Michigan Senate / Michigan House
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Michelle LaVoy, Michigan State House District 17
2018 Race Update: Michelle lost 44.34% to 55.66%
Michelle, her husband Bill LaVoy, and their daughters Grace and Carolyn live in Monroe. The daughter of Millie and Bob Degraer, Michelle is a graduate of St. Mary Catholic School, Monroe and St. Mary Academy.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration/Political Science from Miami University (OH), Michelle attended the University of Dayton where she earned her Master of Public Administration.
Upon graduating with her Masters, Michelle worked for several years in Human Resources for the Combined Health District of Montgomery County Ohio. She moved to the nonprofit sector, first as Operations Coordinator for the American Cancer Society before moving on as Area Director and later Corporate Relations Manager with the American Heart Association. Michelle worked with the Mercy Foundation, Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo OH.
Michelle is currently in her third term as Clerk-Treasurer for the City of Monroe. As Clerk-Treasurer she insures that residents have access to their government and fair, efficient elections.
Michelle is involved with the Monroe community through numerous volunteer positions including the Board of the Monroe County United Way, the Monroe Center for Healthy Aging, River Raisin Institute, and the Monroe Family YMCA.
Matt Koleszar, Michigan State House District 20
2018 Race Update: Matt won 51.42% to 48.58%
Matt Koleszar was raised in Walled Lake, where he attended and graduated from Walled Lake Western High School (2000). From an early age, his teachers made an impression on him and he felt a pull into pursuing education.
Upon graduation, he attended Saginaw Valley State University where he pursued his passion and graduated with a Bachelors degree focused on Social Studies at the secondary level.
At this point in Michigan's history, there were more new teachers graduating than there were open positions, so Matt obtained a directory of all public school districts and started applying for jobs beginning in the A's. This strategy worked, and he was employed by the Airport Community School District in neighboring Monroe County by the first day of the following semester.
While working at Airport, he pursued his Masters Degree in English Studies at Eastern Michigan University. He also serves as the President of the Airport Education Association, Middle School Cross Country and Baseball coach, and Quiz Bowl coach.
From his 12 years in public education, he has watched the State Legislature pass bill after bill that harms the way schools are funded, that are degenerative in allowing local districts to negotiate classroom sizes and curriculum, and leave schools vulnerable at a time when they should be thriving. He has worked with parents that are frustrated with the changes, and watched students who once shared the dream of becoming a teacher change majors even before enrolling in college.
He is running for Michigan State Representative because it has become clear that the people in Lansing no longer represent the average, hard-working Michigander, their values, or their struggles and that it is time for everyday citizens to become the government they wish to represent them.
Matt is the son of a single mother who balanced raising him with a full time job as an Operating Room Nurse and an entrepreneurial father who works in automotive supply sales. Matt and his wife, Kim, live in Plymouth Township along with their rescue pets; two cats, Truman and Kennedy, and an English Bulldog named Roosevelt.
Dan O’Neil, Michigan State House District 104
2018 Race Update: Dan lost 49.63% to 50.37%
Born and raised in Traverse City, Dan spent summers shaking cherries, swimming in Grand Traverse Bay, and fishing or paddling the Boardman River. He and his wife, Maura Brennan, raised three children while running a small business and being active in the Traverse City community. Dan is an attorney who spent 30 years challenging unequal pay for women and the wrongful termination of employees. He's committed to our community values and preserving northern Michigan's way of life.
Mari Manoogian, Michigan State House District 40
2018 Race Update: Mari won 56.55% to 43.45%
Mari Manoogian was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan. She attended Birmingham Public Schools and graduated with honors from Seaholm High School.
Mari’s great-grandparents escaped the Armenian Genocide and came to the United States in the early 1920s. Her father’s and mother’s families arrived in Michigan via Ellis Island, and ultimately settled in the Detroit area, due to the promise of jobs and a vibrant Armenian-American community.
