Democrat Michael Shawn Kelly is running for election for state representative, District 150.
Kelly will face Republican incumbent Valoree Swanson in the Nov. 6 election.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Kelly four questions on his candidacy. His written responses, edited for publication style and clarity, are below.
Q: What is the first piece of legislation you would file if elected?
A: A specific funding increase to public schools to increase the number of teachers by 50 percent. When our teachers have 34 kids in their class that read on four different grade levels, some are learning English, and some don’t have books, how are they supposed to teach? My opponent has consistently voted to remove funding for education. Our public schools need to have enough trained teachers with the materials required to reach their goals so we can have the success we all desire.
Q: What would you do to prevent future flooding in your district?
A: Acting as though we can actually prevent flooding in a 500-year storm is a bit presumptuous. But we can mitigate the problem with reasonable land use planning, which would prohibit building in flood-prone areas and requiring developers to capture run-off from new development.
Q: What, if anything, should be done to improve the public education system for districts statewide?
A: As I mentioned earlier, more teachers. Realistically this will take more money, but I believe it is worth it. My opponent presented a bill to remove over half the funding for our schools with no replacement. I believe that is sheer lunacy. But in the larger context we need to first set our goals before we talk about people, budgets and accountability. If our goal is to have the best public education system in the country (I believe it should be), then we can decide how to get there and what is the cheapest way to achieve that goal. There is consensus that small class sizes are critical.
Q: What national issue do you think is of greatest concern or importance for your district?
A: Our inability to pay for healthcare is an attack on what we have spent a lifetime working toward. Insurance premiums, copays and prescription costs are not only out of control, but are the one variable many cannot plan for in their future. A stabilized, reasonable healthcare system is as important nationally as a quality public school system is locally.