Michigan State Senate District 13

Copyright League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund 1

VOTER GUIDE - League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund
Michigan State Senate District 13
Primary Election: August 5, 2014
You may VOTE in ONLY ONE PARTY’S PRIMARY – either Republican or Democratic – for ALL partisan offices on ballot.
Candidates are ordered below within each office by party with Republicans preceding Democrats.
Candidates on the ballot: 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats

Duties: The Michigan Senate shares responsibility
with the Michigan House of Representatives to
enact new laws and amend or repeal existing
laws.
Qualifications: State Senators may serve a
maximum of two full terms. They must be at
least 21 years of age and a registered voter in
their district. There are 38 State Senate districts
which are re-apportioned after each census.
Term: 4 years VOTE for ONE (1)


Ethan D. Baker, Republican

Campaign Website:
www.EthanDBaker.com

Occupation / Current Position:
Attorney/Owner - Law Offices of
Ethan D. Baker

Education: J.D. Whittier College School of Law, Magna
Cum Laude; B.A. Political Science, University of
Southern California,

Qualifications / Experience: I am Citizen-Politician who
will make every decision as your State Senator with an
eye toward a smaller, smarter, and more efficient
government. I proudly served President Reagan in his
post-presidential office, and cherish those memories
and the valuable lessons I learned from him every
day. My opponents are accomplished legislators, but
it's time for new blood in Lansing and a fresh
perspective.

Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: These three things affect every Michigan citizen in
some way or another. 1) Jobs & Business Growth: We
all need a strong and thriving Michigan economy-one
that can grow uninhibited by burdensome government
regulations. 2) Roads & Bridges: We must immediately
commit to do something about our failing roads and
bridges. We deserve and want roads that aren't
crumbling beneath the cars that are built right here. We
can re-prioritize our spending to pay for the roads
without raising taxes. 3) Education Reform: Our children
are our most precious resource and the future of
Michigan. We need meaningful education reform.

2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: We need to make smart choices to increase our
education standards and to keep us competitive
nationally, but not with top-down one-size-fits-all
policies. As has been evident too many times, federal
policies lower all of our standards down to the lowest
common denominator, which then does not keep us
competitive, nor does it keep us growing or stretching
to achieve our full potential. We need to reform our
education system so that it produces better results that
what Common Core mandates. And we need policies
that encourage parental involvement, so our children
can learn and grow in environments of excellence.

3. Economy: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce unem-
ployment, and address the widening income gap?
A: We need desirable, high paying jobs in our state—
jobs that will not only provide for our immediate needs,
but help us prepare for the future and plan for Michigan
to not just “chase the pack”, but to set the pace. We
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need to roll out the red carpet to new businesses and
industries and show them what Michigan has to offer—
a smart and hardworking workforce in a beautiful state.
It starts with aggressive tax reform and balanced
incentives to make us a magnet to out of state
businesses, as well as supporting and rewarding those
already here with an environment primed for growth. A
strong economy will even the income gap.


Al Gui, Republican
Occupation / Current Position:
Mathematics Instructor

Education: Master of Arts major mathematics, master
of educational leadership major Administration,
bachelor of pure mathematics
Qualifications / Experience: More than 15 teaching
experience

Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: 1.Stop college tution hike to make higher eduaction
effordable ( let's remember more than 50% of new
college graduates cannot find a job); 2. scrutinize the
way our roads are being built to see whether the job is
done right or not becuase it is a concen to many of us to
hear that a pothole is repaired today then two days
later the same pothole reappears; 3 Job training and the
fight aganst poverty

2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: We need more involvement from pareents and we
also need to put more respionsibilities on students
themselves, we cannot continue to blame teachers all
the time while some students are having fun damaging
learning environment just because when they fail they
can change school or have a teacher being fired. Also it
is time to stop those standardized tests that do not
make sense to students. A standardized test has to be
meaningful in the sense that whenever a student
performs well, he/she can get something back such as
going to the next grade or getting other incentives.
3. Economics: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce
unemployment, and address the widening income
gap?
A: Stop asking too much taxes from businesses, provide
job training to match the skills needed for the jobs that
are being created, make the fight against poverty a
state priority, simplify those procedures that help
people have access to grants to create their own
businesses. Keep interest rate higher than inflation rate,
Stop increasing the cost at the gas pump.


