Kalamazoo County commissioner faces small business owner in 61st House District race

Republican Bronwyn Haltom and Democrat Christine Morse are facing off to represent the 61st District in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Morse is a current Kalamazoo County commissioner representing District 9. She has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

“Christine is Michigan native, former attorney, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, public school parent of 3, breast cancer survivor, and spouse of a Navy Veteran,” she said in her responses to the Vote411.org voter guide from the League of Women Voters.

Haltom Attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and transferred to the University of Michigan, where she earned a bachelor’s degree.

“I was born here, educated here, and own a small business here. I believe in our community and am committed to serving our neighbors to move Michigan forward,” Haltom said in responses to the League of Michigan Voters voter guide.

Haltom defeated Tom Graham in the August primary election. Morse was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The 61st District contains the city of Portage, Oshtemo, Texas, Prairie Ronde and Schoolcraft townships and the villages of Schoolcraft and Vicksburg in Kalamazoo County. Current GOP state Rep. Brandt Iden is term-limited.

MLive Media Group has again partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund to provide candidate information and other voting resources to our readers. Each candidate was asked to answer a series of questions about their policy stances.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races will be available at Vote411.org.

Here’s a look how both candidates responded to questions from the League of Women Voters candidate survey:

EDUCATION: 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?

Morse: As a public school graduate and parent, public education funding is my top issue. Teachers are vastly underpaid and class sizes are unreasonably high. In addition to rectifying the disinvestment we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, we are 50th in the country in reading growth. I believe we need to invest seriously in our public education – both through skilled trades programs, retraining, and higher education if we want our kids to be able to build a life here in Michigan. We also need to reevaluate our testing standards and make sure to involve educators in the process of rewriting.

Haltom: Public education is the most important investment the State of Michigan can make in our future, and I support robust education funding that prepares Michigan students for the jobs of tomorrow. The legislature must find long-term solutions to address Michigan’s third grade reading levels that bring together parents, teachers, administrators and students. I support measures to expand opportunities that empower parents and guardians to make decisions that best fit their student’s educational needs. We must also promote and invest in skilled trades and vocational learning as an additional path to

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