Editorial: Our primary picks for Legislature from Wayne

The Detroit News

Michigan voters will be filling all of the state House seats this year. Since the 110 districts are mostly drawn on hard partisan lines, the Aug. 2 primary will decide many of the races. Here are our picks for the House in Wayne County.

State Senate (special election)

District 4: To replace ex-Sen. Virgil Smith, former state Rep. Fred Durhal Jr. is the best choice of Democrats. He’s knowledgeable on issues facing Detroit, and says he won’t raise taxes if elected.

State House

District 1 (Detroit, Grosse Pointe Woods, part of Grosse Pointe Shores, Harper Woods): Born and raised in Detroit, Democrat Washington Youson is the best choice of the Democratic candidates. He’s been involved with public service since 2005 and has served as a community liaison in the Michigan Senate. He also served as Rep. Hansen Clarke’s district director.

District 2 (East side of Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park): As neither Republican candidate responded to our questionnaire, and there was no information about them available online, we decline to endorse in that race. Democrat Willie Bell is the best choice among the Democratic field of candidates. A Detroit police officer for 32 years, Bell has served on the Board of Police Commissioners. Though we disagree with his opinions on some issues relating to education and taxation, his experience should serve him well, and he’s also received the endorsements of Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

District 3 (Detroit): Incumbent Democrat Wendell Byrd is the best choice among the crowded field of candidates. He’s worked across the aisle on bipartisan legislation, and recently sponsored a bill to extend search and seizure protections to electronic devices and communications.

District 4 (east side Detroit, Hamtramck): Incumbent Democrat Mary Anne Robinson is the best choice among another crowded field. She’s served her constituents well.

District 5 (Detroit): Incumbent Democrat Fred Durhal III is the better choice over Cynthia Johnson in that primary race. Though we disagree with almost all of Durhal’s positions on issues facing Michigan, he is less radical than Johnson, and at least has experience dealing with the Legislature.

District 6 (Southwest Detroit, Ecorse, River Rouge): Incumbent Democrat Stephanie Chang is a good choice on a crowded ticket. She has served her constituents well in her first term, and is a fresh voice advocating for issues that matter Detroiters.

District 7 (part of Detroit, Highland Park): Incumbent Democrat LaTanya Garrett receives the endorsement in the absence of information available for her challenger Bernard Thompson.

District 9 (parts of Dearborn and Detroit): Democrat Gary Pollard is the best choice in a crowded field. As the current chairman of the Board of Governors at Wayne State University, his experience will be helpful in the Legislature.

District 10 (Detroit, Redford Township): Mary Mazur is the best choice of Democratic candidates. She’s worked in public service at the Wayne County level, and seems to be focused on retaining Michigan’s population through small business growth and infrastructure improvements.

District 11 (Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Livonia, Westland): Since neither Republican candidate responded to our questionnaire, and no information is available about them online, we decline to endorse in that race.

District 12 (Romulus, Taylor, Van Buren Township): Incumbent Democrat Erika Geiss is the better choice. Geiss has served her constituents well and is focused on the important task of improving workforce development in her district.

District 13 (Allen Park, Dearborn Heights, Southgate): Incumbent Democrat Frank Liberati is the better choice against challenger Rebecca Reed. Liberati has done a good job in his first term, and as a business owner offers the best experience for Michigan residents.

District 14 (Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Riverview, Wyandotte): Democrat Jeff Chicoine is the best candidate of the Democratic field. He’s served current U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell and former Rep. John Dingell as field representative.

District 15 (Dearborn): Republican Terrance Gerin is the best choice in a three-way race, and Democrat Brian Stone is the best choice in a crowded field.

District 16 (Wayne, Westland): Republican Pat Gaffka is the better choice against his challenger.

District 19 (Livonia): Democrat Steve King is the better choice in this race. He believes the current taxation level is too high, and would examine the budget closely for waste, fraud and other inefficiencies.

District 20 (Canton Township, Northville, Northville Township, Plymouth, Plymouth Township): Though several candidates are qualified in this race, Republican Chris Roosen is the best choice with experience in the auto industry and two terms as a township trustee. He would focus on job growth in the state, and would even lower the sales tax. Small business owner Democrat John Sullivan is the better choice against his challenger. Sullivan would lower taxes and approaches education policy with a focus on the individuality of teachers and students.

District 23 (Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, Huron Township, Trenton, Woodhaven): Republican Robert Howey is the best choice. A business owner, Howey would focus on jobs, economic development and lower taxes, and also supports curriculum choice programs and enhanced workforce preparation. Teacher and Democrat Darrin Camilleri is the best choice among Democrats. He would focus on economic development and address municipal funding issues related to revenue sharing.