STATE HOUSE/20TH DISTRICT
Noah Arbit is the founder and executive director of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus. A resident of West Bloomfield, he has a degree from Wayne State University in comparative politics and Jewish studies. He previously worked as director of communications for the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, was a staffer for Governor Gretchen Whitmer and worked on the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign. He is a member of the West Bloomfield Diversity Task Force, sits on the executive committee of West Bloomfield-Lakes Area Democratic Club and is a member of Jewish Labor Committee.
Abortion ballot issue
Voters will be asked whether they support cementing abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution when they vote this November. How do you plan on voting on this issue? Please explain your answer.
I am a fierce yes, and I encourage all voters to join me in voting for the “Reproductive Freedom for All” constitutional amendment proposal, which will be on the November ballot. It is long past time to repeal Michigan’s snapback abortion ban. I am thankful that Attorney General Dana Nessel and Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald have committed not to enforce the 1931 abortion ban after Roe v. Wade was overturned. But, that is no substitute for legislative action. If elected, I will sign on to be an original co-sponsor of the Michigan Reproductive Health Act, and I will be a fierce advocate for safe and legal abortion access and reproductive health. Additionally, it is long past time to repeal Michigan’s antiquated ban on sodomy, because we cannot rely on a radical, right-wing United States Supreme Court to protect the rights of women or LGBTQ+ people in Michigan. We need Lansing to act.
Voting rights and policies
Voters will be asked to establish changes in voting policies, including early voting, absentee voting, and the use of drop boxes. How do you plan on voting on this issue? Please explain your answer.
I strongly endorse the Promote the Vote constitutional amendment proposal, because I believe in expanding the franchise, so that every Michigander has access to the foundational constitutional right to elect their own government. I will zealously oppose any proposal seeking to curtail that right. It’s time to empower local clerks to pre-process absentee ballots, so the public can receive results in a timely manner; make Election Day a state holiday, and cease underfunding municipal and county clerks’ budgets for election administration. These are the kinds of legitimate reforms that would substantially improve Michigan’s elections and boost confidence and trust in our voting system – not the anti-democratic bile promoted by extremist politicians seeking to appease the egos of disgraced former presidents.
Term limits and transparency
Voters this November will be asked whether they support changes in terms limits and to enact financial transparency regulations for members of the legislature and administration. Are you supporting this ballot issue? Please explain your answer.
I strongly encourage all voters to join me in supporting the ballot proposal “Michiganders for Transparency and Term Limits,” because any successful term limits policy would adequately balance two competing goals: the need to retain institutional knowledge in the legislature, and the need to refresh our institutions with new blood and new voices as well as prevent entrenchment, complacency, and sclerosis in our political system. By these metrics alone, Michigan’s current legislative term limits – the most draconian in the nation – are an abject failure that have drastically harmed the quality of governance in our state, to the detriment of all Michiganders. Limiting state reps to six years and state senators to eight years means legislators have little time to learn how to navigate the institution before they are termed out; this vacuum of legislative expertise empowers entrenched lobbyists, special interests, and other power brokers at the expense of the people’s elected representatives, reducing responsiveness.
Legislative bans on education topics
In 24 states legislation has been introduced to restrict or outright ban the teaching and/or discussion of certain topics such as race, racism, gender-based issues and how American history is taught in the K-12 public school system. Critics of these efforts to restrict what is taught in public schools say such legislation prevents open inquiry into important issues. Should the state legislature in Michigan dictate or restrict what is taught in public school classrooms? Would you support such legislation? Why or why not? Please be specific in your answer.
Absolutely not. The idea that we should shield our kids from necessary, if difficult, conversations about our world and our history is asinine. But the truth is, those who advocate for silencing educational inquiry are not concerned with kids’ welfare; they are instrumentalizing our kids to obscure their real motivation, which is both simpler and more noxious: bigotry. If we want to raise our kids to upstanding citizens capable of contributing to our communities and achieving their aspirations, we must ensure that they are educated in a holistic manner. That means learning about difficult chapters of history; that means learning about messy, inconclusive debates that polarize our society. I will vehemently oppose legislation that seeks to sanitize curricula.
Highland Park Water and Sewer debt
Highland Park, a member of the Great Lakes Water Authority, since 2012 has failed to pay for what now amounts to over $54 million in water and sewer debt, which means member communities in Oakland County will be placed in a position to underwrite this debt whether through increased rates for water and sewer or tapping budget reserves to accomplish the same. The State of Michigan has failed to deal with this issue. What do you think should be the solution to this growing problem of a GLWA member community failing to pay for water and sewer services? Please be specific.
I strongly support Governor Whitmer’s recent request that GLWA forestall the portion of its planned rate increase attributed to Highland Park’s debt until the culmination of the legal process or arrival of a political solution between the parties. Clearly, residents of West Bloomfield, Commerce, Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, and Sylvan Lake should not be held financially responsible for the dispute between Highland Park and GLWA. Pending the outcome of the litigation, I am open to working with the Whitmer Administration, members of the Legislature, and experts on various ideas and strategies to arrive at creative, fiscally responsible solutions to the issue of Highland Park’s debt to GLWA – so long as the solution does not involve other communities underwriting that debt.
2020 presidential election results
Do you accept the presidential election results of 2020 in Michigan? Will you accept the results of the 2022 primary and general election? Explain why or why not.
It is deeply disturbing and a sad reflection of the state of our politics that this question even has to be asked. Of course I accept the results of the 2020 election, in which Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were duly elected. Of course I will accept the results of the 2022 Democratic primary and general election, regardless of whether or not I am the winner. Our constitutional democracy depends on fidelity to the rule of law, and on the consent of the governed. I will not be party to any action or statement that casts doubt on the legitimacy of free and fair elections, and I will never be afraid to call out election deniers, conspiracy theorists, and demagogues wherever they rear their ugly heads in the state of Michigan.
Right of redress
The Michigan House and Senate have in the past employed seldom used maneuvers to prevent the public from challenging laws that were enacted. Lawmakers accomplish this by attaching an expenditure provision to the legislation which then prevents citizens from petitioning to overturn the law. Citizens in Michigan are allowed referendum rights when it comes to legislation but not laws involving spending. Do you think that such legal maneuvers should be used by the legislature or do such actions diminish the rights of the public to challenge what lawmakers have adopted? What can be done to eliminate such maneuvers on the part of the legislature?
It is absolutely time to eliminate the distinction between appropriative and policy legislation that makes legislation containing any amount of appropriations exempt from citizen review via initiative and referendum. The legal loophole is anti-democratic and its continued use only erodes faith in our democratic institutions to represent the will of the people. Relatedly, it is also long past time to repeal the constitutional provision undergirding the “adopt-and-amend” legislative tactic, whereby the Legislature takes up and adopts a citizen-led constitutional ballot proposal before it appears on the ballot only to amend it later, so as to prevent the substance of the initial ballot initiative from entering the force of law. These are both noxious tactics that fly in the face of democratic principles.
Top five issues
What would you list as your top five issues if elected to this position.
Strengthening and reforming Michigan’s hate crimes laws; Expanding access to vital, affordable, mental health care for kids, seniors, and everyone in-between; Safeguarding democracy, voting rights, and free and fair elections; Defending reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and combating gun violence; Protecting our lakes, water, and making Michigan a national leader on climate change prevention.