Marty Knollenberg, Republican
Campaign Website:
www.martyknollenberg.com

Occupation / Current Position:
Allstate Insurance Agency Owner

Education: Albion College BA, History 1986
Qualifications / Experience: Owner of an Allstate
Insurance Agency for 26 years. Former owner of two
Coin Laundromats for nine years Oakland County
Commissioner 2003-04. Served on Finance, Planning
and Building, and General Government Oakland
County Parks and Rec. Commissioner 2005-06 State
Representative 2007-12. Chaired Banking and
Financial Services Committee and served on
Transportation, Education, Commerce, New Economy

Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: 1. Fix our roads without raising taxes. 2. Create
opportunities for Job Providers. 3. Provide the
educational tools for our kids to succeed. If we want to
improve our image it starts with high quality roads
because it affects everything that we do including
commerce and tourism. Everybody wants prosperity
and government has a habit of getting in the way of
progress for our job providers and so I believe that we
need to foster the free market system. Our young
children are competing in a global environment and to
ensure that they too can prosper they need to
understand the basics and have the tools to compete.

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2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: There is no silver bullet solution and it will take a
multitude of concepts to right the ship. For starters, it
begins with early intervention in the child’s life that
teaches them the basics such as reading, writing and
math. We must also have effective and consistent
teacher evaluations so that teachers know what their
expectations are and what the expectations of the
students that they are teaching are also. Once clear
goals for both teachers and students are aligned, there
should be rewards for teachers that show student
achievement. Students that have demonstrated
proficiency should also be encouraged to excel.

3. Economy: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce unem-
ployment, and address the widening income gap?
A: The state can take the lead by continuing to
complete their budgets well in advance of the deadline.
This provides certainty to all the stakeholders including
job providers. Certainty creates a willingness by job
providers to invest in both people and equipment which
drives up wages, jobs and prosperity. In addition,
government red tape and regulatory hurdles need to be
greatly minimized so that job providers can focus on
their core business. Finally, getting rid of the winners vs.
losers’ government subsidies will truly even out the
widening income gap. The little guy never has a chance
to receive these subsidies.


Chuck Moss, Republican

Campaign Website:
www.chuckmoss.com

Occupation / Current Position:
Adjunct Instructor, Oakland University

Education: JD, University of Detroit School of Law 1979;
BA, James Madison, Michigan State University 1975.
Qualifications / Experience: State Representative 2007-
12, Chairman, House Appropriations Committee.
Oakland County Commissioner 2001-06, Chair Finance
Committee. B’ham City Commissioner 1997-2000,
Mayor Pro Tem, Mayor 2000. Columnist, Broadcaster,
Talk Host. Attorney, current member Michigan Bar
Association. Board SEMCOG. I’ve served in
government good times and bad, good government
starts with an honest balanced budget.

Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: 1. Keep Michigan’s budget balanced without ‘smoke
and mirrors,’ live within our means, and keep getting it
done by June 1. Without an honest, balanced budget,
done on time or early, everything else fails. 2. Pay down
the debt. Michigan, it’s cities and schools hves billions
of legacy costs, & unfunded liabilities. We’ve seen GM
and Detroit go bankrupt. Pay them down and get
money to the classrooms and communities. 3. Fix our
roads and bridges with real solutions, real money,
warranties to “fix it once—fix it right,” and keep them
fixed. The roads are like your roof, when they fall apart,
everything else gets ruined.

