Michigan House / Michigan Senate
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Scott Dianda, Michigan State Senate District 38
State Representative Scott Dianda is running for Michigan's 38th State Senate District which comprises Alger, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft counties.
Dianda is currently serving his third term representing Michigan’s 110th House District, which comprises Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties, as well as Powell and Ishpeming Townships in Marquette County.
A lifelong resident of the Upper Peninsula, Dianda previously worked as a transportation maintenance worker for the Michigan Department of Transportation after owning a small retail store in Calumet. He also served as the president of Calumet village and the Michigan State Employees Association. Dianda attended Lake Superior State University.
He and his wife, Debbie, live in Calumet. Together, they own and operate a small business in Houghton.
Rep. Dianda serves as the minority vice chair on the House Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Committee, and also serves on the House Committees on Energy Policy and Regulatory Reform.
Henry Yanez, Michigan State Senate District 10
Rep. Henry Yanez has spent his career dedicated to public service. First as a firefighter/paramedic for twenty-eight years, and currently as state representative for the people of Sterling Heights and Warren, Henry has worked tirelessly to promote the health, safety, and well-being of his community.
He is a graduate of Madison High School and a lifelong resident of Southeast Michigan. After high school, Henry began his career as a machine tool electrician and joined the UAW and IBEW.
Henry is a husband, father of four, and has three grandchildren. He received his degree from Oakland Community College in Fire Science and General Studies.
He remains active in the community with the VFW local 6250, Meals on Wheels, and the Clinton River Watershed. Henry has been recognized for his leadership by the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, and the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union. He received the legislator of the year award from the Michigan Guardian Association in 2017.
Rosemary Bayer, Michigan State Senate District 12
Entrepreneur, leader, inventor and change maestro, Rosemary Bayer is known for bringing energy, motivation, creative leadership and accomplishment to every endeavor she undertakes. An avid practitioner of agile organization management, she brings an open, participatory, and shared goals philosophy of achievement.
Rosemary’s parents instilled the value of hard work, integrity, and community service. Inspired by their involvement in many public offices, including her father serving as the Mayor of New Baltimore, she assumed many leadership roles as a child and a young adult, through being a Girl Scout leader and Council Board member.
Rosemary went on to a successful career in the fast-moving and innovative field of information technology, starting as a computer engineer and analyst, finding and inventing products to solve real business problems.
She is the co-founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of ardentCause L3C, a database technology company serving nonprofit organizations with database products and services. She was also a co-founder of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT), serving in leadership and volunteer roles for more than a decade.
Rosemary has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Math from Central Michigan University and an MBA with Distinction from Lawrence Technological University. She has received a number of awards including being named one of the Top Michigan Women In Computing and an Outstanding Alumna Award from Lawrence Tech.
Mallory McMorrow, Michigan State Senate District 13
Mallory McMorrow got her first job when she was 12 years old, serving coffee at BINGO night at the town firehouse. Since then, she’s been a grocery store cashier, night manager, and bartender, a digital image editor, babysitter, and researcher.
After going to college to study industrial and car design, she took on high-profile jobs in product design, media, and advertising in New York and Los Angeles, and built a career solving complex big-budget problems. She thrives on the ability to unite different ideas and competing personalities toward common goals. She designed products, toys, and apparel for iconic toy brand Hot Wheels, where she earned a patent, and she helped lead creative direction with over 2,000 global licensees for brands at Mattel, where she built rapport with executives and agencies from all over the world and across different cultures.
She helped launch and lead an LA-based advertising and documentary film production company to become an industry leader while encouraging diversity in its roster, and she’s had writing appear in outlets such as Road & Track, Jalopnik, and Jezebel.
Mallory is running for State Senate to create a community where we empower our educators to challenge our kids, giving them the tools to compete for jobs that don’t even exist yet; where we make health care accessible regardless of your situation, whether you’re taking care of yourself, your children, or even your parents; where we harness our rich culture of innovation to create new opportunities and new types of careers; and where we protect our beautiful state and ensure it’s here to enjoy for generations to come.
Sean McCann, Michigan State Senate District 20
Sean McCann is lifelong Michigan resident and graduate of Western Michigan University who has devoted his life to serving and improving his community and all of Michigan.
As a local neighborhood leader, Sean worked to revitalize neighborhoods, clean up blighted areas, and bring neighborhoods together.
As a city commissioner for 10 years, Sean dedicated his energy to build a sustainable vital downtown Kalamazoo, strengthen public safety, improve neighborhoods, and clean up the Kalamazoo River.
As a state representative for four years, Sean worked to strengthen public schools and higher education institutions, protect children, reform partisan gerrymandering, protect the environment, and improve public transportation.
Sean is a small business owner and lives in Kalamazoo with his wife, Priscilla, and their two children, Alex and Lauren.
Kelly Rossman-McKinney, Michigan State Senate District 24
Kelly Rossman-McKinney has been a small business owner and job creator since 1988, when she started her first business as a single mom sitting down at her kitchen table. As an emerging small business owner, she knew it was more important to pay her employees and suppliers first, even if it meant taking nothing for herself. She has built success on her “people before profits” attitude, strong work ethic, and a tenacious commitment to problem-solving.
