editorial: AnnArbor.com endorses Mark Ouimet for 52nd District State House
Michigan’s 52nd District State House battle involves two experienced local politicians who are backed by their respective parties in a race that has gained prominence as Democrats seek to regain control of the House.
The district, which represents the communities west and north of Ann Arbor, was redrawn following 2010 when Republican Mark Ouimet won the seat by less than 2 percentage points over his challenger.
This year, he faces Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell, a Democrat who seeks to unseat him during her first bid for higher office.
Driskell is running on a platform that emphasizes education, describing it as a core value in the community. She speaks passionately about it and its role in economic development, and also prioritizes transportation issues and raises the House passage of a women’s health bill regulating abortion as a concern.
Ouimet touts the legislature’s role in balancing Michigan’s budget and running a fiscally sound state as an accomplishment during his tenure and says it’s a continuing goal over the next two years. He says that changing the tax code and eliminating the Michigan Business Tax was a key step toward the gains the state is now seeing as its unemployment rate inches down and small business activity picks up.
We believe that Ouimet is the best choice for voters in the 52nd district.
Driskell served Saline well as mayor, guiding the city toward economic development opportunities and building the city’s reputation as desirable for business and residential investment. We appreciate that she achieved that success in nonpartisan elections, and believe that her experience on boards and committees would serve a legislator well.
However, we also see Ouimet concluding a first term that finds his district aligned with the goals set by the state: It’s in the early stages of economic rebound and already well represented by an elected leader possessing qualities similar to those Driskell holds.
After being among the legislators that fought with a $1.5 billion deficit in 2011, Ouimet points to continuing a path to job creation; stabilizing education funding, which already is seeing some gains in per-pupil allocations; and increasing government accountability in spending as goals for the next two years.
We agree with those priorities and believe they will serve residents in the 52nd District well.
AnnArbor.com endorsements are the results of AnnArbor.com interviews with candidates and reporting. The endorsement team includes Laurel Champion, executive vice president; Paula Gardner, community news director; and members of Gardner’s staff, including Bob Needham, entertainment director and former Ann Arbor News editorial page editor; and Cindy Heflin, managing producer.