July 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

36th District House GOP candidates target jobs, education in feisty campaign

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Two Shelby Township Republicans are questioning each other’s credentials in a feisty Aug. 5 primary election for the chance to win the state House’s 36th District seat representing part of Macomb County.

Vying for the seat that covers Shelby, Washington and Bruce townships as well as Romeo are Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot and Peter Lucido, a general practice lawyer. Both candidates have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan, while the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and United Auto Workers union have endorsed Lucido.

The seat is being vacated by Rep. Pete Lund, the House majority whip who is term-limited from running again.

Grot, 62, portrays himself as a “common sense Republican,” while Lucido, 52, is running a “families first” campaign.

Macomb County is known for rough-and-tumble politics, and the candidates have questioned each other’s backgrounds. Grot has a driving while impaired conviction — which Grot acknowledged but said occurred 20 years ago after his parents died.

The Macomb Daily reported that county records show Lucido has not voted in any local school election since 1998 and has failed to vote in some presidential and gubernatorial elections. Lucido told The Detroit News he is not sure if this is all correct, since he hasn’t checked his voting record recently.

Lucido said he is running because he can make a difference in serving the district’s citizens and families.

“I don’t want career politicians to dig a hole any bigger than what we are already in,” said Lucido, who also founded Macomb Now Magazine.

The UAW endorsement is unusual because the union normally endorses in Democratic primaries and could become controversial in a primary where candidates tout their conservatism.

“I think everybody feels that I am the right choice, including the Democrats,” Lucido said.

His top three concerns are jobs, roads and senior citizens. But creating jobs is paramount because there is a desperate need for them, he said.

“We need to get government out of the way and let entrepreneurial spirit create these jobs and opportunities,” Lucido said.

Among the ways Lucido wants to create more jobs is to restore funding for state programs that were cut. Those would include co-op programs and state educational training that benefit businesses but also give students experience, insight into long-term career goals and develop a network.

“I want to recreate these programs for these business so we don’t lose our bright-minded students leaving the state,” Lucido said.

He also said the state’s road program is not working. He advocates the state require contractors pay to fix roads that do not last for at least 10 years.

“I am not going to Lansing to get a job,” Lucido said. “I want to do a job.”

Both candidates said they would restore the income tax exemption on many retiree pensions that was eliminated as part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2011 tax rewrite.

Grot — who has served as an assistant secretary of state and owned Hamtramck’s Polonia restaurant — said he has a 12-point plan of what he would do if elected.

“I want to be a voice for seniors, veterans, for our kids, homeowners, for the unborn,” said Grot, who grew up in Detroit after emigrating from Poland when he was 16.

But his No. 1 priority is education, especially K-12, he said. With four children in public schools, Grot said he would work to ensure schools have the top teachers, small teacher-student ratios and proper funding.

“I want to makes sure we maintain a high standard of education, make sure it is well-funded,” Grot said.

He added the state needs to stop funding universities at the expense of K-12.

Grot also wants to repeal implementation in Michigan of the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 that is also called Obamacare.

“I will do anything and everything in my power to repeal that job-killing, unfunded mandate,” Grot said.

To create more jobs, Grot said he’d work to remove unnecessary regulations and provide tax incentives to startup businesses.

“It is very critical so we can maintain a high standard of living for our families, our kids, our state,” Grot said.

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com

Lucido