City of Cedar Springs

City of Cedar Springs

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The Michigan Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about races on your ballot, based on your values. You can vote early now through Monday, November 2nd at 4:00 p.m. at your local clerk’s office if you’re registered at your current address. If voting by mail, get your ballot to your clerk’s office as soon as possible. For more information about your voting options, visit: MichiganVoting.org

Federal

President

  • Democrat
  • Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden has a long career in public service, most notably serving as Vice President alongside President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2016. Prior to that , Biden served six consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. Biden is also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction, which only three others have received. In 1972, two weeks after his election to his first term in the Senate, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. In 2013, Biden also lost his eldest son to brain cancer.

    Joe Biden speaks frequently about tragedy and loss as a way to communicate that he understands the hardships everyday Americans face, particularly when it comes to dealing with the healthcare system. One of his signature accomplishments was getting the Affordable Care Act passed, which helped expand health insurance for millions of Americans and guaranteed no one could be discriminated against for having a preexisting condition. Biden believes in building on the success of the Affordable Care Act - and has advocated for adding a public option, with the goal of universal coverage for all Americans, regardless of income.

    Biden also came into office as Vice President during the depths of the Great Recession. He played a key role in planning the recovery effort, which pulled the American economy back from the brink and led to more than a decade of job growth. Biden’s decades of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also informed his more recent accomplishments on the world stage, including helping the U.S. join the Paris Climate Agreement, securing the Iran Nuclear Deal, and building international alliances.

    Biden has received his fair share of criticism. He sponsored the 1994 crime bill, which is blamed for accelerating mass incarceration rates of Black and Brown Americans. Biden also supported the Hyde Amendment, a provision barring the use of federal funds for abortion. In both cases, Biden’s views evolved. In the past few years, he’s repudiated the crime bill and supported legislation to end the death penalty and reverse mass incarceration. Biden has also pledged to eliminate the Hyde amendment as part of his larger platform of expanding health care to all Americans.

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden’s platform was already progressive. When it was clear he was going to win the primary, Biden pulled together top progressive leaders from across the political spectrum, from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to John Kerry and Eric Holder. These committees were tasked with building a platform to address the greatest challenges of our time, including health care, criminal justice reform, and climate change.

    Biden believes economic recovery cannot occur until the pandemic is under control, which he believes requires federal support for testing, distributing protective equipment, and providing federal aid to states and the unemployed. To kickstart the economy, Biden proposes mobilizing manufacturing, infrastructure spending, clean energy projects, funding and training for caregivers and educators, and fighting systemic racism through targeted investment.

    At George Floyd’s funeral, Biden called on Congress to pass the House’s wide-ranging police reform bill, written in the wake of the ongoing, historic marches demanding racial justice all around the country. Joe Biden is also committed to passing the bill named in honor of John Lewis to enshrine the sacred right to vote. Finally, Biden supports the end of the Senate filibuster in order to pass progressive legislation and end decades of Republican obstruction to pass laws that enjoy broad support among Americans, including universal background checks for firearms.

    Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate and Vice Presidential candidate. Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Her background is in law. She served as the San Francisco District Attorney from 2004 to 2011 and Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2016. She has represented the state of California in the U.S. Senate since 2017. Harris is well known for confronting Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings over Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s serious allegations of sexual assault against him. Harris’s views are progressive; especially on health care. She has co-sponsored bills that would expand Medicare to cover all Americans.

    Joe Biden is running against Republican incumbent Donald J. Trump. Trump has tried repeatedly to take away the rights of immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and tribes. He’s separated families at the border and put children in cages. He’s denied the reality of the climate crisis and repeatedly ignored the science that links it to the record setting fires, storms and floods devastating peoples’ lives. . Trump cheered GOP legislation like the 2017 tax bill, which burdened families and rewarded the rich and supported GOP efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and the protections it provides for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

    Trump’s presidency has been characterized by unprecedented levels of corruption with a record number of staff, cabinet members and campaign staff indicted and convicted. His failure to lead during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of Americans dead and the economy in shambles. Trump even admitted on tape that he knew about the severity of the virus as early as February and deliberately withheld that information from the public. Trump is only the third president ever to be impeached by Congress. There are active criminal investigations against his businesses and his family. Openly, Trump seeks to undermine the bedrock principles of democracy by obstructing justice, attacking peaceful protesters, and using the powers of his office to prevent Americans from voting.

