John Bizon is a doctor and recently served as president of the Michigan State Medical Society.
He is running for the seat currently held by Democrat Kate Segal. The 62nd district includes the city of Battle Creek. He sat down with WMUK's Gordon Evans and Battle Creek Enquirer reporter Jennifer Bowman.
Bizon has never run for elected office before, but says his time leading the state medical society included working on behalf of the state's doctors. Bizon says his experience talking to state lawmakers showed him that in order to bring about change, sometimes you have to work as insider. A summary of issues.
The interview was recorded the day after the House and Senate approved an increase in the minimum wage, that was then signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. Bizon says raising the minimum wage is a "balancing act." He says an increase in the minimum wage can hurt job creation, but he says there should be a floor. Answering a follow up question on income inequality, Bizon questioned if students are ready to work in high-skilled jobs. He says better training is needed, especially for those who are not destined for college.
When asked about a long-term solution for funding road repairs, Bizon says he favors leaving more of the decisions up to local governments. He says road funding is a priority. But Bizon says there should be guarantees on road work, so the same roads are not repaired on a regular basis. He says that may include exploring advances in technology for building new roads. Bizon says he doesn't like the idea of raising taxes, but would consider an increase to pay for road repairs.
In response to a question from Jennifer Bowman about Kellogg moving jobs from Battle Creek to Grand Rapids, Bizon said he wants to keep jobs in Calhoun County. He says that will require meeting with the business community and educators on a regular basis.
Bizon, a medical doctor, says the health care system is failing too many people. He says adding more people to the state's Medicaid program isn't likely to help. Bizon says the health care system needs to be reformed before coverage of more people is expanded.
Other issues were discussed, but were edited out of the air version of the interview for time. These can be found in the full, web version.
Bizon says the education system should be "re-engineered." He says he would like the input of teachers who see the students regularly and know what they need to succeed.
When asked about the Kellogg Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek, Bizon says there are incredible facilities that aren't being fully utilized. He says it could be a valuable resource for the region. Bizon says that may require some additional federal dollars.
After this interview was recorded, Governor Rick Snyder said he would like lawmakers to consider amending the state's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation. Bizon said he doesn't think it's necessary because many corporations have already committed to not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. When asked about the state's ban on gay marriage, Bizon said he favors traditional marriage. But says he's not against civil unions. Bizon says he also recognizes that times are changing.
Although Bizon is a medical doctor, he sees marijuana as a social issue, rather than a medical one. Bizon says there could be some advantages to decriminalizing marijuana use. But he says a large increase in use would be problematic.