Sam is running because he knows what it takes to make our communities strong and wants to focus on investing in three key areas: Education, Economic Development, and the Environment. Investing in the “Three E’s” will encourage innovation, attract and retain talented workers, make more vibrant communities and create jobs. These are the keys to Michigan’s future success.
Michigan must reverse its current trend of cutting funding to our schools. We cannot compete in the global economy if our students are falling behind. Sam knows that a quality education should be accessible to everyone, regardless of financial background, so that all children will have an opportunity to achieve success.
Investing in K-12 Education:
A product of Michigan’s public education system, Sam appreciates the full potential of what our schools can provide for our students. As did many in our community, Sam found the recent actions of Governor Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature very troubling. Raiding the School Aid Fund to finance other budget priorities was wrong. Jeopardizing the quality of our education system to pay for corporate tax breaks is not the way to build a stronger Michigan. Neighborhood schools with small class sizes make our communities an attractive place to live and do business. Sam feels that we need to recognize the hard work our teachers do and make sure that they have the necessary resources to prepare our students.
Investing in Higher Education:
Sam is a Michigan State University alumnus and knows that our public universities are among the best in the world. But our universities can’t produce world-class graduates if families can’t afford to send their children to college. The recent trend of underfunding our universities has led Michigan to fall to 49th in the country for higher education funding. Sam knows that proper state investment will help to keep tuition costs down and make a college education more accessible for working families. Sam knows from his time in East Lansing city government that our universities are powerful economic drivers and provide meaningful economic and cultural benefits to our communities. To make sure our students can compete in the global economy, Sam believes that our students should have access to service learning and global learning opportunities.
Michigan is capable of training, attracting, and retaining a talented workforce, but it is not living up to its full potential. As an economic development professional and a former Mayor, Sam has years of experience in building an environment for businesses to thrive.
Many existing Michigan businesses struggle to expand because they don’t have access to the work force talent or capital that they need to do so. We need to work with our community colleges and universities to identify the needs of businesses so that workers can be trained accordingly. Sam also recognizes the tremendous technological research being done at our universities. We need to better support transfers of that technology to entrepreneurial start-ups, going from laboratories to the marketplace – a goal that Sam accomplished as Mayor by fostering the creation of the Technology Innovation Center, which has been a model of success for bringing the ideas and concepts generated at our universities to market.
Michigan is uniquely positioned in a number of industries including advanced manufacturing, alternative energy, information technology and global trade. The only thing holding us back from being world leaders is our lack of investment and commitment to these industries. Sam knows that we can and must do better in order to grow the industries in our own back yard.
Michigan is literally and metaphorically defined by its natural resources. The Great Lakes, our forests, inland lakes and streams all offer outdoor experiences that cannot be found anyplace else in the world. These resources provide our state with a tourism industry, but that industry can only be strong if we preserve our natural resources. As Mayor of East Lansing, Sam strengthened the city’s wetland protection ordinances and signed the Mayor’s Climate Agreement, which committed the community to reducing its carbon emissions as a response to the Kyoto Protocols. On a state level, Sam knows that we need to protect the Great Lakes and preserve the quality of our drinking water. Our state parks and campgrounds have received funding cuts which makes it difficult to maintain them and less enjoyable for visitors, that trend must stop if increasing tourism is our goal.
Sam believes that we need to set a long term plan for clean energy and energy consumption. Creating a plan that looks to the near and distant future creates stability and helps us structure our decisions. We need to commit to investing in alternative and green energy jobs as a way to diversify our economy and secure our long-term conservation efforts.
Throughout his political and professional career Sam has maintained a core set of progressive values that have guided his decisions and actions. Access to family planning and preserving a woman’s right to choose are fundamental individual rights. Sam strongly condemns the attacks on organizations that provide health and counseling services to women. Regulating women’s bodies through legislation to score cheap political points is wrong. Partner benefits, second parent adoption and marriage equality are important issues to the LGBT community and the cause of social justices. Further, when families are denied access to these institutions, it affects their pocketbooks as well. In the Legislature, Sam will stand up to protect the right of a women to make her own decisions about her body and will work to overturn the laws that treat our LGBT neighbors as second class citizens.