2018 Voter Guide: Statewide Races

Learn more about Michigan’s ballot proposals and the candidates for Secretary of State, Attorney General and State Senate.

On Nov. 6, Michigan voters will be electing a new attorney general and secretary of state, as well as choosing individuals to represent them in the state Senate. Three proposals are on the ballot this year. To learn more about the candidates and ballot measures, use the menu below.

Attorney General




Dana Nessel – D

“I think I have the most varied experience out of anybody who is running for this position,” says Nessel, who has served as an assistant prosecutor, a civil rights attorney, and an attorney for indigent defendants.

She also represented the lesbian couple from Michigan whose case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision that legalized gay marriage across the United States.

Nessel now runs the President of the Fair Michigan Foundation, which she describes as “a first-of-it’s-kind anti-hate crime task force.”

Dana Nessel joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson on Oct. 12 to talk about her campaign.

read the full article



Michigan House Republicans

Tom Leonard – R

Tom Leonard was not available for an interview on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.



Lisa Lane Gioia

Lisa Lane Gioia – L

  • Experience: Former director of translation at Japanese law firm Taiyo, Nakajima and Kato in Tokyo
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Japanese from the University of Michigan
  • Campaign Website: LisaforLiberty.com
  • Twitter: @lisaforliberty
  • Facebook: Lisa for Liberty





Public Domain

Gerald Van Sickle – U.S. Taxpayers

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: N/A
  • Education: N/A
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook: N/A








Chris Graveline – Independent

Chris Graveline is a former U.S. Army officer, Wayne County assistant prosecutor and Assistant United States Attorney.

“The next attorney general is going to be handling investigations — the continuation of the Flint Water Crisis, the MSU investigation (into the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal), the investigation into the Catholic Church,” says Graveline.

“I think I’m the only candidate in this race who’s had the experience of actually handling those types of large, complex investigations,” he says. “And I think my reputation and my work history shows I do it in an even-handed and fair manner. That’s why I think I make a good candidate for this position.”

Chris Graveline joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson on Oct. 19 to discuss his campaign.

Read the full article




Secretary of State




Jocelyn Benson – D

Jocelyn Benson is currently the CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and the former dean of Wayne State University’s law school.

Benson joined Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to talk about her campaign and a statewide ballot proposal — Proposal 3, spearheaded by the group Promote the Vote — that seeks to increase voter access and participation in elections in Michigan.

“It’s an important initiative,” she continues. “And if it passes, it’s even more important to have a secretary of state in place who has the expertise and knowledge that I do to make sure it’s implemented effectively and securely.”

Jocelyn Benson joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson on Oct. 4 to talk about her campaign.





Mary Treder Lang – R

Mary Treder Lang is a certified public accountant by trade and a member of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents, a role she’s served in since 2012.

Treder Lang joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about her positions, her campaign, and what she hopes to accomplish as secretary of state if she’s victorious in November.

She discusses a controversy surrounding whether voters should have to check a box affirming their American citizenship when they go to the polls. The so-called “citizenship check box” is something current Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson went to court to defend.

“I don’t think we need it,” says Treder Lang, who says new ways of making sure voter rolls are up-to-date make a citizenship check box unnecessary.

Dana Nessel joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson on Sept. 14 to talk about her campaign.

Read the full article







Gregory Scott Stempfle – L

According to Gregory Scott Stempfle’s campaign website, “Stempfle chaired the committee that re-drafted the [libertarian party] bylaws to bring them up to date with current Michigan election law. This experience has given him a unique insight into Michigan’s election and campaign finance laws and how to improve elections to make them more fair and representative of the voting public.”

Stempfle has a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Master of Science in Molecular Biology, both from Wayne State University. He currently works as a Medical Technologist in the Henry Ford Hospital System.







Public Domain

Robert Gale – U.S. Taxpayers

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: N/A
  • Education: N/A
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook: N/A

Robert Gale was unavailable for a video interview with CitizenDetroit.



Ballot Proposals

Proposal 1 – Legalizes marijuana for recreational use

Proposal 1 will ask voters to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan for adults age 21 and over.

Under Prop 1 you could possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption. Retail sales would be subject to a 10 percent excise tax, as well as the normal six percent sales tax. What would that mean for the state’s coffers? Revenue projections range anywhere from about 100 million dollars a year to about 260 million dollars a year. That money would go to roads, schools, and local governments.

Several states have already done this and cashed in on tax revenue that stretches into the hundreds of millions. But it’s also true that those states have, in some cases, faced regulation challenges. And, of course, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

There are a lot of differing of opinions – from how safe this is to how much money in taxes it’ll actually pull into the state.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson talked with both sides of this issue on Oct. 8. First, he spoke with Scott Greenlee, president of Healthy and Productive Michigan, a group which is working to defeat Proposal 1.

