MARQUETTE - Two candidates will appear on Tuesday's ballot in the race for Michigan's 110th district House seat.
Incumbent Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, is up against challenger Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, for the two-year seat.
The 110th district includes all of Gogebic, Iron, Keweenaw, Baraga and Houghton counties, as well as part of Marquette County with Powell and Ishpeming townships.
Both candidates were asked three questions. Word limits were imposed on each of their answers.
The questions and the candidates' responses - in alphabetical order - are listed below.
Dianda: "A major shift in Lansing's priorities needs to happen to get Michigan's workforce growing again. A balanced budget needs to make our kids a priority over tax breaks for big corporations. If we are going to attract 21st century businesses and keep them here, we must have kids who have the skills to compete for those jobs.
"There must also be a bigger emphasis on supporting our small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to start up in Michigan. We need to increase capital and create an ideal environment for a business owner who is looking to expand and grow.
"Finally, we must honor the promise we made to our seniors that have worked for decades in order to retire in our state. This means a fair and equitable tax structure that does not take away tax deductions and credits from our middle-class and seniors to pay for a tax break for wealthy CEOs."
Huuki: "We need more jobs in the Upper Peninsula, and the state as a whole, to make Michigan a more attractive place to live and work. We've taken significant steps to reduce government regulations and end high taxes that are hurting small businesses, and we must stay focused on these issues. We also need continued emphasis on the U.P., and that's why I introduced legislation to allow non-hazardous mining byproducts like stamp sand to be turned into new products to put people back to work. Small businesses are the engines that are driving job growth, but they're still too overburdened by government regulations. Government needs to get out of the way so local companies and industries can start to hire more workers. We can also make our state more attractive by improving our overall quality of life, which means improving our schools, providing needed services to residents and keeping crime down."
Dianda:"Lansing needs to make good on the promises to local communities and restore revenue sharing to our communities.
"Sometimes, our state's urban areas seem a world away from the Upper Peninsula, but their revitalization is also key to Michigan's economic recovery as a whole. Attracting businesses and tourism dollars to Michigan directly benefits our rural communities here in the northern part of the state.
"We can help our local communities by supporting small businesses and encouraging entrepreneurs by increasing access to capital and other economic development tools. An example of that would be promoting the revitalization of our communities with restoration of historic revitalization tax credits, which Republicans have recently slashed."
Huuki: "I believe adequate funding for local government is crucial. It is why I fought for full funding of the payments in lieu of taxes. The state is supposed to pay local units of government its ownership of property within their boundaries.
"A severance tax is extremely important for the continued investment companies are putting into our minerals. Without it, local governments may never see the revenue opportunities our minerals provide us. Townships will still be in charge of collecting the tax. The amount that would go to the state will go into a rural development fund. This will help communities build infrastructure to further their economic development.
"The best thing we can do to help local government build its much-needed revenue is to build up our economy. With more businesses and people working, more revenue will be collected. Property values also will rise, resulting in additional revenue."
Dianda: "I know that the best interests of my neighbors in the Upper Peninsula are not being represented currently in Lansing. I can see how Lansing's priorities are failing the people of the U.P. I will go to Lansing and be a champion for education, public safety, and vital services Upper Peninsula residents need, end tax breaks for companies that don't create jobs in Michigan and protect the rights of hunters and ensure the wise use, not the non-use, of our natural resources. I will also work to make the Upper Peninsula the best place in the world for emerging companies to locate. I am running to represent the 110th District in the state House of Representatives and bring common-sense reforms and fairness back to Lansing; and, because it is time to get Lansing back to work again. As the former president of Calumet Village and a small business owner, I have too often seen former elected officials forget where they came from and who they are supposed to be working for: the cities, and citizens who elected them to fight in the best interest of our schools, small businesses, and our middle-class families."
Huuki: "People should choose me because my vision for the future, the Republican vision, will help create jobs and grow the economy. I want my children to have the opportunity to stay here in the UP when they get older and start looking for work. I don't want them to be forced to move downstate or to Chicago or North Dakota to start a career. We need jobs right here in the UP, and I want to continue to make reforms to encourage economic development and job growth. Our economy is getting better. We've had about 120,000 jobs created in Michigan in almost two years, but much more needs to be done. I believe we must continue to take steps to encourage small businesses to create jobs. People also should vote for me because I want to promote fiscal responsibility in state government. When I first arrived at the Capitol back in January 2011, the state was faced with a $1.5 billion deficit, and through Republican reforms, we were able to put more than $500 million in the state's surplus fund. I want to bring those fiscally responsible principles back to Lansing and make the most effective use of taxpayer dollars."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is email@example.com