As the GOP gubernatorial primary approaches, we are speaking to each of the candidates about issues that affect Michiganders.
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 Ryan Kelley, Republican candidate for governor, real estate broker and small business owner.
Kelley has lived in West Michigan for 35 years and currently resides in Allendale with his wife and children.
Decision to run for Governor
Kelley began contemplating running for Governor of Michigan in August of 2020 after his wife had a conversation with him, asking him if he was going to try to run for office and make a difference.
“It was several months, almost a half a year of conversations and really discussing what that would look like, talking with my children, as well. And so, there was not really one aha moment. It was a process that ultimately got us just before the beginning of 2021. So, it was late December 2020. When we actually made the decision, let’s give it a shot.”
Gas prices and inflation continues to put a strain on Michigander’s wallets throughout the state. Kelley shared his thoughts on policies that could help alleviate some of the pressure that these economic hardships are putting on the people of Michigan.
“A couple things right off the bat, these hardships caused by the Whitmer-Biden policies are affecting every single person in Michigan. And we need to look at first of all, eliminating the gas tax for a short period of time. We know that the current governor has asked the federal government to do that, but wants to come back to the state and not even go after her same ideas that she has for Washington D.C. to do. So, alleviating that tax first and foremost, I think would be something very helpful. Looking to drill more Michigan-based oil and try to produce more of those petroleum products here in the state to be used in our state, I think is another great option that we have. In general with inflation, I think we can look at something in regard to the homesteaded property taxes, and try to provide some sort of relief towards the homestead or property taxes. Because, as the real estate market continues to go up and up, we see our property taxes continuing to rise and rise, as well. And our wages aren’t following.”
Kelley also spoke about the using tax incentives to help lure and keep businesses in Michigan.
“When we look at the corporate welfare that’s happening, for example, recently $700 million was given to GM to establish jobs in Michigan. Another $135 million was given to Ford, I believe it was $100 million about in cash and then $35 million in property tax reduction. And that’s just us giving money to big corporations to set up jobs here. And what happens if those big corporations pull out? Then we lose all those jobs and all that revenue as well. If we look at the corporate income tax that we have at 6%. In the state of Michigan, a lot of that money that’s collected with corporate income tax is given right back to these big companies. Why don’t we look at either lowering, cutting that in half or eliminating that there’s a lot of states that don’t have corporate income tax, and look to incentivize small and medium sized businesses to come and set up shop in Michigan. Whether it’s other types of manufacturers or other industries that we can diversify. Food processing is another one and try to bring more food processors to the state of Michigan and incentivize them with lower tax rates. Plus, it diversifies our employment spectrum as well. If you have one company that brings in, let’s say, 10,000 jobs, GM or something, and that company moves you lose all 10,000 jobs. If you can incentivize 10 small or medium sized companies that employ 1000 people, if one of them leaves you still have 9000 of those jobs.”
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.
“I totally support building the tunnel and keeping line five open. I believe that if it wasn’t for government subsidies, we wouldn’t even have industrial wind turbines. And I don’t believe that industrial wind turbines are a good option for us. Solar is a great supplement, and I think that that should not be replacing farm fields but being added to homes and buildings, that type of supplementary energy right there. And then, as far as our main source of energy, natural gas is important. I believe that coal power plants should continue to be used, maybe not building new ones but Consumers Energy shutting those down by 2025 entirely? Bad idea. And becoming an agreement state taking control of our nuclear energy program. And building a robust nuclear energy program in the state of Michigan, is how we will be able to provide abundant, affordable, clean energy for all Michiganders and Michigan businesses as well, to attract people to our states, and have them be able to have the energies needs provided.”
Education in Michigan
Education in the state has been on the top of people’s minds since the beginning of the pandemic. Kelley provides his thoughts on how best to allow children in Michigan bounce back from the struggles of remote learning.
“If we in Michigan adopted legislation that allowed the money to be invested right into the student to provide options to parents, that will solve a lot of our problems, I believe. We’ll be able to have parents take that money to whether it’s a private school, whether it’s a religious school, or maybe use for homeschooling even, and look for the schools that are going to have the parent involvement with their schools, the curriculum, the parents want to have taught and utilize those dollars there. And for the schools that aren’t providing a quality education, or they’re pushing these radical racial or sexual ideologies in their schools, those schools will not get the dollars and will ultimately go out of business if they don’t get provided with the income stream for providing a quality education.”
We also asked about school safety after the recent tragedies in Uvalde, Texas and right here in Michigan at Oxford High School.
“I’m for constitutional carry, which is part of my 100-day plan to work with the legislature to bring constitutional carry. In regard to our schools, as well, I am working on a couple of different things. The NRA, they have a program that is called ‘School Shield,’ and School Shield will come into your communities free of charge, and work with local law enforcement officers, as well as the school staff to determine areas of vulnerability in our schools. And they will help to provide a plan, whether it’s enhancing certain areas with locking mechanisms, cameras, or what that plan could look like to harden that school to make it so that criminals are going to be more deterred from coming to the schools. Metal detectors, single point access, allowing school staff to carry firearms. We protect our banks, we protect our courthouses, we protect many other things in our society with firearms. But we won’t do that, for our most vulnerable and most precious asset our children.”
Health Care in Michigan
We asked Kelley about the No Fault Auto Insurance reform that left a lot of catastrophic accident survivors receiving less care than they did before the reform.
