A pair of Republican candidates for State Senate shared different points of view on many topics during a candidate forum, Thursday night, in Hartland Township.

State Representative Lana Theis and Joseph Marinaro are running against each other in the August 7th primary for the Republican nomination for 22nd District State Senate. Theis credited hard work in the Michigan House and the ability to connect with constituents as a large reason for her successes so far. She said she routinely spends 10-20 hours per week while House is in session reading bills to make certain she understands them. Theis said she attended over 300 district events last year, and finds connecting with people an essential part of being both a representative and a senator.

With several questions being asked of the two candidates, they didn’t see eye-to-eye on many. Marinaro said he is in support of decommissioning the Line 5 pipeline up north, saying it doesn’t bring Michigan much benefit. He warned if it’s not shut down and disaster does happen, it will ruin the state’s economy. Theis said absolutely need to protect the Great Lakes, but that there is more consider with shutting down the pipeline. She said doing so could hurt Upper Peninsula residents and that they need to find a solution that won’t cause new ones. Thies was also pro-charter schools, stating they show higher results. Marinaro was against charter schools, believing they are siphoning money from public schools. Marinaro was also emphatic after being asked if he liked the idea of creating an independent commission to draw district voting lines. He said that we cannot continue our democracy with gerrymandered districts, drawn by people that benefit from them. Marinaro said it becomes a situation where politicians are choosing voters, not voters choosing the politicians. Theis argued that with voters not having to declare party affiliation or not knowing what their voting record is, she questioned how they could know the commission was truly independent under those rules.

One thing they did agree on was the need to use better materials for roads. When it came to fixing the roads though, Marinaro proposed implementing a toll system and leveraging the digital signs on the side of highways for advertising. Theis dismissed the toll road suggestion, stating that Michigan is already prohibited from doing that because of federal funding. (MK)