Vic Potter has been on the Marshall School Board 12 years, and has been president of the board for the last eight years.
The owner of a towing business says there have been a number of collaborative efforts in Marshall. The highest profile has been the merger of Marshall and Albion High School. Potter wants to represent the 63rd district which includes parts of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties. The current representative, House Speaker Jase Bolger, cannot run again because of term limits. Potter says he hopes to get to Lansing and break through the partisan divide. Potter sat down with WMUK's Gordon Evans, Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Yvonne Zipp and Battle Creek Enquirer reporter Jennifer Bowman. A summary:
Potter says the merger of Marshall's and Albion's high schools has become a model for the state. He says school districts should be looking to eliminate duplication and share services. Potter says the state should work with individual districts, but shouldn't force districts to consolidate.
The Detroit Free Press has published a series of stories on charter schools in Michigan, questioning the accountability of the academies. Potter says charters have been created to compete with public schools that haven't done their job. He says competition is fine, but Potter says it should be on a level playing field.
Potter says sales tax on gasoline in Michigan should go entirely to roads, and not the general fund. He also favors letting voters decide whether to approve a 1% sales tax increase on gasoline.
The question about roads led to a discussion about saving money on welfare to help fund road improvements. Potter says there should be support for the truly needy. But he says it should not be a long-term lifestyle. And Potter says some of the money being spent on welfare could be spent on roads instead. Asked how he would determine who is truly needy, Potter says he's not an expert, but says public assistance should not be a way of life. He also favors tax credits for companies that hire people who need training during their first year.
The State Legislature approved and Governor Rick Snyder signed an increase in Michigan's minimum wage. Potter says he would not have voted for the bill. He says there should be a minimum wage, but says the proposal signed into law raises it too much.
Potter says he's willing to consider decriminalizing marijuana. He says too much court time and jail space is taken up by drugs. Potter says people using pot for personal use should not be treated the same as a dealer. Asked about medical marijuana, Potter says the voters approved it, and he doesn't favor additional safeguards for health and safety.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview.
Personal Property Tax
Voters will decide in August if Michigan will phase out its Personal Property Tax. Potter says he favors getting rid of the tax. He says that will make the state more business friendly.
Asked about the tax on pension income that passed in 2011, Potter says he doesn't like the tax, but says the revenue is needed. But Potter says he doesn't know how he would replace it. He says if replacement for the money raised by the tax can be found, Potter would like to consider eliminating the tax on pension income.
More on Roads
Potter says right now, he is against raising vehicle registration fees. But he says it's an issue he has to learn more about.
Asked how one person can change the partisan culture in Lansing, Potter says cooperation can be contagious. He says that was the experience in Albion and Marshall when they merged the two communities' high schools.
Potter says he doesn't worry that any controversy surrounding House Speaker Jase Bolger will cloud his candidacy. Potter says he mostly approves of the job Bolger has done in Lansing. He says the Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder have made some tough decisions. Potter says that sometimes gets people upset.