VanderWall takes on veteran legislators in bid for Republican senate nomination.

March 20, 2018

Curt VanderWall

VanderWall takes on veteran legislators in bid for Republican senate nomination.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — In 2016 Curt VanderWall was elected 101st District representative in the Michigan House of Representatives. The Ludington Republican replaced Republican Ray Franz of Onekama, who had served his limited three two-year terms. This year, VanderWall and Franz will be opponents for the Republican nomination of the 35th District senate seat, along with Bruce Rendon, former representative of the 103rd House District.

The 35th District includes Mason and Manistee counties and the nomination will be decided during the August primary. With the district’s recent history of voting 60% Republican, it’s likely that one of the three will become the next Senator.

Though VanderWall has only served one term in the House, he said he believes he’s ready to move over to the Senate.

“I really feel strongly that right now we need somebody who is willing to fight for the changes we need,” VanderWall said. “There are some hard decisions coming and we need somebody who is a good listener, who listens to all sides of the story. My age also helps me. It’s going to take a lot of energy to cover the Senate district and I believe I can do the job, just like I have in the 101st House district.”

The 101st House district covers four counties while the 35th Senate district covers 12 counties.

VanderWall discussed some of the issues he sees the next legislative session taking on.

Education: “This is an issue that we are going to have to address. I want to be able to continue to fight for the students in the northern region of the state and make funding equitable. We will want to look at early childhood development and also, for the older students, vocational training. If Michigan is going to continue to a player we need to solve the issue of training people to work in professional trades. Young people need to understand that trade work is sustainable work, that pays well, allows many to own their own businesses, and allows them to stay where they grew up.”

Agriculture: “There are more issues that are being directed towards water and agriculture. We are hearing right now from natural resources that there are new forms of water withdrawal and testing. We need to look at newer technologies in this area and we need to make sure that our farmers have the water they need to grow food in the district.”

Tax reform: “The elected officials of this state made a promise when they increased the tax rate from 3.9 to 4.25 to eventually roll it back. It’s been many years ago and when we tried to roll it back last year it didn’t pass. We made sure that there were some amendments to certain obligations. For example, we wanted to make sure the schools were held harmless with no cuts in funding. The same thing with roads. Ultimately it’s our responsibility to do what we can to give the people their money back.”

No fault automobile insurance: “We have got to be willing as a state, and everyone else involved, to revamp no-fault insurance. This includes the insurance industry and the health care facilities. There needs to be some type of restructure. As a group, the legislature needs to just lock itself in a room and say ‘this is where we gotta go.’ It’s just not right that you can be in Ludington and pay $1,200 a year, as an example, and for the same vehicle, be in Detroit and pay $5,500 a year. That’s an issue.”

School funding: “We’ve got to get our debt load down. In the State of Michigan, 24 percent of our school budget is paid into pension plans. We have made some strides but have a way to go. The goal is to have those pensions paid off by 2039. That’s going to be an unbelievable amount of money that we can give back to the schools. We also need to get the base funding in the state equal statewide. Last year I was one of the few Republicans who voted against the primary school budget because it took away funding from the schools in northern Michigan. There are schools in other parts of the state that get two times the amount of per student funding that our schools get. That’s just not right.”

School safety: “I believe when it comes to school safety, is that number one, we have a social issue. We have got to re-establish boundaries and respect. When it comes to allowing certain non-law enforcement personnel to have guns in a school system, and I am asked, ‘would you allow it?’ My answer would be yes, under certain circumstances. But, there are questions like who do you put in charge of these guns. Perhaps the best route is to hire retired police officers. I don’t think every teacher should have a gun in a school. Ultimately, it should come down to the individual school district to decide what is the best course of action for the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and we as a legislature should allow the schools to make those choices. We also need to appropriate grant funds to provide the schools with the resources they need for safety and security.”

Term limits: “What I’ve seen since I’ve entered the system is that term limits have some positive points but I think mostly there are some pretty sizable negative points. We need to construct a term limit that is something like 16 years and allow a person to run a total of those years, whether that time is served in the House, the Senate, or a combination. The downfall with term limits is that they have given the power to the bureaucrats who will just sit and wait for a legislator’s term to expire.”

VanderWall said he is looking forward to continue visiting communities throughout the 35th Senate District.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to serve in the Senate and I’m looking forward to meeting folks.

The 35th State Senate District includes: Benzie, Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, Wexford counties.

This story and photograph are copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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