This morning Rep. Larry Inman met with concerned citizens Berta Meserve, Lynne VanNess, Kathleen Steeves and myself. Rep. Inman was cordial, pleasant and evasive. We spent an hour discussing various issues.
A member of our group was curious about why the Representative will not complete the 2018 Political Courage Test despite repeated requests from Votesmart.org. Inman said he receives so many surveys that many end up in a box in his office. He said he is unfamiliar with the survey.
Ms. Steeves, who is very knowledgeable about education issues, tried to get his views on how to fund our schools. There was a long, winding answer from Rep. Inman about Michigan losing and gaining population. To me it was not at all clear on how he plans to put more money into education. There was a suggestion that corporations should pay their fair share. He agreed and thought that was a good idea. The educator had a very specific answer about Nestle paying more to the State for the water they take out of the ground.
Rep. Inman talked in general terms about the Foundation Gap Differential but was not clear on solving the money gap our students get vs. other students in the State.
Inman was asked if he would support a 4-year pre-kindergarten program. He said he would and maintained that there are funds available right now to do that. Asked if he would support a 45-cent gas tax to fund education and roads. He said no.
We wanted to know how he felt about for-profit schools being funded with tax payer dollars. These hard-to-come-by education dollars end up in the pockets of the for-profit shareholders. He failed to answer that question adequately.
Asked if he would support the bill banning abortion after 20 weeks being written by Sen. Curt VanderWall, Rep. Inman seemed surprised and said that that bill would never come up for a vote. He then went on to tell us he is a big supporter of Planned Parenthood.
Today we became aware that the legislature is going to once more propose a hunting season for the Sand Hill Crane. Representative Inman expressed a lack of knowledge of the bird. After we described the character, size and majesty of the bird, he gave us the impression that he might be interested in protecting the crane.
Finally, we asked how we could follow him on issues. Was there a way online? He said, "no". He suggested calling his office and speaking to his assistants or meeting with him as we did today at the Cottage Restaurant. This does not solve the obvious problem. How are we to know his views on a bill before it comes up for a vote? That information is very difficult to find. Perhaps that is the way he likes it. Today, Rep. Inman claimed to be a moderate Republican with lots of Democratic friends he works with. He claims not to be a Tea Party Republican.