STATE SENATE - 12TH DISTRICT
Bayer lives in Beverly Hills, and has computer science and math degrees from Central Michigan University and a MBA from Lawrence Technical University. She is the co-founder and chief inspiration officer of a database technology company, and is co-founder of Michigan Council of Women in Technology.
Michigan has a rich history of protecting the environment but in recent years there have been several legislative attempts to restrict the DEQ as to rule-making to implement laws of the state, including the now pending legislation that would place control of future rule-making with an appointed committee comprised of special interests, including factions of the business community. There has long been a realization that the DEQ is underfunded in terms of being able to carry out its mission of protecting the quality of life in the state. Do you agree with recent attempts to curtail the DEQ? Do you feel that more funding needs to be allocated to the DEQ for enforcement purposes?
I would allocate more funds to the DEQ to compensate for 18 years of budget reductions, particularly severe cuts in the last eight years. This year’s reduced funds included cuts for: lead and copper water system testing; cleanup of vapor intrusion sites like the emergency cleanup recently experienced in Franklin; chemical sites; waterfront and state park cleanups and emergency cleanups; the recycling program; and more. Michigan DEQ failed its last federal audit, due to critical shortages in people and knowledge. We need to reinvest here, rapidly. We are facing an estimated 11,000 PFAS (water contamination) sites that must be cleaned up, plus an identified 4,000 vapor intrusion sites (hazardous chemical vapors from underground tanks), and countless (huge) numbers of lead water pipes to be replaced. We need the DEQ strongly funded to lead, identify and manage all these activities for the health of our people and environment.
Because Congress has failed to act on proposed increased regulation of gun ownership, a number of states have taken the initiative to address the issue. Should Michigan be taking the lead on gun control? Would you support requiring expanded background checks? Background checks at gun shows? Banning bump stocks? Raising the age on the purchase of weapons? Banning military style weapons? Red flag laws?
Yes. Since Congress failed to act, Michigan must act to protect our children from senseless gun violence. I support common sense gun regulation including expanded background checks, closing loopholes like gun show exceptions, implementing red flag laws and banning military style weapons and bump stocks for non-military use. In addition to sensible regulations, we need to invest in providing school counselors again. They serve as the front line defense to identify and help those who may take violent action in schools. And we must properly fund and restructure our state’s decimated mental health system. It is an outrage that red flag law legislation has languished on the desk of the head of the House committee who could have brought it to the legislative body over one year ago. He is now running for state Senator in another district. He, and all who take no positive action, should be defeated.
While the state has announced that $175 million will be disbursed this year for road and bridge repairs, do you feel that is sufficient while we wait three more years for the road funding proposal to finally kick in? Should the state rainy day fund be tapped in the interim, as some have suggested?
Our state road commission reports road funding needs at $4 billion annually. Instead, the current administration cut road funding from $3.3 billion to $1.9 billion. Adding $175 million doesn’t dent a $1.4 billion annual reduction. Corporate tax cuts, seven years ago, eliminated over $2 billion annually, forcing cuts in roads, schools, etc.. Like all “trickle down” attempts, this failed completely. We haven’t recovered the $2 billion per year, let alone seen growth. Pushing this cost to taxpayers through additional user fees continues to shift the burden from corporations to people, including carrying the burden of the heaviest nationwide trucks on Michigan roads. Tapping the rainy day fund may be necessary. But only if it includes a long term plan to restore our budget to a sustaining level, where everyone pays a fair share and schools, infrastructure and the environment are funded adequately to sustain our quality of life.
CHARTER SCHOOL REFORMS
Michigan has developed a reputation as one of the most deregulated school environments in the country, with the largest number of charter schools – 80 percent of which are for-profit ventures. Charter schools were originally billed as a cure for declining student achievement and inequality, but a number of reports in the last few years show that 70 percent of the state’s charter schools are in the lower rungs of student achievement reviews. Lawmakers in Lansing, however, have on more than one occasion rejected tightening the overview of charter schools and have allowed for their continued growth. Should there be more state control over charter schools for performance and finances? Does the ongoing expansion of charter schools threaten the public schools K-12 system that we have relied on for education?
Increase charter school controls; eliminate for-profit charter funding. Michigan’s K-12 system is among the U.S. weakest. Since 2008, as charters exploded, Michigan students dramatically declined in reading/math with national data showing systemic deterioration: all students, all schools, regardless of race, economic strata. 2018 Brookings Institution national analysis ranked Michigan last in proficiency improvement. EMO’s operate 80 percent of Michigan charters, versus 16 percent nationally. With the most for-profit charter schools and minimal oversight, even staunch charter advocates blanch. Companies that own for-profit charters protect return on investment but don’t ensure learning. Seventy percent are in the bottom 50 percent, and 16 are on the Michigan Education Department’s list of 21 failing schools. Charters selectively enroll; kids not at the top or needing help cannot enter or obtain support – unlike public schools. We should stop giving tax dollars to for-profit entities, and establish charter performance/finance control. Public funding without accountability is profoundly irresponsible.
What is your position on the marijuana legalization proposal appearing on the November ballot?
I’m glad the issue is on the 2018 general ballot for Michigan voters to decide, and I will vote yes on the ballot proposal.
