GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County voters will soon decide who will replace longtime lawmaker Arlan Meekhof.
The Michigan Senate majority leader must leave office at the end of the year because of term limits.
Three current or previous state representatives and one party activist are trying to convince voters they would be the best replacement. All of them hope to leave the Aug. 7 primary as the Republican nominee for the 30th District, which includes Grand haven, Holland, Zeeland, Hudsonville and Coopersville.
Former Michigan Rep. Joe Haveman says he got “very seriously interested” in politics three years ago. Now he wants to preserve and extend what he sees as success from his time in office and beyond.
“I was there for the comeback. I was there with Brian Calley and the leadership team. I was part of that class of 2008. We were part of that comeback,” he said. “I want to come back and make sure that, that economic comeback is sustainable that we continue down the road and fix the problem that Michigan has today.”
Rett DeBoer is the only Republican running who hasn’t served in Lansing. She opposes sanctuary cities, says she’s been endorsed by Right to Life and identifies as a “strong pro-gun advocate.”
“I’m a strong conservative and I believe that they need more conservative, true conservatives down there,” she said.
Rep. Daniela Garcia could have run for another term in the House but instead has opted to try for Meekhof’s Senate seat.
“A lot of the things that I work on tend to be the weightier issues: education, health care, commerce and trade. These are things that aren’t easily addressed overnight or in one particular bill, but take a long time to implement change and affect change in. And so it’s an opportunity to actually work on legislation and be able to see some of that implementation,” Garcia said of her run for Senate.
State Rep. Roger Victory sees his run for Senate as keeping up with Ottawa County’s economic progress.
“We have one of the largest population growths in the state of Michigan right here in Ottawa County, and I believe we have to preserve what made us who we are, and that is our Ottawa County values,” he explained.
Those values include guarding taxpayer dollars amid spending urges from some of his colleagues, he says.
“When there seems to be more money, they want to grow government. I believe when we have times of prosperity, it’s time to pay down debt,” he elaborated.
Democrat Jeanette Schipper and Libertarian Mary Buzuma will be on the general ballot in November. Candidates from other parties may also be up for a vote then.