Schuette, Dawson battle for Michigan House seat in Nov. 8 general election

Gun Rights

When State Rep. Annette Glenn announced her decision to run for State Senate it created a vacancy in Midland’s 95th District.

Democrat Matt Dawson and Republican Bill G. Schuette are competing for her State House seat in the 2022 midterm elections on Nov. 8.

Schuette is a former intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency and is the son of former U.S Rep and state attorney general Bill Schuette. He won a heated primary in August against Midland County Clerk Ann Manary and Midland resident Charles McGinnis.

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Schuette is running on a platform of: Freedom, family and future.

Dawson is a marijuana budtender at the Skymint Dispensary in Saginaw and a former volunteer for Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns. He won his primary against former Billings Township Supervisor Larry Grell.

Dawson refers to himself as a progressive, advocates for healthcare reform and is campaigning on bringing up the working class.

Abortion

One of the top issues this fall for Michigan voters is abortion, with a recent EPIC MRA poll saying that 24% Michigan voters saying it is their number one issue. These two candidates have polar opposite views when it comes to this issue.

During the primary, Schuette told the Daily News he is opposed to abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. When asked again in September, Schuette affirmed his pro-life status and added his opposition to Proposal 3, which also appears on the Nov. 8 ballot, which would add the right to abortion to the state constitution.

Schuette said the proposal is too extreme. He said he also has other concerns with the proposal, including that it would eliminate parental consent and taxpayer funds for abortions.

“That is extreme. That is radical,” Schuette said. “That is not what voters in the state of Michigan want.”

Dawson affirmed his pro-choice stance by saying he, or other lawmakers, should not get between a citizen and their doctor. He supports Proposal 3. While many pundits believe the reversal of Roe v. Wade may hurt Republican candidates and help Democrats in the midterms, Dawson doesn’t believe abortion is one of the defining issues in the State House race. 

“I do not think it is going to have a massive impact negatively on me in the area,” Dawson said. “I would be concerned that my opponent’s more extreme views on abortion would be something that would more negatively impact his campaign than it would mine.”

When asked how he expects his abortion stances to affect his campaigns, Schuette said there is a lot of time before the election to inform voters more about his concerns with the proposal.

Dawson said his beliefs on abortion align more to what Michiganders want.

Economy

Another issue of concern for Michigan voters this fall is the economy. While campaigning, Schuette said the most overwhelming issue he has heard from constituents relates to inflation and rising gas prices. He criticized “Biden inflation” and out-of-control spending in Washington D.C. for dramatically increasing the cost of living in Michigan.

When asked how he would address these issues, Schuette said he would support cutting the state’s income tax, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and building Enbridge Line Five Tunnel.

“People are seeing their paychecks not go as far,” Schutte said. “It is functioning like a tax; it is taking money out of their wallets. So, let’s look at ways to provide some financial and economic relief.”

Dawson agrees that the economy is not headed in the right direction, but does place blame on President Joe Biden. Instead, he believes workers in Michigan are being taken advantage of and that labor/union movements are increasing across the country. Labor and wages are much bigger concerns to him over what he thinks will be a short-term period of inflation, Dawson said.

To address issues related to workers, Dawson would repeal Right to Work, strengthen collective bargaining and decrease income taxes for working-class families.

“I am a working-class Michigander, but I believe we can get through,” Dawson said. “I think a much more pressing need is to continue to support and strengthen the voice of the worker so that we can help address some of the income inequality that we have in this in this state.”

Education

Much political discussion has been made around public schools in the past couple of years, this year seeing much discussion on culture war issues. Recently, the state superintendent received calls for resignation from GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon after a training video garnered attention over comments made about how teachers should interact with LGBTQ+ students – how they should discuss the use of pronouns or what to do if a student asks a teacher to refer to them by another name.

Michigan State Superintendent Michael Rice said teachers advised teachers should be cautious about sharing issues of sexual orientation and gender identity with parents in situations the student is concerned about abuse, neglect, or homelessness if parents are told. He added that teachers have responsibilities not to put children in harm’s way.

Schuette, who has advocated for “parental rights” in schools throughout his campaign, said he found these comments “disturbing” and agreed with Dixon that Rice should resign. When asked if teachers should still share with a student’s parents any changes in pronouns or sexuality, despite the student objecting out of fear of parental abuse, Schuette emphasized that schools should not hide information from parents.

