Candidate Q&A: State Representative Candidate Shawn Lowe Desai
Shawn Lowe Desai- D, is running for State Representative for the 47th State House District.
Patch: How long have you lived in Livingston County?
Desai: I was born and raised in Livingston County. I lived in Brighton until I was 22. I moved to Howell at 23 and I currently live in downtown Howell two blocks behind our historic Courthouse.
Patch: What community and civic organizations are you currently involved in?
Desai: I believe that our state representative should attend as many community and civic events as possible in order to put themselves in front of their constituents and make themselves available and accountable. I have been attending community events (although I will be attending more Hartland events in the coming months) five to six days a week and I pledge to continue to show up and make myself known, available, and accountable at as many community events as is possible. I pledge also to continue this as your state representative.
Patch: What personal and professional experiences make you qualified to hold that position?
Desai: After graduating from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Economics, I went out to work in factories, on manufacturing assembly-lines, in Dexter and most recently at an auto factory in Fowlerville.
I saw first hand how critical manufacturing things right here in Michigan is for our economy for reclaiming Michigan's historic title as a manufacturing powerhouse. I also got a first hand understanding of what it is like for Michigan families to work hard and just barely get by week to week. I know that I will be fighting for those families who work hard and play by the rules so that they have a fair shot at getting ahead. I will also be working to support Michigan's manufacturing resurgence so that we see less made in China products and see more made in Michigan products.
Patch: What is the most important issue facing the county related to your position and what do you intend to do about it during your term in office?
Desai: Our kids are of the utmost importance. They must be going to school each day and receiving the best possible education so that they understand fully how the world actually works and how they can be successful in it. However, when we have classrooms full of 30+ young kids with only one teacher managing all the discipline problems as well as all the different levels of attention that all the different students need to understand the curriculum, there is improvement to be made.
I pledge to propose legislation to have two teachers in every classroom so that the team of teachers can manage discipline, can specialize in different aspects of their curriculum and attend more closely to students who need more attention with a certain subject, and so that they can spend more time with each student and get through more material, more in depth every day. It cuts the student teacher ratio in half without having to make any expensive capital investments in our buildings. This is a transformative education policy that would make Michigan globally competitive in terms of putting out the most prepared and educated kids.
Also, I have a strong respect for the farmers in our county and I see that they are struggling to meet the costs that chemical companies and agribusiness corporations impose on their farms. I want to see our farmers in Livingston County have full control of what goes on on their farms. Therefore, I pledge to bring legislation that offers complete assistance for those Livingston County farmers who want to transition to USDA Organic certified farms so that they can break the costly dependence on toxic chemical intensive farming operations and so that they have the option of not using costly genetically modified seed stock. We can then create a booming and lucrative (for our farmers) local economy for pure organic crops.
Patch: What is your stance on a part-time Michigan legislature?
Desai: The Legislature is responsible for managing 50 billion dollars of our hard earned money, for crafting public policy, and for making laws. These responsibilities are so tremendous that every single member of the Legislature ought to be spending 12-14 hours a day five to six days a week studying all the issues that our state is dealing with if they are to be making strong policy and budget decisions. While it would be unacceptable for these enormous decisions to be made by a part-time members, I believe that all breaks throughout the year be eliminated with the exception of observed holidays so that we are spending the amount of time working that is necessary if we are to be making Michigan into the strongest state in the country. I would support a significant pay cut for state Legislators because as public servants we ought to be in this line of work to make our state better not to collect as many tax payer dollars for ourselves as possible.