Rep. Bradford Jacobsen and John Reilly discuss their differences on energy mandates, select subsidies
Medicaid expansion and Common Core have taken center stage in the 46th House District GOP primary. As the race has shaped up, Rep. Bradford Jacobsen, R-Oxford, is defending his support for these policies against challenger John Reilly, an Oakland Township precinct captain and advocate of states’ rights.
“There are primarily two issues my opponent keeps harping on. They are the Healthy Michigan Plan (Medicaid expansion) and Common Core,” Rep. Jacobsen said. “He keeps equating my support for Healthy Michigan with support for Obamacare, and that is just not true.”
“My position is that we need to keep steady, stay on track improving Michigan and get the roads fixed,” Rep. Jacobsen added.
According to Reilly, the key issue in the race is core Republican values.
“I’d say this race is about electing representatives who have deeply held core values — the kind of values we need to guide us and for which Republicans should stand up,” Reilly said. “To me, that’s what we’ve been missing. My focus is on protecting the state and the people from the ever growing federal government. We need to stand up for state rights and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
“That’s why I oppose Medicaid expansion and Common Core,” Reilly continued. “When I see someone like my opponent supporting those kinds of things, to me, he’s not standing up for state rights and the core values Republicans should share. As I go knocking on doors, I find a lot of people who agree with me. Now, after seeming to ignore me for a long time my opponent’s campaign has started attacking. I imagine that means they’ve seen polling that shows the election is tight.”
The 46th House District is within the boundaries of Oakland County. It includes Addison, Brandon, Orion and Oxford townships, and part of Oakland Township. It has a 64.2 percent Republican base, based on an average of the turnouts in the 2008 and 2010 elections.
In regard to Common Core, Rep. Jacobsen asserts that the Legislature’s role is to make sure the education process remains where it belongs — with the state and local school districts.
“Common core is something the Michigan Department of Education and State Superintendent Mike Flanagan have been pushing for a long time,” Rep. Jacobsen said. “Ultimately, I think all the Legislature can do on this is to protect Michigan’s rights and the rights of local school boards and local residents.”
Capitol Confidential asked Rep. Jacobsen why he voted “yes" on Medicaid expansion.
“I think we had a sound business plan to get low-income people onto health coverage that would get them into clinics instead of emergency rooms,” Rep. Jacobsen said. “It gets people real basic care that is run by Michigan companies and sets aside funds for the future. I do not see it as an endorsement of Obamacare.”
Capitol Confidential asked both candidates the following two questions.
Q. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation — which is known as the state’s corporate welfare arm — gets about $300 million in annual funding. The most recent Auditor General’s performance audit of the MEDC, found that only 19 percent of the jobs originally projected ever actually materialized.
Would that $300 million be better spent on road funding, and, if so, what actions should individual lawmakers take to try to bring about the change?
Yes, that money would be better used for roads. When something is tested and you get that kind of result, it shows that it (MEDC) is a joke. Fixing the roads is more important than continuing to fund something like that. I would think the place to start would be by taking the MEDC money out of the budget.
[The] MEDC has been under scrutiny by the Legislature for a long time and the Legislature is always trying to improve it. I don’t think taking all $300 million from MEDC and using it for roads would be a good idea. MEDC is the state’s promotional agency. It goes around to other states and nations to help bring jobs to Michigan. I appreciate the work of the Auditor General and the report.
Q. Michigan’s 2008 energy law is due to be reviewed by the legislature in 2015. That law returned the state’s largest electric utilities to quasi-monopoly status and established, for all practical purposes, a mandate that 10 percent of Michigan’s energy be produced by wind turbines by 2015. From 2008 to 2012, Michigan's electricity rates increased 27 percent, compared to an increase of just 8 percent in neighboring states and a decline of 1 percent nationally.
If no other lawmaker would be willing to do it, would you sponsor legislation to get rid of the renewable energy (a.k.a. wind power) mandate?
I wouldn’t want to completely eliminate the mandate. I’m also not sure that forcing an industry to do something like this is the best way to proceed, but going back on what we’ve done doesn’t make any sense. The key issue to me is that we stop subsidizing these energy programs. I’m not in favor of the subsidizing.
Reilly: "I certainly would get rid of it (the mandate). We should leave it up to the free market to decide what makes sense and what doesn’t instead of relying on pseudo-science.”