2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: We need to get money to the classrooms. Laws that
run up costs, debt that swallows revenue, questionable
contracting practices and Lansing-mandated red tape
bloat costs without increasing performance. Kids in
poorly preforming districts need an escape. When
schools fail kids, the schools need to be reformed. K-12
public schools can’t be expected to solve all social ills or
be surrogate parents. Violence against teachers or other
students must not be tolerated, period. Good teachers
should be rewarded and poor ones must be eased out.
One size does not fit all, and alternatives should exist.
Parents should have the ul

3. Economy: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce unem-
ployment, and address the widening income gap?
A: The “widening income gap” is due to the downsizing
of our basic economic engine, the automotive industry.
We need growth and good jobs. Jobs come from people
making money, having extra work and enough profit to
afford hiring someone to do that work. The key is
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enterprise, and Michigan has to be a place where the
next Bill or Billie Gates will invent something fabulous,
and make our whole society richer in the process. If
Michigan doesn’t let people keep what they labor to
create, they either won’t create it or will go somewhere
else. Fair rules, lower taxes and less red tape.


Rocky Raczkowski, Republican
Campaign Website:
www.RockyWorksforUS.com

Occupation / Current Position:
President, Imperium Logistics LLC. & US
Army Officer (IMA)

Education: BA, Political Science & Psychology (1990) /
MA (Completed) Business Administration (1996) / JD,
Law (1998) and multiple Military Leadership and
National Defense Schools (US Army)
Qualifications / Experience: Served as the Majority
Leader and Member of the House of Representatives
(1997-2002), Business Owner and served in two (2)
tours of duty overseas with the US Army during the
Global War on Terror - awarded the Bronze Star for
Merritorious Service during Combat Operations, and
serves on three (3) Non-profit Boards serving the
community, state and nation.

Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: The top three priorities are the Economy, Education
and our Infrastructure. These are the three that we can
impact the most if we focus on them and send
individuals to our Legislature that are focused on
achievement and results, and not on political gain. I am
frustrated with the Democratic and Republican parties
for sending individuals that are more concerned with
political power and re-election, than they are making
our state more livable and great again for our children.

2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: Our families and teachers have less control and more
demands placed on them from politicians that have
nothing to do with educational results. I would work to
help teachers lower classroom sizes, and focus on
incentivizing parental involvement. Furthermore, each
student should learn at their rate and ability. This would
allow for greater achievement and better results.
Education is NOT a political issue, and should be treated
as a TOP priority for non-partisan action so that we can
prepare our children to have happy and fulfilling lives.

3. Economy: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce unem-
ployment, and address the widening income gap?
A: Our state needs to incentivize OPPORTUNITY. Better
education and diversifying our states economy are ways
that we can reduce unemployment, decrease the
income gap and prepare our state for our Children. We
MUST do this immediately, and that is why I am
running. One of the ways we can do this is by
diversifying our economy and help bring industries back
to Michigan. Industries like a financial market and
investment into small cap and venture capital business
so that our children have a clean and bustling economy
to inherit. These will be my main focus, outside of
serving the residence of our district with issues


Ryan Fishman, Democrat
Campaign Website:
www.ryanfishman.com

Occupation / Current Position:
First time candidate


Education: Syracuse University-Bachelor of Arts Wayne
State University School of Law-Juris Doctorate
Qualifications / Experience: I grew up in the 13th
District, attended its public schools, and after
attending college and pursuing a journalism career in
New York, I returned to Michigan to see this state
succeed and raise my children here with the quality of
life I enjoyed. I'm an attorney and small business
owner. I've worked hard with other job creators in
Oakland County to see our region and state grow



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Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: Jobs, Taxpayer Accountability, and Education
Michigan needs more good paying jobs that create long-
term opportunities. I will fight to bring new jobs in
growing sectors like green energy, science and
technology and the Michigan film industry. I will push
for reform in Lansing. Lansing needs to make the same
cuts they have asked taxpayers to make. I would vote to
slash the $10,000 expense account afforded all
lawmakers. I will fight for smarter, stronger investments
in education. I will push for a comprehensive overhaul
of our current funding model to improve Michigan's
quality of education.

