Voters in four counties along Michigan’s northwest coast will have a new leader in Lansing after next week’s election. Curt VanderWall is the current representative in the 101st House District but he’s leaving the seat vacant as he runs for the state senate.
On the Republican side, longtime radio host Jack O’Malley is running for office for the first time.
The Democrats have a political newcomer, too. Kathy Wiejaczka is a registered nurse from Leelanau County.
Wiejaczka says health care is one of her top priorities. She praised the expansion of Medicaid through the Healthy Michigan law.
“I’ve had so many patients and students tell me that for the first time in their life, they can get a preventative mammogram or a preventative colonoscopy and curtail or find … a disease before it turns into something rampant,” says Wiejaczka. “I want to go to Lansing to make sure that the Medicaid expansion … continues, plus more.”
Wiejaczka says she is a gun owner who supports the Second Amendment but she supports expanded background checks for gun shows and private gun sales. She also supports “red flag alerts.”
“[For] people who are having some mental strife in their life, where they are a safety concern for themselves or others … that law enforcement or one of their family members can appeal to a judge and temporarily have those guns taken away until their mental health improves,” says Wiejaczka.
Jack O’Malley declined an invitation to be interviewed by IPR.