Today, Mari’s mom is a small-business owner and vocational rehabilitation counseling expert. Mari’s dad took a job as a cable splicer at Detroit Edison after high school. During his career at Edison he also held various positions with the union. He was elected and served as President of Local 223, the union which represents Detroit Edison’s workers, from 1988 to 1997. He worked in the utility industry for fifty years, and retired in 2016 as Chief of Staff of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO.
Education and public service have always been a priority for Mari’s family. Mari graduated from Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. During her studies, she interned for then-Congressman John D. Dingell, the Council on Foreign Relations, and for Ambassador Samantha Power at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Mari volunteered in global education programs for DC public school students, teaching public speaking and research skills through Model United Nations, and was an active member of the GW College Democrats.
After graduation, Mari worked in the Office of English Language Programs at the U.S. Department of State. While working with foreign and civil service officers, Mari set her sights on a career in public service. She was accepted to complete graduate studies in Global Communication, and again chose the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW. She worked full-time in the Office of eDiplomacy at the department while in enrolled in school full-time. Mari is running for the Democratic nomination to be the 40th District’s state representative to serve the people of her home community. She understands the importance of quality K-12 education, will make affordable higher education a priority, and is keenly aware of the critical need for leadership in the State House representing her community. She is a member of the ACLU, NAACP, Sierra Club, and St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Dearborn.
Angela Witwer, Michigan State House District 71
2018 Race Update: Angela won 50.80% to 49.20%
Angela Witwer was born in the farming village of Buckley, Michigan, outside of Traverse City, and lived on the family farm with her loving parents, George and Marilyn, and three sisters. She graduated from Waverly Community Schools and went on to graduate magna cum laude from Northwood University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Her father passed away when she was 18, leading her to live out her parents’ legacy of giving to others and to the community that has given so much to her and her family.
Angela worked in the health care industry for 22 years until she started her own business. She’s received national recognition and awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Michigan Top 50 Companies to Watch, INC magazine Top 500/5000 U.S. company, and the Athena Award for organizational excellence.
She is a community leader who actively serves on many boards including: McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation, Waverly Community Schools Board of Education, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Club, Michigan Society of Healthcare Planners and Marketers, Volunteers of America Host Committee for Homeless No More, and St. Gerard Catholic Church Evangelization Committee.
Angela has lived in Delta Township for 45 years. She is married to Bruce Witwer, a mother of two grown children, and a grandmother of three granddaughters.
2018 Election Update
After the 2016 election, Republicans controlled the Michigan State House 63-47. In the 2018 election, Democrats picked up six seats, and lost one, to cut the Republican majority to 58-52.
EveryDistrict endorsed three of the six successful Democratic challengers: Matt Koleszar (HD 20, LDI: -10), Mari Manoogian (HD 40, LDI: -10), and Angela Witwer (HD 71, LDI: 1). Democrats also won HD 62 (LDI: 4), HD 19 (LDI: -10), and HD 41 (LDI: -11). Democrats lost HD 110 (LDI: -6).
Understanding the Map
EveryDistrict’s Legislative District Index (LDI) ranks state legislative districts on a scale from 100 to -100, using statewide elections data. Districts with a score of 100 would vote for statewide Democratic candidates by an average of 100 points (with the Democratic candidate receiving 100% of the vote); districts with a score of -100 would vote for statewide Republican candidates by an average of 100 points (with the Republican candidate receiving 100% of the vote). For a more realistic example, a district with a score of 10 would vote for statewide Democratic candidates by an average of 10 points (meaning we would expect the Democratic state legislative candidate to win with 55% of the vote compared to the Republican winning 45% of the vote).
EveryDistrict divides winnable districts into five categories. Dark blue districts lean Democratic and are held by a Democratic legislator. Light blue districts lean Republican and are held by a Democratic legislator. Yellow districts lean Democratic but are held by a Republican legislator; these districts represent the best pick up opportunities for Democrats. Pink districts lean slightly Republican, with a range of 0 up to -5; in the current political climate we’ve identified these districts as pick up opportunities for Democrats. Dark red districts are held by a Republican and have an LDI score of less than -5.
For more information about EveryDistrict’s LDI, please click here.
Updated LDI scores incorporating the 2018 election results will be released in spring 2019.