Four Republicans and one Democrat are on the Aug. 2 ballot for the 36th District Michigan House race.
Steve Carra, Jack Coleman, Scott McGraw and Jerry Solis are seeking the Republican nod to move on to the Nov. 8 general election. They will be opposed on the ballot by Roger Williams, who is unopposed in the primary election.
The seat is currently held by Steve Carra. Carra announced last year he would seek the District 6 Congressional seat in this year’s mid-term elections. However, due to recent redistricting that went into effect this spring, he no longer lives within the new district boundary, and he has filed to run for his current seat for the revamped 36th District.
Carra is the current state representative in Lansing for St. Joseph and Cass counties over the past two years and is asking voters for their continued support.
During his 2020 campaign, Carra said, “I claimed to be the most conservative, experienced and qualified candidate and, during my current term, I have proven that. Like many of you, I am tired of ‘go along to get along’ politics. As the radical left continues to destroy our country, we need bold conservative fighters who will stand up to government intrusion and tyranny. Mandates, intimidation and coercion have no place in our Constitutional Republic.
Carra said he fully supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, which had been in effect since 1973.
“I applaud the Supreme Court for overturning the egregious Roe v. Wade decision that had absolutely no basis in the U.S. Constitution,” Carra said. “Playing a role in helping to overthrow Roe v. Wade will forever be a highlight of my political career. Having led the nation’s second largest legislative brief in support of the Dobbs case that took down Roe v. Wade, and signed onto by 320 state legislators from 35 states, is a testament to my pro-life efforts.”
As a fighter for the pre-born, Carra said, “I was one of six legislators in the nation recognized with the ‘2022 Pro-Life Champion Award’ by Students for Life. The fall of Roe was a great victory for the pre-born and it was an honor to play a pivotal role in this victory.”
However, Carra said, “there is still work to be done in the fight for effective pro-life legislation,” which he said he is working towards by sponsoring House Bill 6270, the Protection at Conception Act.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to fight to defend the defenseless and for the sanctity of human life here in Michigan,” Carra said.
Carra said he will also fight to reduce government interference in residents’ lives.
“I consistently vote ‘no’ on bills that increase the cost of government to the taxpayers and recklessly expands the budget,” he said. “We have enough rules, regulations, taxes, fines and fees already; we don’t need more, we need less. We need a business-friendly environment for all, where the government is not picking winners and losers.”
Last year, Carra said, “we voted on 740 bills and I voted no more than anyone else – 270 times – despite Republican leadership deciding what gets voted on. With 270 no votes, I proved I’m not a ‘yes man’ for special interest groups. Too many politicians cave to political pressure, the fact that I haven’t is why I’m known as the most conservative Republican in Michigan.”
Carra said he is not “bought and paid for” in the political environment.
“I’m willing and able to expose the corrupt system as I continuously fight to restore our Constitutional Republic,” he said. “I will continue fighting for the sanctity of life, your right to keep and bear arms, safe and secure elections, taxpayer money to be spent wisely and fairly, and for your voices to be heard.”
Carra said that, if re-elected, he will continue to enact positive change in Lansing.
“I have proven that I will stay true to my word by explaining how I vote on every bill, posting my explanations on Facebook and on my official state representative website,” Carra said. “Holding monthly office hours in both St. Joseph and Cass counties makes me transparent and accessible. As a proven conservative fighter with a track record of taking on the status quo and corruption in Lansing, I have received endorsements from President Donald Trump and Senator Rand Paul. I have proven time and time again that I will not shy away from the hard fights.”
Coleman served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a chief air traffic controller. He has served on the Park Township Planning Commission and currently serves as a St. Joseph County Road Commissioner and Park Township Board of Review member. He has also held private sector employment as a pilot and flight instructor.
Coleman, a husband and father, said he has many qualifications to serve as the district’s next state representative.
“My experience offers knowledge in operating budgets, coordinating with various government agencies and I am extremely aware of government operations and the pitfalls that can and will arise,” he said. “It is difficult, as a state, to live up to our potential without sound money management. I see that as one of several areas we need to improve upon. It does affect our district when it comes to funding such as roads and bridges as an example.”
One of the concerns Coleman said he will address as state representative is infrastructure spending.
“We hear a lot about infrastructure spending, we pay high taxes at the pumps but, we are not seeing the results on our local roads and bridges,” he said. “The way the government is managing the infrastructure money, not enough of it is making it to where it is needed most, local road agencies. It is impossible to have a healthy economy without infrastructure to support it. This is one of the areas that I will strive to positively influence in our government.”
Coleman said there are also several other situations that, when solved, will make for a stronger district.
