LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Sarah Lightner is the Republican running to represent Michigan's 65th district in the state House of Representatives. The 65th district covers eastern Jackson County, plus Eaton Rapids. To see her opponents' answers to the same questions, click here.
*Responses have been lightly edited for grammar.
1. Tell us about your personal life and your personal background.
I am a wife, mother, farmer and small business owner in Springport. My husband and I have two boys. Before entering the political world in 2012 I was a criminal defense and family law paralegal. Currently, I am the District 1 County Commissioner for Springport, Rives, Tompkins, Sandstone and Parma townships.
2. What inspired you to run?
As a current county commissioner, I have a passion to serve our communities. When the opportunity to run came up, I was encouraged to try to expand my service territory into Eaton County and Lenawee County, as well as more parts of Jackson County. I love networking with people and helping them find solutions to their issues. I have a servant’s heart, and want to continue to represent my communities in Lansing.
3. What are the biggest issues affecting your district and Michigan right now?
The roads are the most obvious biggest issue. We still need work on the formula so that our local roads can get fixed. The restriction in law doesn’t allow counties to fund more than a certain percentage of a local road project even though the state has appropriated more money for counties.
4. What will be your biggest priority in Lansing if you are elected?
I have a few priorities: road funding mechanisms for local roads, criminal justice reforms and protecting our senior citizens.
5. What experiences will make you an effective legislator?
The experience I have being a county commissioner gives me an advantage because it has been good practice to connect with my communities and just talk to people. I feel that being the social butterfly I am makes me approachable and easy to talk to whether you are conservative or liberal. Our issues don’t have to be partisan issues, they are people issues and I have good relationships with many diverse groups.
6. What characteristics or principles will make you an effective legislator?
I think being respectful and being a decent human begins with open lines of communication in all situations and helps to get things done. I like to connect with new people and listen to their stories and what they would like to see from their legislators. Being an attentive listener and having communication lines open with my communities will make me an effective legislator.
7. What most informs your policymaking?
The people who are experts in their fields and actually work directly in the field and not just an office. For instance, lots of my friends are public school teachers and administrators; I use them as a guide and resource all the time. They are in education and work directly with our kids on a daily basis, they are the experts. Same for ag issues, we cover one small portion of ag, but when it comes to other ag issues, I will use my local resources and my farm bureau resources as they are the experts in that field. The same goes for any industry and when dealing with policy in that industry, I will consult with them.
8. What is the most important duty of a state legislator?
To make sure the voices of constituents are heard. They also need to be accountable to their constituents for their actions in Lansing by balancing the state budget, staying within that budget and actually taking action on issues that matter to the people we represent. I have given my cell phone number publicly so that constituents can get ahold of me and convey what is important to them.
9. How much do you value bipartisanship and compromise?
I think very highly of professionals that can agree that there is a problem and come to a solution together. Being the Chair of the Michigan Association of Counties Judiciary Committee, I have numerous colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but we seem to put partisan feelings aside to come to healthy compromises to have a united front for our state organization to make counties stronger.
10. Why should people vote for you?
I would love support from the people of Jackson, Eaton and Lenawee counties because I have a passion to help get things done. I have committed the last six years to Jackson County on numerous committees and boards at the local and state level to make Michigan a great place to live, work and play. I would be honored and humbled to have the privilege to represent my communities in Lansing and be their voice and serve them.