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Posted on Tue, May 11, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

Lonnie Scott files with Washtenaw County clerk to appear on ballot for 54th state House race

By Ryan J. Stanton

Lonnie Scott announced today he has officially filed with the Washtenaw County clerk to appear on the ballot for the 54th state House district Democratic primary.

Scott, who kicked off his campaign at a March event, said he has begun fundraising and assembling his campaign staff.


Lonnie Scott

While Scott enters a crowded primary field, he points out he is the only candidate with legislative experience working in the state House, where he has served two years as legislative director for current 54th District state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith.

“The residents of the 54th District need a representative who can hit the ground running,” Scott said. “My experience in the Legislature makes me uniquely qualified to be a powerful advocate for the 54th District in Lansing.”

Several candidates are lining up to run in the 54th District race. For a complete list, click here.

Smith, who cannot seek reelection due to term limits, has endorsed Scott's candidacy, citing his experience cutting through Lansing's bureaucratic environment.

"Lonnie has been cutting red tape and ending bureaucratic nightmares for the residents of the 54th District for two years as one of my legislative aides and the lead staff member on my legislation and budgets," Smith said. "I wholeheartedly support Lonnie and have no doubt that he is the best candidate for the job. He has learned this process and will be a leader in it."

Scott lives in Ypsilanti Township where he also grew up. He said he has seen firsthand the effects of the state's economic recession on the 54th District.

“We need to realize that we cannot cut our way to prosperity,” Scott said. “We need smarter policies that will guarantee the long-run health of our economy and encourage businesses to locate here, particularly through investments in education.”

Scott has set up a campaign website at

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Lonnie Scott

Wed, May 12, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

Xmo, I never said that raising taxes was the only answer, but cutting more clearly isn't the only answer either. I believe that we need wholesale tax reform in the State. I also am an advocate of getting rid of the MI business tax surcharge and the elimination of some business tax loopholes to create a lower overall business tax rate. Ypsi Neighbor, I would be happy to respond and have a conversation with you about any specific plans and proposals you would like. You can contact me directly though my website at to set up a time or write specific questions you would like me to respond to. While I have no elected experience I have grown up in Ypsilanti Township and I know first hand the issues we are facing. I am also the only candidate in the race that has experience in Lansing working with constituents and helping them with issues. While I have not "pushed the button" to cast votes I have been actively involved in the design and research of Rep. Smith's legislative initiatives and budgets. I believe that the knowledge I have gained through this experience is critical, especially in an era of term-limited legislators when more often than not legislators come in with no experience with the process at all. I would love to have further conversations about my qualifications with you or any other voters that would like to discuss it. I will do my best to answer the questions you posed here with the disclaimer that most of these are complex issues and would take more than a paragraph to adequately discuss: I oppose the Dillon plan to pool all public employees. The fiscal analysis is incomplete and it is a major change that may not realize any savings. The numbers I have seen show that it may cost more in the long run, which the State definitely cannot afford. We need to have more information and the plan needs to be worked out further before I would even consider supporting it. Race to the top has some good components and some that I do not support, namely basing teacher pay on test performance. I believe that schools and teachers should be teaching students a subject not a test. Students learn in different ways and we need to not only recognize that but we need to make sure we are teaching students how to learn. We can not effectively do that if all we are basing performance on is test performance. There are many factors that play a role in student performance including family life, health issues and many other external factors that teachers alone can not control. This package was a large bill package and I know I have only focused on one component, but again if you have specific questions please email me and I will answer more completely. I do not support a CON-CON. I believe it will cost MI too much money that the State simply does not have. Also, it puts a big? over MI and will cause businesses to wait at least 18 months while the CON-CON takes place to decide if they want to invest here, we do not have that luxury in Michigan at this time. I believe that the Promise Scholarship should have been funded because, to put it simply, we made those students a promise. Michigan needs to stop making commitments and then backing out of them if we expect businesses to invest here. This goes for the Promise Scholarship as well as tax incentives. It is one thing to evaluate a program or incentives after a number of years and get rid of them if they aren't working-it is another to try and change the program year after year (ex. Film Credits). If we want businesses and therefore Jobs we have to honor our commitments, I suggest a 5 year review period and sunset on ALL tax exemptions to make sure that they are creating the economic energy they have promises. I do support a tax on luxury services as a part of COMPREHENSIVE tax reform. I believe it has to be a part of a package. I support pension reform in the sense of making it equitable between the public and private sectors (currently private sector pension is taxed and public sector is not). Again, this would have to be part of a comprehensive plan. Working with Rep. Smith I have worked extensively on the corrections budget. Sentencing reform is needed, but with the current Republican-controlled Senate it will not pass. We instead need to pass reforms that can reduce the corrections budget and maintain public safety in a way that the Senate will also pass. I believe that we need to reform the discretion given to the parole board (we are the only State that allows 100% discretion after sentencing to the parole board.) Controlling medicaid cost is a major factor in controlling the State budget and with the State now being tasked with implementing the national healthcare that just passed, we need to be looking for long-term solutions for controlling these costs since they make up a major portion of the State budget. Finally, I think the mess in Lansing comes down to a few things 1) Inexperienced legislators that have no concept of the budget process, which is why I feel my qualifications make me the best candidate for the job. 2) A lack of priorities. For instance, we need to make education a priority in this state. If we budgeted to our priorities rather than making across the board cuts we could still reform government and make it more efficient and protect those things like education. I cannot tell you exact places I would cut because I do not know where this current budget process will end up, but I can tell you that I would never increase spending to corrections while cutting k-12 and higher ed funding as was suggested by the budgets the Senate recently passed. I also believe that revenue changes in the form of the services tax and elimination of some tax loopholes are essential in saving our priorities from future cuts while protecting those things like education. I hope that you find this information useful. I will be updating my website soon with more in-depth solutions and my thoughts about where the State needs to go. Please feel free to contact me any time.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 4:02 p.m.

I'm not fond of the fact that this candidate has no actual experience as an elected official, which means showing up at meetings and actually working in the community. But what's more disturbing is that this is true of almost all of the Democratic candidates who have filed. That said, I'll reserve judgment until I see a list of ACTUAL positions on REAL proposals. No one will disagree that we need to ensure "our local schools have the resources they need to give our children a high-quality education", as it's written on Lonnie's website. But what sacrifices (cuts, taxes) would he advocate to get us there? No detail on that... So someone please tell us, where do you stand on the Dillon plan? RTTT funding? A Michigan con-con? The broken Promise scholarships? Taxes on services? Pension reform? Sentencing reforms? Controlling Medicaid costs?


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

@xmo - I think you're thinking that if it's not cuts, it's spending, whereas I think what Scott is saying is if we get business to locate in Michigan, it will increase revenue (without necessarily raising taxes). Also did you see this article in USA Today, today? Just FYI.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

We need to realize that we cannot cut our way to prosperity, Scott said. Ok, so lets spend our way to prosperity and by the way, We will raise your taxes and chase away business. Great Plan Lonnie!