“More marijuana around means more access to kids, which of course is a problem,” says Greenlee. ”It affects children more dramatically than adults.”

Henderson also spoke with Barton Morris, principal attorney with Cannabis Legal Group and a supporter of Proposal 1. He says Michigan’s ongoing prohibition of marijuana has failed.

“Right now, the black market is significantly large,” says Morris. “By regulating it and putting in dispensaries…it would significantly decrease the black market, especially for minors.”

Read the official ballot language

Listen to the MichMash special about ballot proposalsRead Bridge Magazine’s Guide to Michigan Ballot Proposals


Will Michigan Soon Have Legal Recreational Marijuana? [Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson], Oct. 8, 2018

If Marijuana Becomes Legal, How High Can You Get in Michigan? [CultureShift], June 22, 2018

Proposal 2 – Creates an independent redistricting commission

Once every decade, the boundaries of Michigan’s 14 Congressional districts are redrawn — a process known as redistricting.  This is done to make sure each one represents an equal number of voters.

As it currently stands, the task of redistricting falls to the state’s majority party.  The problem is that when politicians redraw those lines they manipulate the boarders to turn as many districts as they can in their party’s favor.

By doing so, the majority party increases their odds of electing officials to State Congress for the next 10 years.  This process is known as gerrymandering.

If voters approve Proposal 2 it would end gerrymandering by creating a 13-person “Independent Redistricting Commission” to ensure lines are drawn without political bias.

$4.6-million would be allotted for the Commission each year in the state’s annual budget.  It’s estimated that they would use about $1-million of that on average, and the Proposal would require that unused money be returned to Michigan’s coffers.


  • It would increase transparency about how district lines are drawn.
  • The process of gerrymandering would effectively come to an end.


  • The redistricting process offered by Proposal 2 is more expensive than the state’s current process.
  • There’s no clear way of knowing whether or not candidates for Independent Redistricting Commission are concealing any form political bias.

Learn more about the pros and cons of Proposal 2 here.

Earlier this year, WDET provided special coverage of gerrymandering as part of our “Policy Meets the People” series.  Check out the livestream here.

Read the official ballot language

Listen to the MichMash special about ballot proposalsRead Bridge Magazine’s Guide to Michigan Ballot Proposals


Redistricting 101: Your District, Your Politicians, But Does Your Vote Matter?, June 25, 2018

Voters Not Politicians: The Pros [TRANSCRIPT], June 25, 2018

Voters Not Politicians: The Cons [TRANSCRIPT], June 25, 2018


Bridge Magazine guide to the 2018 Michigan ballot proposals, Sept. 12, 2018

Proposal 3 – Creates state constitutional rights to certain voting policies

If approved, Prop. 3 will add eight voting policies to the state’s constitution, including automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting and straight-party ticket voting.

Among other changes, Proposal 3 calls for all eligible Michigan residents to be registered to vote when they apply for, update or renew their driver’s license or state-issued ID, unless they opt out.

One criticisms of this proposal is that it contains many different issues up for a single yes or no vote at the same time.

Read the official ballot language

Read WDET’s Full Report on Proposal 3Read Bridge Magazine’s Guide to Michigan Ballot Proposals


MichMash Elections Special: Breaking Down the Three Statewide Ballot Proposals, Nov. 5, 2018


State Senate Races

District 1


Stephanie Chang – D

  • Age: 35
  • Experience: Currently Michigan Representative from District 6, formerly worked as a community organizer in Detroit
  • Education: Master of Social Work, University of Michigan; Master of Public Policy, University of Michigan; Bachelor of Arts, University of Michigan
  • Campaign Website: StephanieChang.com
  • Twitter: @StephanieLily
  • Facebook: Stephanie Chang for Senate
  • Special Info: Endorsed by Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, American Federation of Teachers – Michigan, Michigan AFL-CIO, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Sierra Club – Michigan Chapter and more.



Public Domain

Pauline Montie – R

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: N/A
  • Education:  N/A
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook:N/A
  • Special Info: Endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan

Pauline Montie did not respond to requests for a video interview with CitizenDetroit.





