Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hudsonville Chamber Hosts 90th District Debate

Garcia emphasizes her experience, Haveman focuses on family and local control, Harmsen stays business oriented, Kroll's narrative stresses hard work...

The Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate for the 90th District State House race Tuesday night at Hudsonville City Hall.

Spectrum Health Government Affairs Director Daniela Garcia, Zeeland Attorney Geoff Haveman, small business owner Bob Harmsen, and former Ottawa County Patriots chairman David Kroll were all in attendance. (County Commissioner Jim Holtrop dropped out of the race last Friday.)

Many issues were addressed, including how to address Michigan’s crumbling roads and the controversial gas tax measure proposed in Lansing.

“As I knock on doors, I find people are willing to pay higher taxes to (take care of) problems in infrastructure,” Garcia said.

“We need to prioritize funding,” Haveman said. He then spoke of a friend who was a small business owner who traveled a lot and that a gas tax increase was “a person he can’t employ.”

Kroll said “I haven’t heard what Daniela has, I think we can definitely eliminate spending in some areas.”

Harmsen also opposed the gas tax to deal with the road issue.

“To turn around and say we need to raise the gas tax when we aren’t using the money that’s there is a mistake, Harmsen said.

On the issue of the legislation commonly known as “Obamacare,” Garcia said “I work in healthcare, so I can talk for hours and won’t bore you.”

Garcia believes that “the Affordable Care Act had good intentions,” but “there’s been some major hiccups and the State Legislature has minimal control over this law from 2010."

Garcia hears frustrations. 

"People are experiencing concerns, it's been a troublesome rollout, people heard anecdotally-they thought they could see the same physician."

She also said it’s hard to adhere to free market principles in the healthcare sector.

“Free market is always the way to go, but when 50% of healthcare profits are from government, it’s hard to have a free market. Consumers need to live healthy lifestyles and costs will go down.”

Harmsen said as a small business owner, trying to plan for the future is difficult.

“The biggest thing is uncertainty,” Harmsen said. “We’ll get a 5% increase but it’s only good for a year.”

Haveman and Kroll strongly opposed “Obamacare.”

“Government command control-boards to decide about (this procedure and that procedure) is not the way to go. We have great Doctors in this district, get the government out and let people be free.”

Kroll also echoed Haveman’s sentiments about local hospitals knowing better than the government.

On the issue of Detroit, the race’s frontrunners,Haveman and Garcia continued to differ.

“What’s good for Detroit is good for Michigan,” Garcia said. “Detroit is a part of Michigan.” Speaking about the recent Detroit Settlement, Garcia said she “doesn’t know if it’s right or wrong.”

Haveman spoke out against the legislation,saying “to bring Detroit back, we have to give Detroit back to Detroiters.” He also said he wouldn’t have supported the recent legislation because Detroit is sitting on many valuable assets.

In the debate's final round, when moderator Cal Dykstra asked if the candidates wanted to add anything, Garcia said she was the most experienced and most qualified, saying she has ten years of public policy experience, serves on three community boards, and has endorsements from groups like Right-toLife and GLEP.

Haveman said he has three small children, a wife who is a doctor, he volunteers at the Zeeland Historical Museum and serves on the Ottawa GOP Executive Committee. He asked the crowd for their vote August 5th.

Harmsen said we need to "control spending and develop our children to be informed."

Kroll said he would "work hard" and in his family, if  you're not up by working by 7, "the day is shot."
The next debate for this race is scheduled for July 8th in Zeeland and is hosted by the Ottawa County Patriots.

READ ABOUT THE 90TH Forum at the Chamber Monday HERE:

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