CMU faculty runs for Michigan's House of Representatives
Two Democrats, John Zang and Randall Doyle, are competing to challenge Republican incumbent Roger Hauck this November for Michigan’s 99th District representative.
Democrats will chose either Zang or Doyle in the Aug. 4 primary election. Michigan’s 99th District includes all of Isabella country and parts of Midland County.
Doyle has lived all over the country. He was born in Oakland, California and later moved to Missouri as his father was a police officer. After graduating high school, Doyle enlisted in the Navy where he then lived in Guam for a year-and-a-half. After the Navy, Doyle moved on to Idaho where he graduated from the University of Idaho. But when he moved to Michigan to start his career as a teacher, he knew he found his state.
“I got an instinctive feel,” Doyle said. “I've had a couple opportunities to leave but I just couldn’t do it. It’s the environment. I liked the schools I worked at, I love how many lakes there are, I like the sense of community and people are friendly and courteous.”
Doyle has lived in Michigan for the past 20 years and in Mount Pleasant for 15. He taught full-time at CMU for six years as well as Mid-Michigan Community College, Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University.
From 2011 to 2012, Doyle worked in the State Department as a Franklin Fellow for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He conducted research and analysis and wrote reports on human rights issues in East Asia and the Pacific region.
Doyle was the 82nd Franklin Fellow, a program created by Barack Obama in 2014 to bring outside experts to the Department of State. The program also allowed citizens a chance to serve their country and to deepen their professional experience.
It takes both parties to move the country forward, Doyle said, Democrats and Republicans. Doyle has worked with Republicans before and he explained that they don’t have to agree on everything. However, he said that they do agree on the most important issues, the environment, small businesses and education.
“Democrats and Republicans can reach out and find that they actually do have some things in common and they can make things work," Doyle said. "Behind the scenes, I’ve seen individuals who would never speak to each other but then they get behind closed doors and they agree on like 40 percent of their issues.
"Roger Hauck can’t do that and John Zang can’t do that — and that’s the truth.”
Doyle believes that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has done a great job at keeping citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explains that the number of cases of the virus has gone down in areas where she has set social distancing and face mask policies.
“I do not think that Whitmer has overstepped her power and she has been an excellent leader,” Doyle said. “When you’re in that position half the people are either going to hate you or love you.”
Whitmer needs a Democrat in the state House to help get a majority, Doyle said, so with that she can start proposing some policies to “move the state forward”.
Doyle said that he is a product of government programs. After returning from Guam, he qualified for the G.I. Bill, a program created to assist U.S. military veterans, which took him halfway through his masters degree at the University of Idaho.
“I am the only candidate that has served his country and is a product of positive government programs which shows that government is not the enemy,” Doyle said.
Doyle has made the promise in his campaign that he will work for no salary, which he hopes will show the votes how passionate and serious he is about serving the state.
“I feel that I am the only Democrat to beat Roger Hauck,” Doyle said. “He can be beaten.”
A Detroit native who graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and geography, Zang later attended graduate school in Eastern Michigan University. He completed work toward a master's degree in economics that he did not complete.
Zang has recently retired from the position of Director of Public Works for the city of Mount Pleasant. He has also served on the Isabella County Emergency Operations Committee and various school boards in Michigan.
In the Public Works Department, Zang worked closely on issues and policies such as recycling, streets, airports and water quality.
Because of Zang’s background in public works, when it comes to roads and water, he firmly believes that he is an expert in the field and he is the only one who has what it takes to get it right.
“I think we’ve done a terrible job on the environment and infrastructure,” Zang said. “Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has been cut 70 percent since 2000 which has hurt the Midland flood crisis, sewers are not in the condition that they need to be in and we have so many rivers and lakes that we are polluting greatly.”
If elected, Zang’s biggest priorities will be, first and foremost, COVID-19 relief; then education, infrastructure and environment.
That the most prosperous states in the country have the most college graduates, Zang said. Michigan is the 35th state in college retention in the country.
“Education is the key to Michigan’s prosperity. I intend to give priority to education on all levels,” Doyle said.
Zang has experience in working with many different points of view and he does not politically identify himself extreme in either direction. Because of this, Zang believes that he will be successful in the state House.
"When you’re so divided, you just need to establish what’s the most important and go at it," Zang said. "I plan to do just that."
Both Democrats are competing to take on Hauck, who has served in the State House of Representatives since 2017.
Hauck was born in Beal City and graduated from Beal City High School, after which he spent the next 24 years working at Delfield Company as a line technician. Both his wife and his daughter, Stacey, are registered nurses at Midland Hospital and his son, Matthew, is a first grade teacher at Barryton Schools.
The winner of the State House of Representative primary election to will take on Hauck in the general election on November 3.