No one is better at tackling, understanding and explaining complex issues on a variety of subjects — from bipartisan energy reform to road funding and beyond – and she’s worked on the frontlines of issues like these for years. However, her greatest pride is being the mother of four and the wife of her Beloved Officer Dave. As a mom, she knows the power and value of quality education, affordable college, and training for the skills that employers need. She recognizes that the challenges we face can’t be solved with partisan rhetoric or headline-seeking politicians who are looking for their next job.
Winnie Brinks, Michigan State Senate District 29
As a leader in her area, Winnie Brinks strongly believes in taking care of her community, and strives to enhance her surroundings and the lives of others because she knows that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
Winnie brings the experience that those who came before her have failed to deliver: world class schools, reinvesting in workers, and health care that doesn’t break the bank.
She’s well known in the Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Rapids Christian School Association where she got to know students on a personal level, empowering them as they built confidence and took on new challenges.
She’s worked with entrepreneurs and businesses to develop and retain employees, leveraging the best resources of nonprofits, businesses, and government to help our community continue to prosper.
She’s led the charge in the Michigan State House of Representatives to lower the cost of health care while still ensuring top-notch care.
Winnie’s major legislative accomplishments include sponsoring tax relief for middle-class families, improving the quality of care at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, helping women fight breast cancer, and introducing bills to make government transparent and accountable.
Winnie believes in her hometown. She graduated from Calvin College, met her husband, Steve, and raised three awesome daughters, Olivia, Annalise, and Emma in West Michigan.
Poppy Sias-Hernandez, Michigan State Senate District 34
Poppy Sias-Hernandez is running as a Democrat for the 34th state senate district, which includes Muskegon, Oceana, and Newaygo counties.
She and her two brothers were raised by a single mother in Muskegon Heights. She attended public elementary school and later graduated from Muskegon Catholic Schools. As a first-generation college student, she earned an AA from College of Marin, a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA from Western Michigan University.
Poppy has deep roots in public health. For more than 15 years, she has worked to support Michigan youth and families in making healthy choices. Since 2009, she has served as a certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist for the Michigan Board of Addiction & Prevention Professionals. More recently, she has worked as a Master Trainer in the Adverse Childhood Experiences study currently guiding the work in Muskegon and all over the United States to improve public health outcomes. She directs a small non-profit “Good for Youth,” which provides training and networking opportunities for youth-serving professionals. As a change management consultant, she helps community-based organizations integrate inclusive practices. She believes in systems change that is driven by community voice.
Poppy’s work is at the intersection of public health, education, and community development–all with regard to youth and families. Early on, she worked for Planned Parenthood of Michigan as a Community Health Educator and then as a Program Coordinator. While at Public Health, she collaborated with grassroots organizations to lead the Growing Goods Project, a comprehensive summer school program whose curriculum integrated life skills with academic skills that translate to thriving youth and families. At Muskegon Public Schools, she worked closely with the board and district leadership to develop and manage programs outside of the classroom that would ensure student success. She led a Muskegon County Farm to School Initiative, BOOM Youth Leadership program, and other efforts geared toward increasing community voice in needed change efforts. At the state level, she has advocated for policy to keep all Michigan students safe and supported both in and out of Michigan’s schools.
Poppy and Alfredo have been married for 18 years and have two sons. Their younger son is an award-winning soccer player, kicker for the Big Reds, and junior at Muskegon High School. Their older son graduated from Muskegon High School and is a sophomore at Columbia University in the City of New York. Poppy and Alfredo have enjoyed being active in their community as advocates for equity and social justice.
Phil Phelps, Michigan State Senate District 32
Phil Phelps was born on May 1, 1979 in Flint, Michigan to Walter and Sharon Phelps. Phil’s father, a disabled veteran, worked for General Motors Metal Fabrication in Flint. During the 80’s Walter suffered a terrible workplace injury and the family had to fight a long battle for workers compensation during which they lost their home and Sharon had to take a job with a local bank to keep food on the table. Phil’s family had to fight through adversity many times. Working hard and overcoming adversity has become a hallmark of Phil’s life and career.
Phil studied at Delta and Mott Community Colleges and earned his bachelors degree at the University of Michigan Flint. While in college, Phil was the President of the University of Michigan Flint College Democrats and a member of Political Science National Honor Society Pi Sigma Alpha, where he discovered public service was both a passion and a talent. He graduated in 2006 while working full time on Governor Granholm’s reelection campaign and acting as a spokesman for the Genesee Health Plan’s ballot initiative. After the campaign he took a position in the Michigan House Democratic Communications office where he worked for eight Democratic members from the Mid-Michigan area. Shortly thereafter he was tapped by Lt. Governor John Cherry to become a regional director of external affairs for the Granholm-Cherry administration.
As a special advisor for House Democratic Leader Richard Hammel, Phil adamantly fought against the so called right to work laws and attempts to limit the choice of women across Michigan. After Representative Hammel left the legislature he became Chief of Staff for incoming Representative Pam Faris in 2013, which he left to run for Michigan’s 49th State House District.
