13th District Oakland County Commission/Democrats

July 13, 2020

Two Democrats are competing in the August primary for this seat, and the winner will face Republican Max Rohtbart in the November general election. Only incumbent commissioner Marcia Gershenson responded to  the Downtown questionnaire.

MARCIA GERSHENSON

 
Gershenson, a resident of Bloomfield Township, is a former English teacher with a degree from the University of Michigan. Gershenson is the incumbent county commissioner for the 13th district, first elected in 2004.

MASS TRANSIT

I support improving mass transit in our region. Better transit is needed to transport workers to jobs, assist people who don't drive or own cars to appointments, get students to school and keep our communities connected.   I support developing a transit proposal that will require the approval of our county voters to move forward and provide benefits to all.  As residents age, the transit needs of our senior population will grow exponentially. While some workers can work remotely, workers in need of transit are generally in jobs that cannot be done remotely such as lower wage health care and service sector jobs.  Improving transit is essential to sustain and grow our regions economy, attract the workforce we need, and improve the quality of life in southeast Michigan.

VOTING DAY OFF FOR EMPLOYEES

I support Election Day being a county holiday as it is an opportune time to celebrate our democracy. The Republican cost estimate is not accurate. and was corrected by our human resource department. Election Day is a holiday in over 30 states and there is legislation pending in Michigan. The day off  provides an opportunity for many county workers to volunteer at local polls where there is a need. We currently have over 500 local precincts and absentee ballot counting boards. This year, with the pandemic, there is concern the traditional poll workers whose average age is 70, will be less willing to work.  New volunteers and workers will be needed to support running our elections. Voting is one of our most important civic duties and a cornerstone of our democracy.

BUDGETARY SAFEGUARDS

This is completely false. Democrats instituted a policy that requires all actions and resolutions spending ANY county money, have budget amendments included in the resolution. This reform enables commissioners and the public to fully understand county spending.  All budget amendments are required to align with our three-year budgeting practices. Commissioners are committed to the long term success of our county and unanimously passed a three-year budget.  Another reform advanced this term, was a requirement that departments submitting grant proposals committing county resources, receive board approval at the beginning of the process. This was often done at the end of the process by the previous administration. Democrats led an effort to require contracts come before the board for approval, a practice that had been ignored for decades. Our county's AAA bond rating was sustained this year, and the rating agencies affirmed our increased transparency, fiscal discipline and budgetary practices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Protecting our lakes, water and streams is a top priority.  I led the creation of the Oakland County Safe Lakes Initiative that resulted in a 400 percent increase in lake testing across the county and joined a statewide effort to post data publicly. We are taking many additional steps to protect our environment. I support reducing Oakland County's carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030 and we are in the process of conducting a county energy audit to establish a benchmark to achieve that goal. I support creating a new county Energy Sustainability Office to lead our efforts. Lastly, I believe we need to find ways to inspect firms that use toxic chemicals annually. Partnering with the state, we can do more to protect our environment.  I want to prevent another “Green Ooze” disaster and lead in communities pipes from ever happening again.

KEY ISSUES

I support protecting and expanding health care in Oakland County. I supported the largest expansion of our public health department in decades. I am committed to moving public health beyond the traditional clinical approach and integrate new services. This will include adding family planning, women's heath, family medicine, mental health and dental services. My second priority is to keep our drinking water safe. I supported replacing all drinking fountains in our schools with filtered bottled water refilling stations. I am committed to work with our local communities to replace lead service lines to protect our drinking water. We have a growing senior population. It's imperative we fund the necessary resources to support seniors so they can lead independent and productive lives. I actively participate with our County's senior Advisory Council. and I eliminated the wait list for critical senior services at our largest County Senior Service agency.  

WHY VOTE FOR YOU

Never before has experienced leadership been so important. I’ve worked hard to understand the needs of residents and am very active and accessible in the communities I represent. I use my experience to help people access vital services during this pandemic. I am a strong advocate to dispense the federal government's CARES money to help get businesses operating again. I advocated to use this money to assist non-profits, schools, libraries and senior centers and give financial assistance to our most vulnerable residents. I worked with a bi-partisan committee to support safe and responsible gun ownership, advance women's issues and secure more local funding for roads. I am determined to expand opportunities for all residents, make our communities stronger and continue to practice strong fiscal discipline. I am proud of the work I have done over my tenure and have much more to do!

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