LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – When Michigan State Representatives Lori Stone (D-Warren) and Kevin Coleman (D-Westland) ran and won their mayoral races, that put the Democrats’ slim majority control of the state’s House chamber in jeopardy and resulted in a 54-54 split of power between the political parties.

With an April 16th general election for the two seats and a January 30th primary, 12 candidates have stepped up to run to fill the vacant seats. Some media outlets, like Michigan Advance, say that both seats still favor Democrats. The districts in need of representation include the 13th and 25th House districts in the state. Stone had represented the 13th District which includes Wayne and Macomb counties as well as the city of Warren and a small piece of Detroit. Coleman’s seat includes Wayne County with the cities of Westland and Wayne.

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The candidates who have signed up to run for the vacant seats include previous office holders and well-known community advocates in their cities and counties. The 12 candidates include eight Democrats and four Republicans. The winners of the general elections will serve in Lansing through the end of 2024 and, according to the state, earn approximately $71K annually.

Here is a listing of the candidates, with Michigan News Source providing voters with the most comprehensive amount of information about them to date, including links to their social media accounts and websites…

13th House District Democrats Running:

LaMar D. Lemmons III 

A former state representative of Detroit, Lemmons also served on the Detroit Board of Education and was the president of the board of education. He told Michigan Advance that he wants to represent “Black Detroiters” specifically wanting to bring Black representation to Warren and Detroit in the 13th District. He is advocating increased investments in Detroit schools and undoing policies that have hurt Detroiters.

Personal Facebook link here

Suzanne Ostosh

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Suzanne Ostosh is on the board of the “Older Adult Advisory Committee” that advises the Macomb County Board of Commissioners on behalf of senior citizens in the county. She’s also the Executive Director of Operations of Harvest Time Christian Fellowship Church in Warren where her husband Curtiss is a pastor. Her husband is also running for the same seat but is running as a Republican. She told Macomb Daily, I feel like Im a good person who could make some changes. Im not looking for money or power; I just want to help people.

Personal Facebook link here

Website link here

Mai Xiong

Mai Xiong is a Macomb County Commissioner. She ran for Warren City Clerk this November and lost. She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to Ohio when she was three-years-old. She studied business and graphic design in college and wants to increase Asian-American and new American representation in the Michigan legislature. One of her priorities is to fund the election laws that were passed by the Michigan Democrats.

Website link here

Facebook page link here 

13th House District Republicans Running:

Curtiss Ostosh

Curtiss Ostosh has been a pastor at Operations of Harvest Time Christian Fellowship Church in Warren for 15 years and, like his wife, who is running for the same seat but as a Democrat, he is passionate about helping single moms, the homeless, seniors and veterans. He told Macomb Daily, “We have seen firsthand homelessness, food insecurity, and the lack of affordable housing and how that has affected people on the lower end of the economic scale. My wife and I are both running because we thought we could be a voice to help people who dont really have a voice. He adds that him and his wife are running FOR each other and not against each other.

Facebook page link here

Ronald Singer

Ronald Singer lost the 2022 election for the same seat against Stone after getting only 32.6% of the vote. He has an engineering background, is involved in the auto industry, and says about the Democrats’ green energy policies, “A lot of this stuff just really doesnt work. You just cant have solar energy that only works during the day and think that youre gonna somehow save some of it up for nighttime. The same thing with these windmills – you see countries that are years ahead of us are already starting to turn their back on it.”

Michigan News Source reached out to Singer and he said he doesn’t have any social media pages or websites for his campaign. When asked why he is running, he said that the state and the country is going off the rails with inflation going crazy and things getting tougher for seniors and everyone else. He said, “People need help…we need adult supervision in Lansing.”

Brandon Cumbee

Cumbee is a 40-year Warren resident and has never run for office in the past. The father of a five-year-old and a business owner, he told Macomb Daily, “Even though I have not been directly involved with politics, Ive been aware of how decisions made in Lansing can impact citizens. There are a lot of issues that are just not being taken care of. He added, “I dont have the right to sit on the side and complain, I have to take action. My personal stance on things shouldnt matter; Im here for my constituents and to listen to their concerns and do what they want.

