Meet the 8th Congressional District Democrats

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No democrat has held Michigan's 8th Congressional seat since Mike Rogers (R-Howell) won it in 2000.

Now, four candidates are trying to end the Democratic drought. Meet Ken Darga, Susan Grettenberger, Jeff Hank and Eric Schertzing.

The four took questions from moderators and audience members Tuesday night at a candidate forum. Here's a little bit more about where they stand on the issues:

Eric Schertzing

Brief Bio
Schertzing is the Ingham County Treasurer. He lives in East Lansing with his wife Nancy and their three children.

Five Issues

  • Bring new manufacturing jobs to Michigan

  • Demand equal pay for women

  • Guarantee children access to high-quality pre-school

  • Put federal money toward schools and job training

  • Invest in clean energy to bring jobs and a create a healthier nation
  • Quotable
    "To have a strong economy here at home, we need to have good middle class jobs so that there's tax revenue for us coming in so we can have a balanced budget."

    Susan Grettenberger

    Brief Bio
    Grettenberger is a professor at Central Michigan University, where she is director of the social work program. She has worked at the Michigan HIV office and at a substance abuse program in East Lansing. She is an open member of the LGBT community and has four adopted daughters.

    Five Issues

  • Work with the auto industry to encourage companies to bring jobs to Michigan

  • Strengthen unions

  • Increase the minimum wage

  • Send federal money to research universities and use some to fix potholes and create green jobs

  • Invest in small businesses
  • Quotable
    "We need somebody who's got the vision to see the path forward for America, someone with the courage that's going to stand up to the people in DC who are taking the rights of so many people and harming so many people down here."

    Ken Darga

    Brief Bio
    Darga is an economist and former state demographer. He has also worked at the Michigan Department of Management and Budget and the Department of Labor. He has two sons.

    Five Issues

  • Close the trade deficit by restoring manufacturing and bringing back factories

  • Pro-life

  • Build upon the Affordable Care Act, offering incentives instead of mandates for consumers and removing employers from the healthcare system

  • In favor of same-sex marriages, but doesn't want them to alter or infringe upon opposite sex marriages in a court of law

  • Pro-union and against Right to Work
  • Quotable
    "America's number one problem is its loss of factories and the resulting trade deficit. Congress does not have a viable fan for bringing back factories, but I do."

    Jeff Hank

    Brief Bio
    Hank is a lawyer who owns his own firm and small business. He lives in East Lansing and is engaged.

    Five Issues

  • Legalize and tax marijuana

  • Reduce the military budget by realigning and closing existing bases

  • Invest in clean energy, high-speed internet and high-speed transit

  • Raise the federal gas tax, implement a carbon or pollution tax

  • Refinance student loans at bank borrowing rates and consider putting students to work on road and infrastructure projects to pay off their debts
  • Quotable
    "We need a renaissance in this coutnry and we need statesmen and stateswomen to do it, not politicians."

    Republican candidates Mike Bishop and Tom McMillin were not present at the forum.

    The primary election is next Tuesday, Aug. 5.

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