Four Republicans face off for 110th District House seat

ISHPEMING — Voters in the Michigan House District 110 will choose from four Republican candidates on Tuesday.

The winner of the primary election will go on to face the sole Democratic candidate, Ken Summers, at the November general election.

The district seat, which represents residents of Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette and Ontonagon counties, is currently held by Democrat Scott Dianda, who is serving his third term.

Each candidate was asked three identical questions via email, with strict word limits.

Below are the questions and their replies, printed as received, with edits made only to reflect the word limits given.

Keith LaCosse

List a few details of your background you think voters would want to know. (75 words)

I am a proud father of two great kids, Victoria and Phillip. I am a graduate of Ishpeming High School and Northern Michigan University. I am a veteran. I served my community as a volunteer firefighter, city council member, and mayor. During much of my working career, I worked with at-risk youth involved with the juvenile justice system. I am a born and raised Yooper and currently reside in Powell Township.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the district? (100 words)

Michigan pays the highest car insurance premiums in the nation, due to excessive state mandates and a lack of consumer choice. Products and services should always be about consumer choice not governmental rules and regulations. High rates not only hurt the consumer, but it’s also bad for business. Insurance companies are making a killing at our expense. It’s time to bring back consumer choice. Eliminate excessive state mandates and give control back to the people. Allowing for choice will keep more money in the pockets of the people. The economy works much better when the people keep more of what …

Why do you think voters should choose you? (200 words)

As a former Army Officer, I built teams and was part of the greatest team in the country. In Lansing, I will build a team to ensure the voice of the U.P. is heard. The people of the U.P. will not be ignored or forgotten.

While sitting on the city council and as mayor, I know what it takes to work with people who may not be of the same political view. I believe everyone should have a seat at the table, have healthy debate, and come up with the best possible solutions that are most advantageous for all. The problem with politics is that there’s too much fighting. Civility should rule the chamber to allow for free flow of ideas and solutions.

I will work to bring more power back to the local governments and bring back revenue sharing. I will work to lower taxes and eliminate the retirement tax; keeping more taxpayer money in the hands of the taxpayers. I will work hard to create an environment conducive to economic growth and opportunity.

I am a servant leader. I will always put the needs of those I serve above my own.

Gregory Markkanen

List a few details of your background you think voters would want to know. (75 words)

Service to and experience in all aspects of the community is a hallmark of my background. I have been entrusted with teaching special needs students K-12, teaching social studies, civics, and economics to Middle School and High Schools students, and instruction at the community college level for thirteen years. I have served on the Hancock City Council as Ward Two representative as well as service with Copper Country AmeriCorps with BHK for two years. Along …

What do you think are the most important issues facing the district? (100 words)

The 110th District is the largest district geographically in Michigan. Each community has concerns and issues that are vitally important to each and everyone, employment, schools, and the economy. I strongly believe that a state representative has the responsibility to bring all interests to the table, in the best interests of the citizens and community. Issues that have become critical include auto insurance reform, energy costs, and use of our natural resources. Everyone desires to promote business and industry with a careful eye on our natural beauty and Lake Superior as major concerns. The experience to represent the citizens of …

Why do you think voters should choose you? (200 words)

The above traits mentioned have been my preparation for the next level of service as state representative. I am not a career politician in any sense of the word. I believe that public service is the highest calling for any individual, including myself. My goal is to be a public servant who listens to the concerns of the people first and foremost. I have served my community in many different capacities, my country with service on Active, Reserve, and in the Army National Guard. I now ask for the opportunity to serve the citizens of the 110th District and the great State of Michigan.

Kirk R. Schott

List a few details of your background you think voters would want to know. (75 words)

I live near the “Crossroads of the Western UP”, Bruce Crossing, with my wife, and some rescued Labrador Retrievers. I have been in private practice optometry for over 35 years, with offices currently in Ewen and Baraga. My other ” job” has been the Ewen-Trout Creek School Board for over 13 years, serving as President for almost 10 years. My hobbies are the usual Yooper activities: hunting, fishing, camping, anything outdoors.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the district? (100 words)

The Western UP needs more good jobs. Schools have declining enrollment, homes and businesses are empty. We need to intelligently utilize all of our local resources, including our people, our educational institutions, our forests, minerals, and farmland. We need to renew and develop our UP economy. Our government should not unreasonably hinder the progress with burdensome and unnecessary rules. Our schools should have more local control, and a curriculum that is appropriate for the students and community. Education does not have to be “one size fits all”. Auto insurance reform and utility rates also need to be addressed.

Why do you think voters should choose you? (200 words)

I have the experience and ability to work with a team to get things done. When I was first on the school board, we had a 45% deficit. Eight years later, we had a 22% fund balance. Tough choices had to be made, but with hard work, dedication, imagination, and teamwork, the school is financially strong, and the curriculum is expanding. I am on the Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital Board. With a declining and aging population, there are significant challenges. Again, with determination, imagination and teamwork, the hospital is financially viable, without sacrificing the quality of patient care. I was on the Hiawathaland Boy Scout Council Board for many years, including when we made the tough decision to merge with a Wisconsin Council. It was not an easy decision, or a fun process, but we still have Scouting in the UP. I have learned how to do “more with less” in all of these instances, and have had to make the tough decisions that need to be made. But, what I would really like to do is help the UP prosper and grow in all of these areas, and more. With your help, I really believe we can.

Brady J. Tervo

List a few details of your background you think voters would want to know. (75 words)

I am a long-time resident of the Copper Country, a proud graduate of the Chassell Township Schools and of Michigan Technological University, and I am currently working as an outside sales representative in the automotive aftermarket, doing my part to keep the motoring public on the road. I have a deep passion for education, the responsible use of our resources, the outdoors, and for preserving and enhancing our way of life here in the Western …

What do you think are the most important issues facing the district? (100 words)

The economy will continue to be the most important issue for the Western Upper Peninsula. We have the resources necessary to stimulate our economy, both in minerals/timber and in labor resources, we just need responsible and sustainable policies to capitalize on the opportunities that these resources afford. A more vibrant economy will lead to more and better jobs, enhanced school funding, decreased poverty and jobless claims, better roads and infrastructure improvements, a more competitive energy landscape, and an overall increased standard of living. Most of the other important issues in our area feed back to the economy.

Why do you think voters should choose you? (200 words)

I am a conservative and a believer in our God-given rights protected by the constitution. There are many of us, but I believe that what truly sets me apart from the rest is that I am crazy persistent, I simply never give up, and I have the motivation and the energy to go to work for everyone who like me, calls this beautiful and unique place home.

Through my education, my school board service, my personal experiences, and my professional endeavors, I have developed a strong analytical mind, where I make decisions based on facts, statistics, and common sense.

Perhaps most importantly, I listen and learn and seek out ways to continuously improve. I believe that I can make a difference and effect real change that will lead to real results for our economy, our jobs, our schools, and our infrastructure, which will ultimately lead to a brighter and more prosperous future for all of us.