    Joe Biden is the most progressive choice in the race for president.

    Joe Biden

    Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden has a long career in public service, most notably serving as Vice President alongside President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2016.

Vice President

  • Kamala Harris is the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States. She was born in Oakland, California to immigrant parents. Her mother was a cancer researcher from India and her father is an economist from Jamaica. Senator Harris is the first Black woman and South Asian American of any gender to be nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party.

    Harris went to public schools, attended Howard University, and returned to San Francisco for law school. She began her law career in 1990 working in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office specializing in advocating for child victims of sexual assault. She then moved to the Deputy District Attorney’s office prosecuting criminal cases.

    In 2003, she was the first woman to be elected District Attorney in San Francisco’s history. Harris fought against racial profiling as a driver of mass incarceration. She championed re-entry programs for youth offenders. As Attorney General, Harris also championed the Open Justice program, which provided public access to crime statistics, including use of force incidents by the police. She also expressed interest in redirecting police funds to social programs. Overall, prison incarceration rates in California dropped significantly during her six years as Attorney General.

    In 2016, Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate. She captured national attention right away for her questioning of U.S. Attorney General candidate Jeff Sessions on issues related to foreign interference in the 2016 election. In 2018, Harris again captivated the nation in her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, who was under scrutiny for sexual assault and political corruption. Her voting record in the Senate is progressive. She repeatedly co-sponsored bills to protect human rights. She also voted against the confirmation of the majority of the Trump Administration’s extreme rightwing candidates for office, including Betsy DeVos. Harris spoke out passionately against Republican efforts to block evidence from being considered in President Trump’s trial and ultimately voted to impeach him. She also vocally opposed the 2017 GOP Tax Bill, a massive tax giveaway to the richest one percent of Americans.

    Kamala Harris’s opponent is Vice President Mike Pence. After finishing law school, Pence jumped into politics with two unsuccessful runs for Congress. His loss in 1990 is partially attributed to his embezzlement of campaign funds, which was not illegal at the time. He then built his career as a rightwing radio and television personality in Indiana. A decade later, he finally won an election for Congress and built a record as an enemy of reproductive rights, sensible firearm regulations, social programs for impoverished Americans, and protections for LGBTQ+ citizens. He was elected governor of Indiana in 2013. He refused federal funding for pre-Kindergarten programs, which earned him significant criticism. Pence then used his office to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ citizens. His bigotry and lack of leadership were so severe that Pence allowed one of the worst HIV outbreaks in the country to happen in Indiana under his watch.

    In 2016, Presidential candidate Donald Trump chose Pence as his running mate. Trump chose Pence on the recommendation of Paul Manafort, who now serves jail time for lying to the FBI about his relationship between Russian military intelligence and the Trump campaign. Even though Pence serves as President of the Senate, he’s been completely absent in desperately needed negotiations over a second round of economic relief during the pandemic. He has supported Republicans in their near unanimous vote against full extended unemployment insurance, stimulus checks, support for health care systems, protective gear and testing for frontline workers, mail-in election funding, funding for state budget shortages to prevent layoffs, and new small business loans.

    Kamala Harris is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Kamala Harris

    Kamala Harris is the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States. She was born in Oakland, California to immigrant parents. Her mother was a cancer researcher from India and her father is an economist from Jamaica.

U.S. Senator

  • Democrat
  • Senator Gary Peters was first elected to the United States Senate in 2015 and was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a Senate election in 2014. Before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he was a financial advisor and part of the Navy Reserves. He also served in the Michigan State Senate from 1995-2002, the Michigan Lottery Commission from 2003-2007, and the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009-2015.

    While Peters has been in office, the biggest issues he’s fought for include veterans’ health and safety, lowering prescription drug costs, protecting the Great Lakes, fighting for small businesses, keeping the government transparent with the people, and fighting against the 1% by supporting movements like Occupy Wall Street. He’s also well known for working across the aisle effectively.

    Peters has also been a champion for reproductive health throughout his political career. He fought for the Affordable Care Act, expanding healthcare including no co-pays for contraceptives, and has defended it ever since. He also opposed the 2013 “Rape Insurance” bill that passed in Michigan, and is a strong ally for reproductive rights.

    Most recently he filed an investigation into efforts to cripple the United States Postal Service and expressed concerns about delayed absentee ballots and other important packages like medications, bill payments, and Social Security checks.

