A New Voice for a Better Michigan!
Michael Smith was born in Southfield, grew up and currently lives in White Lake Township. Michael is the son of a retired small business owner/stay at home mother and a father who worked in the shipping/trucking industry who instilled in him a strong work ethic and appreciation for education and civic engagement at a young age. Michael’s mother Alice was a small business owner and stay at home mother before officially retiring in 2000. His father James was a Trucking/Distribution Manager for a local grocer in Michigan before he passed away in 1993.
Michael’s interest in politics and community outreach began while he was in high school, with involvement in several school committees. He became more interested in the career of public service as he was drawn to helping others and to be a voice for those that are often times forgotten.
After graduating from Walled Lake Central, Michael studied a myriad of subjects but finalized an all-encompassing program of Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Leadership & Diversity at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 2003. During his undergraduate years, he was the member of Residence Housing Association, a college mentor and Teacher Assistant for Freshmen Studies. He was selected as a Resident Advisor for 2 years, overseeing hundreds of students. He was involved in many local charities and fundraising efforts for Multiple Sclerosis, Breast Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, Relay for Life, and many others. He was a member and served as President of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. He interned at the Admissions Office, Student Life Center, and Information Desk, along with working part-time at the local Art Gallery. In 2003 he was the proud recipient of the prestigious Thomas M. Seykora Outstanding Student Leader Award.
After successfully obtaining a job at the Oakland County Clerk’s Office in 2004, Michael was drawn even more to public service and decided to apply to Graduate School, he started his work in the Public Administration Department at Oakland University in 2005 and while working full time and going to night class he graduated with a Master of Public Administration from Oakland University in 2008. Michael found his voice and his desire to help others by running for Oakland County Commissioner in 2008. While he lost his race – he was very active in the campaign and with helping other candidates. This started his continued effort to public service and he decided to run for Walled Lake School Board and Oakland County Commission again in 2010. He won a seat on the School Board – obtaining more votes than an incumbent on the Walled Lake School Board. In 2012 he continued his effort by running for White Lake Township Supervisor – garnering almost 40% of the vote.
Day-to-day, Michael currently works at the City of Clawson, as the Deputy City Clerk, and uses his interest in public service, civic engagement and commitment to community everyday.
Michael’s passion for public service, and his interest in helping the citizens of Oakland County and the Metro Detroit area have inspired Michael to run for Senate in the 15th District in Oakland County. He has the combination of experience, work ethic, integrity and passion that he hopes to dedicate to continuing to make Oakland County and Michigan an attractive place to work, live and raise a family.
We need to invest in renewable energy to make us less dependent on fossil fuels. We need to focus our efforts and funding on wind, solar and natural gas. We need to be more responsive to the needs of our residents and be better stewards of our natural resources by passing legislation that protects our quality of life.
I believe the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act should be amended to include protections for sexual orientation. We cannot have any form of discrimination and everyone needs to have equal protection for all matters. I believe in same-sex marriage and equal rights and benefits for same-sex partners.
We need to first look at other issues with roads. We need to reevaluate the weight restrictions on our roads since Michigan is the only state in the nation that allows trucks to use our roads while carrying loads of 164,000 pounds while other states limit truck weight to less than half that amount or 80,000. Our roads and bridges are crumbling around us and clearly we need a more stable funding source for roads. We depend on our roads to get from work and home and the crumbling infrastructure is hurting everyone. I support a system that does not create an undo tax burden on those less fortunate. I think there needs to be greater parity in weight restrictions and taxation and an evaluation of the wholesale tax and a possible sales tax increase. I believe it might have to come down to a vote of the people of Michigan as it is the voice of the majority that will be affected that should be deciding if there is a partisan stalemate. Mass transit should be a part of the solution as we continue to address transportation needs because the desire for greater connectedness to the urban centers from the suburban communities is present and we need to consider all methods of transportation.
Public education is very important and a quality public education is paramount to the success of our children and our state economy. The children we are educating will be the future CEO’s, educators, doctors, nurses, engineers, artists, and leaders. Investing in education should be the top priority of our state government and over the last few years, the Michigan legislature has drastically cut funding for our public schools. Forty-five states, including Michigan, have adopted Common Core, as a way of educating our students. While this effort is a step in the right direction, we must push forward with more reforms. Common Core is a great tool but we need to be allowed to have greater control and input from educators, students, and parents. Learning is organic and policy needs to adapt to changes if we see that they are not working. It is too early to see the effect of Common Core but I feel that Michigan does need to take a greater stance and be able to evaluate the metrics that are being used and if it is hindering the quality education of our students. Our public education system should be providing the opportunity for K-12 students in Michigan to meet the evolving needs of the global market place.
We need to focus on the emerging sectors by helping businesses expand and by creating incentives for businesses to move to Michigan. We need to provide a system of getting graduates from local Michigan colleges and universities to stay in Michigan and to utilize their talents through incubators during college and other job shadowing experiences. Too many times students come to Michigan and leave with their knowledge due to the job market. We need to get into the universities and find out the emerging markets and develop strategies for greater vocational education systems through internships and externships to get the experience current businesses are looking for in employees. There is no panacea for Michigan per say, however, we have a myriad of other municipalities and States that have gone through or who are currently going through growth, stagnation or decline. We can use these examples and methods they implemented to aid in job creation. We have untapped resources and examples that we need to review and in the end we have to do something to curb the brain drain by making Michigan the State for people to live, work and play.