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State Senate - 7Th District - Democrat


RYAN FOSTER


Ryan Foster is a graduate of Ferris State University who resides in Southfield. He is a driver for Precision Transportation. Foster has not previously held elected office.


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.


How American history is important and should be taught not excluding any topic. Slavery, wars and rights of citizens should be taught. The First Amendment is freedom of speech and press, which means we should not label any group at fault or omit history.


Legislative ethics/transparency


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?


Yes I would support any bills making elected officials financial records available. Donald Trump was told to release his records and he would not. Being open is very important so our voters can see what kind of person they are getting.


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?


Yes and it should be. The 22nd amendment means two terms only. President Washington started this long ago. There are members of office who never lose. They have money and connections and it carries over to the next election. Real citizens never have a chance to get name recognition or win races because of lack of funds. I am a prime example of this.


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 state’s budget surplus should be used to cut down our debt. If we cut down our debt now our government will have more flexibility later in terms of economic woes.


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.


Water should be cut off. If they can’t afford to be a city and do basic government activities like policing, roads and education, have Highland Park be taken over by another city or be annexed with Detroit.


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?


The laws and voting amendments were put in place for safety because of COVID-19. Now that the virus and society is moving forward we can get back to more traditional voting. Also not restricting others from voting where you have stricter ID laws and residency requirements but making it easier for working class Americans to vote and encouraging the process.


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.


Yes. President Biden won fair and square. President Trump lost with the same numbers he beat Senator Hillary Clinton with. I would accept my results because I pledge not to spend a lot of money to create a fake image to win a race. Other people in this race are going to spend thousands of dollars and lie to you. I can just approach you at your door step and tell you the truth.


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?


I am a Democrat but do not support abortion. Only exception is rape. It says in the Bible ‘I knew you from the womb.’ If I say I support abortion to win a race, that would be deceiving. But if I lost a race based on my religious beliefs, it would be an honor.


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?


Right of redress is a effort of lawmakers saying they know more than the average citizen. Then citizens can’t change or probably never hear about it. It’s wrong and that’s the reason why I am running for Michigan state Senate district 7.


Why select you?


Why should voters choose you over your opponent(s) in this contest? Please be specific.


Why select Ryan Foster over incumbent Jeremy Moss? I am bringing real issues to the battle. First I am not a career politician and do not have a giant bank account. But I will give energy to issues for the working class, push for reducing our state’s debt, investing in early education K-5 grade and standing up for our police officers. I did eight years of police service, six years of Michigan Department of Corrections, three years army reserve, teacher, football coach and president. My opponent has not been on working class side because he is big money, incumbent, friends in high places, sheltered and doesn’t represent middle class and working class Americans.


JEREMY MOSS


Jeremy Moss is currently finishing his first term as a Michigan state Senator. He previously served as a Southfield city councilman and state Representative. He is a graduate of Michigan State University who majored in journalism and political science, and is a resident of Southfield. He has been active as an advisory board member on the Dr. Martin Luther King Task Force and Fair Michigan, and Congregation Beth Ahm.


Legislative bans on education topics


In 2016, I co-sponsored legislation that was signed into law requiring instruction in Michigan public school curriculum on genocide, including the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. That bill passed 105-1 in the House and 35-3 in the Senate because our legislature at the time recognized that by requiring our students to learn in the classroom about past atrocities – factually and comprehensively – we are providing the most impactful tool to ensure they are not repeated. This approach allows our students to strengthen their sense of empathy for those who may look or seem different and their resolve to take action against injustice and prejudice. We have more work to do. Sadly, an effort that was once overwhelmingly bipartisan has now been politicized and I do not support efforts in the legislature to repeal this type of curriculum or restrict truth in education.


Legislative ethics/transparency


I am leading efforts in the state legislature to create a more open government so you can hold your elected officials accountable. Michigan is one of only two states in which the governor and legislators are not subject to document requests under the Freedom of Information Act. I drafted the Legislative Open Records Act to give you more access to the inner-workings of government and we are closer than ever to seeing this institutional-changing legislation signed into law. We are also one of only two states not requiring state lawmakers to disclose our personal finances. Without that disclosure, legislators could move legislation to personally enrich themselves and their family. I support financial disclosure. To build trust, we must shine a light on legislative conflicts of interest. For my efforts on government transparency, I was twice awarded the Michigan Press Association’s Sunshine Award.


