I was born 1979 in Sheridan Michigan and was raised in the rural setting of Palo, Michigan. Coming into adulthood, I quickly learned the value of honest hard work and providing for myself. Fiercely independent, I graduated from Ionia Public Schools in 1999, with The Scholarship Award and attended Baker College of Owosso.
Education was interrupted at Baker, when my mother fell into economic distress. Upon returning home, I took a leave from educational pursuits, to attend to my family's crisis. This lead to experiencing first hand the difficulties that many experience across the country; homelessness. The winter of 2000/2001, I spent homeless, with my mother, sister, and brother, searching for economic relief and shelter which was found in the spring of 2001 when my family was able to relocate to Stanton, Michigan.
After stabilizing my family through everyday hard work, in 2005, I decided to pursue education once again. While signing up for classes at Montcalm Community College (MCC) in Sidney Michigan, I met and engaged to marry Melissa, who had also decided to attend MCC. We later married in 2006 and shortly after birthed our first child.
During my time at MCC, I earned an Associates Degree in Accounting; later transferring to Grand Valley State University. While at GVSU, I attended several business conferences, workshops, and sought internships. Also at this time, I fathered my second & third children with Melissa. In my final year of the bachelors program, I was forced to withdraw; due to rising tuition, capped financial aid, and a loss of student family housing.
Returning To Blue Collar Roots:
It was then, I decided to rededicate to betterment and sought training in the trades, by using a Michigan Works program—No Worker Left Behind, attending West Michigan CDL for logistics training. Upon completing my education/training at West Michigan CDL, I hired into a Wisconsin trucking company—Roehl Transport. Later I sought a local employer and started working for Larsen Trucking, in Greenville Michigan, thrived and felt a renewed sense of self and independence. However; after this final election, I realized something had changed in America, for the worse.
Why Am I Running:
Over the course of my lifetime: it has become blatant obvious that average Americans have lost the ability to live the dream, or even provide a basic life for their families. As, I began raising my family, I endured many common struggles and endured the challenge of meeting basic needs, as cost of living quickly outpaced family capacity to earn. In addition, my daughter has shown me, through needed care, how broken our mental health system and education system is in our state. Being that my daughter needs a fierce advocate in our state legislature, to advance comprehensive reforms and end needless bureaucracy, I've decided to run and seek to be that advocate.
Policy I'll Advance:
I'll promote the tenets of my Candidates With A Contract Pledge, which are: advancing accountability, transparency, ending gerrymandering, and promoting an ethical after public service to private employment transition by promoting a cool down period.
In addition, I'll advance an increase to minimum wage, abolish the tipped wage, and tie minimum wage increase to inflation/cost of living adjustments.
Also, it will be my mission to reform the education system in Michigan, advocating for changes such as: ending homework, a temporary moratorium on standardized testing (reform the schedule), increasing the school year, increased school funding where needed, and fully funding school lunches/breakfasts. In advancing these reforms, we could increase subject instruction time, level the educational playing field between economic classes, and ensure every student is ready to learn (food, nutrition, & security).
I will also, advance policy, for skilled trades job retraining, career/job placement, and fight for a fully funded infrastructure renewal plan. Michigan has some of the worst infrastructure conditions in the nation and the time is now for rebuilding our failing roads, bridges, and water/electrical systems.
All donations will be used to fund voter outreach efforts: buy printed literature, social media advertisements, campaign yard signs, and fund the campaign’s get out the vote efforts.
My campaign has many opportunities to help get out the vote in the 33rd senate district. If you live in Montcalm, Mecosta, Gratiot, Isabella, or Clare County, you can volunteer for the campaign by visiting www.bigmarkforsenate.com and filling out a contact form.
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January 8, 2018