Stumping into the Senate seat | News, sports, work

HOUGHTON – A contender for the Michigan Senate 38th district race met the audience at the Portage Lake District Library on Saturday morning.

John Braamse of Marquette runs as the Democrat candidate against incumbent Senator Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan.

He described himself as “Pro-union, pro-election Democrat.” Braamse was active in the Marquette County Democratic Party and was involved in the preparation of former Democratic candidates. With neither candidate stepping forward to fight McBroom, Braamse was asked if he would be interested.

“I was in the army, I have children here and I would like to see a better future for them” He said. “If someone else doesn’t, who will? Decided why not me?

Braamse spent 25 years in the military, working, inter alia, in the Pentagon and abroad at the US embassies in Africa and Bulgaria. He started out as a clerk and in the human resources department before moving on to military intelligence.

“We have been called upon to do a lot of things beyond our normal specialization, whether it’s budgeting, meeting the VIP, or being in the trenches literally with the M-16.” He said. “Or car maintenance. You had to do all of this.

For the past seven years he has worked at Marquette Area Schools as a special educational assistant, especially helping children with problems such as autism and cerebral palsy. Most of these years are at primary school level.

“Overall, there is a large shortage of public education, not only in our region” He said. “One of the things I tried to promote, if I was elected, was getting better pay for the many people working in public education.”

Braamse said the labor law passed under Rick Snyder put pressure on wage cuts that did not keep pace with inflation.

“New advisors start at $ 11.50 an hour, which is $ 3 less than a hamburger flip … if we don’t invest in public education, you won’t have a dependable workforce.” He said.

He said he also had to rush to schools, either as a gate guard or as a janitor.

Braamse said he is also opposed to the use of public money for voucher programs or to finance private or charter schools.

“Personally, I think this is a set limit – public money for public schools” He said.

Braamse said he will also look at ways in which the state can benefit from the free lunch program. At the start of the pandemic, the federal government instituted a free lunch which was put on hold.

Braamse said the next priority would be to improve infrastructure such as broadband, roads, and urban water and sewage infrastructure. His first choice would be to use money from the surplus of the state budget; if additional resources were needed, he would consider increasing taxes on top income earners.

Braamse said the state should also extend Medicaid to ensure everyone has at least access to primary preventive care. He said he would back an additional tobacco tax to help fund the cost of extending the service.

“I think prevention is more effective because it can prevent problems sooner, rather than waiting for them to get into something more serious, which in turn can help the economy.” He said.

He said he would also try to encourage the development of renewable energy.

“We can build solar panels on top of existing buildings without much impact” He said. “Not only would it help the environment, but it would also provide more stability in the face of price fluctuations.”

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