“If we look at public act, 21 and 22, the first thing that I want to address and I did talk about this in the last debate that we had. That was a bipartisanship deal. Bipartisanship is an emotional driver that makes the people think, Oh, wow, look, Republicans and Democrats, they’re getting along, they’re working on things together and making things happen in Lansing. In most instances, bipartisanship means that we’re putting together some sort of deal that benefits the politicians in the special interest groups. And that’s exactly what happened with public act 21 and 22. The insurance companies got a great deal. And who knows what were with what PAC with what politicians, I’m not pointing fingers. But I can only guess that there was something there that probably benefited the politicians, because it sure didn’t benefit the people. We need to look at rolling back the old fee schedule to the individuals that purchased a product saying that if they were catastrophically injured, that that would take care of them 100% for the rest of their lives. And that’s exactly what needs to happen. I need to work with the legislature to bring whatever legislation we need, language wise, to revert that care back… So we need to look at something that doesn’t, you know, benefit the insurance companies and holds them accountable for the products that they’re selling to follow through and provide that product to those that are catastrophically injured. “
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 support the law as it stands, I think that we have to look at the science behind that new life starts at conception. And that’s, that’s the science and data behind it. Also, when we look at the ballot initiative, that’s going to happen, that that’s the key talking point that we have to have. Because if that passes that will constitutionally protect abortion as a right. And what that means people need to be educated. What that means is that we will be able to have late term abortions, full term babies nine months old will be able to be ripped apart, inside the mother’s womb and pulled out. And I cannot believe that if Michigan residents that are voting on this issue, if they truly know what that means there’s no way that more than 50% of Michigan residents are going to vote for that. If we can all get on the same page that abortion on demand, that abortion as as a contraceptive is wrong. Let’s have the rest of those discussions there and really dive into those very small instances of when, you know, it’s the life of the mother or some of these other things that that people want to always point the finger to. Well, what about rape? What about incest? Those are those are the talking points that we can have later once we all get on the same page that abortion on demand, it’s not only morally wrong, but you know, just like slavery in the 1800s, that was legal, but it wasn’t right.”
Supreme Court Decisions
We asked Kelley about possible new decisions coming out of the Supreme Court’s next session, including the possible overturning of Obergefell v. Hodges.
“Here’s what I would like to see. I would like to see government get out of all marriage licenses, and have that go to the churches. Because government shouldn’t be involved in deciding who gets married when and where, and providing those licenses. I want to see legislation to get government out of marriage altogether.”
2020 Election Results
We asked Kelley what he thought about the idea that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
“Absolutely, it did. And it’s a shame that we see 2000 Mules, and there’s no investigation. Recently, there was maybe even a couple dozen, I forget the exact number of legislators, they wrote a letter directing Dana Nestle to investigate the 2000 Mules. And there’s no investigation to understand exactly what did happen on the video that we saw there, multiple people dropping off ballots. I can say this, but it is not normal for the same person with surgical gloves on to drop off multiple ballots at two o’clock in the morning and multiple different places all over the city. So we know that there was something that happened in 2020 that is not up to snuff, and it should be investigated.”
Police Shortage in Michigan
Police departments in major cities in the state like Grand Rapids and Detroit have been short-staffed for years now and have been working to increase recruiting and retention. We asked the candidates how they would address these staffing issues in the state.
“My administration will make an investment in new law enforcement officers putting a $25,000 initial investment in a private sector like 403 B, something like that, that they’ll be able to contribute into and invest over the long haul, so that when they retire, they’re gonna have something there. And I’m against the pensions because the reason why is the more pensions we put in government sector, that’s just more tax dollars that need to be collected from the people. So we put it on the private sector, and we allow the private sector, which usually makes more money in the long run, you know, government most of the time isn’t solution to the problem, and they mismanaged money. They’re good at that. And so pensions in the government sector, public sector just makes them so we have to tax the people more and ultimately push more people out of our state because of high tax rates.”
Gun Control in Michigan
Kelley is a firm supporter of the 2nd Amendment and wants to expand gun rights in Michigan to include constitutional carry.
“When we take a look at when we look at gun control, first and foremost, criminals don’t follow laws. So no matter what law we pass, that doesn’t mean that criminals are gonna follow them. And that’s the definition of breaking the law. It doesn’t matter what the law is, you break it. And gun laws are no exception. And so, you know, having more gun laws on the books is not the answer. I’m for constitutional carry, which is part of my 100 day plan to work with the legislature to bring constitutional carry in regard to our schools as well.”
Plans for Bipartisanship as Governor
Kelley says that he thinks that bipartisanship isn’t always as it seems and he thinks that a lot of those deals benefit politicians and special interest groups more than the average people.
“We look at, in most instances, with bipartisanship, it’s an emotional driver so that people think, hey, Republicans and Democrats are working together. And that’s just not the case, in most instances. That benefits the special interest in the politicians, and these bipartisanship deals. So I’m interested in working with anybody. I don’t care what the letter by your name is, if you want to do the right constitutional thing for the people benefiting them and not the special interest groups and the politicians. We need more of that in our governments, local, state, federal, and I think education is one of those ones infrastructure, we have a plan to prioritize our water infrastructure repair needs across Michigan, and allocating maybe some of those COVID dollars. We want to have reports brought to us by the local municipalities that have municipal water. Knowing the age of their infrastructure, knowing their water quality report where our lead issues are at and how to prioritize funds so that we don’t have another Flint Water another Benton Harbor water. I think that’s one, infrastructure as far as roads and bridges and education. We should all want to get rid of this nonsense and provide a quality education where students can read, learn how to write and and sign their names.”
Editors Note: Mr. Kelley had limited time with us during the interview and we were unable to ask him some of the questions we asked the other candidates. Mr. Kelley’s campaign was given an opportunity to provide written responses to those questions, they will be updated to this article once they have been received.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.