Dan Kildee has served as Congressman from the 5th District, which spans much of the Saginaw Bay including the eastern portion of Saginaw county and Genesee county and was born and raised in Flint. He currently serves on both the Financial Services Committee and the Budget Committee, in addition to being an assistant whip.
His accomplishments have been marked with successful inroads. In his first six months in office, he secured $100 million in federal funds to help remove blighted and abandoned homes throughout Michigan, including Flint and Saginaw. He’s also fought to protect after-school programs and create summer jobs projects for youth to help reduce violence and provide opportunity. He’s been a champion of the ‘Make it in America’ jobs agenda to help revitalize our state’s manufacturing base and create high-skilled, high-wage jobs in Michigan, not overseas.
Before being elected to Congress, Kildee co-founded and served as the president of The Center for Community Progress, a national non-profit organization, where he served as one of the nation’s leading voices on urban land reform and revitalization. He also founded Michigan’s first land bank – the Genesee County Land Bank, which is responsible for over $100 million in redevelopment in the city of Flint. The Genesee County Land Bank later served as a model for almost 100 other land banks across the nation. Congressman Kildee resides in Flint with his wife, Jennifer. They currently have two children in college, Kenneth at the University of Michigan-Flint and Katy at Central Michigan University.
His Republican challenger is Allen Hardwick, a small business owner since 1997 with an electrical/electronics background for over 30 years, which has evolved into computer technology and web site design, mostly self-taught. He also harbors a strong background in theology and until recently headed a live and archive video streaming ministry. Married since 1992 and father to 5 children, Hardwick bemoans the shrinking of the middle class and says that he decided to do something about it by running for office. Researching potential positions up for election in 2014, he felt his best chances were for the 5th District Congressional seat, so he relocated to Davison.
Unfortunately, Congressman Kildee did not respond to this Candidate Forum.
Review: Please explain how your education and ability to effectively negotiate within the political arena distinguishes you from your opponent in terms of your ability to effectively serve in this position.
Hardwick: I have a better perspective on the woes of the average man. I have worked in the private sector with my IT service company for more than 17 years giving quality service to my clients. Even though I have an electrical/electronics background everything I do for my clients has all been self-taught. I have kept my prices low as to be a benefit to my clients to keep them as return customers. I would rather sacrifice my time and energy to make sure the job is done right the first time than focus on just making money at any cost. I believe if someone hires (or elects) you to do a job, you should do your very best.
Review: What specific policies would you advance that would improve the economic situation and reduce unemployment within our state and region?
Hardwick: First we need to push for more domestic energy to ease the burden of fuel prices. Offer tax breaks for new companies or start up businesses or for bringing back industry to the region. Focus on skilled trades education for kids who don’t plan on going to college so they have a jump start on a profession straight out of high school. Retraining opportunities could also be offered for adults who have lost their job to make it easier to re-enter into the job market.
Review: What are your three top priorities and what specific legislation have you authored that you are most proud of?
Hardwick: I have never held a public office but plan on bringing common sense legislation that will help to bring back prosperity while preserving freedoms. My top three priorities are: 1. Energy Independence – reduce our dependency on foreign oil and explore our own resources to their full potential. 2. Reducing the size of government to reduce spending and becoming fiscally responsible. 3. Education Reform – Insure everyone is given equal opportunities to education without government mandates.
Review: What are the personal qualities and your position on key issues such as the economy, our environment, and health care that you feel cause you to stand out from your opponent?
Hardwick: I don’t have big business or union backers that I answer to so my agenda is driven by a desire to help the people. We need to become energy independent while also exploring alternative renewable and cleaner energy alternatives when the technology is feasible. Sensible regulation will protect our environment without putting undue burdens on people or businesses. Everyone should be able to get affordable healthcare but not under our current system. Healthcare can be better managed at a state or local level rather than national. There should also never be a mandate to buy insurance or coverage a person would never use.