HOUGHTON - Democrat Scott Dianda will announce his candidacy for the State House of Representatives at a May Day rally in Houghton Saturday.
The rally, tied to International Workers Day, begins at noon at the Houghton boat launch near the Power House building, at the foot of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. The headline speaker is Dianda, who will kick off his campaign for the 110th District state representative seat. Dianda, of Calumet, unsuccessfully ran against Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, in the 2010 election.
Dianda said he is running to represent the people of the 110th District, who he said have been hurt through measures such as the cuts of education funding and increases to pension taxes. If elected, he said, he will work to restore local control of government.
"We've raised taxes, we've cut the education system, and our local control of government is being eroded because we're not being able to fund local government," he said. "Everything is being controlled by Lansing. We need to reform the way the state is being operated."
In addition to celebrating the history of labor, the rally was conceived as a protest against legislation passed by the state Legislature since 2011 - "things that really hurt the working and middle class in Michigan, and really helped out people in Michigan who were already doing OK like large corporations," said Elise Matz of the Western Upper Peninsula Community Action Team.
Particular points of contention include Huuki's votes to cut funding for local government and to reduce the number of weeks available for unemployment benefits.
After the rally, attendees will march across the bridge, walking to the Hancock side, looping around the M-26 ramp, then coming back to Houghton. Marchers are encouraged to bring signs.
Afterwards, all are invited to a taco social at 3 p.m. at the Super 8 Motel sponsored by the Houghton County Democratic Party.
Last year's rallies drew between 150 and 200 people, Matz said. With the interest in the election season, she thinks the number could go even higher.
"People are really excited about the election," she said. "They finally have a chance to do something about all the conservative nonsense coming out of Lansing ... I'd love to see 200 people out. I'd love to see 500 people out."