We recently asked candidate Tom Stobie three questions related to the job he seeks: representing the 101 District in the state House of Representatives.
(1) You have been a worker in public education, most recently as superintendent of the Frankfort school system. How do you think your work experience will contribute to your performance as a state legislator?
Being an administrator, especially a superintendent, is wonderful training for running for public office. Both positions have to raise money, both have to speak to groups and answer tough questions, and both positions have to listen to their constituents and try to help where they can. You also have to become an expert in many areas to be able to understand the complexities of legislation being proposed. Both superintendent and state representative also are used to being pressured from many sides and being able to handle that pressure. I look forward to that challenge.
(2) When elected, you’ll represent Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, and Mason counties. What needs do you see that people throughout this district have in common, in terms of state government?
All of us live in the most beautiful place on earth. We must protect our environment and maintain our water and air quality. Many of the 101st constituents have experienced loss of income and buying power especially our senior citizens. Our current representative voted to raise taxes on our seniors, voted against Pure Michigan and voted to eliminate important environmental regulations that protected our beautiful area. When I am elected to the state house, I will have your back!
(3) What legislation of the current Republican government has done the most harm to the district and what do you want to focus on during your first term?
Raising taxes on senior citizens’ pensions, eliminating the earned income tax credit and passing the Right to Work legislation were the most harmful. Of course, the loss of revenue to our public schools over the past three years and the push for more Charter and cyber schools is also adding to the deterioration of our public school system.
When I am elected I will fight to protect school aid funding and resources so our school district don’t continue to cut teachers and programs, eliminate taxes on senior pensions, and fight for better programs for the 700,000 veterans in our state.
Benzie Dems are sponsoring an important documentary on Wednesday, May 21 at the Garden Theater in Frankfort. Based on the book by the same name. A reception will precede the film. Please save the date and join us at 6:30 pm, film at 7.
Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.
Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest, “Beyond Outrage,” is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.
“It was quite a challenge, as a narrative filmmaker, to think about how I might approach a documentary about widening income inequality,” said the film’s director, Jacob Kornbluth. “…Every choice – from letting Reich’s humor show through to approaching interview subjects as people rather than victims – was designed to help show the argument and the economy in human terms that people could wrap their heads around.”
On the film website (http://inequalityforall.com) Reich said, “We’re in the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression, and we can’t seem to get out of it. Why? Because, exactly as in the 1920s, so much of the nation’s income and wealth are going to the top, that the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power to keep the economy going.
“I’ve spent most of my working life concerned about what’s happening to American workers – their jobs, their wages, their hopes and fears. My father sold clothing to the wives of factory workers in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. I watched as the factories began to close, and as those families struggled with a new economy. Households kept their living standards by sending those wives and mothers into paid work – a strategy that did the trick for a time. But when it no longer generated enough income, American families went deeper and deeper into debt – and that’s been the vicious cycle most middle class Americans have been in ever since.
“People are stressed. They’re angry and frustrated, and the tide is only rising on that front. Their debt obligations are staggering, yet (if lucky enough to have a job), they’re working harder and longer than ever before. People need to understand what’s happening to them – because from their perspective, the picture looks pretty bleak.
“Until we can take a step back and understand the big picture, we can’t do anything to get ourselves out of this mess. Our democracy as we know it depends on it. I’m an educator. I love the classroom. But I also write books, appear on television and on the radio, and do everything else I can do to help people understand the economic truth. It’s my life’s work and it’s more important than ever. One of the best ways to help people understand the challenges we face, is with a movie that can grab an audience and move them to action.
And this movie will do exactly that.”
The Benzie Dems hope will attend and encourage others to do so. You can help us out by bringing a beverage (wine or sparkling juice), or finger food for the reception before the film.
Please join or renew your membership in the Benzie County Democratic Party. All funding received through the memberships stays local – support for theKicker and Blue Tiger events, forums, campaign expenses, and contributions. Last year’s contributions were down and we hope to raise more this year.
Please consider helping out financially by making a donation and mailing it in with the membership form. If you can’t afford a donation consider volunteering your time and/ or a talent to the campaign or maybe an event.
With your help we can win in 2014!!