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    The general election for District 41 of the Michigan House of Representatives is between Republican Martin Howrylak and Democrat Mary Kerwin. Both candidates are running unopposed in their party primaries; Howrylake is the incumbent and he ran against Kerwin in the 2012 general election.

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    Republican Martin Howrylak is a Roman Catholic from Troy, Michigan and he graduated from the University of Michigan with a masters degree in accounting. He has previous political experience, being an incumbent for the Michigan State House of Representatives since 2012, a City Councilman in Troy from 2000-2011, and a Mayor Pro-Tem for Troy from 2002-2003 (VoteSmart). He is a current business owner of Howrylak & Company and he is also a certified public accountant.

    Howrylak’s main issue positions focus on the economy, fiscal health, and education. As far as the economy, he wants to introduce a “mandatory phase-out of the personal income tax”, encourage small business by reducing taxes, and boost natural resource extraction in Michigan (Howrylak Campaign Website). As far as his fiscal health policies, Howrylak plans to prohibit local governments from running unbalanced budgets, restore a healthy fund balance, and dramatically decrease the salary of the state senate and legislature. Howrylak has a lot of experience in local government which helps his campaign strategy and is also beneficial to the public, as it gives him more experience and expertise. As far as education, he wants to create competition for school funding by the introduction of tax credits and he plans to demand “accountability and fiscal integrity in higher education” (Howrylak Campaign Website). Some of these issues were already stated on his previous agenda for the 2012 election and he has gotten some criticism on the tasks that have not been completed yet, since he is the incumbent and it is likely that most incumbents get questioned on policies that they did not follow through on. During the 2012 election, Howrylake raised a total of $105,823 for his campaign. This year, most of his funding has come from The Right to Life of Michigan. He utilized this funding through networking, fundraising, and grassroots organizing; he is not afraid to use door to door canvasing to get the vote.

    Democrat Mary Kerwin is from Troy, Michigan and she is a Professional Effectiveness Trainer with a BA in English from Immaculate Heart College and Lifetime Teacher Certification from Cal State LA, and an Alumna of MSU’s Michigan Political Leadership Program (Mary Kerwin Campaign Website). She owns Kerwin Consulting and she has been active in the church, schools, and community for 26 years, being named Troy’s Distinguished Citizen in 2012.

    One of Kerwin’s strongest platforms is that she has a long record of community involvement. She is fighting for security for retirement plans among the elderly as well as bringing back resources to public schools to help Michigan’s youth (Mary Kerwin Campaign Website). She is focusing on several demographic groups in order to appeal to more of the public. She gets most of her funding through PACs and activists but most of these contributors are small donors so she is working to larger contributions to help her name recognition issue. She is promoting her campaign message to be along the lines of “change vs. more of the same” which has been a very useful tactic for politicians across history. Although Howrylak has the incumbency advantage, his history is also accessible to Kerwin for criticism and reproach. Her criticisms are that she is too out of date to understand the current generation but Kerwin wants the public to know that her focus will be to work for the middle class and to represent everyone’s concerns. She is not aiming for only electoral influence; she has support from not only Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents. This versatility lets the public know that she is not too extreme one way or another.

    Although I highlighted several of the differences between the candidates, they both have one major thing in common; they are fighting to represent Lansing and to make change possible.


    References:

    VoteSmart: http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/76585/martin-howrylak#.VDQRWSpvL0c

    Howrylake Campaign Website: http://www.martinhowrylak.com/issues/

    Campaign Finances: http://miboecfr.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/cfr/com_det.cgi?com_id=516005

    Mary Kerwin Campaign Website: http://winwithkerwin.com/about-mary

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