ELECTION: First time candidates vie for redrawn 100th House District

(EDITOR'S NOTE: With the redrawing of district lines in 2020, voters in the three-county area — Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties — will be deciding on some new candidates as they go to the polls in the August primary election. The primary election provides voters the chance to select a candidate to be a political party’s nominee for a given office in the general election. The Herald Review reached out to the candidates on the ballot, however, not all responded prior to publication.)

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA, LAKE, CLARE COUNTIES — The newly drawn 100th House District covers Mecosta and Osceola counties, as well as part of Lake and Clare counties. First time candidates Nate Bailey (D) and Tom Kunse (R) are running unopposed in their respective parties after Paula Priebe (D), Ryan Roberts (R) and Kelly Smith (R) withdrew from the race.

Nate Bailey was born and raised in Reed City. He graduated from Reed City High School in 2007 and has been a realtor at Crossroads Realty in Reed City for the past 15 years. He has served on the Reed City city council since 2018.

While on city council, he helped to create jobs and bring new business to the community and voted on policies to help increase the rate of development within the community, according to his election campaign website.

If elected, Bailey said, he plans to push for policies that will both directly and indirectly benefit his constituents.

“This is home. These people are family. That's why I want to represent them in Lansing,” Bailey said.

Tom Kunse lives in Clare with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of Clare High School, Class of 1989. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Technical University in 1994 and a Masters Degree in Nuclear Physics from Central Michigan University in 2010. He and his wife own Northern Dry Bulk, a family owned and operated small business. 

According to his election campaign website, his goals are to promote skilled trades, support election integrity and push for broadband access throughout rural communities.

HERALD REVIEW: Why did you decide to run for state representative for the 100th House District?

BAILEY: I decided to run for this position because I love helping people, and what better way to do that than by representing them in creating and voting for policies which make people’s lives easier and happier?

KUNSE: Serving at State Rep is a way to give back to our community.  I’ve lived here for 50 years and see this as an opportunity to help Mid-Michigan succeed.  My time on the Grant Township Board has been productive, so I’ve decided to try and help at another level. 

HERALD REVIEW: What do you feel are the most pressing issues facing the district today?

BAILEY: Some of the issues affecting people in my district include high taxes, crumbling roads, and rural internet access. 

KUNSE: Skilled Trades: The 100th District is at the bottom of economic development in the State of Michigan.  All four of the counties I will represent are in the lowest 10 counties in the State for income.  We are going to change this through education – specifically Skilled Trades training for our high school students.  Skilled Trades is, by far, my top priority in Lansing.

Government overreach: I am going to Lansing, to keep Lansing away from Central Michigan.  This means lowering the tax burden, promoting personal choice for vaccinations, and returning decision making to the local level whenever possible.

Promote small businesses.  The best safety net is a good paying job – and small businesses are the backbone of our economy.

Secure elections:  They must be clear, transparent, and verifiable.

HERALD REVIEW: How will you tackle those issues if elected?

BAILEY: I plan to cut effective income tax rates for working families while also reallocating tax dollars away from ineffective programs and into successful ones. 

My district is a prime candidate to test out to new roadway technologies that last longer and provide benefits such as solar power generation, which would feed power back into the grid and lower the cost of electricity for everyone. If tested on a relatively small scale, we could then roll it out to other areas!

One of the first steps in expanding rural internet access is to have the Internet declared a utility. This promotes competition among providers, lowering costs for consumers, as well as allowing for subsidies specifically designed to bring cable and fiber optic lines to more areas.   

KUNSE: I’ve already begun working with Work Force Development in Lansing and our local schools.  We need funding to get the training promoted, but we also need teachers and Guidance Counselors to see that Skilled Trades training is a path to good paying careers.  I am going to relentlessly promote skilled trades training as a path for our youth to have good paying and secure jobs. 

To secure the election process, I would continue to support photo identification requirements, paper ballots, and no unsolicited absentee ballot applications.  Our County Clerks do an amazing job, and I will support them however I can.

HERALD REVIEW: What background and skills make you a good candidate?

BAILEY: I have been an IT specialist for over 20 years, have been a Realtor with Crossroads Realty in Reed City for over 15 years, and have 4 years of experience in local government as a member of the Reed City Council. 

KUNSE: My wife and I have owned Northern Dry Bulk for nearly 30 years.  As a small business owner, you must learn to solve problems to be successful.  I understand budgeting, taxes, recruitment, sales, etc.  I am a problem solver, hard worker, and willing to listen to people. There is no government money — there is only taxpayer money that our representatives need to spend as wisely as possible.

HERALD REVIEW: Why should people vote for you?

BAILEY: I will be a representative for the people, a true public servant as it was intended. I am absolutely not a “party line” politician, and will create and vote for policies that help my people regardless of which party they come from. I’m personally tired this mentality of “If you’re not with me, you’re against me” in politics. 

KUNSE: I am going to Lansing to try and keep the government intrusions into our lives as small as possible. Government should be small, local, and responsive.  I believe in the Republican platform of limited government, individual liberty, lower taxation, and fair free-market competition. 

State Senate District 34

The newly drawn state Senate District 34 covers Mecosta and Osceola counties, as well as Idlewild, Chase and part of Luther in Lake County. 

Christine Gerace (D) is running unopposed, while former representative for the 99th district, Roger Hauck (R), is running against newcomer Lisa Sowers (R) for the Republican nomination.

The Pioneer did not receive responses from these candidates prior to press time.

For more information on voting locations or to view ballots, contact your local clerk’s office or visit michigan.gov/elections.