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Democratic challenger says K-12 funding would be top priority in Lansing

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

A political newcomer who’s challenging Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt says she’d work to get more funding for K-12 education.

Democrat Winnie Brinks is a case worker at a non-profit organization. At a very sparsely attended press conference (I was the only reporter there) Tuesday she said she's first and foremost as a mother whose main concern is her children’s public education.

"It’s simple. Your kids deserve the best and right now they’re not getting it. With your help we’re gonna change that. When I’m in Lansing you will know that I will put kids first,” Brinks said.

During her roughly ten minute speech, Brinks rallied against the expansion of charter and cyber schools and raids on K-12 funding.

She says in general terms, more Democrats need to be elected to "change the conversation" about priorities in Lansing. But she added that there are Republicans who care about education funding too. "We have to find them and work with them too," Brinks said.

Parent Matthew Patulski said he is comforted by the fact that education is Brinks' top concern.

"We have lots of legislators who are lawyers, they’re businessmen… but they’re not here first and foremost as a parent,” Patulski said.

This year school funding remained roughly flat for most public school districts; following years of cuts.

The conference was held in front of the same shuttered school where Schmidt rallied against Governor Rick Snyder’s school cuts a couple of years ago.

Brinks faces Schmidt, and independent candidate Keith Allard in November.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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