The 107th House District includes Chippewa County, Emmet County, Mackinac County and part of Cheboygan County. At the time of the 2010 census 86,648 people resided within this district. The majority of the people living in this region are white at 81.8%, 10.7% of the district are Native American and less than 4% are black. Historically, politicians from both parties have achieved success in this district. The 107th district is currently represented by Frank Foster who was first elected in 2010 and then reelected in 2012. However the incumbency advantage didn’t help Foster who ran for reelection in 2014 but was beaten by his republican opponent, Lee Chatfield, in the primary. Democratic candidate Jim Page ran uncontested in the democratic primary for this district.
Lee Chatfield is a young republican from Northern Michigan, currently residing in Levering, Michigan with his wife and four children. Chatfield graduated from Northern Michigan Christian Academy in 2006. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Northland International University in History Education. From there, he went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Public Policy from Liberty University. Chatfield is currently a high school teacher at Northern Michigan Christian Academy. He also serves as athletic director and a soccer coach at the high school. Although he doesn’t hold any previous political experience, Chatfield is an active member of his community. He has coached several teams and organizes summer sports camp for the community. He is also serves as Executive Director of Freedom’s Foundation and is a member of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, the Michigan Farm Bureau, the National Rifle Association and Right to Life of Michigan.
Jim Page is a democrat who currently resides in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Originally from Mt. Clemens, Michigan, Page graduated from L’Anse Creuse High School North in 1976. He served in the United States Marines for two years. Page went on to receive an Associate of Arts Degree from Macomb County Community College, and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education from Central Michigan University in 1982. He taught math and computers for two years at Grand Traverse Catholic High School, and then he taught math for two years at Standish/Sterling Middle School. He spent the majority of his career teaching math and computers for Sault Area Public Schools. Page coached basketball for several years throughout his teaching career. He retired from teaching in 2010. Page does not have any previous political experience however he is a member of Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conversation Club, Trout Unlimited, the Sierra Club, and the League of Women Voters. He is also a past President of the Sault Education Association.
Both Page and Chatfield list similar issues on their campaign websites. They both want to increase the budget to fix Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure. Both candidates agree that protecting Michigan’s natural resources and lakes is important. In addition, they want to take steps to increase job protection for Michigan citizens. Chatfield believes in small government, energy independence, and protecting Michigan’s agricultural industry. Page believes in strengthening the middle class, protecting senior citizens, and increasing the minimum wage. As teachers, both Page and Chatfield agree that increasing Michigan’s educational budget is imperative. However, Page supports Michigan’s Common Core Standards and Chatfield is strongly against the implementation of Common Core Standards in Michigan. These two candidates also differ in ways that most democrats and republicans differ. Page is in favor of women having the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, whereas Chatfield is adamantly against the practice of abortion. Additionally, Chatfield is against any legislation that would repeal the ban on gay marriage. However, both candidates have issues that tend to differ from their party’s beliefs. For example, Chatfield explicitly states that he wishes to “protect Northern Michigan’s environment,” when normally environmental issues tend to be covered by democrats. Likewise, Page considers himself an “avid hunter and fisherman,” therefore he would likely support hunter’s rights, which tends to be an issue most associated with republican politicians. What appears to be the biggest issue in the 107th House District is Michigan’s public education system. In an article published by Petoskey News, Page reaffirmed his support for public education. He also discussed his beliefs that the charter school system could continue to be an option for Michigan parents, which is contrary to Governor Snyder’s current position. Chatfield did not respond to questions regarding the charter school system but has stated his belief that religion should become a greater focus in our public education system. It is clear that both candidates hold differing opinions on what is best for the future of Michigan however the same issues continue to be topics of discussion.
Lee Chatfield for State Representative: http://www.leechatfield.com/
Jim Page on Democracy.com: http://democracy.com/jimpage/default.aspx
Project Vote Smart: http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/153621/lee-chatfield#.VDA1MfldU0M and http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/153622/jim-page#.VDA0qfldU0M
Petoskey News Articles: http://www.petoskeynews.com/news/opinion/ann-carolan---why-vote/article_d1e37de4-8fca-5df4-a730-7e4357c80d3f.html and http://www.petoskeynews.com/news/opinion/mark-pontoni---your-chance-to-save-our-state/article_28068793-0dd2-52d3-8f59-da6154d7107f.html
Michigan House of Representatives District 107: http://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_House_of_Representatives_District_107