ESCANABA — Candidates disagreed on how they would solve the high cost of car insurance during a forum last night at Bay College in Escanaba. The session was sponsored by the U.P. Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.
State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) disagreed with State Rep. Scott Dianda’s (D-Calumet) characterization of how the bill that was defeated earlier this year was written.
“The fact of the matter is, you can point to some small flaws in the legislation but both State Rep. Scott Dianda and my opposition said they would have both voted no. I polled the issue. Seventy-five percent of the people in the 108th District want House Bill 5013. I know it wasn’t perfect but it was a good start,” said LaFave.
The 108th State Representative District covers Delta, Menominee and Dickinson Counties.
LaFave’s Democratic opponent, Bob Romps of Escanaba, has said he would have voted against the auto insurance reform bill but says it is a big issue when he talks with voters. He blames the insurance companies.
“I believe the insurance companies are to blame,” he said. “I believe the health insurance is causing this big increase and I think they got themselves a sweetheart deal from the hospitals because they hold all the cards. It’s wrong.”
Dianda, who is running for the State Senate to replace Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), says a new legislature and governor will repeal the right-to-work laws that Michigan enacted in 2013. The law says a person cannot be required to join a union as a condition of employment.
“It’s wrong. It wasn’t right from the get go” Dianda said. “There’s no way to put sugar on this. This was wrong for Michigan. It took money out of working people’s paychecks. They don’t have it on their family table anymore to pay bills and it’s not right. I’m not going to sit here and try to defend something that was so wrong for Michigan.”
Dianda’s Republican opponent, former State Rep. Ed McBroom of Vulcan says he voted against the original legislation and would again.
“I think there was significant opportunity missed for reforms and working together amongst the various opinions, especially labor who was shut out from the discussions and didn’t have the opportunity to really offer up what alternatives could be done. That was a real shame and shouldn’t have happened. That’s why I opposed the passage of the legislation,” said McBroom.
Other questions dealt with budgets, the Dark Store issue and workers compensation.
The election is Nov. 6.