During his time in the House, Phil has continued his fight for working class residents. He fought against the removal of the Earned Income Tax Credit, against taking away health care benefits from retirees, and against the reduced support for local communities. Phil has fought for schools and better education funding, and he passed legislation to help injured Delphi workers who had been forgotten in Delphi’s bankruptcy proceedings. His bill helped them regain the benefits that had been unjustly taken from them. Phil also sponsored legislation to help fix the broken Unemployment Insurance system that wrongfully flagged claims as fraud and unjustly took money away from innocent residents. When the Flint Water Crisis started, Phil leaped into action. He submitted FOIA requests for state documents and passed an appropriations bill to get aid to the City. He’s introduced legislation that would keep this from happening anywhere else in Michigan, including bills to make the government more accountable and transparent, to protect whistleblowers, to specify testing methods, to make altering official data illegal, and to mandate lead testing in schools and day cares.
Phil co-founded the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Caucus, which has been fighting for better education and access to mental health services for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing residents.
Trump’s 10,000-vote victory in Michigan in 2016 broke a streak of Democratic victories in presidential elections back to 1992.
On the state level, though, Democrats have long ceded power to Republicans. Republicans have controlled the State Senate since 1990, and seen larger gains in recent years. In 2010, Republicans gained 5 seats, controlling the Senate 26 to 11. In 2014, they gained another seat and currently control the Senate 27 to 10. Democrats have only controlled the Michigan State House for 6 of the last 26 years. Republicans currently hold a 63 to 47 majority there. Michigan is a Republican trifecta state, with Republicans controlling the Governorship and both houses of the state legislature. This year, however, there are meaningful opportunities for Democrats to win back power.
To take back the majority, Democrats need to pick up 9 seats in the State Senate, and 9 seats in the State House. This year, Democrats have the opportunity to win back both chambers.
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 100 points (with the Democratic candidate receiving 100% of the vote); districts with a score of -100 would vote for statewide Republican candidates by 100 points (with the Republican candidate receiving 100% of the vote).
EveryDistrict divides winnable districts into three categories: Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. Tier I districts lean Democratic but are held by a Republican state legislator. Tier II districts lean slightly Republican, with a range of 0 up to -5. Tier III districts lean slightly more Republican, with a range of -5 up to -10. For more information about EveryDistrict’s LDI, please click here.
In the State Senate there are 5 seats that lean Democratic (Tier I): Senate Districts 7, 13, 20, 29, and 32. There are another three seats that lean slightly Republican (Tier II): Senate Districts 12, 15, and 34. Then, there are another three Tier III seats: Senate Districts 10, 24, and 38.
Districts 7, 10, 12, 13, and 15 are all in the Detroit area, while the other districts are spread throughout the state. District 20 includes Kalamazoo, District 24 has areas around Lansing, while District 29 centers on Grand Rapids. District 32 includes Saginaw; District 34, Muskegan; and District 38 includes the western Upper Peninsula.
In the State House, there are three seats that lean Democratic (Tier I): House Districts 17, 62, and 71. There is one seat in the Tier II category, House District 99, and 9 seats in the Tier III category: House Districts 24, 39, 40, 56, 61, 66, 85, 91, and 101.
Districts 17, 24, 34, 40, and 56 are all in the Detroit area. District 61 includes Kalamazoo, District 71 has areas west of Lansing, and District 62 includes Battle Creek. District 91 includes Muskegan; District 99 includes Mount Pleasant, home of Central Michigan University; District 85 stretches into Owosso; and Districts 66 and 101 are along different portions of the Lake Michigan coastline.
What’s At Stake
Republican majorities in the legislature have worked to implement a conservative agenda. “Defending the second amendment” was one of the priorities for House Republicans in the 2017-2018 legislative session, and the Republican controlled legislature proposed a range of bills to loosen gun safety laws.
In 2012, the Republican legislature passed a strict voter ID law that would have required a photo ID for absentee voting and required voters to affirm their US citizenship before receiving ballots. Thankfully, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the legislation.
Michigan Republicans have worked to undermine climate science at every turn. Michigan was one of 24 states to join a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Republicans have also proposed eliminating references to climate change in school curriculum and replacing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision-making authority with private-sector-based panels of industry representatives.
EveryDistrict endorses candidates in competitive districts that are committed to moving their communities forward, have strong connections to their districts, and have a campaign strategy in place to win. In Michigan, EveryDistrict has endorsed: Henry Yanez (SD 10), Rosemary Bayer (SD 12), Mallory McMorrow (SD 13), Sean McCann (SD 20), Kelly Rossman-McKinney (SD 24), Winnie Brinks (SD 29), Phil Phelps (SD 32), Poppy Sias-Hernandez (SD 34), Scott Dianda (SD 38), Michelle LaVoy (HD 17), Matt Koleszar (HD 20), Mari Manoogian (HD 40), Angela Witwer (HD 71), and Dan O’Neil (HD 104).