    Peters, a veteran and an expert in national security, serves as the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Gary Peters is a man of dignity who takes human rights very seriously. In his time in office as a Congressman and a Senator he’s voted for the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the DREAM Act, all of which have passed and have made life in the United States better for everyone.

    Sen. Peters has been endorsed by six of our partner organizations fighting for a Michigan where everyone thrives. This includes Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Clean Water Action, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Between the Lines, and BlackPAC.

    Sen. Peters is facing a challenge from John James, who in a previous campaign had a swastika in his political ad and said he supported the “Trump agenda 2000 percent.”

    We highly recommend re-electing Sen. Gary Peters, who is the most progressive choice in this race.


    Learn more here: https://petersformichigan.com/

    Gary Peters

    Senator Gary Peters was first elected to the United States Senate in 2015 and was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a Senate election in 2014. Before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he was a financial advisor and part of the Navy Reserves.

Congress, 3rd Congressional District

U.S. Representative

  • Hillary Scholten is running for Congress for the first time. She worked for the Department of Justice under President Obama, where she worked to fix America’s broken immigration system. After President Trump took office, she continued her work to solve our immigration crisis by joining the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. She also began volunteering for the Times Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal services to women who face workplace sexual harassment.

    In addition to immigration and civil rights, she is also focused on strengthening education, expanding access to health care, protecting our environment, clean water, and updating our infrastructure.

    Scholten is endorsed by five of our partner organizations in Michigan. These include the Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and Sierra Club.

    Scholten is running against another first time candidate, Peter Meijer, heir to the grocery chain by the same name.

    Scholten is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Learn more: https://www.hillaryscholten.com

    Hillary Scholten

    Hillary Scholten is running for Congress for the first time. She worked for the Department of Justice under President Obama, where she worked to fix America’s broken immigration system.

State House

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State House races on your ballot.

Representative, 73rd District

State Representative

  • Democrat
  • Bill Saxton is running for the Michigan House of Representatives in the 73rd District. Saxton graduated summa cum laude from Boston University, and is an experienced small business owner and software engineer.

    Saxton’s priorities include securing relief funds from small businesses affected by COVID-19, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, making sure that clean water is the standard and protecting the Great Lakes, and fully funding our public schools.

    Saxton is endorsed by four of our partner organizations including the Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and Between the Lines.

    Saxton is running against Bryan Posthumus, who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life and the DeVos-connected Great Lakes Education Project.

    Saxton is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Learn more: https://www.billinthehouse.com/

    Bill Saxton

    Bill Saxton is running for the Michigan House of Representatives in the 73rd District. Saxton graduated summa cum laude from Boston University, and is an experienced small business owner and software engineer.

Representative, 74th District

State Representative

  • Meagan Hintz is running for the Michigan House of Representatives in the 75th District. She has a strong professional background in project management, process improvement, and financial management. She currently works as a Senior Analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She has also worked as a group administrator and as a pharmacy technician.

    Hintz is endorsed by two of our partner organizations including American Federation of Teachers and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Hintz is running against Mark Huizenga, an incumbent with a very conservative voting record. He is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life and the DeVos-connected Great Lakes Education Project.

    Hintz is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Meagan Hintz

    Meagan Hintz is running for the Michigan House of Representatives in the 75th District. She has a strong professional background in project management, process improvement, and financial management. She currently works as a Senior Analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Statewide

Michigan State Board of Trustees

  • The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Brian Mosallam and Rema Reynolds-Vassar as the progressive choices in this race. 

    First elected to the board in 2012, Brian Mosallam has stood up for employees and students of MSU, and fought for justice and dignity for the survivors of sexual assault.

    As a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, administrator, and parent organizer with over two decades of experience, Dr. Rema Reynolds-Vassar is a university educator with a dedication to equity, access, inclusion, and safety for every student, faculty, staff, and alum.

    The Republicans in the race are Pat O’Keefe and Tonya Schuitmaker. We do not recommend either candidate. O’Keefe’s has received the support of right-wing U.S. Senate candidate John James. Schuitmaker is a former legislator who racked up a very conservative voting record in Lansing and is endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Mosallam and Dr. Reynolds-Vassar are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Brian Mosallam

    The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

  • The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Brian Mosallam and Rema Reynolds-Vassar as the progressive choices in this race. 

    First elected to the board in 2012, Brian Mosallam has stood up for employees and students of MSU, and fought for justice and dignity for the survivors of sexual assault.

