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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Timothy Howard McCaffrey jailed for manslaughter of father

A man whose moment of “senseless” rage caused the death of his father, all over a dispute about watering the garden, has been handed a five-year jail term.

Timothy Howard McCaffrey never intended to seriously hurt or kill his father, David Howard McCaffrey, when a loud argument broke out between the pair over Timothy’s water usage.

But in a matter of seconds, the 45-year-old escalated the argument by grabbing his father and pushing him, leading to a tragic outcome for the family.

Facing Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday, family members wept as Justice Thomas Bradley sentenced Timothy to a five year jail term.

With time already served in custody since 2018, his sentence was suspended for five years.

Timothy had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in August for the unlawful killing of David, 69, in April 2018.

The court was told Timothy was watering plants at the family’s Clontarf home on April 23, 2018, when he was confronted by David.

Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said an argument broke out between the pair about Timothy “using too much water”.

The argument continued inside, culminating in a confrontation on the stairs where Timothy grabbed his father’s throat for a few seconds, causing him to lose his balance.

Mr Cook said there was a stark difference in size between the pair, with Timothy weighing over 90kg at the time compared to his “fragile” father’s 54kg frame.

Timothy then pushed his father, where he fell from the first step of the house landing and hit his head on the floor.

“The defendant heard a loud crack… he saw his father twitch and squirm, he turned blue and was not breathing,” Mr Cook said.

David McCaffrey was rushed to hospital but died of head injuries some time later.

Mr Cook said while Timothy had no intention to kill, his behaviour was “violent” and had caused the tragic loss of life.

The court was told the pair had a history of animosity and there were instances of verbal abuse and violence from David towards family members.

Defence lawyer Jessica Horne said her client was remorseful for his actions and had been “overcome” with grief and sorrow.

She told the court prior to his father being taken to hospital, Timothy had performed CPR on him.

Ms Horne said Timothy was seeking treatment for his mental health issues and wished to re-engage with work and his church.

In sentencing Timothy to five years’ jail, Justice Thomas Bradley said any sentence imposed “will always, in some sense, feel inadequate to deal with the loss of a person who was for many years a member of your family.”

But he said an ordinary person would have seen death as a potential consequence.

“To view the events as limited to those that occurred on the day… would be to take a rather truncated view of things,” Justice Bradley said.

“I take into account the fact you had many decades of living with the knowledge and consequences of your father’s wholly inappropriate acts

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