ALPENA - One of three passionate about serving as the Democratic candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives 106th District is Scot McKenzie whose roots extend not only to Alpena, but to his lessons in integrity from his father and in owning his own business.
McKenzie, owner of McKenzie Auction Service in Alpena for over 30 years, said his passion in working with the local government and the state launched when he ran for county commissioner two years ago.
"I have seen first hand how much I enjoy working with the government and with the people in making decisions, sitting on committees and chairing committees. I have realized that I have a great ability to negotiate with people from both sides of the aisle and be able to get my point across and work with everyone," he said. "I understand that I don't win all my negotiations but if I don't win, I don't give up on it.".
An example he used from his commissioner work includes being the liaison between Northern Lights Arena and Alpena County.
"Now we have a great relationship. I remain very neutral within that," he said.
McKenzie said he is ready to go to Lansing with his concerns and to represent the people of Northeast Michigan.
"I will work as hard as I possibly can for Northeast Michigan, I will not go down there and be swayed by anyone to go against what Northeast Michigan wants," he said.
McKenzie said representatives should vote for the areas they represent even when that means voting against the Democratic Party.
"It may pass on the Democratic side but at least I would show to my district that I represented you and did my best," he said.
His issues include ensuring that senior citizens are treated fairly, bringing jobs into the community and resoring both education funding and tax credits.
"Our seniors should be treated with dignity and not have to worry about paying their bills," he said. "I don't have the exact answer on what we should do other than giving them back the money that was just taken.
"I just went through taking care of my mother for three years and they should not have to worry about whether they can buy their medicine, or pay their heat bill this month. They should be provided for."
McKenzie's said Michigan's public education needs to be restored. He said with all school employees taking pay cuts, the local economy suffers. His ideas in restoring funding includes rethinking the corporate tax breaks that were given.
"I don't want to increase taxes to anybody. There were corporate tax breaks given to try to increase jobs within Northeast Michigan and that money was taken from the education program. It needs to be funded back to the education program," he said.
Furthermore, he argues that if corporate tax cuts were creating jobs in Northern Michigan then he would support the cuts. He said the cuts were designed with big business in mind, not the small businesses that are the heart of Northeast Michigan.
Instead of relying on big business, McKenzie has a detailed plan in the works for new ways of creating jobs in Northeast Michigan utilizing the unemployment already given out.
"My thought is, if you were an entrepreneur who always thought about building a business but never did because you were afraid to take that risk, I understand this risk as a small business owner it's scary, bring a business plan, just like you would to a bank" he said.
Following an established criteria list, he wants to offer up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits while the person starts the new business. McKenzie said the money used for this plan would not be additional taxpayer money but would instead be allocated from the money already within unemployment while enabling small businesses to start and grow.
McKenzie because of his name recognition in the area people know his character as honest and hardworking. Furthermore, while many wait until after the primary election,
"My primary agenda for Lansing is simply this, I don't care what the party wants. I don't care what Lansing wants. I care what the people of northeastern Michigan want and I want to be their representative and their voice," McKenzie said.