By K.D. Norris
Steven Johnson is up front on his conservative values platform as he gets ready to go work in the Michigan House of Representatives for the 72nd District – he stated his conservative values before his convincing Nov. 8 election victory and he restated them this week as he is fully immersing himself in his new job.
And he does not think Michigan’s Republican surge, led by the state support for President-elect Donald Trump, had very much to with his win either.
“I don’t think so – I live in a pretty conservative area, so I think I was going to win on my values, that I was going to follow the Constitution and our Judeo-Christian heritage,” Johnson, a Republican, said Thursday.
In the general election last week, Johnson defeated Democrat Steve Shoemaker with nearly 60 percent of the vote in a far-flung district that includes includes the City of Kentwood and Gaines Township in Kent County, and Leighton Township, Wayland Township, Dorr Township and the City of Wayland in Allegan County. The seat was held by Ken Yonker, who vacated due to term limits but was elected to the position of Kent County Drain Commissioner.
Johnson, 25, resides in Wayland Township, is unmarried, and served in the Air Force from 2009-2014. He had been working in construction but now considers himself a full-time representative of his district.
“This is my job now,” Johnson said. “I am preparing for office, familiarizing myself with policy and ready to understand the bills I will be voting on.”
Among the bills he hopes to be voting on are right-to-life bills, something he said should and can happen in the current political climate.
“Absolutely,” he said. “One of our most fundamental rights, as taxpayers, is to protect unborn life. I will absolutely be working on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, as well as a life-at-conception act. Life begins at conception.”
Two other issues he will advocate for — or better stated: advocate against — is the federal Common Core education standards and tax breaks to attract business investment. During his campaign, he was critical of tax incentives given to lure Switch to take over the old Steelcase pyramid to create its Supernap data storage center in Gaines Township.
“First of all, Common Core is a federal program, a one size fits all, and it does not work,” Johnson said. “The federal government, the state government, should not be involved in education. That is best handled on the local school district level.
“Teachers and parents should be working together to decide on educational options. Nobody cares more about the job of education than the parents of the students. We need to get the bureaucrats out of the way when it comes to education.”
And as far as government tax breaks, he sees the problem is tax rates as much as breaks.
“Government should not be picking winners and losers, when it comes to businesses,” he said. “We need to have a low tax rate across the board, get the government to get out of the way. … Let the free market work, and whatever business and industry makes sense, locally or for Michigan, they will rise to the top.”
As for his thoughts, now that his election and his new job has sunk in as a reality?
“I’d like to just thank … (the voters) for their support and let them know that I will be leading the fight for following the Constitution and our Judeo-Christian values. That is why I ran.”