Breen and Staudt seek seat in Michigan’s 21st District
Democrat Kelly Breen and Republican David Staudt previously served together on the Novi City Council. Now they face off in a bid for the 21st District State House seat. Libertarian James K. Young also joins the fray.
The 21st District represents Novi, western Farmington Hills and eastern Lyon Township.
Hometown Life sent identical questionnaires to all three candidates to learn more about them and their positions on the issues. Young did not respond.
Kelly Breen has been a resident of Novi for 16 years and a graduate of Northville High School, James Madison College, Michigan State University, and Wayne Law. Previously, she worked at a free legal aid clinic, including advocating for abused or neglected children. Breen has served as the state representative in the 38th District for the past two years. Prior to her election to this post, she served on the Novi City Council. She is the mother of two children, Abi and Elliott and married to Matt.
Dave Staudt, a Wisconsin native, has lived in Novi for 29 years and served on the Novi City Council for 15 years, 11 of them as a pro-tem. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in management, is the owner of Impact Media Professionals, and employed as a controller of the Associated Builders and Contractors of SE Michigan and the Southeastern Michigan Construction Academy. He is a member of Novi Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, BPO Elks and Holy Family K of C. He founded the Novi Parks Foundation and the Canine Advocacy Program. He has been married to Jean for 37 years and is the father of two adult daughters, Rachel and Amber.
Statistics show that systemic racism is prevalent in law enforcement, government, health care and the economy. Name a concrete action the state government could take to help fight racism.
Breen: Funding for public education should move to a weighted formula (Michigan Refinance Collaborative Report) and no longer focus on property taxes. Children in each community have varying needs (special needs, ESL, age). A statewide weighted funding pool will help all children receive a quality education based on unique needs.
Education should include an accurate history of our country, in all its complexity, including the contributions of all our people, to help us deliver on its promise.
Knowing people of different cultures and identities builds relationships, so ensuring there is accessible housing and good public transit will create wealth in the community.Status: Frankly, I don’t necessarily agree with your initial premise that the statistics show systemic racism. However, one tangible action the state could pursue is a more comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all and creating greater economic opportunity for communities of color.
How would you assess the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what should the state legislature do next, if any?
Status: Grade: F. The Legislature must address the Governor’s Emergency Authority, fix a very flawed and fraudulent unemployment system, determine how we can best protect the most vulnerable of our citizens, provide additional educational resources to those who have fallen behind during the lockdowns and use remaining federal COVID funds to address small business economic issues created by the lockdown.
Breen: B+. Governor Whitmer and her public health team were at the forefront, initially, of promoting measures to protect Michiganders. Even our automakers have sought to modernize the production of desperately needed PPAs and medical equipment. But we were paralyzed by leaders who denied the dangers of Covid and refused to support preventive measures. We need to listen to science to determine questions related to Covid and other highly communicable diseases. State, county, and local health departments must receive adequate funding to better prepare us for future pandemics, and we must recruit and train additional health professionals.
What are your views on the safety and security of our elections, particularly Michigan’s electoral integrity, and do you accept the 2020 election results?
Breen: The people of Michigan should applaud our dedicated election clerks. The 2020 election was highly secure, with each court dismissing baseless allegations of fraud. The real danger to democracy are those who “cry wolf” to sow doubt to raise funds and change laws to limit access to voting and change outcomes they don’t like while claiming their own ” legitimate victories.
We need to allow clerks to count mail-in ballots before Election Day, train ballot candidates, install high-speed tabulators if needed, and vote for other improvements included in the initiative to vote “Promote voting” which will protect access to voting instead of limiting it.Status: While improvements can always be made and there has likely been some fraud, Michigan clerks do a great job running elections. I accept the 2020 election results, including my own county commissioner nominee results.
Thinking about the recent school shootings that killed students in Uvalde and Oxford, what recommendations would you make in your efforts to prevent similar tragedies in the future?
Status: I would support communities providing armed, sworn police officers at the entrance to ALL K-12 schools. I would further limit the number of entrances to school buildings, require all cameras on a school campus to be immediately accessible to local and state police, and train school personnel to
Breen: The bipartisan school safety task force I’m on is proposing improvements in building safety, increased support for mental health and violence prevention, uniform safety protocols, streamlined police communications, and more.
While Americans will always own guns, many of us on both sides of the aisle, including gun owners, support common sense measures that can make us all safer. These include passing “red flag” laws to take guns away for mental health issues, consistently enforcing comprehensive background checks, closing the “boyfriend” and “exposure of abuse” loopholes. weapons” and “safe storage”.
Do you support amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ people? Explain.
Breen: Yes. LGBTQ+ people are increasingly under attack. A misguided and reactionary Supreme Court has already signaled that it may be down the road of nullifying marriage equality and some of the other hard-won gains towards equality for this community, which includes the fundamental right privacy for all citizens. We must do all we can to ensure that everyone who lives in our country is treated with dignity and enjoys basic human and civil rights protections.
Status: Federal law and federal court decisions provide many of the protections sought by those who support the Elliot-Larsen Amendment, however, the federal burden of proof is much higher, the penalties potentially harsher, and the cost of a much higher claim in the federal system. . That can best be decided by a vote of Michigan residents.
What is the problem facing the state government that is not on the Michiganders’ radar and should be? What steps would you take to solve this problem?
Status: A severe shortage of police, firefighters and paramedics. I would immediately propose a statewide effort to recruit and train police, firefighters, and paramedics using some of the remaining COVID funds.
Breen: Revenue sharing, which is the method by which the state distributes a portion of its tax revenue to other government units, has been in decline for decades. Notable exceptions were in the last two budgets in which it was increased. Revenue sharing is how municipalities can invest in local infrastructure, support public safety and maintain the local environment: “Pipes, Parks and Public Safety”. If we want to “save the blue”, repair local roads and keep our children healthy, we must fully fund our communities as provided by the revenue sharing formula.