Terris Todd is a native of Battle Creek, he hopes to be its next representative in the state House.
Todd is in his fifth term on the Calhoun County Commission. He is running for the 62nd District seat currently held by fellow Democrat Kate Segal. She is prevented from running for re-election by Michigan's term limits law. Todd says he jumped into the race after several people approached him to run for state House. Todd sat down with WMUK's Gordon Evans Battle Creek Enquirer reporter Jennifer Bowman. A summary:
As state lawmakers consider plans to fund road improvements, some Calhoun County townships have acted on their own. Todd says townships going to the voters for a road millage deserve credit. But he says the state should provide necessary funding for infrastructure. Todd says he would consider an increase in the gas tax and would not rule out toll roads to pay for road improvement.
An increase in the state minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.25 an hour by 2018 was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder in late May. Todd says he would have voted for any increase in the state minimum wage. He says the issue is important to him as someone who was raised by a single mother. Todd says he would have preferred the $10.10 an hour wage proposed in a ballot drive. But he says any increase is positive.
Todd says he stands for equality. But he says voters have decided to ban same-sex marriage in Michigan. A federal appeals court is weighing whether or not the amendment to the state Constitution will stand. Todd says as an elected official he has to respect the vote of the people. But says he would favor hearing from the voters on that issue again. Lawmakers could put that question before voters with a super-majority vote.
Michigan voters approved a law in 2008 that allows marijuana for medicinal purposes. Asked if there should be dispensaries for people to obtain medical pot, Todd says as long as it's legal for medical purposes then dispensaries should be allowed. But Todd says he's not sure he would support legalizing pot for recreational purposes.
Todd says his experience will help him in the August primary. Two other candidates, Battle Creek City Commissioner Andy Helmboldt and Dave Morgan are also seeking the Democratic nomination. Todd says his time on the Calhoun County Commission has helped establish his reputation in the area.
Asked about how he would break through the partisan divide in Lansing, Todd says basically both sides want the same thing. He says his goal is find the common ground. Todd says some Republicans have approached him about running for state House. When asked if he would provide names, Todd said with a laugh, "I'll get their permission first."
Other issues discussed can be heard in the web version of the interview
Jobs and Workforce Development
Todd says there has been growth in manufacturing. He would like to see an environment that's more supportive of young professionals. Todd says more should be done to encourage people to launch their own businesses.
Personal Property Tax
The only proposal on the August ballot would phase out the Personal Property Tax. It would replace the revenue to local government with a percentage of sales tax. Todd says "we're over taxed" but he says local governments rely heavily on the revenue on the Personal Property Tax. Todd says he's not confident that the revenue would fully replace the money from the Personal Property Tax, so he's not likely to support the ballot question.
Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act
As part of the discussion of gay marriage, Todd said he would favor amending the state's non-discrimination law to include protections for sexual orientation. "Any discriminatory practice is totally unacceptable in my book."
Todd says he would probably would have voted for the state's share of the "grand bargain" to settle Detroit's bankruptcy. He says the largest city in the state is a key to Michigan's future.