How Do You Differ From Tom McMillin? 45th District Candidates Sound Off
Joanna VanRaaphorst and Ted Golden, Democratic candidates for the House seat that represents Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township, talk about fundamental differences.
Ted Golden and Joanna VanRaaphorst, both Democratic candidates for the 45th District House seat, debated local issues at a candidate forum.
VanRaaphorst, of Oakland Township, has a background in sales and marketing and is an active volunteer in several community organizations. This is her first campaign. Read about VanRaaphorst here. Golden is a dermatologist and activist. He first ran for this seat in 2008. Read about Golden here.
Douglas Wilson is also on the ballot as a Democrat in the primary; according to debate coordinators, Wilson did not respond to the League's invitation to the debate.
The winner of the August primary will face Republican Tom McMillin, the incumbent, in November.
McMillin was not able to attend the forum because the House was in session in Lansing, voting, that night. The House session adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Here's a look at candidates' answers to an audience member's question at the forum.
Question: How would you differentiate from our current representative in Lansing? What are the top things that would make you be different in your representation in the 45th district?
Joanna VanRaaphorst: "There are several, several things that we are different on. I'm not saying that's good or bad or right or wrong. It's just that fundamentally we're very different.
"First of all my husband and I moved here 27 years ago and are invested in this community. When you have a dental practice you're not going to move away. We moved here to invest in the community.
"With that in mind I've been on numerous committee, I've worked with Neighborhood House, RAYA, the Oakland Literacy Council. I helped start the Women's Fund. I know our community. That's why I'm running. I know that this is a community that we role up our sleeves we put aside our differences, we help the library, we help the poor, we help those in need here.
"That is a very fundamental difference between Tom McMillin and I. He grew up here. Then he moved way. And then he moved here to run for office.
"Also a fundamental difference is your vocation. My vocation has always been sales and marketing and sales and marketing people see things completely different: not right, wrong, good or bad. But what I bring to the picture is the big picture.
"When you want to increase your sales you don't hire an accountant, you hire a sales and marketing person."
Ted Golden: "I do not know Tom McMillin very well. As a matter of fact I only met him once and that was right here four years ago during the debate and I personally liked him. However, we have very basic differences.
Tom McMillin has the second most conservative voting record in the Michigan House — way too conservative for me and it should be way too conservative for the citizens of Rochester Hills.
"Now, his top priority is transparency. He's a numbers person and an accountant. We already have an accountant above Tom McMillin: the governor. So if you have any fears that Tom McMillin will not be around next term, you still have a better accountant overseeing your finances.
"But we have very fundamental differences. When you look at what he has proposed, especially this exclusionary discriminatory piece of legislation that a lot of citizens are outraged and went to city council to protest - I think that's a very basic fundamental difference.
"The Republicans are obstructing a lot of stuff just to make the Democrats look bad, but our goal is to help people. I don't think that Mr. McMillin's real goal is to help people. And I don't even think he's a real good conservative, because the local control that conservatives have, this piece of anti-discriminatory legislation was to not let the local community have local control over these types of city ordinances."
"The Republicans and Mr. McMillin have stated they're against tax increases. But they've had a lot of tax increases. They're increasing the tax on senior citizens. I'm a business person too; I had my state unemployment tax go up, partly due to legislation. For the Republicans to say they're giving you a tax break — I don't buy that."
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For complete coverage of the Primary Election, visit our Election 2012 page on Patch.