    As a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, administrator, and parent organizer with over two decades of experience, Dr. Rema Reynolds-Vassar is a university educator with a dedication to equity, access, inclusion, and safety for every student, faculty, staff, and alum.

    The Republicans in the race are Pat O’Keefe and Tonya Schuitmaker. We do not recommend either candidate. O’Keefe’s has received the support of right-wing U.S. Senate candidate John James. Schuitmaker is a former legislator who racked up a very conservative voting record in Lansing and is endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Mosallam and Dr. Reynolds-Vassar are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Dr. Rema Reynolds-Vassar

    The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

State Board of Education

  • The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

    A fierce advocate for public education and government transparency, Ellen Cogen Lipton served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives, including a term as Democratic Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

    A proud parent of three public school children and raised in a family of educators, Jason Strayhorn believes that our best investment as a state is in providing every child a high-quality and equitable education.

    Both Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn are endorsed by Between the Lines, Michigan AFL-CIO, AFT Michigan and UAW. 

    The Republicans in the race are Toni Carlone and Michelle Frederick. We do not recommend either candidate because they have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Cogen Lipton and Strayhorn are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Ellen Cogen Lipton

    The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

  • The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

    A fierce advocate for public education and government transparency, Ellen Cogen Lipton served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives, including a term as Democratic Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

    A proud parent of three public school children and raised in a family of educators, Jason Strayhorn believes that our best investment as a state is in providing every child a high-quality and equitable education.

    Both Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn are endorsed by Between the Lines, Michigan AFL-CIO, AFT Michigan and UAW. 

    The Republicans in the race are Toni Carlone and Michelle Frederick. We do not recommend either candidate because they have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Cogen Lipton and Strayhorn are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Jason Strayhorn

    The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

University of Michigan Board of Regents

  • The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Democrats Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs as the progressive choices in this race. 

    Holding a BA, JD, and MBA from the University of Michigan, Mark Bernstein was first elected to the Board of Regents in 2012 and has fought for affordable higher education, and has advocated for graduate and lecturer faculty at the University of Michigan.

    As the first doctor elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 2012, Shauna Ryder-Diggs earned her BS and MD from the University of Michigan and is an advocate for affordable tuition and financial responsibility, faculty advancement and support, and creating a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. A former union member herself, Ryder-Diggs has been a strong advocate for UM employees and their unions.

    The Republicans in this race are Sarah Hubbard and Carl Meyers, both of whom are endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. We do not recommend either of these candidates. 

    The progressive choices in this race are Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs.

    Mark Bernstein

    The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

  • The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Democrats Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs as the progressive choices in this race. 

    Holding a BA, JD, and MBA from the University of Michigan, Mark Bernstein was first elected to the Board of Regents in 2012 and has fought for affordable higher education, and has advocated for graduate and lecturer faculty at the University of Michigan.

    As the first doctor elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 2012, Shauna Ryder-Diggs earned her BS and MD from the University of Michigan and is an advocate for affordable tuition and financial responsibility, faculty advancement and support, and creating a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. A former union member herself, Ryder-Diggs has been a strong advocate for UM employees and their unions.

    The Republicans in this race are Sarah Hubbard and Carl Meyers, both of whom are endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. We do not recommend either of these candidates. 

    The progressive choices in this race are Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs.

    Shauna Ryder-Diggs

    The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

Wayne State Board of Governors

  • The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend Democrats Eva Garza-Dewaelsche and Shirley Stancato as the progressive choices in this race.

    With BA and Masters of Education degrees from Wayne State University, Eva Garza-Dewaelsche is running for WSU Governor to promote greater opportunities for students of color and non-traditional students, increase enrollment and graduation rates, and strengthen the voices of educators and workers in university decision making.

    Appointed to fill a vacancy on the Wayne State Board of Governors in 2019, Shirley Stancato is a social justice advocate and prominent Detroit civic and community leader. Stancato is an architect of civic engagement opportunities that bridge economic, geographical and racial divides and spent her career at the helm of New Detroit, uniting community organizations in the mission of identifying and eliminating racial disparities in metro Detroit.

    The Republicans in the race are Terri Lynn Land and Don Gates. We do not recommend either of these candidates. Terri Lynn Land is a failed U.S. Senate candidate and former Michigan Secretary of State who was tapped by the GOP late in the game after their incumbent candidate was barred from the race because of campaign finance issues. Gates is endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Garza-Dewaelsche and Stancato are the progressive choices in this race.

