BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
The campaign to represent the 43rd District in the state house includes two Independence Township trustees, Jose Aliaga and Andrea Schroeder, vying for the Republican nomination.
The race has turned negative against Aliaga, who said he has received several personal attacks over the past few weeks.
“I’ve been getting attacks, questioning my loyalty to the United States,” Aliaga said.
A mailing from Schroeder’s campaign cites Aliaga’s campaign for office in his native country of Peru as part of the Partido Solidaridad Nacional, as well as fellow candidate Anthony Bartolotta of Waterford’s work with Waterford Democrats, with Schoeder being the “only real Republican for state representative in the 43rd District.”
Also, The Clarkston News received anonymously in the mail Aliaga’s work-performance records from his job with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The records, which redact the candidate’s identity record numbers, bank account numbers, and other personal information, include unsatisfactory competencies reports from January 2017 to January 2018.
The performance stems from an overloaded system with not enough staff, using old computers designed to handle 400 clients, instead trying to help more than 900, Aliaga said.
None of the information indicates any inappropriate behavior or anything that would disqualify him from representing his district, he pointed out.
“This is my personal life – to think they would go that far, to send it to The Clarkston News,” he said. “I can’t recall anything like this.”
Schroeder said neither she nor her campaign sent the HHS information. However, she received a copy through email.
“I was disturbed by the contents, by what it says about his job performance,” she said. “It affects the sick and poor, those he was supposed to help. The state entrusted him to take care of vulnerable people.”
When you hold the public trust as an elected official, you should be held to a higher public standard, she said.
“Unsatisfactory job performance, not just once, but continually – it’s disappointing,” she added.
Her campaign mailing includes oppositional research available through a internet search, including a 2009 article in The Clarkston News.
“It’s information voters should know about candidates who want to be state representative,” she said. “People in the community know me. They see me in the community, not just when campaigning.”
Most of her campaign involves knocking on doors, talking to voters, and staying actively involved in the community, she said.
“The campaign is going very well. I’m very happy it’s not 100 degrees out or raining,” she said.
She is the only candidate with kids in the school district, and with experience with local government, community organizations, state regulatory agencies, and the school board, she said.
Aliaga said he has received several calls and emails from residents disgusted with the negative campaigning.
“I never attacked anybody. I work hard, knocking on doors,” he said. “This means I’m winning the election.”
The HHS mailing to the newspaper shows the “Lansing establishment” is against him, he said.
“The election is very much establishment versus the people,” he said. “I am a candidate of the people. I will deliver what I promise.”
He is a “real Republican,” having publicly supported Donald Trump’s campaign for president and his presidency since 2016.
“Whatever he promises, he does it. Whether you agree or disagree, he does it,” Aliaga said. “I go to different places and people ask, ‘why do you support him, you
’re Hispanic, and he hates Hispanics.’ That’s not true. He doesn’t want human trafficking, sex trafficking. He wants to secure the border. No country has an open border.”
As representative, he would support changing the way insurance companies set rates, no tax increases, more support for veterans, defend the Second Amendment, and more funds to fix the roads.
“I would insist on guarantees in road work contracts – five year guarantees,” he said.
A legal immigrant to the U.S., he would not support sanctuary cities in Michigan, Common Core in the schools, nor social changes in schools such as gender-neutral bathrooms.
Schroeder would work to continue job creation in professional areas and skilled trades started by Gov. Rick Snyder, adapt schools to prepare students for future jobs, promote diverse business sectors and increasing foreign investment, and make sure taxes are used wisely.
A letter to the editor in last week’s Clarkston News was signed by the rest of the Independence Township Board in support of Schroeder’s campaign.
“These are the people who know who would be best to do the job of governance,” said Schroeder, who also received endorsements from The Detroit News, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and Right to Life of Michigan.
“We all like Jose. He’s a personable guy,” she said. “Good luck to Jose. I wish him well. We have to serve together. We’ve had disagreements, but we serve well together.”
Aliaga also said they have had healthy disagreements on the board but work well together.
The 43rd District includes part of Oakland County, including part of Waterford Township, city of Lake Angelus, City of the Village of Clarkston, and Independence Township. Incumbent 43rd District Rep. Jim Tedder is running for the Michigan Senate, 12th District. The Michigan primary election is Aug. 7. The Republican and Democratic nominees will run for the Michigan House seat the general election on Nov. 6.