Theresa Abed (Democrat) is the current incumbent for the 71st district and is facing opposition from former 71st district representative Deb Shaughnessy (Republican). After the latest round of redistricting (that occurred after the last census) the 71st district covers a majority of Eaton Country, and a part of the City of Lansing. This may prove to be an up-hill battle for Shaughnessy since she initially lost the seat in the election after the redistricting was complete. Shaughnessy’s situation is not helped out by the fact that, as the incumbent, Abed has the advantage to win the upcoming election.
Theresa Abed has lived in Eaton County for over thirty years, and has two kids who are now in their mid to late twenties (“About Rep. Theresa Abed,” 2014). For sixteen of those thirty years she has been in Eaton County, working as a social worker for Grand Ledge Public Schools, a job she was able to obtain due to her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University (“About Rep. Theresa Abed,” 2014). Abed’s political qualifications are relatively small, only including a two term stint as a member of the Eaton County Commission spanning from 2007 through 2010 (“About Rep. Theresa Abed,” 2014).
Deb Shaughnessy is a former 71st District representative, who has an extensive political background as a former treasury clerk, member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, legislative aide, and former Mayor of Charlotte (“Deb Shaughnessy’s Biography,” 2014). Shaughnessy is also a former writer for the Charlotte Community Newspaper, and obtained an associate’s degree in Public Relations from Lansing Community College in 2007 (“Deb Shaughnessy’s Biography,” 2014). Similar to Abed, Shaughnessy is married, and also has two children (“Deb Shaughnessy’s Biography,” 2014).
In the current state of America’s extreme political bipartisanship, it seems amazing that a Republican and Democrat would agree on any issues. However, Shaughnessy and Abed do agree on two main issues: both would like to see an increase in jobs and a better educational system for K-12 schooling (“Rematch of Shaughnessy, Abed in 71st House District,” 2012). Abed has a relatively clean track record with voters in the 71st district with little to “hang a lantern on,” in part due to her relatively short political career. Abed would like to see an increase in spending on first responder services and repeal taxes on pensions and on the middle class (“Issues,” 2014). Abed’s track record isn’t completely smudge free, as she has been accused of voting in favor of unions even when it has hurt schools (“AD: Deb Shaughnessy, HD71,” 2012). Remaining unbiased, I would like to mention once again that Abed had served in the Grand Ledge Public School district for sixteen years. Because of this, the accusations remain under scrutiny.
Shaughnessy also has a track record full of stars and smudges. Depending on what side of the fence you stand on will determine your smudge-star perception of her voting on a nearly two billion dollar corporate tax break (“AD: MDP ad on Lansing Politician Deb Shaughnessy, HD71,” 2012). Shaughnessy has also voted to increase taxes on the middle class, and on pensions (“AD: MDP ad on Lansing Politician Deb Shaughnessy, HD71,” 2012). A bright star that some voters will see leading them to the polls is Shaughnessy’s step away from typical Republican issue ownership, by promising to impose a system that increases spending in classrooms and makes the process of removing “problem teachers” easier (“AD: Deb Shaughnessy, HD71,” 2012).
The race for the house seat representing the 71st district is a close race, with two very prominent candidates with bold promises. When November rolls around, and it is time to vote, voters will have a tough decision to make as to who will best represent them. The race is close, so every vote will count, but only one candidate will be named the 71st District’s voice.
Deb Shaughnessy [Advertisement]. (2012, November).
Friends For Theresa Abed. (2014). Issues. In Bring back funding for police and fire services. Retrieved from http://www.votetheresaabed.com/node/86.
Friends For Theresa Abed. (2014). Issues. In Roll back tax increases on middle-class families and seniors. Retrieved from http://www.votetheresaabed.com/node/86.
Lansing State Journal. (2012). Rematch of Shaughnessy, Abed in 71st House District. Retrieved from http://archive.lansingstatejournal.com/article/A3/20121019/ELECTIONS06/310190029/Rematch-Shaughnessy-Abed-71st-House-District.
MDP ad on Lansing Politician Deb Shaughnessy [Advertisement]. (2012, November).
Michigan House Democrats. (2014). About Rep. Theresa Abed. Retrieved from http://071.housedems.com/biography.
One Common Ground. (2014). Vote Smart. In Deb Shaughnessy’s Biography. Retrieved from http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/126261/deb-shaughnessy#.VDSCcBbsRFM.