Ray Franz

State Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) made a tough choice last month. He decided not to run for re-election in the Michigan House of Representatives. Instead, he’s running for the state Senate. 

It’s a decision that has disrupted two competitive political races in northern Michigan. 

 


One of northern Michigan’s most competitive state House districts will have an open seat this fall.  

Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) has announced he will not seek re-election in the 101st District, which spans from Northport to Ludington. 

VanderWall is instead running for the open 35th District state Senate seat. Twelve counties make up that large Senate district, including Leelanau, Wexford, Crawford and Ogemaw Counties.  

State Representative Ray Franz held another informational meeting today about the higher sales tax proposed for Michigan.

Franz says voters are being told it will provide more money for roads and bridges, which is true, but he says the higher tax would increase spending in many other areas.

“It adds another $300 million for schools. It adds another $95 million dollars for local government,” Franz says. “Those are all not roads and bridges.”

Eric Carlson / Leelanau Enterprise

In 2012, State Representative Ray Franz said he believed global climate change was a “hoax.” When asked about the issue at the same debate Thursday, Franz responded firmly with the word “still" -- and drew some applause in the Glen Arbor Township Hall.

When it was pointed out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had been awarded the Nobel Prize for its work on the issue, Franz shot back, saying concern about climate change is a first step toward global governance.

Will Ray Franz’s luck run out this year? Democrats from Ludington to Northport are hoping it will as Tom Stobie launches his candidacy for the 101st State House District. Stobie wants the nomination to challenge Franz in November. In the last two elections, Democrats took about 49 percent of the vote against Franz.

Stobie just retired after 10 years as superintendent of Frankfort-Elberta Schools. He says Republicans have dismantled Michigan’s public education system. Rather than just get mad, he decided to do something about it.