Campaigns are taking shape: Scripps to seek state house seat; Stobie to run too

From the Ludington Daily News (Sept. 15, 2015)

Dan Scripps plans to walk in the Scottville Harvest Festival parade this weekend and Tom Stobie intends to visit West Shore Community College Wednesday as the two Democrats begin their respective campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the 101st District Michigan House of Representatives' seat held by Ray Franz. Due to term limits, Franz cannot seek re-election.

Scripps, the only Democrat to have won that seat in more than 30 years, announced his candidacy Monday afternoon. Shortly thereafter, Stobie's campaign reported that Stobie will announce Wednesday during stops across the district which includes Mason, Manistee, Benzie and Leelanau counties. 

Scripps said he filed his paperwork to create a campaign committee last week. Scripps is an attorney who currently leads a non-profit focused on energy innovation. He previously served as the district's state representative from 2009-10.

"The people of Michigan deserve better than what we're getting from our state government," Scripps stated in his announcement. "With a legislature far more focused on playin games and blaming one another than working together to solve problems, it's no wonder that our roads are crumbling, local schools are squeezed, and more and more families feel that no one is listening to them. It's time again to have a representative that puts people first."

Scripps said he plans to resume the town halls and coffee shop meetings that were a hallmark of his term in office.

He recently moved back to his hometown of Northport after living in Grand Rapids. After leaving office he lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for a time.

He and his wife, Jamie, have two children and he said they had a discussion about where they wanted to raise their children and where they wanted them to attend schools and determined Northport was that place where they would be close to family and where he could answer what he said was a call back to public service and serving the 101st District. "I don't think anyone doubts my commitment to this district. I loved representing the people of this district," he said. "I like people,"

During his time in the State House, Scripps chaired the House Banking and Financial Services Committee, where he worked on the state response to what he calls the worst housing and financial crisis since the Great Depression. Scripps was active on energy, conservation, and election reform issues, and voted against every cut to education. Since leaving the Legislature, Scripps has focused on energy issues, including helping to create the nation's first "Green Bank" and working with advanced energy businesses in Michigan and across the country to attract investment, develop projects and create jobs in this rapidly growing industry.

He described it as having been working at the intersection of public policy and markets. "Good policy can provide certainty to markets and help them grow," he said. "It can help people in the district."

Scripps cited the uncertainty currently in the energy field as something that could be holding back some forms of energy development. He said the energy policy the state enacted in 2008 that called for more conservation and more green energy has worked well to save customers money. He credited former State Rep. David Palsrok, R-Manistee, for also having worked on that policy and said it has worked better than had been imagined. He called that 2008 law a bipartisan effort. "I think we can feel very good about it," he said. While not everybody was happy with how every project was developed, including the Lake Winds Energy Park in Mason County, he said, overall it was good legislation with a lot to like.

"I'm running for State Representative to again give local families a voice in state government," said Scripps. "For Northwest Michigan to succeed in this economy, we need a representative who listens to local people and leads on the issues most important to them. From creating good paying, year-round jobs to investing in our schools and protecting our Great Lakes to fixing our roads and building the infrastructure of the future, I look forward to again representing the people and priorities of Northwest Michigan in the State Capitol."

Scripps plans to hold a series of coffee hours and town hall meetings across the district, including stops in each of Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee, and Mason counties.

"To be effective in representing local voices in Lansing, you need to listed to local voters in communities across this district," Scripps said. "I look forward to speaking with local residents, listening to their concerns, and again representing their priorities."

Scripps said one of the first calls he made after deciding to run was to Stobie, the Frankfort Democrat who unsuccessfully challenges Franz in 2014 and who plans to announce his candidacy Wednesday. 

"He's been a friend for a while and I think highly of him," Scripps said of Stobie.

He said having a primary will be good. He said the two will "elevate" the discussion on topics and forward ideas through the process.

Scripps sees experience in Lansing being on his side in the primary.

"I've done the job," he said.

He noted Democrats have been close to winning or holding the seat all the way back to Nick Krieger's unsuccessful bid against Palsrok.

Scripps said his term in office "speaks to the ability to win the election, and to hit the ground running."