25th House District Democrats Running:

Melandie Hines

Melandie Hines is on the Wayne County Womens Commission and is a trustee at Wayne-Westland Community Schools. She has been a public servant for 15 years, advocating for housing investments and education throughout Detroit. She’s also been a precinct delegate, is the Election Chair in the city of Westland and told Michigan News Source that she does a “lot” in the community including recently helping the Westwood Community School District pass a $24.5M bond. After losing her husband to cancer, she navigated life as a single mom which gave her an understanding about the difficulties people face in jobs, housing, health care and other areas.

When asked about her priorities, she said she is a person for the people and pointed to her campaign slogan, “Don’t Talk About It. Be About it.” Hines said she is very big on education and skilled trades workforce development as well as helping people find affordable housing. She believes that all of the contacts she has made over the years, including while helping politicians get elected, will help her be able to get things “moving” in Lansing.

Facebook page link here

Shannon Rochon

Rochon has had leadership roles with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) presidential campaign and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. His LinkedIn page describes him as an environmental justice advocate, strategic planner, a public speaker and being engaged in community organizing. He is interested in helping vulnerable communities and told Michigan Advance that his priorities revolve around seniors, education and the environment with the goal of creating a more equitable and inclusive environment in the 25th District.

Business Facebook page link here

Campaign Facebook page link here

Layla Taha

Layla Taha is a health policy professional and the Program Director for the campaign of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) operating her youth engagement and campaign programming as well as her workplace organizing trainings. Taha’s priorities include quality and affordable health care and environmental justice for vulnerable communities. Her website says that she’s been a part of the fight for affordable, accessible and adequate healthcare and housing for decades as a public health advocate and community organizer and she is running as a progressive Democrat. Taha is not accepting corporate donations due to her commitment to justice and equity.

Website link here

Facebook page link here

X social media link here

Andrea Rutkowski 

Michigan News Source reached out to Rutkowski to get more information about her candidacy and how to get more information about her. She said her social media and website for the campaign are under construction. Andrea Rutkowski is currently Council President Pro-Tem for the City of Westland and was recently re-elected to a four-year term. She’s the mother of a public school student and the wife of a professional firefighter. Education and public safety are her priorities. She has a background in small business and real estate and is currently completing her Masters in Elementary Education.

Peter Herzberg

Peter Herzberg is a Westland City Council Member, having served since 2016. His priorities include: protecting and support recycling, working to lower water rates and voting against special interest projects that dont benefit our neighborhoods. Herzberg is also Coleman’s cousin. His website says that he’s spent his entire adult life focusing on public service, volunteering and helping his community. He grew up in Westland near Warren Rd & Wayne and has lived in the same neighborhood all of his life. He graduated from John Glenn High School and went on to receive his Bachelors Degree in Finance from Wayne State University. He has attended council meetings and study sessions for over 13 years.

Website link here.

25th House District Republican Running:

Josh Powell 

Josh Powell of Westland is the only Republican running in the 25th House District. On an older website where he ran for Westland City Council as a write-in candidate, he said that he served in the military and works in I.T. Powell said at the time, “I believe in a city government that works for the people, by the people.” His priorities at the time were to remove governmental barriers for businesses and citizens including lowering taxes and removing city laws and codes that inhibit businesses and citizens from being productive in their communities. He said he was running for the “every day citizen” who wants to have minimal government intrusion in their lives and live in a safer community with low taxes. His current campaign Facebook page exposes a similar agenda with the phrase “I want to save you money.”

Powell has also signed on to the U.S. Term Limits Pledge where he says as a member of the state legislature, he will co-sponsor, vote for and defend the resolution applying for an Article V. Convention for the sole purpose of enacting term limits in Congress. Powell is also against the green energy agenda of the Michigan Democrats and said on his Facebook page, “Democrats in Michigan are betting on a losing strategy. They are attempting to force electrification on people who don’t want it and dealers are already pulling out of selling EV’s, because they don’t sell. Continuing down this path will only cost us jobs and more lost investment in Michigan.”

Facebook page link here