Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 31, 2010

Editorial: Our endorsement wrapup for Tuesday's elections


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---- — The following is a summary of Record-Eagle recommendations for Tuesday's elections.

GOVERNOR: Despite Michigan's problems — deficits, unemployment and partisan rancor — hope lies with the vision articulated by Republican Rick Snyder. His business-like approach is encouraging, including specific ideas on creating jobs, reforming the tax structure, health care and education.

Virg Bernero, the Democratic mayor of Lansing, seems mired in the past.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: We make no recommendation in this race. Neither Republican Bill Schuette or Democrat David Leyton has made a case for being the state's top law enforcement officer.

SECRETARY OF STATE: Democrat Jocelyn Benson is perhaps the most qualified statewide candidate this year. She teaches election law and has promised to pay much more attention to campaign finance reform.

MICHIGAN BALLOT ISSUES: We encourage a "yes" on both. Proposal 1 is to convene a constitutional convention, an opportunity to address decades-old issues. Proposal 2 would prohibit some felons from holding public office for 20 years.

U.S. CONGRESS:

1st District: We recommend Democrat Gary McDowell of Rudyard. McDowell has promised to work across party lines and would better represent the district than multi-millionaire Dan Benishek, a Republican.

2nd District: We recommend Republican former state Rep. Bill Huizenga, of Zeeland.

4th District: We recommend Republican Dave Camp, of Midland.

STATE SENATE:

35th District: We recommend Republican state Rep. Darwin Booher of Evart.

37th District: The clear recommendation is Republican Howard Walker of Traverse City. Walker said his emphasis will be on jobs and the economy.

STATE HOUSE:

101st District: We recommend incumbent Democrat Dan Scripps of Leland, who has been an effective, energetic lawmaker.

104th District: We don't believe incumbent Republican Wayne Schmidt has earned re-election. Democrat John Scrudato and independent Megan Crandall both lack experience.

105th District: No recommendation. Former TV weatherman Greg McMaster, a Republican, has virtually zero experience; Democrat Greg Dean is running a nonexistent campaign.

86th DISTRICT COURT: We recommend Mike Stepka, who is well-respected in the local legal community and should make a seamless move to the bench. Term-limited Republican state Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer approved an unsavory robo call, a poor decision by someone who wants to be a judge.

LEELANAU PROBATE JUDGE: We recommend Marian Kromkowski, who has years of experience as a domestic relations referee and in dispute resolution and mediation.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS:

1st District: We recommend newcomer Jason Gillman, a local tea party organizer.

5th District: We recommend incumbent Ross Richardson, who has demanded transparency and accountability. Challenger Ralph Soffredine hasn't made a case for replacing Richardson.

7th District: We recommend Christine Maxbauer, who has established herself as someone who asks tough questions and questions the answers.

TRAVERSE CITY AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS: In a crowded and talented field, two stand out — Erik Falconer and Mary Marois.

Falconer can bring financial expertise to the board. Marois, former director of the local Michigan Department of Human Services' offices, has years of government experience.

NORTHWESTERN MICHIGAN COLLEGE: We recommend incumbent Cheryl Gore Follette and newcomer Kennard Weaver. Both can be expected to push for greater transparency and accountability.

GRAND TRAVERSE BALLOT ISSUES: Road Commission millage: We recommend a "no" vote. We don't believe the Road Commission has been as frugal with taxpayer money as it should have been.

We urge a "yes" on the senior center operational expenses ballot issue.

TRAVERSE CITY BALLOT ISSUES: We recommend a "no" on Proposal 1, which would return Traverse City Light & Power to the status of a city department. It's overkill. Keeping the commission at arm's length has worked.

We urge a "yes" on Proposal 2, which would allow city voters to petition for a referendum on any future power plant plans.