By Scott Bolthouse—Hub Editor—ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com
State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) will be up for reelection on Nov. 6.
As part of the Huron Hub’s meet the candidates column, Camilleri was sent questions that we hope will help voters as they make their way to the polls on election day.
Camilleri will be running against Michael Frazier for state rep for the 23rd District.
The 23rd District includes the communities of Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, Huron Township, Trenton, and Woodhaven.
Q&A with State Rep. Camilleri:
Q: Since being elected state rep for the 23rd District, what do you believe has been your greatest success or successes?
A: I believe my greatest success has been securing the largest increase in funding for Downriver public schools in over a decade. Supporting our teachers and students has been one of my top priorities as a legislator, and I plan to keep fighting for adequate resources to make sure our students are set up for success. Another big win was successfully defending police and fire pensions when they were under attack. After a lifetime of service to keeping our communities safe, I believe first responders deserve a secure retirement that they can count on.
Q: What have been your greatest challenges?
A: My greatest challenge by far has been getting leaders in Lansing to prioritize Downriver’s infrastructure problems. We need a significant amount of funding to fix our roads, repair our bridges quickly, and build overpasses at our train crossings. I testified in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation to tell the stories of how blocked train crossings are impacting our communities–especially Huron Township–but our state budget has yet to reflect those needs.
Q: Moving forward, what do you think is the most important issue or issues facing the 23rd District, and the state as whole? In addition, how do you plan to address these issues?
A: It is abundantly clear to me and everyone else who works, lives, and even drives through this state that our state’s infrastructure needs serious help. Clearly, the 2015 transportation funding package has not been adequate in meeting our infrastructure needs, and we need to prioritize fixing our infrastructure in order to ensure that Michigan is a safe and desirable place to live and work.
In order to build a Michigan to last, we need to invest in our roads, bridges, rail safety and water infrastructure, and our state’s budget needs to be reflective of the serious need for repairs. To properly fund our infrastructure, we could pursue options such as bonding or a road warranty system, but we also need to seriously reassess our state’s tax structure to ensure that everyone pays their fair share and working families aren’t left footing the bill.
Q: In Huron Township specifically, residents are frustrated by the consistent and daily blocking of the railroad crossings throughout the township. What will be your plans to address this major concern among residents?
A: Because federal law prohibits the state from controlling how long trains are on the tracks, our best option is building an overpass. Of course, the most important component to making that happen is funding, which will have to come from all levels of government and the train companies. I’ve introduced a plan for how the state can help fund grade separations at problematic crossings in Michigan through a new MI-TRAIN fund. I’ll keep pushing this plan for as long as it takes, because after decades of inaction, our residents deserve relief.