2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: I am no expert on education, and began very early on
in this campaign listening to everyone impacted by this
issue. I've heard from teachers, parents, school board
members, students, and residents concerned with
property values. I am ready to listen to everyone who
wants to see Michigan's schools succeed. There must be
a baseline for all children to achieve in America. One's
success in school should be based on one's work, not
based on the zip code where one is born. I remain
unconvinced that we can test our students to the top.
We need an emphasis on STEM education to ensure

3. Economy: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce unem-
ployment, and address the widening income gap?
A: We should begin by reforming Michigan’s tax system
to attract the best and brightest job creators from
around the globe. Michigan families pay too much in
taxes. I will fight for tax relief for seniors and working
families. We need a business tax system focused on
creating jobs and promoting growth. I would like to see
tax incentives developed to spur new employment
sectors and to promote growth in those already present
in our state. I would also advocate for empowerment
zones across the state without a corporate tax and a tax
incentive on new employees’ wages (capped at $3,000
per employee).

Cyndi Peltonen, Democrat
Campaign Website:
www.cyndi4senate.com
Occupation / Current Position:
Small business owner, PC Piano; Staff
accompanist/ choir coach at
International Academy,Okma;

Education: Central Michigan University, Master of
Science in Public Administration-student Wayne State
University, Bachelor of Music, Vocal Music Education
(JX) K-12
Qualifications / Experience: I was elected to the
Clawson Board of Education five times, serving over
twenty years. I have fifteen years of PK-12 teaching
experience in both public and independent schools,
and I have done some work for charter schools. I am
the parent of four grown children, who each have
different learning styles and needs. These experiences
give me a unique, three-dimensional view of
education in Michigan.

Questions:
1. Priorities: What are your top three state legislative
priorities? Why did you select them?
A: 1. Adequately fund our comprehensive, community-
governed schools - PK-12, Community Colleges, and
Universities. Investing in education is vital to Michigan's
successful recovery. 2. Restore revenue sharing to our
villages, towns and cities.The money returned to our
local units of government is 26% lower now than in
2001, resulting in cutbacks in public services. Tax dollars
should go to services that benefit those taxpayers. 3.
Investing in our infrastructure (roads, bridges, sewers,
water lines, power grids) puts people back to work and
grows the economy. As they spend their earnings it
creates a middle out effect.

2. Education: The test scores of Michigan students, once
among the highest in the country, have dropped,
making Michigan one of the lowest achieving states.
What measures would you support to improve
educational results?
A: Students living in poverty are more likely to have low
academic achievement. In 2000, 14% of Michigan's
children were living in poverty; by 2012, 25% were in
poverty, an increase of almost 80%! Addressing poverty
will help ensure ALL children can achieve. Also, we need
consensus on the goal of education. Multiple choice
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Copyright League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund 6

tests in core curricula are just one measure of
achievement. Employers are looking for
communication, teamwork, leadership, creativity,
decision-making, initiative, self-awareness, adaptability
and flexibility - skills often developed in co-curricular
activities, and part of educating the whole child.

3. Economy: What should the state government do to
strengthen the state's economy, reduce unem-
ployment, and address the widening income gap?
A: "Trickle-down" economics does not work. The $1.4
billion taken from education funding in 2011 did not
create promised jobs. Corporate welfare needs to be
eliminated. What does work is a "middle-out" economy.
The middle class and working poor create jobs when
they are paid enough to purchase goods and services.
As they spend more, companies create more jobs, and
the economy grows. We must strengthen workers'
rights. The influence of big money is corrupting our
political system. The desires of those who live off
unearned income, take precedence over the needs of
those who work. We need to revamp campaign finance
laws.

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