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4 state House candidates in Washtenaw County pick up endorsements from Detroit Regional Chamber

From Ann
June 29, 2012
By: Ryan J. Stanton

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee has announced its endorsements for the Michigan House of Representatives for the Aug. 7 primary.

Four candidates seeking seats in Washtenaw County earned the chamber’s nod, including incumbents Jeff Irwin, Mark Ouimet and David Rutledge and newcomer Adam Zemke.

“The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC selects a bipartisan pool of candidates from our region and across the state who are committed to promoting legislation that will improve Michigan’s business climate,” said Brad Williams, the chamber’s vice president of government affairs.

“I am confident that the candidates endorsed this year will serve their communities and the state exceptionally well and look forward to continuing the chamber’s commitment to creating public policy that grows the economy and the region.”

With more than 20,000 members and affiliates that employ more than 750,000 workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country.

The Chamber PAC’s board of directors made the endorsements based on responses to a survey as well as input from PAC members and the chamber’s government affairs team.

The chamber’s top policy priorities include continued support of the New International Trade Crossing, repeal of the state’s personal property tax, implementation of a system ofregional transit and increased investment in Michigan’s transportation system.

All four candidates said they support a repeal of the tax businesses pay on equipment only if there’s a guaranteed mechanism to provide replacement revenue to local governments.

“I feel pretty strongly that there would have to be some sort of replacement if they do immediate elimination of PPT,” Ouimet said, suggesting he’s not as concerned about the impact on townships that receive small amounts of revenue from the tax.

“But for like the city of Detroit, it’s a huge part of their budget,” he said. “I think the jurisdictions that would be greatly affected in their budget would have to have full replacement.”

Ouimet, R-Scio Township, is seeking re-election to a second term and is not being challenged in the August primary. He faces Democrat Gretchen Driskell in November.

Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, is seeking re-election to a second term and is being challenged in the August primary by Democrat Thomas Partridge.

The winner will take on Republican John Spisak in November.

Rutledge, D-Superior Township, is seeking reelection to a second term and is not being challenged in the primary, but faces Republican Bill Emmerich in November.

Zemke, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, is running against Andrea Brown-Harrison, a Democrat from Pittsfield Township, in the August primary.

The winner of that race will take on Republican Owen Diaz in November for a chance to fill the seat being vacated by state Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township.