Graves, Losey Debate Jobs, Education

The 51st District Michigan House of Representatives candidates face off at a meet the candidates night.

Joe Graves and Steve Losey are set for a rematch.

The two candidates are once again battling for a 51st District Michigan House of Representatives seat after Graves defeated Losey in a special election in February after Paul Scott was recalled.

Both took part in a Meet the Candidates debate put on by the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.

Graves, R-Argentine Township, has served as the state representative since February and is "seeking re-election to the state house to make the tough decisions when necessary."

Losey, D-Linden, a special education teacher at Redford Union Schools and Linden school board trustee, wants "to bring the voice of the middle class to Lansing."

Graves said his campaign will remain focused on public safety and jobs, while Losey said he would focus his message on education.

One of the questions debated Tuesday was on Michigan's Proposition 2.

This proposal would:

  • Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.        
  • Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees' financial support of their labor unions.  Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.      
  • Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
  • Define "employer" as a person or entity employing one or more employees. 

Losey said he is for Prosition 2.

"I don't see the logic behind not letting folks try to bargain for what they work for," Losey said. "It doesn't make any sense to me."

Graves said he is against it.

"If you don't pass Proposal 2, you still have the right to collective bargain," he said. "No one has ever tried to take that away."

Also, both Graves and Losey were asked about getting people back to work.

Losey said education is the key.

"I honestly believe the better educated our work force is, the more productive people will be," he said.

Grave mentioned his bill to get veterans getting back to work.

"If they served as plumber, electrician, military police, that is their certification, that is their training," Graves said. "All they do is come back and take the test."

Another question debated was if it was time to re-evalaute the performance and purpose of the Genesee Area Intermediate School District board, which has been under fire recently.

Graves said there has to be some way to have the appointed board held accountable.

"There was another travel scandal," Graves said. "Obviously, we need to fix this."

Losey said there needs to be some changes made, but said most boards do important work.

"I don't want to lump every ISD across the state as being some sort of crooked malfunctioning type entity, because they are not all like that," Losey said.

Jason Alexander (Editor) October 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Who are you voting for and why?
Awake, in the Middle Class October 12, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I'm voting for Steve Losey. Collective bargaining has been under fire since the Republican administration took control two years ago. This is no secret. Graves is either not informed, or is hiding the truth. Either way, it's insulting to those of us who work hard every day, that a representative who is elected to REPRESENT us is not validating Proposal 2 as being important to the people of Michigan. Yet the threat of the Republicans' agenda to repeal our ability to collectively bargain looms above our heads. Collective bargaining is about fair wages & safe working conditions. Shame on anyone who says "no one has ever tried to take that away". Graves also says he will repeal the senior pension tax. He just had seven months to work on this repeal. Why didn't he? He just sponsored a bill (which was passed) to change the effective date from January 1, 2013 to October 1, 2012 for the slight redution (one tenth of a percent) in taxable income taxes. Hmmm. Was this for political reasons? So they could say they "lowered" taxes for Michigan citizens BEFORE the election? If the senior pension tax repeal was truly important to him, why didn't he focus his efforts on that already? Is it that he knows it would never pass with his Republican friends in charge? Perhaps. But it sounds good to run on, right? As for his "public safety" platform, collective bargaining is crucial to the safety & well-being of our police officers & firefighters. But apparently he's not worried about that.


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