Representative Kim LaSata elected to state senate in district 21

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tuesday night state Representative Kim LaSata held a consistent lead in the polls over her Democratic opponent, Ian Haight, winning by roughly 20% margin.

LaSata was elected to Michigan’s 79th state house district in 2016. During her tenure in the state house she served on the House Committee on Appropriations, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, for which she was the chairwoman, the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, for which she was the vice chair, and the Agriculture and Rural Development and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittees. She’s championed herself as a “conservative voice.

“My main reason for running was that it is a conservative, Republican district,” said LaSata. “We’re used to a senator who worked very hard for us. I wanted to maintain that.”

LaSata ran for the 21st state senate seat after Republican incumbent John Proos was term limited.

“It’s a Republican district, and the chances were good that a Republican could win.”

LaSata’s subsequent reasons for running for state senate included a large concern among her residents with high costs for auto insurance, which she said was a number one issue both in her 2016 house race and 2018 senate race. The condition of Michigan roads was another concern for LaSata’s constituents, but she assured both as a candidate and state house representative that by 2022 the state’s roads would be in nearly full repair.

LaSata credited much of her victory to placing herself in the communities in her senate district. Door to door knocking, holding coffee hours, meeting with community organizers and municipal leadership, and getting to know her constituents was the same strategy she used in 2016 to win her position in the state house.

While much of the country was anticipating a blue sweep, LaSata didn’t anticipate such a sweep for the Michigan legislature, though she was unsurprised by Gretchen Whitmer’s victory over Bill Schuette in the gubernatorial race. She hopes the Republican dominated legislature will work will with a Democratic governor.

“It’ll have to work both ways,” said LaSata. “People that go to Lansing to represent others need to realize why they’re there. They’re there to represent constituents and the state.”

Where LaSata was vocal about her conservative roots, Haight advertised himself as a balanced, unbought, middle ground Democrat. He was vocal about his constitutional beliefs, and built a platform on the core values of the Declaration of Independence. (Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.) With a teaching certificate himself, and a job at Berrien RESA, Haight was discouraged by former Governor Snyder’s cuts to education.

Haight was unavailable for comment, but LaSata was pleased that there wasn’t mean politics in their senate race.

LaSata plans to bring her experience in the state house to the state senate floor to continue the progress of her predecessor, and to continue representing the citizens of Southwest Michigan.