Bob Genetski says his time as a high school teacher for at-risk students inspired him to run for elected office. Now he hopes to win election to the state Senate.
Genetski served three terms in the state House, and is now Allegan County Clerk. He says families of the students he taught were the first ones to lose jobs, homes and apartments during Michigan’s “lost decade.” Genetski says that motivated him to run for the House representing Allegan County. He now is seeking the Republican nomination for state Senate in the district that includes Allegan and Van Buren Counties, and part of Kent County. Genetski spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans.
Asked about the at-risk students he used to teach, Genetski says too much testing mandated by the federal and state governments is taking time away from instruction. He says the testing has hurt alternative schools like the one where he taught, because they are deemed as failing and sometimes shut down. Genetski says students in those schools often do well with “hands on” learning, and could benefit from a boost in skilled trades. Genetski says some standardized testing is needed to ensure students are making progress.
Genetski says people want to make sure that money dedicated to roads is spent on roads. He says the state need to prioritize spending, and find savings in other parts of the state budget. Genetski says while the economy is going well the state needs welfare reform that could produce more money for roads. While Genetski is critical of what he calls "deceitful and arrogant action" by the state on roads, he says the state moved in the right direction by getting more quality assurance from contractors.
Asked about warnings of possible tough budget decisions in future years, Genetski says it’s essential that the state funds essential services without raising taxes. He says tax increases hurt Michigan’s economy during the 2000’s. Genetski says he is proud to have voted against almost all tax credits that are currently outstanding even those that came back to his district. He says the state has to work to minimize their impact on the budget.
Genetski says there should be an audit of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, which pays long term care costs for people injured in serious car accidents. He also agrees with a state House bill that would offer tiered coverage levels. Genetski says that would allow people to purchase less coverage cheaper. He says there would still be a “Cadillac option” for people who want it.
The state Senate candidate describes this as the most unique election cycle he’s ever seen. Genetski says the first issue people want to talk about is roads, second is auto insurance and third is President Trump. Genetski says most of the voters he talks to are very much in support. While his style is “more New York city than Midwest,” Genetski says voters recognize that President Trump is fulfilling his promises.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview.
Flint Water Crisis
In a discussion about the Flint water crisis, Genetski says it was caused by financial mismanagement in one city. He says the state needs to have a more engaged process with communities in deep fiscal trouble, and be more responsive when warned of potential problems.
Genetski says he dispenses concealed carry permits as Allegan County Clerk. He says the system seems to work well and doesn’t require major changes. Genetski says he would want to see the full process for so-called “red flag” bills to keep guns out of the hands of people who could be a risk. Genetski says people have to return their gun now if a personal protection order is issued against them.