“No one cares more about their children than their parents, so parents always need to be informed,” Schuette said. “Parents always need to have a seat at the table.”

Dawson, who originally went to college to become a teacher, said while information of students at risk of harm should be shared to parents, he believes students need to feel safe and heard to have strong, positive educational experience. He added that LGBTQ+ students should be empowered in their education, and making them feels safe and heard is part of that.

He worries that building distrust in public school officials through the GOP’s concerns over school curriculum is an attempt to weaken public education.

“(There is) a general goal to privatize all of our public services in this country,” Dawson said. “In a vacuum, (that) could be a good idea, but the unfortunate reality is that what would happen is that the wealthy are going to get the best of the best, and the poor are going to get the worst of the worst.”

Other issues

When asked what issues he thinks should have more attention, Schuette said rural access to broadband and rebuilding the lakes tops his list.

For the same question, Dawson said he is concerned about the state pf LGBTQ+ rights following the fall of Roe vs. Wade.

Race analysis

Zach Gorchow, executive editor at Gongwer News, said this race favors Schutte due to his recognizable name, district demographics and personable personality. He added that Schuette also won an impressive primary victory.

If elected, he said Schuette would have to be term limited out and the City of Midland would have to continue to trend blue before for the 95th district becomes one to watch.  

If Democrats want a shot at electing a candidate in this district, Gorchow said they would have to build a “bench” of local candidates in positions, such as county commissioner, to create recognizable candidates that could succeed in state house races.

Four Democrats are challenging Republican incumbents for Midland County Commission this November – seats long held by the GOP.

“You have got to build a bench that can take advantage once the winds start turning in your direction,” Gorchow said. “Job one would be getting some people elected to the Midland City Council, or the Midland County Board of Commissioners. Once you have that, you got somebody out there who knows how to run it when campaigning.”

Schuette has been endorsed by:

  • Congressman John Moolenaar
  • Former Congressman Dave Camp
  • Ambassador Richard Grenell
  • Former Acting Director of National Intelligence
  • State Senator Jim Stamas
  • Former State Senator Tony Stamas
  • Representative Andrew Beeler
  • Representative Graham Filler
  • Representative Andrew Fink
  • Representative Phil Green
  • Representative Matt Hall
  • Representative Roger Hauck
  • Representative Bryan Posthumus
  • Representative Jason Wentworth; Speaker, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Myron Greene, Midland County Sheriff
  • Karen Moore, Chair, Gladwin County Board of Commissioners
  • Mark Bone, Chair of Midland County Board of Commissioners
  • Rick Grove, Gladwin County Commissioner
  • Michael Szuch, Gladwin County Commissioner
  • Eric Dorrien, Midland County Commissioner
  • James Geisler, Midland County Commissioner
  • Steve Glaser, Midland County Commissioner
  • Scott Noesen, Midland County Commissioner
  • Jeanette Snyder, Midland County Commissioner
  • Gaye Terwillegar, Midland County Commissioner
  • Steve Miller, Mayor of Coleman
  • Tim Mester, Billings Township Supervisor
  • Terrance Hall Jr.,Edenville Township Supervisor
  • Kevin Wray, Lincoln Township Supervisor
  • Associated Builder & Contractors of Michigan
  • Americans for Prosperity-Michigan
  • Citizens for Traditional Values
  • Great Lakes Education Project
  • Fraternal Order of Police, Michigan
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Credit Union League Action Fund PAC
  • Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPac
  • Michigan Freedom Network
  • Michigan Licensed Beverage Association
  • Michigan Manufacturers Association PAC
  • Michigan REALTORS PAC
  • Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • National Federation of Independent Businesses
  • National Rifle Association
  • Police Officers Association of Michigan
  • Right to Life of Michigan PAC
  • Small Business Association of Michigan PAC

Dawson has been endorsed by:

  • Vote Pro Choice
  • Equality Action Network Michigan
  • Progressive Turnout Project
  • National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC)
  • American Federation of County, State, and Municipal Employees (AFCSME)
  • Planned Parenthood of Michigan
  • Michigan Education Association (MEA)
  • Democracy for America (DFA)
  • Moms Demand Action 
  • Dr. Abdul El-Sayed
  • Sarah Schulz
  • MEA
  • Michigan Democratic Party Youth Caucus
  • Young Democrats of Midland
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