State House - 54Th District - Republican
Sandy Kiesel of Orion Township is Executive Director of Election Integrity Fund and Force and COO of Bright Harbor LLC Wealth Management. She has a degree in mechanical engineering from Trine University and an MBA from Michigan State University Eli Broad School of Business. She is a former board member of Society of Automotive Engineers and is involved with Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation.
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.
It is important that K-12 public school students are taught the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic along with topics that do not promote hate, that do not stereotype any race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and that are age appropriate. High quality education is critical to develop properly prepared people to move our state forward in the future. With the guidelines above, the exact content of the curriculum is a local topic that should be a collaboration between parents and school boards. Parents have the responsibility and the right to control what their children are taught. School boards and the state must listen.
Michigan continues to rank near the bottom in comparison with other states when it comes to codified ethics and transparency rules for state lawmakers. The Michigan House, during several recent sessions, has approved bills to force disclosure of personal financial information of House and Senate members, along with members of the administration, and in some cases members of the state Supreme Court and university boards, although the Senate has not advanced such bills. Would you support financial disclosure legislation and, if so, are the current bills approved by the House sufficient? Should the disclosed information be publicly available?
Trust and transparency are critical to a properly functioning government. If this does not exist, the electorate will always question the actions of the government. I support disclosure of personal financial information if there is a reason for concern with restrictions to the time period of when a person is serving in public office and only to ensure that no ethical standards are violated. I do not support that the disclosed information be made available to the public. Disclosure of the information could put individuals unnecessarily at risk.
Term limits for legislators/administration
Do you think the current term limits for House and Senate members are in need of review? Do you support the proposal for term limits that could be on the November ballot which would allow an elected House or Senate member to serve longer terms in either the House or Senate? Why or why not?
I believe that our term limits are in need of review. Legislators, in their last term in office, seem to not have the same dedication to the constituents as they are not concerned about re-election. As they are more focused on what comes next for them, future opportunities for the next position can have undue influence on their positions. I do not support the extension on term limits that is potentially on the November ballot. The handling of this proposal did not give voters a chance to express their opinions. I believe limiting former representatives working for lobby groups immediately following their term in office should be managed similar to non-compete agreements in business. I also support changes that would drive more accountability for public functionaries in their last term.
State budget surplus
The state of Michigan has been running a general fund and school aid fund surplus for two years and is expected to carry over a surplus of $7 billion moving into the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023, which must be adopted by October 1. The surplus has been driven by growing tax revenues and a decline in student population, which reduces spending in that area by about $300 million annually. The budget surplus does not include nearly $15 billion in federal pandemic funding that will be spent over the next several years. A variety of proposals from the administration and the Republican-controlled Senate have been put forth, including tax cuts for both business and individuals. What are your ideas for using the budget surplus for the coming fiscal year’s budget? Be specific.
Our children in Michigan are behind. They were behind before the pandemic and the educational gaps only increased during the pandemic. Those surplus funds should be used to raise the education level of our students. The children are Michigan’s future.
Highland Park water/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.
Highland Park needs to pay their bills. As a process improvement and waste elimination specialist, I would recommend they use engineering techniques to locate non-value added items and focus on reducing waste in their other expenses to enable paying their water and sewer bills. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Macomb County Public Works Commission Candice Miller said, “other member of the communities have unfairly absorbed Highland Park’s unpaid water and sewer bills.” These other communities should not be responsible for Highland Park’s water and sewer expenses.
Voting law changes
Voters approved no-reason absentee voting and a number of other changes by a wide margin in 2018. There have been several attempts since 2020 to make changes to the election laws, but critics have charged that some of the changes would negatively impact some voters. Do you think further changes to the election laws are needed and if so, what specifically would those changes be? If you do, why do you think so? How would that impact the proposal voters passed in 2018?
Yes, many election laws need to be revised to produce transparent and trusted elections. Election laws need to be followed and when they are not, there must be accountability. I have spent the last 18 months working on election integrity and leading teams across the state to analyze government data. What was uncovered was inaccurate Qualified Voter Files, no reason absentee voting, drop boxes with uneven availability and no monitoring, outside money with no accountability, the use of ERIC to feed our qualified voter file, no meaningful audits, no investigations and no consequences for breaking the law allowed us to have an election where it was easy to cheat impossible for the public to trust. I want all of the current laws to be followed, laws that make it easy to cheat eliminated and laws that make every legal vote count passed.
