Three Democrats are running in the state House district that includes the city of Kalamazoo.
Pamela Brown Goodacre is a Kalamazoo Township Trustee and hopes to be the next representative in the 60th district. Democrat Sean McCann has decided to run for state Senate, instead of seeking another term in the state House.
Goodacre was elected to Kalamazoo Township Board in 2012. She is the first African-American elected to the township board, and is currently the only female trustee in Kalamazoo Township. Goodacre sat down with WMUK's Gordon Evans and Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Alex Mitchell. A summary.
Goodacre has made guns a key issue in her campaign. She says stricter gun control laws are needed. Goodacre's family owns several guns, but she says they need to be in the hands of the right people. Goodacre says better background checks for mental health history are needed.
Michigan's minimum wage will go up to $9.25 an hour by 2018, thanks to legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. Goodacre says it's a positive step, but she says it subverted the "will of the people" because a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 was likely going to be on the ballot later this year. Goodacre says it would have been a tough vote if she had been in the House, but says she probably would have voted against the minimum wage bill in order to try and let the ballot proposal go forward. Goodacre says she favors a "living wage," which she defines as $15 an hour.
Governor Snyder says he wants lawmakers to consider adding protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Goodacre says she would "absolutely" support that change. She is proud that Kalamazoo Township's nondiscrimination ordinance includes protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Goodacre says she supports legalized gay marriage, and says it's just a matter of time before that becomes reality.
The interview with Goodacre was recorded while the legislature was debating a plan to fund road improvements. Lawmakers went on summer break without reaching a deal. Goodacre says an increase in the gas tax would be the best plan for funding road improvements. She would have to see how raising vehicle registration fees impacts poor people before agreeing to that as well.
Goodacre says she favors decriminalizing and ultimately legalizing marijuana. She says there are too many police stops related to marijuana, and they disproportionately affect African-Americans.
When asked what separates her from the two other candidates, Goodacre says she's a stakeholder in the area. She says her family has an understanding of "from the bottom to middle class life, what is going on." Goodacre says she a desire to make changes for the new millennium.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview
Taxation and Job Growth
Goodacre says some changes in Michigan's tax system are going to be needed because of changes in the economy. She says the state should work to bring in solar and wind industry related businesses. Goodacre, who was a film studies major in college, says she would like the state to refocus on the film industry. Goodacre says filming in the state has benefits for businesses like catering and transportation. The state has scaled back its film credit program, Goodacre says she favors incentives for businesses that create more permanent businesses, such as production studios.
Personal Property Tax
A proposal on the August ballot would phase out the state's Personal Property Tax. Goodacre says she's opposed to the ballot proposal. She says local governments have lost revenue sharing dollars since Governor Rick Snyder took office. Goodacre says she's skeptical about replacement revenue from the PPT for local governments.
Goodacre is a part-time instructor at the University of Michigan. She has also taught at Western Michigan University and other schools. Goodacre says standards are needed to make sure that students are competitive globally. But says she's not sure how to do that. Goodacre says some form of standard testing is needed, but it should be built upon to improve the education system.