"I come from a proud family that has been involved with public service for as long as I can remember. I want to work for you. We need to create more living wage jobs, improve our schools, and make environmental preservation a top priority. With nearly a decade of government experience, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate complicated governmental agencies and get things done."
– STATE REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT DIANDA
A VISION FOR THE UPPER PENINSULA
I want to export high-value products from the Upper Peninsula — not our young people. As stewards of this land, we can preserve the natural beauty of the UP to protect our way of life now and for generations to come. We can also create good-paying jobs by making wise use of our vast timber and mineral resources to grow our economy. In addition to logging timber and extracting copper and iron, we can create even more jobs by refining and manufacturing goods right here at home.
We rely on our region’s traditional industries, but I am also proud to support the development of the high tech sector in the Upper Peninsula. Our MTEC SmartZone has done wonderful work leveraging the human capital from Michigan Tech University to grow innovative small businesses that sell products and services to companies all over the world. In the digital age, the next big idea can develop in an office in the Northwoods, and attract wealth and talent.
We need to help our children get ready for the 21st century economy. For some, that will mean preparing them for a traditional four year degree path. For others, a career in agriculture, manufacturing, or the trades is their ticket to a prosperous, stable future. Educators from across the Upper Peninsula were asking for a way to make more vocational education courses an option for their students. I was proud to reach across the aisle to support the initiative of my fellow Yooper legislators to reform the Michigan Merit Curriculum, because I believe local school boards should have the flexibility to do what is right for their communities.
Communities in the Upper Peninsula have shown leadership in developing new ways to educate our kids. Districts have made strides in putting technology in the hands of the youngest students, to give them access to new learning materials and help parents and teachers track their progress. High schools are developing partnerships with community colleges to give students the opportunity to graduate with associate degrees. As state representative, I want to see these opportunities be available to more young people.
As I travel across the Upper Peninsula, the cost of energy comes up in every conversation. Ratepayers in the Upper Peninsula pay the highest electric rates in the continental United States, hurting the pocketbooks of our families and small businesses. That is why I introduced legislation to create an energy plan that caters to our unique needs in the UP and will allow us to take control of our future. We need to lower rates by introducing more competition and choice into the electric market. We need to make it easier for people to generate their own renewable energy through programs like net metering and ensure they receive fair value pricing. We can create jobs by investing in our infrastructure and generating our own energy. I will continue to fight against ever-increasing electric rates by not letting big utilities determine our energy future.
My grandfather was a veteran who lost his leg fighting the Nazis in the last days of WWII and received a purple heart. I used to go with him to Iron Mountain and watch his frustration when he had trouble getting the prosthesis he needed to work and enjoy the outdoors. I know that we can do better by our veterans as a state. In my first term as a legislator, I supported a state initiative to exempt permanently disabled veterans from homestead property taxes.
For our returning men and women, we as a state should be doing more to ease their transition back into civilian life. That is why I support changing our occupational regulations to make it easier for veterans and their spouses to get the licensing they need to rejoin the workforce. We should also help companies that want to place veterans in their ranks.
In 2011, our state gave a $2 billion tax holiday to Michigan’s biggest companies and paid for it by raising taxes on seniors and Michigan’s working families. Today, ordinary Michiganders are still feeling the effects of this economic setback. Our economy thrives when everyday people can afford to support their local businesses. It’s not right to expect that our state should raise money on the backs of those who can least afford to foot the bill.
That is why I continue to support a repeal of the senior pension tax and the restoration of the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit. Lowering the tax bills of millions of Michiganders would provide an immediate economic boost that would directly benefit our local communities, not multi-national corporations.
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