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  • Robert Lathers

Election Tuesday: State Representative Julie Calley (R-Portland) faces challenger Shawn Marie Winte

Portland’s own Julie Calley is seeking a 2nd term as State Representative for the 87th District. Calley who grew up on a dairy farm, north of Ionia and is an Ionia High School and Northwood University graduate, has lived in Portland for the past 21 years. Calley and her husband Brian, who is Michigan’s out-going Lt. Governor, moved to Portland in 1997 the year after they were married. “We are still in our original starter home”, Julie shared with a gentle laugh that genuinely confirms her pride in being deeply connected to her neighborhood and the community. Her three children attend Portland Public Schools.

“In my first term, I was proud to support record-high road funding, fiscally responsible budgets, increased support for skilled trades training, criminal justice reforms and the repeal of driver responsibility fees”, she said. In her first term Calley served on the House of Representative’s Health Policy Committee; Election and Ethics Committee; Transportation Committee; and the Agriculture Committee.

“My goals for a second term will include auto insurance reform, expanded opportunities for rural broadband, supporting education and integration of behavioral and physical health.” In further elaboration Calley told The Beacon, “The Legislature needs to continue to give school Districts more freedom for developing curriculum and to explore avenues for expanded alternative paths for their students.”

When Calley was asked by The Beacon how much she is impacted by the political discord in government she stated, “I represent 90,000 people in my district and keep them in the front of my mind. Since I live close to Lansing I get to be in my district a lot, so I really don’t get too tied up in it all.”

Shawn Marie Winters of Hastings grew up in Greenville, Michigan, but has lived in Hastings since 2002. She has one adult child. Winters attended trade school and has worked for 18 years for 5th/3rdBank. Since 2005, she has been the Finance Center Manager for 5th/3rd in Hastings. This is her first run for elected public office. “It’s something I’ve always thought about”, Winters told The Beacon, “I believe that in a democracy nobody should run un-opposed”. Winters shared that she does not feel its right to criticize or judge someone, “If I am not willing to do it myself”.

While Winters is new to the political arena, she is not new to community involvement. She has served the past two years on the Barry County Transit Board; The Board of Thornapple Players Civic Theatre; Has been a leader for Barry County 4-H; Volunteered for Summerfest: and is one of the founders of the Hasting’s Jr. High Equestrian team.

If she is elected to the State Legislature, Winters “want(s) to look at education in Michigan”. She is concerned about the passage of Proposal 1: Recreational Marijuana. “The real issue is going to be how Proposal 1 is implemented”, Winters told The Beacon, “if pharmaceutical companies get involved I am worried about harmful chemicals that may be added to Marijuana”. Another area that Winter would like to pursue as a legislator is “Ranked Choice Voting”, an alternative to our current two-party system that would allow more 3rd party involvement. In addition, “We need to take a systematic approach to move away from fossil fuels. I drive a car, so I understand that its not an easy task, but we can put more policies in place to move towards renewable energy.” Finally, Winters said, “Healthcare is a major issue. People cannot keep-up with rising premiums and co-pays. I support a single payer system. Ideally, Government paid, but not Government controlled. Healthcare is a private choice.”

Winters concluded that on a personal note she would like to see “the hatred and division in politics” to be reduced. “In the end we all want the same thing”, she declared, “I am running as a democrat, but I am a citizen before anything else. I think we all just want to do it right.”

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