Candidate McBroom discusses priorities during Marquette visit

Ed McBroom, the Republican candidate for the Michigan State Senate’s 38th District, speaks at a meet-and-greet session Tuesday at the Peter White Public Library. McBroom met with community members to discuss his priorities for the state. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Education and auto reform are two priorities of former state Rep. Ed McBroom, who is seeking a seat in the Michigan Senate’s 38th District.

McBroom visited the Peter White Public Library Tuesday evening for a meet-and-greet session with the public. The Republican challenger and dairy farmer in the southern Upper Peninsula will run against Democrat Scott Dianda, the current state representative from Calumet, and Green Party candidate Wade Roberts in the November election.

One of McBroom’s passions is education, having graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2005 to be a teacher.

“I watched what they did with the Michigan Merit curriculum in 2004 that was fully implemented in the years subsequent to that — to force all of our schools and students to do what the state said was right for students, every student cookie-cuttered out the same way,” McBroom said. “Why even bother having transcripts anymore? Everybody’s got to take the same classes. That doesn’t make sense.”

Some students, he pointed out, aspire to be a doctor while others want to be welders or electricians.

“We should promote all of these opportunities, and the state took that away from us, and that’s why our state vocational centers have struggled so much,” McBroom said. “That’s why the arts are struggling so much. The kids who want to study music can’t take both band and choir all four years of school anymore.”

McBroom questioned why curricula can’t be decided by local schools, which had been the case. Now the state of Michigan has that authority.

“I want to go back and continue to fight for that kind of flexibility within the curriculum,” McBroom said.

McBroom also is focusing on another issue.

“We need auto insurance reform desperately, and it is one of the quickest ways we can get money back in the pockets of everyday people directly because the system is a burden on poor people and, I think, in the U.P. in particular where we tend to have a lot of vehicles per capita,” McBroom said.

Also speaking Tuesday was Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, who is running for Attorney General as a Republican.

Auto insurance reform is one of his top concerns as well.

The problem, he said, is that the state of Michigan has the highest insurance rates in the United States.

“We are the only state in the entire country, out of 50 states, that requires that every single citizen in the state of Michigan has to purchase an unlimited lifetime liability medical coverage,” Leonard said.

Auto insurance was never supposed to be a health insurance provider, he said.

“That’s what health insurance is for,” said Leonard, who pointed out that anyone with Medicare or retirement health care is required to “double purchase” insurance even though they already have lifetime health care.

There’s another facet to the issue, he said.

“There is absolutely no cost control or no cost containment in regards to what a hospital or a health provider can charge if you’re injured in an auto accident,” Leonard said.

He used an example the scenario in which two people experienced shoulder injuries, one through a football incident and another in an automobile accident. For an X-ray, the insurance company of the person with the football injury would be charged $75 while the insurance company of the crash victim would be charged $450 or $500.

In fact, Leonard said the first question a person is asked when going to a hospital is: Were you injured in an auto accident?

“They know they’re going to be able to charge four to five, sometimes eight or nine, times as much if you were actually injured in an auto accident,” Leonard said.

There are several solutions he favors, one of which would be offering options of how much medical coverage they would receive through their carriers. Also, cost savings would be passed on from insurance companies to consumers.