State Representative Election Candidates

In the 61st House District, Republican incumbent Brandt Iden faces a challenge from Democrat John Fisher. The two-year post pays an annual salary of $71,685.

brandt-idenBrandt Iden, Republican Incumbent

Age: 33. Education: Kalamazoo College, Degrees in Political Science and Economics. Website: voteiden.com.

My name is Brandt Iden and I’m seeking re-election to the 61st District seat in the House of Representatives on November 8.  In office, I have served as the vice chair of the committee on Communications and Technology and am also a member of the committee on Regulatory Reform, Tax Policy and Workforce and Talent Development. Prior to serving Michigan in the Michigan Legislature, I served two terms on the Kalamazoo County Commission.

Southwest Michigan has always been my home.  I was born and raised here, attended Kalamazoo College, and have spent my professional life working and serving in this region. In addition to public office, I’m passionate about community engagement and organizations that focus on youth development. I serve on the board at Junior Achievement of Southwest Michigan, a nonprofit organization that gives K-12 students career readiness and financial literacy.  I am a past board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, A Community of Caring, an organization I stay actively involved with.

In my first term in the State House, I fought for opportunities for our youth, more government spending accountability and increased public safety.  My goal isn’t just to be active in Lansing however; I continue to stay active right here in this community. In my two years in our state’s capital, I hosted listening sessions – including town halls, coffee hours and individual sit-downs – several times a month all over the district to ensure that Southwest Michigan voices are heard in Lansing.

I look forward to continuing to serve as your Representative in this great community for two more years. Please remember to vote on November 8.

john-fisherJohn Fisher, Democrat Challenger

Candidate, 61st District, State House of Representatives. Email: ctejohnfisher@gmail.com. Phone: 269.327.3277.

My name is John Fisher, candidate for the 61st State House seat serving the townships of Oshtemo, Prairie Ronde, Schoolcraft, Texas and the City of Portage. I was born and raised in Portage, and a graduate of Portage Central High School. My wife Corky, a retired school teacher and I have been blessed with 5 children and seven grandchildren, including 2 newborn twins.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Engineering Technology, a Federal Aircraft Maintenance License, as well as a Master’s Degree in Divinity, where I’ve dedicated my life to serve and lead as a pastor in the United Methodist Church.

I believe this election is about character, integrity and vision for our community. I am a dedicated public servant, with a proven track record of serving people. To that end, I will work to create a Michigan where all people are valued and families can grow and thrive. To create new jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, and protect jobs that pay enough to support a family. I will also work to ensure our infrastructure is maintained by investing in road and bridge repairs and updating our long neglected water and sewer distribution systems. By protecting our education system, making sure our public schools are fully funded, and treating our teachers as the valuable resources they are. And working with government to create transparency and accountability in all areas. These are only a few of the issues we need to address in Lansing, and I am ready to serve and lead as your representative in the 61st district.

In the 63rd House District, incumbent Republican Dave Maturen is opposed by Green Party candidate John Anthony LaPietra and Democrat Lynn Shiflea. The two-year term pays $71,685 annually.

dave-maturenDavid C. Maturen, Republican Incumbent

Age: 68. Family: Married to Nancy for 45 years, three girls – all Vicksburg HS graduates.

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration from WMU. Website: davematuren.com

I am running for my second term as the State Representative for the 63rd House District.  It encompasses portions of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties.  Before my first term in the House, I served for 12 years on the Kalamazoo County Commission (Chairman for 3 years) and 14 years as a Brady Township Trustee.  I have used my experience in local government, my formal education and my training as a real estate appraiser to sponsor legislation (some bills have passed the House and others have become state law) to help residential and agricultural property owners reduce their taxes upon the transfer of property.  I have also sponsored or have state laws dealing with veterans, the Missile Defense Initiative at Ft. Custer and a new emergency notification system– the latter in response to the recent shooting tragedy in Kalamazoo County.  I was honored this year to receive the Legislator of the Year Award from the Michigan Municipal League and the Advocate of the Year from the Michigan Association of Counties.  I want to continue to pay down our unfunded liabilities so that our children and grandchildren are not stuck with the tab.  I want to continue our comeback to make Michigan a state that invites job creation.  I also want to continue to emphasize Career Technical Education (CTE) so that our young people can secure that vast number of unfilled manufacturing jobs.  I would be honored to be re-elected for another two years to serve the residents of the 63rd District in our State Capitol.

lapietraJohn Anthony La Pietra, Green Party Challenger

Hello, South County – I’m John Anthony La Pietra, Green Party candidate for 63rd District State Representative. I’m 58, and my wife Jennifer delivered our daughter Serenity the day after Election Day 2014.

I have a BA in planning/public administration from Macalester College in Saint Paul, and a JD from Cooley Law School with concentrations in administrative law and Constitutional law/civil rights. I’ve also studied election law, legislative process, writing legal documents in plain English, accounting, quality control, research methods, and more. I’ve had about ten years’ experience each in state, regional, and local government; nonprofit organizations; and the private sector. Most recently, I’ve been an attorney for almost eight years, working for people’s rights – and using my ability to translate between English, Japanese, and legalese to help analyze documents and find the truth in big court cases.

My campaign’s grounded in Grassroots Democracy – one of the Green Party’s Ten Key Values. As a Green, I believe we all deserve a fair say in decisions that affect our lives, not just a few fat cats with fat checks. (I’ll take up to $100 from any citizen who supports my campaign, and 100% of any 63rd District voter’s vote – but no PAC money.) More of us say we’re independent from both Democrats and Republicans than identify with either one. Yet those “major” parties have been monopolizing all kinds of government posts, and defending their power and position against interference by We the People. No wonder Michigan ranked dead last in last fall’s independent study of state government integrity and accountability. All government is OF the people. And everyone who’s in government (or wants to get in) claims they’re FOR the people. But to clean up our pleasant peninsulas, we need more government BY the people. Let’s work together!

ryan-winfieldRyan Winfield, State Representative 63rd District, Libertarian, Challenger

My name is Ryan Winfield, age 36, and I reside in Oshtemo Township with my wife Lyndsey, and daughter, Harper.

I have dual degrees in Marketing and General Studies from KVCC. I currently work at MLive Media Group as a digital strategist for statewide/national Michigan-based businesses. I have served for two years on the Downtown Kalamazoo Parking Commission, and volunteer for Kids Hope USA. I’m also serving as the President-Elect of the Southwest Michigan chapter of the American Marketing Association. I’m a lifelong Michigan resident, and have lived in Kalamazoo since 1999.

One issue that has pushed me to run for office is the difficulty in starting and maintaining small business in Michigan. The timeframe to deal with state and local bureaucracy is too exhaustive, and creates too many unnecessary taxes that impede entrepreneurialism in our state. The American Dream should always be at arm’s length, yet for most people, it’s not an obtainable dream. I also believe that the government should not stand in the way of the advancement of civil rights. Sexual orientation, preference, or gender should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as issues of marriage rights. The government should stay out of both your bedroom and your wallet.

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