    Eva Garza-Dewaelsche

    The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

  • The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend Democrats Eva Garza-Dewaelsche and Shirley Stancato as the progressive choices in this race.

    With BA and Masters of Education degrees from Wayne State University, Eva Garza-Dewaelsche is running for WSU Governor to promote greater opportunities for students of color and non-traditional students, increase enrollment and graduation rates, and strengthen the voices of educators and workers in university decision making.

    Appointed to fill a vacancy on the Wayne State Board of Governors in 2019, Shirley Stancato is a social justice advocate and prominent Detroit civic and community leader. Stancato is an architect of civic engagement opportunities that bridge economic, geographical and racial divides and spent her career at the helm of New Detroit, uniting community organizations in the mission of identifying and eliminating racial disparities in metro Detroit.

    The Republicans in the race are Terri Lynn Land and Don Gates. We do not recommend either of these candidates. Terri Lynn Land is a failed U.S. Senate candidate and former Michigan Secretary of State who was tapped by the GOP late in the game after their incumbent candidate was barred from the race because of campaign finance issues. Gates is endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Garza-Dewaelsche and Stancato are the progressive choices in this race.

    Shirley Stancato

    The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

Supreme Court

State Supreme Court

  • Elizabeth Welch has stood up for communities throughout her legal career and personal life. She was active in her school community and served as a board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. She helped push back against big pharma and get funding for communities hit hard by the opioid crisis and has a strong record of supporting workplace safety standards. Welch is endorsed by AFT Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and a host of other labor and progressive organizations.

    Elizabeth Welch

    Elizabeth Welch has stood up for communities throughout her legal career and personal life. She was active in her school community and served as a board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Other Candidates

Also in this race are Brock Swartzle and Mary Kelly, the Republican-nominated candidates running for the court against McCormack and Welch. We strongly recommend not voting for either of these candidates. 

Mary Kelly has faced questions of nepotism involving her job in the same court where her husband is chief judge and fired a longtime public employee in what was clearly a case of political retribution because he refused to back her candidacy for judge. 

Swartzle has a long history of being a GOP operative, a lawyer who defended foreclosure companies, and was appointed to the Court of Appeals by former Gov. Rick Snyder under very shady circumstances that was called an act of “political patronage,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Kent County

Kent Prosecuting Attorney

No Good Choices

In this race there are no good choices for a progressive candidate. We recommend writing a person you believe is qualified and would make a good elected official.


Kent Sheriff

  • Democrat
  • Marc Burns is running for Kent County Sheriff for the first time. Burns has served in the Kent County Sheriff Department for 30 years. He is active in the community as a volunteer for a number of community organizations, especially in youth athletics. He is passionate about law enforcement reform, including ending police brutality. Burns is running against Republican Michelle LaJoye-Young. Based on her endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for LaJoye-Young.

    Marc Burns

    Marc Burns is running for Kent County Sheriff for the first time. Burns has served in the Kent County Sheriff Department for 30 years. He is active in the community as a volunteer for a number of community organizations, especially in youth athletics.

Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds

  • Devin Ortega-Furguson is running for Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds for the first time. He has extensive professional experience in business administration. He has also been a fencing coach and a U.S. Navy flight engineer.

    Because of the Clerk’s role in redistricting Kent County Commission districts after each Census, electing Ortega-Furguson will be critical in preventing gerrymandering at the county level in 2021.

    Ortega-Furguson is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Ortega-Furgeson is running against Republican Lisa Posthumus Lyons. As a state representative from 2011 to 2016, Lyons developed a conservative voting record, supporting controversial right-to-work and emergency manager laws as well as cuts to education and infrastructure funding. Lyons was widely criticized for a 2013 comment in which she appeared to liken teachers to “pigs” and “hogs”. In 2011, Lyons voted to gerrymander Michigan congressional and legislative districts. In light of all of this, we do not recommend voting for Lyons.

    Ortega-Furgeson is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Devin Ortega-Furgeson

    Devin Ortega-Furguson is running for Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds for the first time. He has extensive professional experience in business administration. He has also been a fencing coach and a U.S. Navy flight engineer.

Kent Treasurer

  • Democrat
  • Beth White is running for Kent County Treasurer for the first time. She has served as a municipal attorney for the City of Grand Rapids and as a volunteer with many community organizations. Fiscal stewardship, foreclosure relief, and integrity are White’s priorities.

