State house candidates take part in LWV forum

From left: Forum moderator and League of Women Voters member Jo Foley, Melody Wagner, Joe Boogren and Jenn Hill participate in the Candidates Forum Thursday at the Marquette Township Hall. The forum featured a wide-ranging list of topics that candidates for the 109th State House District seat currently held by Sara Cambensy addressed before the Aug. 2 primary. (Journal Photo by Randy Crouch)

MARQUETTE — Hopefuls to fill the seat left by term-limited State Rep. Sara Cambensy took the stage Thursday at a Candidate’s Forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Marquette County.

Republican Melody Wagner and Democrats Jenn Hill and Joe Boogren fielded audience questions which covered a wide range of topics of local and national importance.

Topics that focused on local issues included short-term rentals and the impact that companies like Airbnb have on affordable housing in the area. The logging and mining industries, vital to the livelihood of the Upper Peninsula and its residents, were discussed at length by the candidates.

The candidates also touched on subjects that are at the forefront of national news and political coverage. Topics such as abortion, a hotly-debated subject after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that protected abortion rights at the federal level, was touched on by all three candidates during the forum. Gun rights and expanded voting opportunities were also among the audience-submitted questions as well.

Each of the three candidates bookended the forum with opening and closing statements, which allowed them to make an appeal to voters in the 109th State House District for their support in the upcoming Aug. 2 primary.

Wagner used her time to focus on her experience as a substitute teacher, law enforcement officer and farmer to stress her credentials as a candidate who has a wide range of experience and as Wagner put it, “understands hard work.”

She spoke about a lot about behavioral issues in schools and the 2nd Amendment.

Boogren, a Democrat and Forsyth Township Supervisor, talked about his 30 years of U.S. Navy experience and his credentials as a small business owner to shine a light on his credentials as a veteran community leader. Boogren focused heavily on unions and his support for mining and logging industries in the area.

Hill, the other Democratic candidate at the forum and a Marquette City Commissioner, detailed her experience in city government while highlighting her focus on sustainability, women’s health and finding ways to bring affordable housing to the area.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A longer article detailing the candidate’s positions on many of the topics discussed during the forum will be featured in an upcoming edition of The Mining Journal.


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