John Kennett
Midland Daily News

April 4, 2018

Hilliard seeks to rebuild middle class with 4th District campaign

As a native of Michigan’s 4th Congressional District, Jerry Hilliard is running to represent those people with whom he has a special relationship.

“I feel like I have a special bond with the people of the 4th District,” the Democrat said. “My main goals are to truly represent our citizens in our U.S. House and rebuild the middle class through sound progressive economic policy and compassion.”

Hilliard was born at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland and graduated from Harrison High School, where he was president of the Honor Society.

Hilliard’s decision to run came after the Democratic Party struggled to find a candidate for the 2016 election.

“In April of 2016 we had nobody to run. That was unacceptable. I decided I wasn’t going to wait for somebody else to run for office,” said the former business services teacher at Flint Carman Ainsworth. The Aug. 7 primary will see Hilliard face off against fellow Democrats Dion Adams and Zigmond “Ziggy” Kozicki. The winner will face incumbent Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, in the Nov. 6 general election. Mark Bignell has withdrawn from the 4th District race. Instead he has decided to run for the 33rd State Senate District.

Adams, Hilliard and Kozicki recently appeared for a Democratic Town Hall at the monthly meeting of the Woman of Michigan Action Network. For information about Kozicki, see the Daily News article from March 10: https://bit.ly/2HaTwtz

The three candidates answered questions posed to them by WOMAN and the audience.

• Discuss what you see as the current status of public education in Michigan and what, if elected, will you seek to change?

Hilliard would fight to hold charter schools to the same principles and standards as public schools.

“My second career has been as a public educator in a school near. We would get charter students in who were getting B’s and they couldn’t even read,” said Hilliard, who also was employed by Archway and Nabisco as district sales manager.

He also does not believe that charter schools should receive public funding.

“If they want to have charter schools, fine. They need to charge tuition and build their own buildings. They are taking our buildings away, pennies on the dollar,” said Hilliard, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s in athletic administration, both from Central Michigan University. He has also earned an MBA from University of Michigan-Flint.

• Many citizens lack access to healthcare, either because they can’t afford insurance, are underinsured, or face social and cultural barriers. What steps would you take to correct this imbalance?

“We have a lot of problems in our healthcare system. To me, the only way we are going to solve those problems is Medicare for all,” Hilliard responded.

Hilliard closed with his thoughts on Social Security and jobs.

“We need to improve Social Security. Then we need a comprehensive bill to bring our country to full employment. That means when businesses have to compete for workers,” he said.

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