    Because of the Treasurer’s role in redistricting Kent County Commission districts after each Census, electing White will be critical in preventing gerrymandering at the county level in 2021.

    White is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    White is running against Republican Peter MacGregor. As a state lawmaker since 2011, MacGregor has developed a conservative voting record, supporting controversial right-to-work and emergency manager laws as well as cuts to education and infrastructure funding.

    White is the most progressive choice.

     

    Beth White

    Beth White is running for Kent County Treasurer for the first time. She has served as a municipal attorney for the City of Grand Rapids and as a volunteer with many community organizations. Fiscal stewardship, foreclosure relief, and integrity are White’s priorities.

Kent Drain Commission

  • Elaine Isely is running for Kent County Drain Commissioner for the first time. She is the current Water Programs Director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. Isely has also worked for Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Grand Valley State University, and the Great Lakes Commission.

    She is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Clean Water Action and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Isely is running against Republican Ken Yonker. As a state representative from 2011 to 2016, Yonker developed a conservative voting record, supporting controversial right-to-work and emergency manager laws as well as cuts to education and infrastructure funding. We do not recommend voting for Yonker because of his conservative views and record.

    Isely is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Elaine Isley

    Elaine Isely is running for Kent County Drain Commissioner for the first time. She is the current Water Programs Director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

Kent County Commission

Kent County Commission, District 1

  • Democrat
  • Dr. Deb Havens is running for County Commissioner for the second time after having run in 2018. She is a retired teacher and is active in historical preservation and environmental protection efforts in the Rockford area. She is also a television producer who started her own production company. She is endorsed by the United Auto Workers. 

    Havens is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

    Havens is running against Republican Ben Greene. Based on his track record and his endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Greene.

    Havens is the most progressive choice.

     

    Deb Havens

    Dr. Deb Havens is running for County Commissioner for the second time after having run in 2018. She is a retired teacher and is active in historical preservation and environmental protection efforts in the Rockford area.

Kent County Commission, District 2

  • Democrat
  • Jerry Berta is running for his first term on the Kent County Commission. He is an artist and teacher. He and his wife used to own Rosie’s Diner in downtown Rockford. Berta is running against Republican Tom Antor. Based on his track record and his endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Greene.

    Berta is the most progressive choice in this race

     

    Jerry Berta

    Jerry Berta is running for his first term on the Kent County Commission. He is an artist and teacher. He and his wife used to own Rosie’s Diner in downtown Rockford. Berta is running against Republican Tom Antor.

Kent County Commission, District 3

  • G. Scott Schuiling is running for County Commissioner for the first time. He previously ran for State Representative in 2012. Schuling is running against Republican Roger Morgan. Information about his platform is difficult to track down, but based on his endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Morgan.

    Schuiling is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    G. Scott Schuiling

    G. Scott Schuiling is running for County Commissioner for the first time. He previously ran for State Representative in 2012. Schuling is running against Republican Roger Morgan.

Kent County Commission, District 4

  • Democrat
  • Kari Smith is running for Kent County Commission for the second time, having previously run in 2018. Smith is a veteran who also has leadership experience in the private sector. Smith is running against Republican Diane Jones.  Based on her endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Jones.

    Smith is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Kari Smith

    Kari Smith is running for Kent County Commission for the second time, having previously run in 2018. Smith is a veteran who also has leadership experience in the private sector.

Kent County Commission, District 5

  • Neville Mark is running for Kent County Commission for the second time, having previously run in 2018. Mark is a servicing representative for the United Auto Workers. Mark is running against Republican Mandy Bolter. Based on her endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Bolter.

    Mark is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Neville Mark

    Neville Mark is running for Kent County Commission for the second time, having previously run in 2018. Mark is a servicing representative for the United Auto Workers. Mark is running against Republican Mandy Bolter.

Kent County Commission, District 6

  • Danielle Storey is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. She has volunteered extensively with young people in Walker, including serving on the Kenowa Hills Board of Education. Health, parks, and the environment are also top priorities for Storey.

    She is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Michigan Education Association and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Storey is running against Republican Stan Stek. Based on his endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Stek.

    Storey is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Danielle M. Storey

    Danielle Storey is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. She has volunteered extensively with young people in Walker, including serving on the Kenowa Hills Board of Education. Health, parks, and the environment are also top priorities for Storey.

