The Michigan House endorsements cover contested Aug. 7 primary races in Oakland. Districts with no primary contests will be covered prior to the general election in November. Here are the Detroit Free Press Endorsements for contested Michigan House races in Oakland County.
(Southeast Shelby Township, western Sterling Heights, and Utica)
Democratic primary: The primary pits Nick Najjar of Sterling Heights against Joseph Bogdan, 25, of Utica. A native of Iraq, Najjar, 52, immigrated to the United States in 1983. He is a real estate agent who also owns an import/export business. His impressive record of community service includes the Sterling Heights Ethnic Advisory Committee, planning commission and zoning board. A graduate of the Sterling Heights citizens’ police academy, he also serves on the Macomb County First Response Emergency Team. Najjar served on former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Middle Eastern Advisory Committee, and as a media adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense in Baghdad for 14 months in 2008 and 2009.
Najjar plans to focus on improving roads, funding for local police and firefighters, and strengthening education with smaller class sizes. Noting that Michigan is consistently a donor state, Najjar would work to get back a fair share of Michigan’s federal gas taxes. He advocates repealing taxes on retiree pensions and also favors repealing the state’s emergency manager law. Too much of the state’s tax burden has shifted to small businesses and working people, he said.
Bogdan’s website pledges he will not knock on doors or make phone calls, but candidates who avoid direct contact with constituents during a campaign are not likely to stay in touch with their sentiments while in office. NICK NAJJAR is the best choice. He’s an independent politician who will put the public’s interests before partisan politics.
Republican primary: Finishing his first term, Jeff Farrington, 46, of Utica, has become a credible conservative voice as assistant floor majority leader of the state House, supporting the tax and regulatory changes advanced by Gov. Rick Snyder. A member of the House Tax, Commerce and Banking Committee, Farrington has become one of the most knowledgeable legislators on the state budget.
Thoughtful and independent, Farrington is not afraid to break with the majority of his party, as he did in opposing a measure that would expand cyber charter schools. Working with legislators of both parties and employees’ unions, Farrington sponsored legislation, signed into law last year, making a community’s ability to pay a primary consideration in binding arbitration for public safety employees.
Unfortunately, Farrington can also get distracted by misguided social policies, as he did when he introduced a bill that would have made drug testing part of the application process for cash assistance for welfare recipients.
His opponent, Michael Shallal, 32, of Shelby Township, is an operations manager who has also worked as a linguist and cultural analyst in the Middle East. Like Farrington, Shallal advocates a pro-business agenda, including less regulations and taxes