GRAND RAPIDS, MI — State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, faces Republican challenger Doug Zandstra in the Nov. 3 general election for Michigan’s 76th House District seat.
Hood is seeking a second, two-year term representing the district that includes the north and southeast parts of the city of Grand Rapids.
But Zandstra, a self-employed accountant, is looking to flip the seat that has long been held by a Democrat.
Here is a look at the two candidates:
- Hood, 43, of Grand Rapids, is finishing her first term represented the 76th District. Prior to being elected to the legislature, she was the senior project manager for Dig Deep Research. She also cites her experience as former executive director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, public relations manager at Metro Health, and executive director at West Grand Neighborhood Organization. She said her bachelor’s degree is in social relations and policy from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.
- Zandstra, 50, of Grand Rapids, shares in his profile that he has 25 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant helping individuals and businesses navigate through complex financial issues enabling them to succeed. As a moderate Republican, he says he can work across the table. is a self-employed accountant. He said he earned a bachelors degree in accounting from Calvin College.
MLive Media Group partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information for readers. Each candidate was asked to outline their stances on a variety of public policy issues.
Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races is available at Vote411.org, an online voter guide created by the League of Women Voters.
Below are Hood and Zandstra’s unedited responses to five policy questions from education to economic security.
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?
Hood: For too long, Michigan has fallen behind in funding quality public education. We need to ensure teachers have resources like textbooks, technology, and hands-on learning opportunities to provide quality education to our students. We need to continue to increase funding for our public schools. In addition, we also need to expand access to higher education for all Michigan students who seek it including free two year community college/trade school and increased financial aid to those attending four year universities. For profit charter, public, and cyber schools should be held to the same transparency standards.
Zandstra: More funding as a percentage needs to go towards the education of students and less towards administration. With the fall budget crisis and uncertainty looming, schools are going to have to be innovative in their approach towards classroom learning and remote learning. I would support unlocking and expansion of the 529 program, as well as more limitations to the increase in tuition costs. I support school of choice, I will programs that include more parent involvement such as