Betsy Coffia takes stand against big political spending in state House campaign

Jul 25, 2016

Credit Betsy Coffia for State Representative

Democrat Betsy Coffia is again rejecting fundraising contributions from political action committees and the Democratic Party during her campaign to become Grand Traverse County’s next state representative. Coffia is an outspoken advocate for campaign finance reform.

“This is an easy talking point,” Coffia told IPR News Radio in an interview earlier this month, “ … but it’s a very different thing to walk the walk.”

An extended interview with Coffia is available at the bottom of the story.

Coffia, who won 47 percent of the district’s vote in 2014, is only accepting fundraising dollars from individual donors. She says Michigan is in a state of severe political crisis because of the influence of large political spenders.

“What it really comes down to is a state government where we have elected officials who are more accountable to their special interest donors and their party bosses … than they are to the voters,” Coffia says.

For example, Coffia says the state has not taken action on the oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac — Enbridge’s Line 5.

“We need to shut it down,” Coffia says. “It is simply a risk that we cannot afford to take.”

Coffia, who is director of alumni relations at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, is running in the primary unopposed. Megan Crandall dropped out of the race in June.

On the Republican side, Rep. Larry Inman is running for re-election. Jason Gillman, a former Grand Traverse County Commissioner, is challenging Inman in he primary.

Libertarian Kelly Clark, a Traverse City Area Public Schools board member, is also running.

The primary election is August 2.