Maturen campaign focuses on education funding, balanced government

REED CITY – Democratic State Representative candidate Brendan Maturen kicked off his campaign for Michigan’s 102nd House District among a crowd of 30 supporters in Reed City on Saturday.

“I’m running for state representative because I believe that our district needs a more balanced approach to economic recovery,” he said.

Maturen, a Mecosta County attorney, said if elected he would work to make loans for the creation and expansion of small business more readily available along with support requiring online retailers to collect sales tax.

“Right now we’ve got the situation where people will go to the local shoe store, try on a pair of shoes, check out the quality and the fit and then go home and order them online where they don’t have to pay sales tax. That’s wrong,” Maturen said. “Not only are local retailers getting shortchanged, we’re missing out on a large potential source of revenue for our state, so we need to change that.”

With two children in the K-12 system, Maturen said education also would be a top priority of his if elected to the House of Representatives.

Maturen critized Republican incumbent Phil Potvin for voting in favor of educational funding cuts.

“When I met the incumbent representative last week, he told me he was proud of his voting record - which means he is proud that he’s cut funding to our schools.

“We need a state legislature that is committed to public education. Education is essential not only for our kids’ future, but for bringing jobs to our area,” he added.

The candidate said schools should have more teachers, who don’t serve as a “crowd controller, but an educator,” and students need better material to learn with.

“We need to get our kids up-to-date textbooks. We need to expose them to modern technology,” Maturen said.

The candidate also said he will work to fight gerrymandering, saying the 102nd district is shaped like a “crooked dumbbell.”

“We need people to elect legislators, not legislators drawing districts to select voters,” he said.

A balanced government also is important to Maturen. He said partisanship in the current legislature often hinders action and if elected, he will aim to decrease the division among party lines.

“We need a more balanced state legislature. People are tired of partisanship blocking progress,” Maturen said. “As a state representative, I would consider any legislation regardless of who sponsored it or who proposed it. Anything that will help the citizens of the 102nd district will be looked upon favorably by me.

“We don’t need a representative who votes along party lines, we need a representative who will represent the interests of the people in this district regardless of where the ideas or the proposals came from.”

To gain input on proposed bills before making a decision, Maturen said he will communicate with individuals in the 102nd district who will be impacted by the bill. He said he will contact school administrators for an issue concerning the education system, contact the farm bureau for agricultural issues and any other entities that will be affected by his decision.

He also said he will work to maintain positive communication with individuals, returning e-mails and letters from each individual who contacts him.

An e-mail Maturen sent to Potvin last year went unanswered, he said.

“When I’m state representative, if you send me an e-mail or give me a call, you will receive a response,” Maturen said.

Campaign manager Nick Glauch said the Maturen campaign would like to recruit volunteers from each township in the 102nd District.

Glauch and members of Maturen’s campaign team are working to organize an event in the next few months offering constituents the opportunity to bike the White Pine Trail with the candidate.

For more information on Maturen’s campaign, visit www.brendanmaturen.com.