MICHIGAN, USA — Michigan's primary election is Aug. 2 and one of the hottest contests on the ballot is the Republican governor primary.
13 ON YOUR SIDE sat down with the candidates for governor to discuss a range of issues that are directly affecting Michiganders and asked for their opinion and possible solutions for these issues.
Today, we are highlighting Kevin Rinke, a Republican candidate for governor who owned and operated a group of car dealerships in the Detroit area and is now working with an organization focused on the rehabilitation of individuals with traumatic brain injuries.
Decision to run for Governor
Kevin Rinke decided to announce his candidacy for governor after talking to people around the state and learning people had the same concerns about Michigan's government that he did.
"Well, I think it was a combination of things. One, it was a conversation with my son and my wife. Two, was the actions of Gretchen Whitmer, and the dysfunction of our government. And then the third thing is when I went around the state and spoke with people, they had the exact same concerns that I did. And I decided that in your life, you've got a time to learn. You've got a time to earn, and you've got a time to serve. And it was my time to serve. So November 22, we announced."
Rinke touched on several issues that are affecting people's pocketbooks the most in Michigan right now, like prices rising across the board due to historically high inflation.
"Well, I'm the only candidate that's actually put forth a proposal that immediately addresses the needs of Michigan families. And I've called for the complete elimination of the personal income tax, 4.25%. And it gives back the people of Michigan $12 billion. I know that they know how to spend it better than Lansing does. And that's how we start. We create a smaller government, not one that is spending. Because when government spends out of control, it adds to inflation, it doesn't reel it in. And this governor spends just like Joe Biden spends, up 30% in three and a half years the cost of Michigan government. What's that mean to the people? Over $20 billion a year since she became governor in additional costs. It's got to stop Michigan's at a tipping point."
Rinke weighed in on tax credits being used by the government to lure businesses to the state, as well as keep businesses here. He says that creating the proper environment for business in the state would eliminate the need for tax credits.
"Well, as a rule, if we had the proper environment, we wouldn't need tax incentives. But currently, because we have a history of not having that proper environment, there may be a need for them. What you have to have, though, was a leader that understands and a team that understands how to negotiate. For instance, we just gave Ford a huge incentive. And the day after they received it, they announced that 8,000 More jobs were leaving the state of Michigan, because they weren't related to the incentive that the governor and the team negotiated."
Rinke went on to say that 16,000 people left the state last year to find jobs in another state, taking their tax dollars with them.
The conversation moved to small businesses in Michigan and their recovery from the pandemic lockdowns. Rinke said he would not have instituted the lockdowns if he were governor during the pandemic and shared his thoughts on small businesses moving forward.
"We're going to support our small businesses. And when we eliminate the personal income tax, like the nine other states in our country that outperformed us economically during COVID, and post COVID. And that outperformed us from a population perspective, all nine of them grew while we shrunk. We're going to create an environment for people to be successful. That's going to include businesses, we're going to eliminate regulations that are strangling our businesses in multiple areas. And then we're going to move on and start fixing other areas that will benefit our state and our citizens."
Alternative Energy in Michigan
Michigan has many different sources of energy in the state, ranging from fossil fuels, natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear. We asked the candidates about these different types of energy and their plans to address Michigan's energy needs in the future.
"We're facing rolling blackouts this summer for the first time in my 61-year life. And it shows the hypocrisy of this governor and the left. They're pushing electric vehicles, we don't have a grid system that can support our existing houses, let alone electric vehicles. All that is is a form of government subsidy and control. And it forces states to be subservient to the federal government. You know what? We need to address the issues in Michigan. And we don't need revolutions, we need evolutions. We don't need extremism, we need common sense solutions. And you need a governor that's willing to do the right thing that's not looking to make a career out of this. But who loves Michigan, who's grown up and understands Michigan, and who will deliver for the people not play politics at the people's expense."
Rinke proposes transitioning from large nuclear facilities like Palisade into modular nuclear facilities that he says are safer and more efficient. He also wants to act immediately on the tunnel project for Enbridge Line 5, an oil pipeline that allows the flow of crude oil from Canada. The tunnel project would move Line 5 underground, where right now it sits on the bottom of the lake.
Education in Michigan
Michiganders have a lot of concerns about education in the state, from safety in schools to diversity, equity and inclusion. We asked the candidates about several aspects of education in the state, including the literacy rates in Michigan.
"A Rinke administration is going to focus on a few things. One, we have a plan and we will implement it that generates the highest literacy rates in America. And that's what I'm committed to for our kids. Number two, we're going to get back to reading, writing and arithmetic. No mandates, no vaccines, no mask mandates, no gender theory, no sexuality. That's not what kids are there to learn. Currently, we're setting our children up to fail. And you know what? It's inexcusable and I won't allow it. I will be an advocate for our children. And that includes the money following our kids."
We also asked about school safety after the recent tragedies in Uvalde, Texas and right here in Michigan at Oxford High School.
"We would limit entry points into the schools. Those entry points would always be supervised. Two, those entry points would include a foyer with two sets of doors, where people would have to not only enter one door, but then pass through a second door. And the supervision I proposed Is that we offer opportunities to former military folks that can be armed, that have been trained, that are inclined to serve, and that know how to protect our kids. And I think that's the first step that a Rinke administration would implement. And we will continue to make appropriate adjustments from there."
Health Care in Michigan
Several aspects of health care in Michigan were discussed with the candidates, including care received by catastrophic accident survivors in the wake of the Auto No Fault insurance reform.
"Well, I have been on record of saying that I disagreed with Gretchen Whitmer when she signed the bill. And I disagreed with the legislature the way they presented the bill. For starters, they never should have made it retroactive. Those people who had already been injured had paid to the insurance company into the state, the price for unlimited lifetime benefits. That's what the law said. That's what they deserve."
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.
Abortion remains legal in Michigan because of a lawsuit filed by the governor in April, and a preliminary injunction filed by a Michigan judge in May. Both are currently blocking a 1931 trigger law in Michigan that would ban abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.
"I'm the only candidate that has said rape and incest are the two exceptions that I support, just like Donald Trump, just like Ronald Reagan. But at the end of the day, Roe v. Wade being overturned was the proper decision. And even Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with that. The state needs to decide where it stands. And that means that the people of the state need to work through their elected officials, their legislature, to come up with what they want. We can't have a governor that selectively enforces laws on the books based on their personal opinions."
Gun Control in Michigan
We did not have time to get to questions about gun control in Michigan but did receive a statement on Rinke's stance from, Katie Martin, a senior advisor to Rinke:
“Kevin Rinke supports the 2nd Amendment and believes in constitutional carry which we saw used just last week by a brave citizen to save countless lives in Indiana. Kevin is not pushing for new laws that only restrict the law-abiding but does support enforcement of laws against gun crime currently on the books.”
Plans for Bipartisanship as Governor
Rink believes that his understanding of the issues affecting Michiganders and his experience as a businessman in the state will help him win the Governorship.
"Well, in my career, I have employed hundreds of thousands of people. And I have serviced millions of people from the state of Michigan. I understand the real issues. And I know what makes Michigan tick. And I also know that leaders represent everybody. They don't choose based on their party, they don't intentionally separate people, they intentionally bring them together for the mutual best interest. And that's the difference between Kevin Rinke and Gretchen Whitmer. I'll bring people together and move Michigan forward for all of our benefit."
Editors Note: Mr. Rinke ran out of time with us during the interview and we were unable to ask him questions about upcoming Supreme Court cases, the 2020 election results, election security and police officer shortages in departments across the state. Mr. Rinke's campaign said they would work to provide written responses to those questions, which will be updated to this article once they have been received.
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