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'What's Your No. 1 Objective if Elected?' 45th District Candidates Sound Off

Joanna VanRaaphorst and Ted Golden, Democratic candidates for the House seat that represents Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township, talk about their top priority.

Ted Golden and Joanna VanRaaphorst, both Democratic candidates for the 45th District House seat, debated local issues at a candidate forum. 

In a series this week, we'll bring you excerpts of that forum, organized by the League of Women Voters. The forum can be watched in its entirety on the Rochester Hills website

VanRaaphorst, of Oakland Township, has a background in sales and marketing and is an active volunteer in several community organizations. This is her first campaign. Read about .

Golden is a dermatologist and activist. He first ran for this seat in 2008. Read about .

Douglas Wilson is also on the ballot as a Democrat in the primary; according to debate coordinators, Wilson did not respond to the League's invitation to the debate.  

The winner of the August primary will face Republican Tom McMillin, the incumbent, in November.

McMillin was not able to attend the forum because the House was in session in Lansing, voting, that night. The House session adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Here's a look at candidates' answers to the first question of the forum.

What is your No. 1 objective if elected?

Joanna VanRaaphorst: "I really am passionate about public education. We have seen in the last couple years a real different twist as far as what's coming out of Lansing for public education.

"My husband and I moved here specifically for the really good schools they have in Rochester. We had our choice of two dental practices and we chose Rochester. We weren't disappointed. Our kids got an excellent education; their peers got an excellent education.

"So one of the reasons I'm running is because I think of Tom McMillin as our employee hired to take care of our city. We have a wonderful public school system and yet he has spent the past three and a half years working against our schools.

"He has been working for for-profit charter schools; we don't have one here in Rochester. He has been working on untested cyber schools ... and I'm just really confused why that is.

"So when I go to Lansing I would really like to be an advocate for public schools. The fine public shcools we have here can be in other areas."

Ted Golden: "My reason for running is I wish to sanctify the individual as the individual relates to the government. I feel that we must start with the Michigan Constitution. That is why my proposals are the Golden Legal Oversight amendment to have an independently elected board police the Michigan legal system; and retention elections for judges.

"Most of the time judges run unopposed, and therefore they are not held accountable and they're in for life. I think this should change. Other states, namely Illinois, Arizona and other ones, they have retention elections where the judge runs on the ballot and the question on the ballot is 'should this judge be retained, yes or no.' I would like to see that in Michigan and that is what I will propose.

"Some states have commissions that gather information on judges. We don't know anything about judges and a lot of people don't vote in that part of the ballot because they don't know anything.

"In states that have these commissions, the commission in a nonpartisan way sends out information in various ways to people who appear before the judges and they compile a lot of information and the commission renders an opinion to make it easy. Most judges do a good job but there's a few bad ones.

"I think this is my top priority starting with the constitution. I think if the Legislature puts amendments on the ballot it will be much better than citizens' groups putting pieces of legislation on the ballot for constitutional changes that maybe are too much in favor of one group."

For updates on this race, subscribe to the Patch email newsletter. It's free. 

For complete coverage of the Primary Election, visit our Election 2012 page on Patch. 

Joshua Raymond July 29, 2012 at 04:05 PM
While I'm glad to see Joanna focus on schools, there are no specifics in her answer. Charter and online schools exist because many parents believe something is lacking in today's public schools. Joanna, what will you promote through legislation to meet the needs of these families that believe they need the charter and online schools options? Also, there is no charter school in Rochester right now because legislation forbid it until this past year. Joanna, if a charter school is created within your district, will you work hard for those families as well and support their choices through legislation you support?
Joshua Raymond August 01, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I even posted the above question on Joanna's campaign facebook site, but have yet to receive a response to it. Families in our district who choose alternatives to public schools deserve representation too!

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