Kent County Commission, District 7

  • Democrat
  • Jane Newton is running for her first term on the Kent County Commission. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the City of Grandville Environmental Sustainability Committee. Her professional background is in marketing and communications. Newton’s platform includes protecting water, parks and recreation, health care, and economic opportunity.

    Newton is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Newton is running against Republican Stan Ponstein. Based on his endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Ponstein.

    Newton is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Jane Newton

    Jane Newton is running for her first term on the Kent County Commission. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the City of Grandville Environmental Sustainability Committee. Her professional background is in marketing and communications.

Kent County Commission, District 8

  • Sarah Chatterley is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. Chatterley is a volunteer planning commissioner for the City of Wyoming and has worked for Cherry Health and the Red Cross. The environment, health care, and community development are important priorities for her.

    Chatterley is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Chatterley is running against Republican Dan Burrill. Based on his endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Burrill.

    Chatterley is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

Kent County Commission, District 9

Kent County Commission, District 10

  • Robert Sames is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. Sames is running against Republican Emily Post Brieve. Based on her endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Brieve.

    Sames is the most progressive choice.

     

    Robert Sames

    Robert Sames is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. Sames is running against Republican Emily Post Brieve. Based on her endorsement from the anti-choice organization Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Brieve.

Kent County Commission, District 11

  • Justin Sheldon is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. He currently works as an adjunct faculty member at Grand Valley State University, from which he graduated in 2015. Having faced a lot of hardship in his life, he has developed a sense of empathy and understanding that will guide his work on the Commission.

    Sheldon is running for County Commission because he believes it’s our duty to preserve and expand on the representative democracy that our Founding Fathers established. Smart growth, health care, and the environment are among his priorities.

    Sheldon is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Sheldon is running against Republican Lindsey Thiel. Thiel has worked as a corporate lobbyist and as a staff member for three conservative lawmakers in Lansing. Information about her platform is difficult to track down, but based on her track record and her endorsement from Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Thiel.

    Sheldon is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Justin Sheldon

    Justin Sheldon is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. He currently works as an adjunct faculty member at Grand Valley State University, from which he graduated in 2015.

Kent County Commission, District 12

  • Monica Sparks is running for her second term on the Kent County Commission, having been elected in 2018. She is a real estate agent and host of Radio for Divas. Sparks is running against Republican Ryan Malinoski. While we didn't see endorsements for this candidate from organizations that concern us, they also don't have the support of any of our partner organizations. Therefore, we cannot recommend Malinoski.

    Sparks is endorsed by the anti-choice Dems for Life, so we cannot recommend her.

     

Kent County Commission, District 13

  • Michelle McCloud is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. She is an assistant dean at Grand Valley State University. She has served on the City of Kentwood Zoning Board of Appeals and the Kent County Officers’ Compensation Commission.

    Her priorities include early childhood education, COVID-19 relief, and transparency.

    McCloud is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. 

    McCloud is running against Republican Levi Cipcic. Based on an endorsement he received from Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Cipcic.

    McCloud is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Michelle McCloud

    Michelle McCloud is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. She is an assistant dean at Grand Valley State University. She has served on the City of Kentwood Zoning Board of Appeals and the Kent County Officers’ Compensation Commission.

Kent County Commission, District 14

  • Carol Hennessy is running for her 8th term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2006. She has served as Minority Vice Chair of the Commission, making her the highest-ranking Democratic commissioner.

    Hennessy’s priorities include health care, senior services, and COVID-19 relief. She is endorsed by the UAW and the Sierra Club.

    Hennessy is running against Republican Blake Edmonds. While we didn't see endorsements for this candidate from organizations that concern us, they also don't have the support of any of our partner organizations. Therefore, we cannot recommend Edmonds.

    Hennessy is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

Kent County Commission, District 15

  • Melissa LaGrand is running for Kent County Commission for the first time. She is a bakery owner and accessibility advocate. Justice, community health, and housing are important priorities for her. 

    LaGrand is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    LaGrand is running against Republican Brian Boersema. While we didn't see endorsements for this candidate from organizations that concern us, they also don't have the support of any of our partner organizations. Therefore, we cannot recommend Boersema.

    LaGrand is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

Kent County Commission, District 16

  • Dave Bulkowski is running for his fifth term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2012. Bulkowski is the executive director of Disability Advocates of Kent County. He also serves on the board of the Interurban Transit Partnership, which operates The Rapid.

