratic Party candidate.
Within the last four years under Snyder’s leadership, Michigan has seen some improvements. Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped from 11.7% to 7.4% (now 44th in the nation).
Now, his campaign’s focus is his past policies that have created jobs will continue to help Michigan grow. During his tenure as Governor, Snyder has passed numerous bills, including those aimed at lowering business taxes, cutting unemployment benefits, approving a new tax on pensioners, Right to Work legislation and, in 2013, a bill that banned abortion coverage in standard health care plans. Snyder also actively supports a higher gas tax to help fix Michigan’s disastrous roads.
Democratic party candidate Schauer, 53, was raised in Howell. He has a Bachelor of Arts in public policy from Albion College, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University and a Masters Degree in Political Science from Michigan State University.
The Democratic candidate currently lives in Battle Creek with his wife Christine. Schauer was a founding board member of Battle Creek’s Habitat for Humanity, which is a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to building houses for the poor.
Unlike Snyder’s first gubernatorial election , Schauer is running with past political experience. From 1997-2002, he was a state representative for Michigan’s 62nd House district. From 2003-2009, he was a state senator for Michigan’s 19th Senatorial district. From 2003-2009, Schauer was the Senate Minority Whip, as well as the Senate Minority Leader from 2006-2009.
Schauer was also a U.S. Congressman for Michigan’s 7th Congressional district from 2008-2010. During his only term in Congress, Schauer agreed mostly with Democratic legislation. In 2010, Schauer was defeated by Tim Walberg, who was incumbent at the time, for a spot in the House of Representatives election.
His campaign argues Snyder’s policies have only helped the rich, while middle and lower class Michiganders have suffered. Schauer wants to increase education funds, repeal Snyder’s Right to Work legislation and the tax on pensions. Schauer endorses eco-friendly energy sources (like solar and wind power) and wants to toughen Michigan’s stance on pollution. He is also against raising the gas tax, and instead wants to increase fees for commercial truckers in order to help fix Michigan’s roads.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
As Election Day approaches, it is the duty of United States citizens as a democracy to stay informed in order to make knowledgeable decisions when completing the ballot. On Oct. 12, Schauer and Snyder will participate in a live television debate at 6 p.m. on the campus of Wayne State University. The debate will be broadcasted on Detroit Pubic Television and on Internet feeds across the state.
Whether wanting to vote in the gubernatorial election or not, voting for the United States House of Representatives and Senate members could make a difference nationally, while voting locally, such as for school board positions, could determine the future lives of people in the community.
“It’s your future that you are voting for. It starts now,” said Livonia resident Rosemary Doyle.
When the opportunity to fill out the ballot either from start to finish or only in one category comes, do not miss out on the chance to help decide the future of Michigan and the nation on Nov. 4. Let your voice be heard.