Term limits for legislators/administration


Thirty years after term limits were adopted, Michigan voters will have the chance to examine its impact and assess how it worked. There will be a proposal on November’s ballot to reduce the years someone can serve in the legislature from 14 to 12 while allowing a lawmaker to serve that time in one chamber, instead of the current cap of six years in the House and eight years in the Senate. I supported bringing this proposal to the ballot for voters to decide and I will vote for it. The current system is flawed, especially in the House where we have seen years of legislative scandals due to inexperience, ineptitude, and unaccountability. Lawmakers in consequential leadership positions – some who earn these influential spots in just their first year in office – make short-term policy decisions with impunity because they won’t be around when future legislators clean up their mess.


State budget surplus


With our budget surplus, I am working to direct tax relief to Michigan residents who have been experiencing rising everyday costs. I championed our Senate Democrats’ plan to relieve the sales tax on gas, issue immediate $500 rebates to working families, restore the earned income tax credit, and repeal the tax on retirees. In the wake of the pandemic and its impact on our communities, we should continue to grow our historic investment in K-12, support post-secondary education including community colleges and skilled trade apprenticeships, boost assistance to job training and retraining programs, and provide grants and forgivable loans to vulnerable industries that have not fully recovered. These last few traumatic years should also compel to us make long-term, serious investment in mental health services.


Highland Park water/sewer debt


This specific billing dispute is currently working its way through court and no other community should absorb liabilities as we await legal clarity on exactly what debts are owed. I’m a fierce advocate for government transparency and GLWA must ensure full disclosure on how this issue escalated to this point. The core problem is decades-long disinvestment in our communities by state government. Generations of legislators slashed revenue sharing – tax dollars we send to Lansing with the expectation they will fund essential services back home – and, as a result, cities in Michigan receive the least state support compared to cities around the country. Highland Park defaulted into emergency management due to funding cuts and emergency management accelerated the crisis the city is facing today. I established the Municipal Caucus in the legislature, a bipartisan group of legislators who previously served in local government focused on solving our broken municipal finance system.


Voting law changes


Voting rights secure all other rights. I join the two-thirds of Michigan voters who supported Proposal 3 in 2018 to enshrine voting rights and promote access to absentee voting. Nevertheless, Republican Senators have introduced legislation to restrict how you vote, chasing disproven claims about our election. I am leading the fight in the state Senate against Republican bills that could make it harder for you to vote. Instead, we should be embracing positive reforms that keep voting fair, accessible and efficient. We must ensure that Michigan’s election administrators receive adequate resources and proper training for each election. I’m also working on proposals to permit clerks to start processing absentee ballots earlier, just as other states do, thereby expediting the results and avoiding election night chaos.


2020 presidential election results


The 2020 election was the most scrutinized election in Michigan history. A bipartisan Michigan Senate Oversight Committee report found that indeed the results were accurate and there is no systemic fraud in our voting systems. I accept the result of the 2020 election and will accept the results of the 2022 as an accurate reflection of the will of Michigan voters.


Michigan abortion ban law


I am a pro-choice legislator. I do not believe government should dictate how women and families access reproductive care. With Roe v. Wade on the path to being struck down as of this writing, and the dangerous

implications for Michigan women, we need a pro-choice majority in the legislature to repeal the 1931 Michigan law making abortion a felony in our state that would immediately be in effect after the impending Supreme Court ruling. I have already co-sponsored legislation to repeal that law and I enthusiastically support the Reproductive Freedom for All campaign to enshrine the right to choose in our state Constitution.


Right of redress


Gov. Whitmer has rightfully required policy bills and spending bills be drafted separately to gain her signature and become law, and I support that approach to prevent manipulation of the referendum process. As state Senator, I have led many reforms to increase public participation in our lawmaking process when bad actors in the legislature instead work to diminish it. The Michigan Constitution guarantees that citizens can put an initiative on the ballot if they gather enough signatures, but that proposal first appears before the legislature, where a simple majority in each chamber could adopt it without sending it to a public vote. We’ve seen shameful legislative tactics deployed to fast-track some proposals and prevent others from ever becoming law. I introduced a resolution to increase the threshold for the legislature to pass a public-led proposal – from a simple majority to three-quarters vote – otherwise, it must go to the ballot.


Why select you?


I grew up in this district, was educated here (2004 Groves High School graduate), and have devoted more than a decade of my life to public service. I’ve built relationships to be effective and produce real results. Eight of my bills were signed into law – real solutions affecting real people – including legislation to create more pathways for students who dropped out of high school to complete their degree, reduce unfair barriers for returning citizens seeking employment, and assist homeowners with making needed home improvements by lowering property taxes. That is no small feat being a Democrat serving in a Republican majority. For this work and more, Capitol-area news outlet MIRS News named me as its 2021 Democratic Legislator of the Year. I’m running for my last term in the Senate under term-limits and have a lot more energy left to see through the issues I’ve been working on.

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