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2018-10-10 / Front Page

Politicians, Reps Cover Many Topics at Legislative Luncheon

Approximately 25 - 30 local citizens spent a twohour luncheon with nine politicians or their representatives at the 13th annual Legislative Luncheon, held at Zellar’s Village Inn Friday, October 5.

The event was hosted by Save-Restore-Grow Newberry and the Newberry Area Chamber of Commerce.

The politicians included term-limited Tom Casperson, State Senator for District 38; Sara Cambensy, State Representative of the 109th District; Wayne Schmidt, State Senator of District 38; Judi Schwalbach, representing Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, running for governor of Michigan; Nick Emmendorrfer, representing Congressman Jack Bergman; Katelyn Rader, representing U.S. Senator Gary Peters; Jay Gage, representing U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow; Ed McBroom, candidate for State Senate, District 38; Jim Page, candidate for State Senator 37th District; and Melody Wagner, candidate for State Representative 109th District.

Kevin Vanatta, owner of Newberry Motors, moderated the event. “Our legislators, who are elected to represent us, and those who are trying to be elected, don’t always know what we have deal with on a daily basis,” Vanatta said. “This is an opportunity for us to help educate them about our lives.”

The politicians or their representatives spoke about their past achievements and what they hope to accomplish in the future.

One of the things Casperson is working on is to clarify the rules and regulations concerning wetlands so that private citizens don’t get into trouble when working on their own property. He had other good news to share about his cancer, which seems to be in remission.

Cambensy offered details about her 10 months in office and how she’s able to work with other Representatives and State Senators, be they Democrat or Republican. She praised the efforts of Republican Wayne Schmidt in going to bat for the Newberry Correctional Facility.

Schwalbach spoke on what the State Attorney General’s office can do concerning consumer protection and other problems that come up that may have legal implications.

Schmidt, since he visits the Newberry area every month (which is reported upon by the Newberry News) had the least to say at the meeting.

Emmendorrfer covered the authorization of funding for the Soo Locks that Congressman Bergman has been working on, the tunnel that will be built containing Line 5, the Opioid problem and a rural broadband initiative that will give a tax credit to broadband companies willing to work in the Upper Peninsula.

Rader told of Senator Peters’ concerns about Line 5 and the chemicals that go into the foam that airports use for firefighting. These chemicals, once they get into the water tables, are bad for human consumption. Due to Senator Peter’s efforts, airports no longer are required to use this foam.

Gage reported that Stabenow is working on a bipartisan farm bill. “We feel confident that we’re going to get this bill passed this session of Congress,” he declared. According to Gage, Stabenow is taking on the pharmaceutical companies and their rules concerning medicines.

Page is a retired public school teacher from Sault St. Marie. An outdoorsman and environmentalist, he is wary about Line 5, but considers vocational education his strongest priority.

McBroom, running to replace State Senator Tom Casperson in District 38, is a dairy farmer in Dickenson County. District 38 encompasses the western part of the U.P., so he will not be on Luce County’s ballot. Like Page, McBroom’s priority is vocational education.

“Why aren’t the professionals of our local schools allowed to work with the parents, students and local community to determine what are the right classes offered to each student? The State of Michigan doesn’t know better than your local school board.”

Wagner noted that she is running her own campaign and has distributed her views and beliefs all around the 109th District. She has been a farmer and a police officer.

The politicians and candidates were asked questions about the overprotection of the extremist organizations, such as PETA, the proposed recreational marijuana that is on the November ballot, the proposed tunnel for Line 5 and the tariff imposed on Canadian newsprint.

Those that answered the questions were against the over-protection of extremist organizations and legalizing marijuana; supportive of the Line 5 tunnel (relating that such a tunnel also will contain propane and electricity for the U.P.); and working on the newsprint tariff or planning to work on it.

The politicians all declared that it’s more important to work as a team, rather than going strictly by party lines.

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