Meet the candidates running for 89th District representative

Tribune Staff • Aug 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

The Tribune distributed questionnaires to candidates in contested races in the upcoming Aug. 7 primary elections. Their responses are listed below.

Note: The responses may have been formatted, but have not been edited in any way. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.


Name: Jim Lilly

Political party (if applicable): Republican

Office you’re running for: State Representative 89th District

Age: 36

Occupation: Commercial Banker currently serving as a State Representative


High School - West Ottawa

Bachelor of Science in Economics – John Carroll University

Currently enrolled in GVSU’s MBA Program

Elected offices held: State Representative 89th District

Community Involvement: I am currently serving on the project related investment committee of the Holland Zeeland Community Foundation and the Public Policy Committee for the West Coast Chamber. Prior to election, my wife and I served as Lighthouse Leadership Co-Chairs for the Ottawa County United Way as well.

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for re-election to the Michigan House of Representatives because my wife and I have invested a great deal in our relationships in West Michigan and we want to live here for the rest of our lives, but our state continues to face a great deal of obstacles. We need to continue to send people to Lansing with financial and business experience who can tackle these issues head on and articulate the challenges to their constituents to generate support for solutions. I’ve worked hard to get the state to put a plan in place to pay off its debt and to invest in infrastructure and K-12 education. There’s still a great deal of good work to do which is why I am asking voters for a second term.

What do you think are the 2/3 biggest issues facing the city/county/state right now?

My top legislative priorities are to prioritize investment in our state’s infrastructure, and to increase the standard of living for hard working Michiganders. This can be achieved by driving down the cost of insurance and increasing household incomes by promoting skill trades opportunities.

How do you plan to address these issues?

First, let’s start with discussing skilled trades. Communities across the state can learn a lot from the things we are doing well here in West Michigan with respect to skills training. These best practices should be replicated across the state. I’m working hard in Lansing to ensure that students have more options in our state when it comes to career and technical education. Many of our graduation requirements are set up to put kids on track for a four-year university degree and while that works well for some students, it is not a fit for everyone. Providing additional flexibility in K-12 education is something I have been a champion of in Lansing and I’m happy to see some progress in this area since I’ve taken office. But there is still more to be done.

Next, when it comes to auto-insurance, reforming our system to eliminate fraud, limiting and eliminating benefits for those that don’t pay their fair share into the system, and ensuring that we are not paying inflated rates for attendant care are all items that can drive down the cost of insurance for drivers. These are common sense reforms that I’ll continue to advocate for in our state.

With respect to infrastructure. Since my election, Republicans in the state house have accelerated the reconstruction of Michigan roads and bridges with the largest annual investment in the state’s history amounting to around $4 billion dollars. We’ve made more progress in this area than any previous legislature. If re-elected, I’ll continue to prioritize spending on roads and make every effort to do so without increasing taxes. There is still waste in government and in the Michigan Department of Transportation. This must be rooted out before elected officials can say they need more money from taxpayers to fix our roads.

What qualifications/experiences set you apart from your opponents?

Prior to serving in the state house, I had extensive experience chairing committees and boards both in non-profit and business environments. Having served my first term in the legislature, I now have experience translating these skills to work in government. I have strong ties to the West Michigan business communities and have been a member of the West Coast Chamber's Public Policy Committee for many years. I have a strong grasp of state issues and the ability to connect our community with the resources it needs to be successful.

Name: Jerry A Sias

Political party (if applicable): Democrat.

Office you’re running for: Michigan House of Rep, District 89th.

Age: 47 years old.

Occupation: Retired Electrician.

Education: Studied electrical theory at G.R.C.C.

Elected offices held: None.

Community Involvement: Commander of the Grand Haven V.F.W.

Why are you running for office?

I'm running to represent the middle class, working poor, retired, and small business owners who have been left behind in this economy. I’m not going to Lansing to make new laws and regulations. I’m going to Lansing to repeal, and replace laws that have weakened the Middle Class and small business.

What do you think are the 2/3 biggest issues facing the city/county/state right now? How do you plan to address this?

1. Mental Health is a massive issue in Ottawa County. In 2014 our county lost 7 million dollars in funding while caseloads increased by 11%. We passed a millage in 2016 for 3 Mill but still face a 4 million dollar deficit. This issue will be resolved by eliminating the red tape in Lansing and more funding.

2. Auto Insurence needs reform. Michigan auto insurance rates are the highest in the country. Our insurance rates should not be determined by your zip code, income, and credit rating. As a survivor of a near catastrophic auto accident, I know the importance of quality insurance.

What qualifications/experiences set you apart from your opponents?

I've had many experiences in my life which gives me a unique understanding of issues that face the citizens of Michigan. I served eight years in the military. After my service, I started an electrical apprenticeship worked my way up to became a union foreman and started my own electrical business. In my fourth year of business, I was in a catastrophic auto accident and was forced to retire from the electrical trade.

Now I want to serve my country again by becoming your state Representative. I will bring the knowledge of being a working-class family, soldier, leader, small business owner, and a survivor.

Name: Beverly Zimmerman

Political party (if applicable): Republican

Office you’re running for: State House of Representatives 89th District

Age: 60

Occupation: Retired

Education: Behavioral field with Schools, Juvenile Prisons, Special needs children and adults and Senior citizens. Some college and two Correctional Academies.

Elected offices held: Currently an elected 10th Precinct Delegate

Community Involvement: Volunteer for Special Olympics, Scool dances and for Special needs Preschoolers.

Why are you running for office? We do not get proper representation from the people currently in office. It is time for a change. The average citizen has no voice in Lansing.

What do you think are the 2/3 biggest issues facing the city/county/state right now?

Education, Tax protection for seniors and Environmental quality.

How do you plan to address these issues?

Job skills for high school students, Freeze property tax assesment for seniors based on age and income level, Frequent and consistent testing of all municipal water supplies.

What qualifications/experiences set you apart from your opponents?

Actual life experiences such as teaching, actually working with seniors with fixed incomes and knowing their concerns and fears, living in an area with chemical contamination and the detrimental affects on life, property values and the lack of concern by the companies and state government.

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