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McBroom, Markkanen talk about auto insurance reform

Skip Schulz/For the Gazette 110th State Representative Greg Markkanen of Hancock talked about the importance of jobs in the western U.P. at this past Friday night’s Reagan Day dinner in Twin Lakes.

At Friday night’s Reagan Day Dinner in Twin Lakes, State Senator Ed McBroom and State Representative Greg Markkanen opened their conversation with the importance of speaking and listening to the concerns of the residents in their districts.

They both opened with the large geographical area that their districts represent.

“The other day I was in Ironwood and Manistique on the same day. I live in the middle, so in the route I would pass my dairy farm going one way, than pass it again going the other way,” said McBroom. “Some days I go to Marquette twice in one day. It’s a big district. It’s a job I believe in and thrive to do the best I can.”

McBroom gave an update on former Senator Tom Casperson, who works for him.

“It was just over a year ago that he found out he had stage 4 lung cancer. He qualified for a treatment where they use your own DNA to work against the cancer,” said McBroom. “It proved very successful so far. He’s cancer-free at the moment. There’s still residual effects to his body that he’s dealing with.”

On the issues, McBroom and Markkanen proudly spoke of auto insurance reform.

“It was a big deal when I ran (for State Representative) in 2010 and it has become an even bigger deal,” said McBroom.

Both McBroom and Markkanen said that it will not be until next year before Michigan residents will see a reduction in their auto insurance premiums.

“That’s when you will see the reforms kick in that you’ll see significant reductions in your auto insurance,” McBroom said. “It will take several years for some of those costs to be fully implemented. I think it is going to provide a lot of ‘real’ money in the pocket relief for everyday people.”

McBroom stated that there are nine million people in Michigan.

“7 Million drive cars,” he said. “We can cut income taxes, which will save people some money, but by cutting car insurance it will save people somewhere between $600 to $1600 depending upon which choices they make.”

McBroom talked about the state budget and how Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to increase road funding into the budget. McBroom does not think the Republican majority in the Senate will have road funding be a part of the budget, but will be a separate issue.

McBroom wants to see more specifics where the road funding will go, along with oversight, quality and accountability on the appropriation toward the roads.

“We want to make sure the money is being spent well and we will get a return on our investment,” he said. “The other side is looking at increasing revenue. The governor wants a 45 cent per gallon increase. That would make us the highest state fuel gas tax in the country, but yet would not make us the top amount of taxes collected for roads.”

McBroom stated that Michigan is No. 6 in taxes collected at the pump, yet No. 19 in the amount of money that goes to roads.

McBroom commended 110th State Representative Greg Markkanen for supporting a budget that makes sure the gas tax money goes specifically to roads.

Markkanen talked about how he has made it a major priority to visit communities all over the western U.P. Last week he went door-to-door visiting residents in the Copper Country.

He told the Gazette that he will continue to do what he can in regards to having a water bottling plant in Ontonagon. He also talked about the increase in jobs at the former Lakeshore facility in that community. He stated how jobs in the district is very important to him.

Markkanen agreed with McBroom on the importance of building a Line 5 tunnel at the Mackinaw straits.

“The company is willing to cover the cost for this tunnel, plus the company has a lot of people that work in the U.P., including this district,” said Markkanen.

Markkanen expressed his concern about making sure that the U.P. has the energy sources they need, “and to keep those costs down as low as we can.”

The Reagan Day dinner was a joint project between the Houghton and Ontonagon County Republican committees.

“While this is not an election year, next year is,” said Ontonagon County Republican Party Chair Kirk Schott. “Thus, let’s work together to make next year’s Reagan Day dinner even bigger.”

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