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August Primary: Meet the Candidates for the 18th Michigan House District

Candidates for the 18th House District provided short biographies in advance of Tuesday's primary.

Voters in St. Clair Shores will take to the polls Aug. 7 to determine who will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

Below are biographies provided by the candidates seeking office:

Candice B. Rusie (R)

  • Age: 30
  • College(s) attended: Wayne State University and Michigan State University College of Law
  • Year of graduation and degree(s): Graduated WSU summa cum laude in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. Graduated MSU-CL magna cum laude in 2007 with a juris doctorate (law degree).
  • Employer/profession:  Attorney. Taking on civil litigation and anti-trust projects for law firms through Kelly Law Registry.
  • Party affiliation: Republican
  • Office you are running for: State Representative for District 18 (St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe)
  •  Previous elected office(s):  I am proud to have been elected in November 2009 to the St. Clair Shores City Council, where I continue to serve.
  • Unsuccessful bids for elected office:  none
  • Why are you running for this office? "Due to redistricting decisions, we are losing our current state representative, Anthony Forlini. I want to ensure that we continue to have strong leadership and good representation in Lansing."
  • What is most pressing issue facing St. Clair Shores? "From my experience on city council, I know that the most pressing issues for our residents, our businesses, and the city of St. Clair Shores itself remain economic.  Decisions made in Lansing impact this. Although some good decisions have been made over the past two years to move Michigan forward, and we have moved from a state deficit to a surplus, much work remains to be done. The current pension tax system and structure negatively impacts our seniors, especially those who live on a fixed income, and should be reconsidered. In fact, our current state representative Forlini voted "NO" on taxing senior pensions, and I agree with his vote. One of my main focuses while on council has been to look for ways to deliver services more efficiently and to spend money more wisely, while reducing expenses and targeting and removing waste. I think this needs to be a focus in Lansing, rather than targeting tax increases on our seniors. Business-friendly initiatives must continue to be a focus for Michigan's recovery to continue.  Changes already have been made to the business tax code to help businesses. Career opportunities for workers have improved, and should continue to improve. Unnecessary and excessive regulations should continue to be removed, and new ones should not take their place. Finally, decisions made in Lansing impact our city's finances. Cuts have been made to the money coming from Lansing on which our cities depend. Although I applaud holding local governments responsible for the use of tax dollars, Lansing must also respect local elected officials' judgment on local issues like the consolidation of municipal services and the "schools of choice" programs, and not try to impose "one size fits all" solutions. Moreover, some of the "hoops" Lansing has made us jump through to obtain state funding have their own costs associated with them. We cannot afford unnecessary increases in fees or unfunded mandates - things Lansing forces us do but does not compensate or reimburse us for.  I believe our cities' financial health and the protection of local control over issues that impact our cities (such as the recent fireworks issue) should be made a priority in Lansing. Decisions need to be made that allow your local elected officials to continue to deliver to you the city you deserve.  We need someone in Lansing who understands this. In Lansing, I will represent the people of my district, and not the special interests; as such, I am not seeking or accepting any special interest or PAC (political action committee) money, endorsements, or ratings."
  • Public telephone/email/website:  586-612-3098. RusieforStateRep@gmail.comhttp://www.facebook.com/CandiceBRusieForStateRep 

Patrick Biange (D)

  • Age: 45
  • College(s) attended: Oakland University
  • Year of graduation and degree(s): 1999 BA Psychology w/ Pre-med core, Pre-engineering core.
  • Employer/profession: Self employed/Independent subcontractor.
  • Party affiliation: Democrat
  • Office you are running for: State Representative 18
  • Previous elected office(s): No previous elected offices.
  • Why are you running for this office? "I am running for State Rep 18 because I believe that I will be able to influence:the enactment of new, beneficial laws; the amendment of inefficient, existing laws; the repeal of counter-productive, existing laws at a significantly higher success rate than my opponents. 
  • What is most pressing issue facing St. Clair Shores? "The most pressing issues facing Saint Clair Clair Shores and the State of Michigan are PROGRESSPublic Education Enhancement, Reciprocal Revenue Distribution,Organizational Government Consolidation, Growth & Development Innovation, Renewable Energy Advancement, Equitable Tax Laws, Sustainable Ecological Initiatives and Small Business Incentives.
  • Public telephone/email/website: patrick.biange@yahoo.com, 248-376-2714 

Phillip A. DiMaria (D)

Did not respond.

John M. Maynard (D)

Did not respond.

Sarah Roberts (D)

  • Age: 37 
  • College(s) attended: The University of Iowa
  • Year of graduation and degree(s): 2000 B.A 
  • Employer/profession: Former Legislative Director, The Economic Alliance for Michigan. Now a full-time candidate.
  • Party affiliation: Democrat
  • Office you are running for: State Representative, District 18 
  • Previous elected office(s): County Commissioner, District 24 Northern Saint Clair Shores (2006-2008); State Representative, District 24 Saint Clair Shores and Harrison Township (2008-2006) 
  • Unsuccessful bids for elected office: Re-election for State Representative in 2010. 
  • Why are you running for this office? "I am running for State Representative because too many of the policies coming out of Lansing are making it very difficult for everyday people to survive. They passed a $1.8 billion dollar tax cut for business, but in order to pay for it cut close to a billion dollars in education, put a tax on senior pensions and further reduced the money that is supposed to come back to our communities. This money is called state revenue sharing and it is the money used to help provide services like fixing our local roads and helping pay for strong police and fire services. I believe these cuts and the tax on seniors are the wrong decisions. We should be investing in our children so they can be the skilled and productive workers for the future, we shouldn’t be asking those living on fixed incomes to help pay for a business tax cut, we should be supporting our communities so they can remain vibrant and places families want to move to and we should be laser focused on supporting small business and emerging industries so they can create jobs for our residents.  
  • What is most pressing issue facing St. Clair Shores? "Residents need good paying jobs. When people have good-paying jobs they pay taxes, which help fund services; residents stay in their homes, which helps property values because we have fewer foreclosures; and they are able to spend money on goods and services which helps the economy. But equally pressing is our water quality. Lake St. Clair is important to our quality if life and our local economy, the State should not be weakening protections, we should be strengthening them."
  • Public telephone/email/website: 586-909-6820; votesarahroberts@gmail.comwww.facebook.com/VoteSarahRoberts

Editor's note: The response from Candice Rusie was modified to include her full answer. The earlier edition of this story did not include the full text.

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