A Marion Township resident has announced her candidacy for a Michigan State House seat.

Colleen Turk says she is running for the Democratic nomination for the 47th House seat in Livingston County. That seat is currently occupied by Republican Hank Vaupel, who has filed for re-election. Turk, who grew up in Cohoctah Township and graduated from Howell Public Schools, said that while she “has a lot of respect” for Vaupel, they, “have different ideas about what’s best for our area and our state.” She looks forward to a respectful challenge of ideas with him throughout the campaign and would welcome an opportunity for a public debate.

Turk said the most critical issues facing the Livingston County area are high-quality schools and affordable, effective health care. She decried recent legislation passed by the GOP-controlled legislature to give millage money to for-profit charter schools, while also denying what she called, “common-sense checks and balances…like compliance with the Freedom of Information Act,” that allow public money to be shared with for-profit corporations that, “have no responsibility to answer the public’s questions at a time when Michigan student achievement is nationally ranked in the bottom third of the country.” As for health care, Turk said Michigan citizens can’t wait for the (quote) ”mess at the federal level to be corrected” and that lawmakers should be “actively researching initiatives that can be undertaken by our state in pilot programs with an eye for expanding beyond that.”

In addition to earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science and German from the University of Michigan in 2003, Turk last year was awarded a Master of Nonprofit Administration from Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. She works as an IT professional with Sparrow Health in Lansing. She is also the founder of Citizens for Unity, a community group focused on facilitating discussions, learning different perspectives, and building consensus on actions needed to change our community for the better.

Turk is the only Democrat currently announced for the 47th House District, which includes the townships of Cohoctah, Conway, Deerfield, Handy, Hartland, Howell, Iosco, Marion, Oceola, Tyrone and Unadilla, plus the city of Howell and the village of Fowlerville. (JK)