District 2

Adam Hollier

Adam Hollier – D

  • Age: N/A
  • Current Position:  Director of Government and Community Relations at the Michigan Fitness Foundation
  • Experience:  First Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve, Vice President Hantz Woodlands, Senior Project Manager Thomas Group, Legislative Liaison to the Detroit City Council, Chief of Staff for Michigan State Senator Bert Johnson
  • Education:  Master of Urban Planning, University of Michigan; Bachelor of Science, Cornell University
  • Campaign Website: AdamHollier.com
  • Twitter:  @Adamant4Detroit
  • Facebook: Vote 4 Adam Hollier
  • Special Info: Endorsed by UNITE HERE! Local 24, The Black Slate, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

Read WDET’s Full Report on the District 2 Race


Lisa Papas

Lisa Papas – R

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: Currently a choir teacher, Papas has eight years experience teaching in public and charter schools, formerly managed Pegasus Taverna, Founding Director of Annunciation Greek Language School
  • Education:  Bachelor of Music Education, Wayne State University
  • Campaign Website:  LisaPapas.com
  • Twitter: @LPapas4Senate
  • Facebook: Lisa Papas 4 Senate
  • Special Info: Endorsed by Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, Michigan Vaccine Freedom PAC, Associated Builder and Contractors, Inc., Yemeni American Political Action Committee, Eastside Republican Women’s Club and more.

Read WDET’s Full Report on the District 2 Race


District 3


Sylvia Santana – D

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: Current State Representative for District 9, former micro-lending officer at ProsperUS Detroit/Southwest Economic Solutions, underwriter at Quicken Loans, and president of the Warrendale Community Organization.
  • Education:  Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Accounting and Finance, Eastern Michigan University
  • Campaign Website: VoteSantana.com
  • Twitter: @SenatorSantana
  • Facebook: State Senator Sylvia Santana
  • Special Info: Serves on the Michigan Senate appropriations committee. Endorsed by United Auto Workers, MI Women Win, Michigan Realtors, Police Officers Association of Michigan, and more.


From Bridge Magazine: Some Cadets Attend Detroit Police Academy, Then Leave Department, April 17, 2018

Sylvia Santana did not respond to requests for a video interview with CitizenDetroit.

Kathy Stecker

Kathy Stecker – R

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience:  President/Director Safe Harbor for Women. Formerly the Assistant CFO at Window Masters, former insurance agent
  • Education:  Studied accounting at Tiffin University.
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook: N/A


Stecker tells WDET that a good friend of hers who is a Republican candidate in a different race recommended that she run. She says her issues are “education, clean water for everybody, veterans affairs, domestic violence awareness, human trafficking and prison.”

Kathy Stecker did not respond to requests for a video interview with CitizenDetroit.

District 4

Marshall Bullock

Marshall Bullock – D

  • Age:N/A
  • Experience: Current District Manager Detroit District Five. The News-Herald reports he “worked for the state of Michigan for 12 years before working in health services with children with special needs in Maryland, then returned to state work when he worked with the state of Florida’s Health Department. He moved back to Detroit with his family in 2006.”
  • Education: N/A
  • Campaign Website: ElectMarshallBullock.com
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook: Elect Marshall Bullock




Public Domain

Angela Savino – R

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: According to the Michigan Association of Chiropractors Savino is a former paraprofessional for Southgate schools.
  • Education: N/A
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook: N/A

Angela Savino did not respond to requests for a video interview with CitizenDetroit.


District 5

Betty Jean Alexander

Betty Jean Alexander – D

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience: Clerical specialist in the Wayne County Clerk’s Office
  • Education:  High School Diploma, plus 2 years of Vocational School
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter:  @BettyJeanAlex
  • Facebook: Betty Jean Alexander
  • Special Info:   Alexander has an extensive civil court record, and one criminal charge, with numerous evictions, liens and bankruptcies between Detroit and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Read WDET’s Full Report on the District 5 Race

Betty Jean Alexander did not respond to requests for a video interview with CitizenDetroit.

DeShawn Wilkins

DeShawn Wilkins – R

  • Age: N/A
  • Experience:  Currently an insurance agent at State Farm. Wilkins has spent 16 years of Christian church pastoring, ministerial and operational oversight. He spent 3 years producing a weekly Christian Radio Program. Former Chair and Vice-Chair of the RTA’s Citizen Advisory Committee. Owner, Wilkins Pro Clean, Inc.
  • Education:  Ministerial/Ordination Studies, Aenon Bible College; Certificates of Completion, Property & Casualty Insurance, Kaplan
  • Campaign Website: DeShawnWilkins.com
  • Twitter:  @wilkins4senate
  • Facebook: Wilkins 4 State Senate
  • Special Info: According to his campaign website, Wilkins is supports auto insurance reform, small businesses, gun rights, religious liberties and is pro life.


GOP’s DeShawn Wilkins Hopes to Stop Betty Jean Alexander’s Unlikely Trajectory Toward State Senate [Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson], Aug. 13, 2018

Read WDET’s Full Report on the District 5 Race