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.
I do not accept the 2020 election results. Data determines election legitimacy and everyone should be able to clearly see the data. Over the last 18 months, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization I lead conducted extensive research across the state. The results are currently released in several reports and can be seen on www.electionintegrityforce.com. Additional analysis was also presented by MC4EI, PIME, Stand Up MI, Patrick Colbeck, and in the movie 2000 Mules. With the exposure of Qualified Voter File inaccuracy, vote count variability, ballot stuffing by mules and laws not followed, there was illegality in the election. No results following illegality can be accepted. For 2022, accepting results depends on following the law. We must have an accurate Qualified Voter File, voter identification, monitored drop boxes, ballot chain of custody, no machines, complete transparency during the transporting and counting of ballots, and nongovernmental audit of results.
Michigan abortion ban law
In 1931, Michigan legislators adopted a law that banned abortion in the state, based on an 1846 ban that had been in effect. Now with the U.S. Supreme Court preparing to rule and likely overturn Roe v. Wade, some are concerned that the 1931 Michigan law will prevent any abortions here. Do you think the 1931 Michigan act banning abortion should be revised or eliminated to allow for abortions here if Roe V. Wade is overturned? Why or why not?
Abortion is often framed as a binary decision of “pro-life” versus “pro-choice.” This issue is more complicated. When is pregnancy and life viable? Pro-life people say at conception yet, in nature, 50 percent of fertilized eggs are lost before implanting in the uterus. If such a large percentage of eggs never implant, is it an abortion to take a morning after pill to prevent an egg from implanting? What about eggs that are fertilized during in-vitro fertilization yet never transferred, is that an abortion? What about babies that have genetic testing and are not viable life, is terminating that pregnancy an abortion? The binary case does not cover these examples as the 1931 law also does not adequately address medical knowledge and advancements. To be clear, late term abortions are unacceptable and should be illegal. However, as the few examples above show, there are areas of gray that need consideration.
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?
I believe in the people’s right to participate and choose. The people being involved, the more the better, is always best. I do not like maneuvers that impact referendum rights and support other ways for Michiganders to be able to participate and choose. Elect people like myself that will always consider the opinions of the people in the district and contact all of your representatives often to ensure they understand the position.
Why select you?
Why should voters choose you over your opponent(s) in this contest? Please be specific.
I am a Michigan First Candidate. I am patriotic, passionate and persistent for your personal freedoms. I am fighting for election integrity. I want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat resulting in transparent and trusted elections, the foundation of Constitutional Republic. I believe in God given freedoms and our constitution. I will stand strong against government overreach and work to restore your personal choice and freedoms; your right to free speech, bear arms, personal medical decisions, and education of your children. My priority is implementing policies, creating laws and taking actions to assure the well-being and prosperity of Michiganders. I am fiscally responsible and focused on economic growth. I support lower taxes, elimination of obstructive regulations, investing in our infrastructure, funding our police and firemen, investing in our education system and policies that attract business and investment to Michigan.
Donni Steele of Orion Township is the Orion Township Treasurer. She previously served on the Orion Township Board of Trustees. Steele has a degree in business administration and management from Hillsdale College. She is the chairperson of the Paint Creek Trail Commission, treasurer of Polly Ann Trail Management Council, and is on the Orion Township Parks and Path Committee and Orion Chamber.
Legislative bans on education topics
Extreme measures on either side diminishes educational excellence. Education should be allowing our students to have critical and analytical thinking on all subjects. Outright banning or forcing teachers to teach these subjects has gotten us so far away from the basics of education. Education should be about excellence, achievement, preparedness all within a safe learning environment – both physically and socially. Our schools should have more learning freedoms and flexibility but the goal should always be the same – academic achievement and excellence. Our Michigan teachers should be the best of the best and be paid accordingly. Our universities should have excellent and rigorous teaching programs for our college students so we can attract the best students who will ultimately live and teach in Michigan. Monies spent for schools in Michigan is not indicative of the outcomes we are receiving from our students. I would legislate for “let’s go back to the basics – educational achievement and excellence.”