Distinctions among candidates emerge in Republican race for 61st state House District
O'Brien, 34, a real-estate agent and Portage City Council member, and Yardley, 44, a self-employed campaign consultant, say they are conservatives. DeShazor, 49, a Portage city councilman and team leader at State Farm Insurance, says he shuns being categorized.Got that?
His campaign coordinator, Jef Walls, said DeShazor has broad appeal -- attracting conservatives for his position on abortion and taxes, for instance, but also moderates and independents because he is "willing to listen.''
"Larry is for less taxes,'' Walls said. "He has publicly been supportive of that. He's 100 percent pro-life. What else do you need to be conservative? If he has the ability to reach across the aisle ... (to) independents and Democrats, does that make him a moderate? I guess so,'' Walls said.
Gilmer, who also spent 22 years in the Michigan Legislature, said his support goes to DeShazor because the councilman is not staunchly anti-tax and is open to others' ideas.And more...
"Margaret O'Brien is a nice person, but at the same time, she is trying to present herself as a reincarnation of Jack Hoogendyk. If you like Jack, you'll love Margaret,'' said Gilmer, who contributed $200 to DeShazor's campaign.
Gilmer said higher education, the K-12 school systems and Michigan roads have been victims of a years long unwillingness to increase taxes, despite the hurt he feels it has caused the state.
"I think Larry will listen,'' Gilmer said. "He'll consider all sides of the issue and ultimately make a decision as opposed to the knee jerk, `The answer is no.'''
Walls said that one understanding of the pledge is that it calls for candidates to shun any tax increase. But Walls said DeShazor is of the mind that if Michigan reduces the size of the government, there would be no need to raise taxes.One understanding? Of the mind?
DeShazor said he takes a balanced approach in the midst of extremes, where on one side of the continuum "the only thing they want to hear is low and no taxes, on the other side they don't mind paying more taxes if they can get more.That should clear things up.
"You have to strike the balance and figure out what is really necessary,'' DeShazor said.