Endorsement: For the Legislature, from Wayne County
Wayne County has had a challenging year, including countywide fiscal distress and Detroit's bankruptcy trial. With such a heavily populated area, Wayne voters have the opportunity to shape much of the next state Legislature.
Voters should look for candidates who are fiscally responsible, will take charge of the state's road funding and repair and help Michigan continue on the path to economic recovery.
The following are our recommendations for representation to Lansing from Wayne County:
District 1 (Detroit): State Sen. Coleman Young II, a Democrat, is nearing the end of his eligibility to serve in the Legislature. Young, one of several politicians to benefit from family lineage, fought much of the effort to rescue Detroit from financial collapse. But he knows the city and faces only weak opposition from Republican Barry Berk of Detroit.
District 2 (Wayne County: Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointes): State Sen. Bert Johnson is a fighter for Detroit who isn't afraid to zealously represent the city in Lansing. Johnson's experience and gravitas serve Detroit well, even from the minority party. He faces Republican Ashley Price of Highland Park.
District 3 (River Rouge, Dearborn, Detroit): Incumbent Morris Hood III, a Democrat, takes on Republican Matthew Keller of Dearborn. Hood's experience and organization give him the advantage. A member of the Great Lakes Committee, Appropriations Committee, and the Higher Education Subcommittee, many issues key to Michigan's future will come across Hood's desk.
District 4 (Detroit): Incumbent Virgil Smith, nearing the term-limited end of his time in the Legislature, beat term-limited State Rep. Rashida Tlaib in the primary.
He faces Republican Keith Franklin. Smith has been a Michigan legislator since his early 20s, and has overcome issues of immaturity to become a respected lawmaker.
District 5:(Dearborn Heights, west Detroit, Inkster) Term-limited State Rep. David Knezek, of Dearborn Heights, is our choice. Knezek is a veteran, a Marine, who is more practical than many of the Detroit Democrats he would join in the state Senate.
Knezek faces Republican Jennifer Rynicki of Detroit.
District 6 (Belleville, Brownstown Twp., Flat Rock, Huron Twp., Rockwood, Romulus, Sumpter Twp., Taylor, Van Buren Twp., Westland): Democratic incumbent Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood gets our endorsement for a second term in this race over challenger Republican Darrell McNeill.
District 7 (Canton Twp., Livonia, Northville, Northville Twp., Plymouth, Plymouth Twp., Wayne): Republican incumbent Pat Colbeck is the better choice in this race over Democratic challenger and current state Rep. Dian Slavens. He's served constituents well in his first Senate term. He's been intent on presenting free-market healthcare alternatives to Obamacare, and has constructed a comprehensive plan for road funding in the state.
District 1: (Detroit, Grosse Pointe Woods, part of Grosse Pointe Shores, Harper Woods) Incumbent Democrat Brian Banks has an undistinguished record and should not get another term. His Republican opponent, John Hauler, though a long shot in this heavily Democratic district, would be the better choice.
District 2 (East side of Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park): Incumbent Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, a Democrat who has put in service as a Detroit city councilwoman and Wayne County commissioner, should be returned to office. She faces off with Republican Lamar Daniel.
District 3 (Detroit): Wendell Byrd, a Democrat who serves on Detroit's board of police commissioners, would bring valuable insight into Michigan's most crime-troubled city to Lansing. If Detroit is going to repopulate, it must become a safer place. Byrd's knowledge of what a police department like Detroit lacks and what it needs can help that effort. He faces Republican Dolores Brodersen.
District 4 (east side Detroit, Hamtramck): Incumbent Rose Mary Robinson, a Democrat, serves on the criminal justice committee, which will be a busy place if and when Michigan chooses to pursue sentencing reform for juvenile offenders. The former AFSCME attorney was a member of Detroit's charter revision committee in 2009. Along with her first term in the Legislature and past service on the Wayne County Commission, where she was the first woman elected, that's valuable experience that Detroit can't do without in Lansing. The Republican is Edith Floyd.
District 5 (Detroit): Fred Durhal III, a Democrat, is the son of outgoing State Rep. Fred Durhal Jr. Durhal has spent years working campaigns and knows the district, its players and its problems. Few first-time lawmakers would enter office with as much experience. Durhal is facing Republican Dorothy Patterson.
District 6 (Southwest Detroit, Ecorse, River Rouge): Stephanie Chang, a Democrat, moved to Detroit because she thought she could make a difference. She's an outspoken advocate of Detroiters on public health issues, such as industrial pollution in the southwest Detroit district. Chang faces Republican Tiaria Bridges.
District 7 (part of Detroit, Highland Park): LaTanya Garrett beat out a solid, high-quality field of candidates in the Democratic primary and now faces Republican David Bradley. Garrett is active in the community and will be a vocal advocate for Detroit in the Legislature.
