PRIMARY ELECTION: Four candidates vie for State Senate seat vacated by term-limited Emmons


Two Republicans are trying to keep a Central Michigan state senate seat red. Two Democrats are trying to turn the seat blue again.

State Sen. Judy Emmons, and former state House representative for Montcalm County, is term-limited. During her senate tenure, Emmons served as chair of the Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee, and as vice-chair of Veterans, Military Affairs, and Homeland Security Committee and as the Elections and Government Reform Committee. She also was appointed to the Economic, Development and International Investment Committee as well as the Judiciary Committee. Emmons made addressing human trafficking through legislation and public awareness a signature issue as a state senator. 

State Senate District 33 includes Clare, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta and Montcalm counties.  

Republican Primary

Rick Outman's political experience includes serving three terms as the State House representative for the 70th District from 2011 to 2016. Outman, of Six Lakes, is endorsed by Emmons, County Road Association of Michigan, AgriPac, Congressman John Moolenaar and Right to Life Michigan. Outman is prioritizing pro-life and the second amendment issues.

He owns Outman Excavating and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University. 

Outman's campaign does not appear to have a campaign website. Visit his campaign Facebook page for more information. 

Greg Alexander of Stanton is also doing limited campaigning via his Facebook profile. He did not respond to a League of Women Voters candidate questionnaire. He does not list any endorsements. Alexander does not appear to have a campaign website. On his Facebook profile his lists his education as "Went to Centeral Montcalm, Class of 1984."

In a Facebook post he wrote: "Little about myself: Army National Guard vet; 10 years at Hitachi magnetics; 12.5 years at Big L Lumber; 6 years at Montcalm Co Rd Commission; 2nd term as commander of the Stanton American Legion; Have worked on dairy farms; Worked in restaurants; 21 years at Montcalm Co EMS as a EMT, EMT specialist , took the paramedics class."

Democratic Primary

Mark Bignell earned an associate’s degree in accounting from Montcalm Community College before transferring to Grand Valley State University. He then attended West Michigan CDL for training in logistics. 

Bignell worked Roehl Transport. After, Bignell spent time working for Larsen Trucking.

His endorsements include the Michigan Association for Justice and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 25.

Bignell calls himself a “progressive democrat, constitutionalist and Methodist.” 

He hopes to move Campaign finance reform forward, end partisan gerrymandering and tie Michigan Legislature Salaries to the State median income. Bignell also supports expanding early childhood education, skilled trades and community college according to a League of Women Voters candidate questionnaire.

"In order to reform K-12 education, I support funding schools with need based formulas, instituting full year school, eliminating standardized testing (4 years), eliminating homework, adding counselors, ensuring lower student/teacher ratios, & fully funding school lunch programs," he wrote. "Also, I support increasing access to early childhood education, through new facilities, expanded programs, and funding formulas based on need. Lastly, in order to diversify our state's talent pool, I propose expanding existing skilled trades education, state grant programs for community college and starting new apprenticeship programs."

For more information about Bignell visit his website.

Greenville Mayor John Hoppough has served on the city council since 2001. He has an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy and a bachelor’s degree in health care systems administration from Ferris State University.

He has worked for Blodgett Hospital, Butterworth Hospital and Kent Community Hospital. Hoppough also served as the assistant director of the cardiopulmonary department at what is today Metro Health University of Michigan Health Hospital.

Former District 70 State House Rep. 70 Mike Huckleberry has endorsed Hoppough. He did not respond to a League of Women Voters candidate questionnaire.

Hoppough hopes to promote universal healthcare, fix roads, clean up the state’s water and give more power to local governments. He also wants to see Lansing resist efforts to arm teachers and strengthen "traditional public schools."

"The future of our great state will be defined by what we teach in our schools," he wrote on his website. "Our traditional public schools provide a good foundation for student achievement, yet there are always ways to improve student success. Ways to do this are focusing on improving early literacy, maintaining and staffing school libraries,  building local leadership teams, and promoting best practices for teacher in-service training... Academic, physical and mental health resources are important to the rounded well-being of students and staff. Supporting traditional public schools is the foundation of education."

For more information about Hoppough visit his website.