    Bulkowski is running against Republican Eric Baxter. While we didn't see endorsements for this candidate from organizations that concern us, they also don't have the support of any of our partner organizations. Therefore, we cannot recommend Baxter.

    Bulkowski is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Dave Bulkowski

    Dave Bulkowski is running for his fifth term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2012. Bulkowski is the executive director of Disability Advocates of Kent County.

Kent County Commission, District 17

  • Robert Womack is running for his third term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2016. Known as Robert S., he is a longtime radio host in Grand Rapids. Womack is running against Republican Jason Gillikin. While we didn't see endorsements for this candidate from organizations that concern us, they also don't have the support of any of our partner organizations. Therefore, we cannot recommend Gillikin.

    Womack is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Robert Womack

    Robert Womack is running for his third term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2016. Known as Robert S., he is a longtime radio host in Grand Rapids. Womack is running against Republican Jason Gillikin.

Kent County Commission, District 18

  • Stephen Wooden is running for his second term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2018. Wooden works at a local housing nonprofit. He has also worked as a staff member in the Michigan House of Representatives and on a number of campaigns.

    The environment, the economy, and equity are Wooden’s major priorities.

    Wooden is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Wooden is running against Republican Josie Kornev. Information about her platform is difficult to track down, but based on her endorsement from Right to Life, we do not recommend voting for Kornev.

    Wooden is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

Kent County Commission, District 19

  • Democrat
  • Phil Skaggs is running for his third term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2016. A former East Grand Rapids City Commissioner, Skaggs also works in the office of State Representative David LaGrand. He has also been a professor.

    Skaggs’s priorities include education, public safety, recreation, and transparency.

    Skaggs is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Skaggs is running against Republican Cris Birdsong. The only endorsements listed on Birdsong’s website are from Right to Life of Michigan and the Commercial Alliance of Realtors. Based on this evidence, we do not recommend voting for Birdsong.

    Skaggs is the most progressive candidate.

     

    Phil Skaggs

    Phil Skaggs is running for his third term on the Kent County Commission, having first been elected in 2016. A former East Grand Rapids City Commissioner, Skaggs also works in the office of State Representative David LaGrand. He has also been a professor.

Statewide Ballot Measures

Michigan Proposal 1, Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment

  • No Position
    No Recommendation - Michigan Proposal 1
  • Proposal 1 changes how the royalties from oil and gas production in Michigan would finance different state park projects. The proposal gives more flexibility for how state park project money can be used and raises the amount of money that can go into the state’s budget for parks and recreation. 

    Under this proposal, the current $500 million cap on Michigan's Natural Resources Trust Fund would be lifted when the State Parks Endowment Fund reaches its own $800 million dollar cap. Once the balance of the State Parks Fund reaches this upper limit, the oil and gas monies currently saved in the fund would revert back to the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which has been in place for nearly four decades. Under existing law, when the State Parks Endowment Fund reaches $800 million, Michigan's oil, mineral, and gas revenues will revert to the state's general fund.  

    Law currently states that no more than a quarter of the State Parks Endowment Fund can go to existing state parks. If passed, this amendment would make it so that at least a quarter of future expenditures can go towards existing parks for projects like renovations and redevelopments, with at least a fifth of the money towards capital improvements. These funds typically go towards constructing recreational items such as trails, bathroom facilities, playgrounds, and other park projects. 

    The proposal does not raise revenue or taxes in any way, but instead changes how future revenue would be allocated. 

    While many conservation organizations across the state are supportive of this proposal, it also has the support of business interests including DTE Energy, the Detroit Regional Chamber, and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association. 

    Progress Michigan’s partner organizations are equally divided on this proposal. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters supports the proposal, while the Michigan Sierra Club is strongly against the proposal. Clean Water Action is neutral on Proposal 1.

    Given the split between our environmental partners, we cannot make a recommendation on this proposal. 

Michigan Proposal 2, Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment

  • VOTE YES
    Vote Yes on Proposal 2
  • This proposal requires law enforcement to have a search warrant before accessing a person’s electronic data or electronic communications. Electronic data under this proposal would be defined as private property and would be prohibited from unreasonable searches or seizures. Passing this measure would make it clear under the state constitution 

    Proposal 2 has a broad bipartisan consensus. While the proposal is spearheaded by Republican State Senator Jim Runestad, it also has the support from groups like the ACLU of Michigan. 

    We recommend voting yes on Proposal 2.