District 8 (northwest Detroit): Democrat Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, an educator, is our choice. She faces Republican Christopher Ewald. Gay-Dagnogo's experience in education will be crucial as attention turns to one of the biggest factors holding Detroit back: The quality of its schools. What reforms are made and who they affect is a major issue as Detroit tries to grow its population.
District 9 (parts of Dearborn and Detroit): Democrat Harvey Santana has lost some of his supporters by working with House Speaker Jase Bolger on education reform issues, but as a member of the minority party, Santana gambled that he could better serve his district by meeting Republicans in the middle. Santana's broke with his party to support of the expansion of the controversial Education Achievement Authority. He also secured $300,000 for River Rouge Park, the largest park in Detroit. Santana is facing Republican James Stephens of Dearborn.
District 10 (Detroit, Redford Twp.): Leslie Love, a Democrat from Redford, would represent the part-urban, part-suburban district well in Lansing. Love, more of a collaborator than a fighter, faces Republican Matthew X. Hauser.
District 11 (Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Livonia, Westland): Small business owner and newcomer to state politics, Republican Jim Rhoades is the best candidate to represent this district over Democrat Julie Pawlicki, also a newcomer. Rhoades would reallocate certain road funds exclusively for repair and maintenance, and supports small user fee increases to pay for costs.
District 12 (Romulus, Taylor, Van Buren Twp.): Democrat Erika Geiss gets our endorsement in this race. Geiss is active in her Taylor community, a member of several boards, small business owner and Wayne County Community College District teacher.
While her stances on education and minimum wage would likely stall Michigan's economy, her emphasis on STEM education and understanding of what small businesses need to succeed could be useful. She faces Republican Kelly Thompson.
District 13 (Allen Park, Dearborn Heights, Southgate): Voters in this district have a tough choice between Republican Harry Sawicki and Democrat Frank Liberati, but Harry Sawicki gets our endorsement. He champions minimal taxes and regulation on businesses and would keep a close eye on spending in Lansing. He's also promises to hold the state to a balanced budget, supports second amendment rights and wants to keep the Michigan Education Association accountable.
District 14 (Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Riverview, Wyandotte): Incumbent Democrat Paul Clemente is seeking his third term in the Legislature. He gets our endorsement over Republican opponent Nathan Inks, who is an undergraduate student at Wayne State University with no prior political or business experience.
District 15 (Dearborn): Republican newcomer Johnnie Salamassi get our endorsement over Democratic incumbent George Darany. Salamassi is an operations manager at a company that specializes in protecting vacant properties for investors worldwide. He supports school choice through a school voucher system, criminal justice reform by getting rid of mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders, and says he will explain every vote he takes on social media.
District 16 (Wayne, Westland): Republican Steve Boron is the better candidate over Democratic incumbent Robert Kosowski. A veteran and active member of UAW Local 182, Boron could be a fresh face for Republicans in the Legislature. He supports a strong infrastructure and as a small business owner himself, supports lower taxes and streamlining regulations.
District 17 (Flat Rock, Rockwood, Sumpter Twp.): Republican Charles Londo is the better candidate over Democratic incumbent Bill LaVoy. Londo has a strong background in public accounting and served 15 years as Monroe County administrator.
As a legislator, he would prioritize state road funding and repairs, a business-friendly environment for job growth, and second amendment rights.
District 19 (Livonia): Wayne County commissioner and Republican candidate Laura Cox should represent this district in Lansing. She's served the county quite well as commissioner, and has been a hawk on spending. She would reduce the state's income tax and ensure appropriate funding for high-priority items, such as roads. We hope her transparency of posting her office spending online for 10 years will continue in the Legislature.
District 20 (Canton Twp., Northville, Northville Twp., Plymouth, Plymouth Twp.): Republican incumbent Kurt Heise gets our endorsement over Democratic challenger Nate Smith-Tyge. Heise is in his second term as a legislator and is a strong proponent of private sector job creation. His advocacy for the environment can continue to be useful to House Republicans on a range of policy issues.
District 21 (Belleville, Canton Twp., Van Buren Twp.): Republican Carol Ann Fausone is the better candidate in this race over worthy challenger Democrat Kristy Pagan. A retired Brigadier General from the Michigan National Guard and small business owner, Fausone has been an advocate for veterans' rights her entire career. In the Legislature, she would eliminate wasteful spending, keep taxes low and reevaluate priorities in the state corrections system.
District 23 (Brownstown Twp., Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Twp., Huron Twp., Trenton, Woodhaven): Republican incumbent Pat Somerville has served this district well and deserves another term. A fiscal conservative, Somerville will continue to make Michigan competitive for businesses and increase government transparency.
Read previous Detroit News endorsements at detroitnews.com/opinion.