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On the Ballot: Who's Running for State Representative in Birmingham

Patch is giving voters a look at who's running in the Aug. 7 primary, happening Tuesday.

Birmingham's August primary happens tomorrow, and there's a lot of issues and candidates on the ballot.

As you prepare to go to the polls tomorrow, Patch wants to help you get a final grasp on who's running, what they stand for and what issues are on the table.

State Representative - 40th District

Birmingham will be voting for the Republican and Democratic candidate who will run for the soon-to-be empty seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in the 40th District.

The 40th District is made up of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and parts of West Bloomfield. Currently, the district is represented by Birmingham resident Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham), who has to step down at the end of the year due to term limits.

Republicans

Running on the Republican ticket are four area businessmen, attorneys, county commissioners and school board members. Self-identified Republicans will vote for one of these four:

  • Residence: Birmingham
  • Occupation/Experience: Lawrence, 52, owns Lawrence Co., a real estate development consulting business, and also serves as the chief financial officer for Michigan Security Network, a Homeland Defense start-up. In November 2011, .
  • History in the race: , noting as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, "I will be guided by the same principles used to preserve Birmingham's educational excellence."
  • Biggest issue facing Michigan: According to Lawrence, Michigan's Teachers Pension fund is a problem that is growing out of control — and "we are all going to have to pay ... If our mission is to make Michigan great, we are operating with one arm tied behind our backs until the pension is fixed," he said.

  • Residence: Bloomfield Township
  • Occupation/Experience: Potts, 70, is currently an attorney practicing in Birmingham. Most recently, he served three terms on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
  • History in the race: Potts announced he would be running for the soon-to-be vacant seat in January, . Potts brings along current State Rep. Moss — with whom — as his campaign manager.
  • Biggest issue facing Michigan: "The cost of government combined with a devastating decline in property values has created situations that are currently unsustainable," Potts told Patch, adding "We need to rethink Michigan's tax system. I am proposing that the State Income Tax be reduced by twice the amount that Gov. (Rick) Snyder has proposed."

  • Residence: West Bloomfield
  • Occupation/Experience: Wolkinson, 32, is an attorney and small business owner in West Bloomfield and served as Gov. Snyder's policy director in the governor's 2010 campaign.
  • History in the race: after a failed bid for the State House in 2008 (representing the 39th District) and a failed bid for the State Senate in 2002.
  • Biggest issue facing Michigan: Regulations hurting big business has trickled down, Wolkinson said, to young people who have been leaving Michigan in droves and putting its future tax base in jeopardy. "The only way to bring more jobs here is to continue improving our business climate," he said.

  • Residence: Bloomfield Hills
  • Occupation/Experience: McCready is a principal at the Birmingham-based McCready and Associates. He was elected to the Bloomfield Hills Commission in 2007.
  • History in the race: , noting "we need to keep Michigan on the right track financially."
  • Biggest issue facing Michigan: "I am willing to work with Governor Snyder and anyone in Lansing to help Michigan be a better place for job creators," McCready said in April. "The citizens of Michigan want their government to work, and they don't care who does it or who gets credit for it."

Democrats

Only one Democrat will be on the August primary; he will also be on the ballot in the November general election:

  • Residence: West Bloomfield
  • Occupation/Experience: Coston, 39, is a certified paralegal, working for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations and Safe School Initiative. Before that, he spent time as a small business owner and public school teacher.
  • History in the race: Coston joined the race earlier this summer and has not before run for public office, though he worked on several campaigns in Michigan 14th congressional district.
  • Biggest issue facing Michigan: Early childhood education and local public schools are a focus of legislation which Coston hopes to champion. He said that he hopes to raise an increase of 10 percent of current funds every year to improve early childhood programs in public schools.

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