Although Michigan has 1973 Act (196) to regulate conduct of public officials, it is considered less than rigorous when it comes to legislative ethics and transparency, leaving Michigan ranked near the bottom in comparative studies with other states. Would you support financial disclosure by state lawmakers? What about including the governor’s office and the legislature when it comes to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, from which they are now exempt? Would you support a bill that prohibits “Pay to Play” when it comes to lawmakers approving contracts with companies or people who are campaign contributors? Are there any other areas that need to be addressed if we are to strengthen ethics/transparency laws/rules in Michigan as they apply to the legislature and administrative offices?
I support all initiatives mentioned: financial disclosure for state lawmakers, removing FOIA exemption for all branches including the governor, and prohibiting “pay to play” for legislators approving contracts. In addition, since much money in politics is contributions to campaign funds, I will work to eliminate all “dark money” contributions, requiring full disclosure of PAC donors. I would also limit total contribution from all types of PACs or individuals to each candidate; and limit the amount a candidate can spend per election cycle as well as the time candidates are allowed to campaign. I support any effort to eliminate contributions, gifts, travel, from lobbyists and PACs to our state legislators. I think transparency in Michigan government is long overdue. My leadership philosophy has always been based on full information disclosure and transparency. I will continue to run my Senate office that way, and encourage colleagues to do the same.
Are you pro-life or pro-choice? If you are pro-life, are there any exceptions to prohibitions on abortions that you find acceptable? Explain your position on this issue.
I am pro-choice. I fully support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. I am endorsed by Emily’s List, Michigan List and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
CODIFYING CIVIL RIGHTS
Should the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act be amended to extend civil rights protections in housing and employment to include sexual orientation? Why or why not?
Yes. The claim that the existing Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is sufficient protection for LGBTQ+ people is inaccurate, particularly since our Attorney General issued a statement in July 2018 stating explicitly that the Act does not extend protections to LGBTQ+ people. All people are people. Constitutionally, and morally, all people deserve the same rights and protections, period. There is no acceptable discrimination. In our history, every time we try to separate human beings, and discriminate against some group of people, we are later proven wrong and need to make amends. This is just another case of doing that, and setting our government up for extensive future reparations. This is unconscionable. It simply exemplifies the current government’s desire to punish those who are not “the same” as the majority in our government today.
Why should a voter choose you over an opponent on the ballot?
I bring a set of skills/experiences that our government sorely lacks. First, I am not a career politician. I’ve had a successful career solving real problems in the real world. I am a software engineer, leader, business owner, with decades of experience collaborating with teams who don’t always agree, building innovative solutions to reduce costs while making things work better. I bring a lifetime of civic achievements, improving lives and communities, including co-founding a non-profit that brings technology education and support to thousands of women and girls across Michigan. I am a mom, wife, daughter, aunt, sister – I bring the caring commitment I learned in all those roles. Lastly, I know how to listen and be of service. District 12’s citizens deserve more than career politicians who accomplish little, follow the party line, and ignore what people need, especially in public education, public health, personal healthcare and environmental protection.
McCready, a business owner from Bloomfield Township, is the current state Representative for the 40th District, a position he has held since 2012. Prior to that, he was a mayor and city commissioner for Bloomfield Hills, and served on the city's planning board and zoning board of appeals.
The beauty and wonder of our natural environment is an integral part of our state’s identity as well as it is a powerful economic driver of Michigan’s robust tourism industry. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) should be a partner with our business community to continue to help drive economic growth, while preserving our natural beauties for the next generation.
Discussions on firearms are always contentious and divisive, but we can all agree that government should work to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. I support working towards that goal while also not infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens. Because of this I would support implementing a red flag law in Michigan, but only if it includes strong protections for due process and stringent penalties for frivolous complaints.
There is no debate that our roads, particularly in Oakland County, are in serious need of repair. I supported allocating the $175 million dollars to be used for road funding but more is needed. It is why I have publicly supported spending the higher than expected forecasted revenues directly to road repair. In addition, Act 51, which determines that distribution of road dollars to counties and cities, needs to be overhauled to better reflect the higher need of more populous counties which have larger road systems that see more use.
CHARTER SCHOOL REFORMS
I support the rights of parent to have the ultimate choice in the educational path for their children. Charters are one of the many options that should be available, in addition to traditional public schools as well as parochial, private and home schooling. Regardless of the avenue our educational system as a whole must be held to strict standards to ensure that we are properly preparing our future generations for the challenges they will face.
My colleagues and I in the legislature worked diligently in 2016 to implement a new and improved regulatory framework for medical marijuana, to give those legitimately suffering from debilitating conditions or disease more flexibility, and safety when pursuing medical marijuana as a treatment option as well as give marijuana producers more certainty in the market. I believe that we should continue to allow that system to work before moving to the step of legalization of recreational marijuana.
Transparency is an important facet of a government that is accountable to the people, and that is why I support transparency for both the legislature and the governor. I have voted twice (2016 and 2017), to apply the Freedom of information Act to the legislature and the governor’s office.
I am proudly pro-life. The only exception is when the life of the mother is in danger.
CODIFYING CIVIL RIGHTS
I don’t believe any changes are needed to the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act. The act already includes sex as a protected class, which has been interpreted by the courts to include members of the of the LGBT community.
I have lived most my life in the Bloomfield area of Oakland County. From humble means I started my own business, McCready and Associates, which celebrates its 28th year anniversary next year, and raised a family. My experience in business and from serving in local government, has given me insight to the challenges faced by local governments and the residents who call our community home. Having served in the legislature as the Representative for the 40th District, I now understand the complicated appropriations process which ultimately determines where we invest the taxpayers’ dollars. These experiences have given me the necessary tools to represent our communities and their needs in the Michigan State Senate.