State Rep. Brian Elder faces Republican Timothy Beson for 96th House seat in Bay County

BAY CITY, MI – Voters in Michigan’s 96th House District in Bay County will decide the race between incumbent state Rep. Brian Elder and Republican challenger Timothy Beson.

The 96th District covers areas in central and southern Bay County such as Bangor Township, the cities of Bay City and Essexville, Bangor, Hampton, Frankenlust, Merrit, Monitor, Portsmouth and Kawkawlin Townships.

Elder holds a law degree from the UCLA School of Law, according to Vote 411. Elder is Democratic vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee and is a member of the Judiciary Committee. He is chair and co-founder of the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus.

According to Beson’s campaign website, he is a lifelong resident of Bay County and the owner of Beson’s Market. He holds a degree in business management from Saginaw Valley State University and is serving as a school board member for Bangor Township Schools.

Beson won the right to face Elder after coming out ahead of two other Republican candidates – Allen Bauer and Martin Blank – during the August primary election.

MLive Media Group has partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information and other voting resources to readers ahead of 2020 elections on Vote411.

Each candidate was given a list of questions relevant to the office for which they are campaigning. The voter guide can be accessed at

Beson did not respond to requests for comment by MLive about his candidacy and did not answer the Vote411 questions. According to his website, Beson’s campaign focuses on standing for parents and teachers in regards to a safe return to in-person instruction, supporting law enforcement and expanding skilled trades programs.

Here are the Vote411 responses given by Elder:

What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Elder: The purpose of public education in the State of Michigan is create citizens who are knowledgeable about their form of government, understand math, science, literature and the arts, and are prepared to live as functioning adults. Preparing our students for their future careers is important, but so is making sure that we have citizens that can think critically and help our democracy thrive. We, as citizens, pay for such a system through our taxes, but we have shifted the tax burden away from the wealthiest and largest corporations onto the backs of average citizens. That is wrong.

What policies do you support to increase jobs and help Michigan residents improve their economic positions, in general and given the pandemic?

Elder: As a two-term State Representative, I have consistently voted for and sponsored legislation to help businesses compete and create jobs. With appropriate benchmarks, like increasing actual payroll and requiring that local dollars be used for local companies when possible, we can and should help to grow our economy here in Michigan. In addition, I have consistently supported policies like Prevailing Wage that ensure that

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Brian Minter: The evolution of fall decor

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Of course, orange pumpkins still have an important role to play in fall décor, and they are especially nice when complemented by orange and rust coloured mums, dried cornstalks, ornamental grasses and hay bales.

Dried cornstalks are being replaced by ornamental grasses, especially bunnytail pennisetums and the more compact varieties of miscanthus, like ‘Yaku Jima’ or the elegant, thin, white and green stems of ‘Morning Light.’

Pumpkins, squash and gourds provide a riot of colour and shapes. For Brian Minter's 'The Evolution of Fall Décor' article on Oct. 10, 2020. [PNG Merlin Archive]
Pumpkins, squash and gourds provide a riot of colour and shapes.  PNG

Traditional winter squash, like acorn, buttercup, butternut and the larger hybrid varieties, have long been loved for their flavours when baked, but the hot commodity for decorating at this time of year are those cross over squash that have unusual shapes and colours. The deep green, heavily warted, flat shape of ‘Marina di Chiogga’ makes it an eye-catcher. ‘Galeux d’ Eysines’, a deeply warted, pinkish beige looks just like the heritage antique that it is. Perhaps the most extraordinary is the blue-grey ‘Triamble’, with its three distinct folds — it looks like a puckered face. This delightful variety is a true novelty, and it injects great fun into any autumn display.

As fall decorating transitions to Christmas décor, these pumpkins and gourmet squash, when dried thoroughly and stored in a dry location, are delicious when baked, cooked or turned into cookies and muffins.

Although not edible, many gourds have unique shapes, and they will add an element of humour to your creative displays. The swan gourd, a white and green speckled variety, has an oval body and a long neck topped by a smaller round head. When nested in a basket of straw, it looks exactly like a swan sitting on a nest. The apple gourd, with its white and green colouring, resembles a huge apple. Light green, pear-shaped Martin birdhouse gourds can be hollowed out and used as bird nesting boxes next spring.

It’s Thanksgiving this weekend and even though we need to keep our ‘bubble’ small because of COVID, we can all create some wonderful seasonal porch displays to delight neighbours and passersby. Every little bit of cheer helps, and really … despite the current situation … we still have a lot for which to be thankful.

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Brian Marois, 13th House District

MANCHESTER, CT — Brian Marois, a Manchester resident, is running for the state House of Representatives seat in District 13.


Party affiliation: Republican Party

Family: Wife Stephanie.

Occupation: 10 years in Finance.

Previous elected experience: Current Manchester Board of Directors

Family members in government: No

Campaign website:

The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it: The $2.5 BILLION DOLLAR deficit. I am going to propose business friendly Legislation that will incentivize companies to invest in workforce development, create new jobs, which will lead to more people paying taxes and less of a tax burden on individual taxpayers.
That is exactly what the State of CT needs.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? Planning with foresight is critical as a State Representative.

When legislation is passed to increase your Taxes over and over again, you probably noticed how difficult it is to live in CT. Increasing taxes will only hurt the economy, and drive out businesses and residents from our state (as we have all noticed).

When rushed legislation is passed without consulting experts in their field (Police accountability bill), it threatens the safety of our community.

Planning with foresight is crucial as a State Rep because legislation effects people’s lives. In my full time work as a financial advisor, I’m tasked with creating long term strategic plans on a daily basis. As your State Representative, you will notice a more thoughtful approach being used to put our economy on track, decreasing debt, and lowering your taxes.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

– Approved $185 Million private investment project in the Town of Manchester to redevelop Broad Street
– Succeeded in having a Zero tax increase, Manchester’s first time in 10 years
– Proposed economic development in communities that need it most, while taking advantage of Opportunity Zones.
– Other Leadership skills and production results have come from my private sector experience, managing a team of advisors, client assets, and being VP of a bank.

Do you believe Connecticut needs reform when it comes to electric utility oversight? What steps, if any should be taken? I believe a serious conversation needs to be had with Eversource.

What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses? Streamline licensing processes, remove barriers for apprenticeship training requirements, incentivize employers for training/hiring new employees, and attract entrepreneurs to the state by restoring the Research & Development tax credit.

List other issues that define your campaign platform: Public safety is crucial to the community. I will defend, not Defund our public safety. The recent police accountability law presents very real threats to the community’s safety and that needs to change.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions? I’m very excited and eager to work hard and produce positive

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