A trio of state House races are among the most hotly contested campaigns in southeastern Michigan.
In Lenawee County, Commissioner David Abraham, a Tecumseh Republican, is taking on Democrat Dudley Spade of Tipton for the 57th District seat. They are vying to replace Mr. Spade's brother, Doug Spade, who has to leave office because of term limits.
Mr. Abraham, 43, calls himself the most conservative member of the Lenawee County board, where he has served since 2000. He is touting revenue-sharing reform and jobs as key parts of his platform.
Dudley Spade, 48, a conservative Democrat and first-time candidate, is touting new jobs and his 34 years of experience as a comptroller for nonprofit social agencies.
Mr. Abraham, who operates a real-estate appraisal firm in Tecumseh, says his years running a business will be a plus in Lansing.
In Monroe's 56th District, Democrat Herb Kehrl is running against Republican John Manor to replace Randy Richardville, the House majority leader who must leave office because of term limits.
Mr. Kehrl, 62, a retired principal and former chairman of the Monroe County Mental Health Authority, narrowly lost to Mr. Richardville in the 2002 race.
His top priorities are protecting and creating jobs, seeking affordable health care and prescription drugs, and improving the quality of Monroe County's schools.
Mr. Kehrl also has been an outspoken proponent of Great Lakes conservation issues.
Mr. Manor, 34, is running for office for the first time. He serves as marketing director for the Michigan Chronicle in Detroit.
Mr. Manor said he is concerned with the state's budget deficit and loss of jobs. Quality-of-life issues should be a major priority, he said.
To aid businesses, create jobs, and keep jobs from moving overseas, Mr. Manor said he would strive to lower the corporate tax burden.
He also said the state's education programs are not being properly funded.
Rep. Matt Milosch (R., Lambertville) is the only incumbent among the six candidates. He first won his 55th District seat in the 2002 election.
Mr. Milosch, 31, vice chairman of the House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee, has received high marks from conservative organizations for his anti-tax, pro-business voting record.
Labor unions have criticized Mr. Milosch for what they say have been anti-family and anti-worker positions.
In recent actions, he voted against the cigarette tax bill and co-sponsored successful legislation that increased penalties and enforcement for Michigan residents who are delinquent in their child-support payments. He also co-sponsored a bill giving teachers and school administrators tax credits for money they spend on classroom supplies.
Mr. Milosch's opponent, Democrat Kathy Angerer of Dundee, is running for office for the first time. A mother of five children, she formerly worked as communications director for Dundee Community Schools.
Ms. Angerer said she has four key issues in her platform: lowering the cost of prescription drugs, creating and protecting good-paying jobs, improving education, and protecting the environment.
She said the challenge of raising a family in difficult economic times has given her a wealth of experience she can use in Lansing.
Also beneficial will be her years in education, both as an employee and as a mother, she said.
- George Tanber