“There is a paramedic and EMT shortage,” he said. “There are several reasons contributing to the shortage. One of them is the pay of these positions. The wage is not competitive for the responsibility, difficulty, training requirements and schedules.”
Nationally and statewide, he said, “there is a housing shortage, including in our district. It costs more to build and maintain multi-family housing, such as apartments, than people can afford to rent. Additionally, there is a shortage of entry level homes for the younger people starting their careers and family. Senior citizens who are interested in downsizing have few options available. If we could have more options available to our seniors, that would increase houses available in our area, as one solution of many.
Property taxes are also making housing less affordable, Coleman said.
“I feel when our seniors reach retirement age, at a minimum, property taxes should be frozen. Too many seniors on fixed income are being taxed out of their homes. There are currently options available to help people in financial difficulty but, in my opinion, they do not go far enough.”
Coleman said he will be a state tepresentative reflecting on the concerns in the area of the 36th District: “the focus primarily on representing you, our friends and neighbors, and work with our federal representatives, when necessary, in the improvement of our District and State.
We are going through a difficult period in our country and state. If history has proven one thing to be true it is; We always have come through difficult periods and we learned, became wiser, stronger and better. I know we will become better.
I will be a State Representative with vision and common-sense as I hope you see, as I do, a bright and prosperous future for Michigan and our district.
“I look forward to the opportunity to serve (residents) in making our district and state stronger.
McGraw was born and raised in Southwest Michigan, and attended college at Western Michigan University.
McGraw said that as a small business owner, husband and father, he has a vested interest in the comunity and has been “fighting for conservative causes my entire life in Southwest Michigan.”
McGraw said he has five core values to his conservative Christian philosophy: Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Family, Pro-Business, and Pro-Police.
“I am very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” McGraw said. “All life is precious. I will support laws and initiatives that will work toward a society that values and fosters life at all levels; from conception to natural death.”
As a small business owner with deep ties to Southwest Michigan’s economy, McGraw said, “I understand the impact inflation is having on our communities and will fight to lower the tax burden on businesses and families.”
McGraw said he is a “proud Christian and lifelong conservative whose faith will guide my decision-making.”
“I am a dedicated Republican leader who has worked tirelessly to elect President Donald Trump and conservative candidates across Southwest Michigan, he said. “As a father of three and a strong supporter of the schools, I am frustrated with the gender indoctrination that is occurring. Our schools should be focused on teaching reading and math, not introducing them to drag queens.”
Law enforcement is a fundamental responsibility of government, McGraw said.
“When we don’t enforce the laws, our society breaks down,” he said. “Our police serve to protect all of us. This demands respect and support. I will stand with our law enforcement community and support all their efforts.”
When it comes to fighting for the community’s interests, McGraw said he believes in lower taxes and more government freedom.
“With limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom, we will see more jobs, more opportunities, and a brighter future for everyone,” he said.
Open communication is the key to good public service, according to McGraw.
“I will have an open door and I am ready to listen,” he said. “I want to partner with (all constituents) to create efficient policies that support Michigan businesses and families. I am the candidate in this race that represents the values of this organization, will work hard, raise the money and win in August.
“I look forward to working with (residents) in Lansing,” McGraw said.
Solis, a pastor from Three Rivers, said his interest in running for the state seat “is to see conservative Christian values restored to government, schools and to the public square.”
“I don’t believe that communism, Socialism, comprehensive sex education, or that the breakdown of the family unit is the problem,” Solis said. “Those all reflect and are the fruit of the problem the problem is that we’ve drifted away from the U.S. Constitution as our anchor to keep us committed to the Founding Fathers’ decisions made years ago. It’s also to be the compass by which we make future decisions.”
Secondly, Solis said, “I believe that we’ve just thrown it away from the source of the Constitution and have neglected and rejected God. When I say God, I’m speaking of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior as having inspired our constitution.”
Solis said he believes the country‘s greatest natural resources are children.
“I’m committed to seeing our educational system restored to quality education, not indoctrination,” Solis said. “Our children need to be schooled in an environment consistent with traditional family values.”
Solis said he has “spoken up at school board meetings defending and promoting conservative values and will continue to do so” at the state level as representative.
“I also believe that we need to work hard at deregulating for farmers; not just lowering our taxes but eliminating income tax and property tax for the people of this great state,” Solis said.
Solis said he believes in life “from the womb to the tomb, and is grateful for the June 24 U.S. Supreme Court, what Solis called “the appropriate and valiant decision made by our Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Abortion is an atrocity that our country has been investing into for way too long and it needs to stop,” he said.
“I will work endlessly to promote life on every level,” Solis said.