Gerard Akkerhuis for Michigan House District 82 – Grand Rapids

Gerard on Kent Trails
Kent County Green Party Meeting

About this

Hello, I’m Gerard Akkerhuis, running for Michigan House District 82, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’ve been a member of the Green Party since 1987. I’m running to promote election and campaign finance reform, to promote third parties and rank choice voting. There must be more freedom to choose between parties, instead of only two. Even with the political divisions of today’s political climate, these two, Democratic and Republican, are both invested in the same old system, making little progress for real systemic change. At this point, we need seismic reform in all areas of society and culture, technology and economy. I trust the values of the Green Party to guide us through these cataclysmic times.

Here’s my answers to several candidate surveys:
Mom’s Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate
I commit to governing with gun safety in mind and promoting equity across all communities.
Do you believe that state elected officials have a role to play in addressing gun violence in the United States? YES
Do you support expanding the federal background checks requirement, which currently enables prohibited people to buy a gun from an unlicensed seller with no questions asked? YES
3) Do you support empowering family members and law enforcement to petition a judge for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (a.k.a “Red Flag law”)? YES
Do you support policies requiring gun owners to store their firearms securely — locked and inaccessible to unauthorized users, including children and prohibited people? YES
Do you commit to educating the public about the unique role firearms play in America’s suicide epidemic? YES
Do you support prohibitions on building “ghost guns” at home outside of the background check system? YES
Do you support state legislation that prohibits gun possession by domestic abusers convicted of domestic violence and/or subject to final protection orders, and ensures domestic abusers to turn in their guns promptly after becoming prohibited purchasers? YES
Do you support state permitting requirements, including firearm safety training, in order to carry concealed handguns in public? YES
Do you support a law prohibiting the open carry of firearms in public? YES
Do you support police accountability measures that promote deescalation, promote transparency, and that aim to eliminate unnecessary use of force? YES
Do you oppose Stand Your Ground laws, which allow people to shoot and kill others even if they could safely and easily avoid using deadly violence? YES
Do you oppose allowing guns in K-12 schools and colleges, outside of trained law enforcement and security staff? YES
) Do you oppose broad firearms preemption laws, which block local officials from passing and enforcing laws that keep communities safe from gun violence? YES
I follow a peace testimony of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). I believe there is cause for self defense and the right to fight a corrupt government.
Public education is necessary for a democratic society. As essential workers, teachers must be paid a living wage with good benefits and be able to work in a safe and comfortable work environment. The public education system has to be equal to any alternative systems available.

I support small businesses that are invested in their communities and neighborhoods, pay living wages, but also have fair prices for an inclusive customer base.
Fair and equal voting rights are essential for a democratic society. Money should have no place in elections. Our current electoral system is built for the privileged few who can afford to campaign.

We need massive changes in our society, the economy, infrastructure and energy use to protect the environment. I approve of energy efficiency and conservation. Any technology has harmful effects. We need to be aware of those dangers and minimize them as must as possible. Industries must have transparency and be regulated.

We all have to confront our biases and ignorance about others. We’re so diverse and insulated from each other. We need to get to know each other and care for each other. There has to be drastic changes in our economy and institutions to create equity. This is an issue that has troubled our country since its foundation. A healthy society ensures that the care of children and elders is a priority.
Guns should only be available for self defense of homes, for hunting or the military. They should be highly regulated and controlled by any means possible. Life is full of danger and a role of government is to protect us from danger, whether it is pollution, drugs, war, technology and crime etc. I believe guns create more danger than they are worth. Gun violence in our communities is a social illness that stems from a long history of racism and inequality and society’s obsession with violence.
The Michigan 100% Clean Energy Climate Pledge:
As a candidate and potential future member of the Michigan State Legislature, I pledge to:
1. Play an active role in moving our state towards 100% economy-wide carbon neutrality by mid
Century, including supporting 100% renewable energy generation by 2035.
2. Introduce and support legislation that advances:
a. Clean energy deployment (such as distributed resources, battery storage, and statewide
renewable portfolio standards),
b. Energy efficiency (including weatherization, demand reduction, and electrification),
c. Decarbonized transportation (including charging infrastructure, public transit, and vehicle
supply standards), and
d. Non-energy sector climate mitigation efforts (including reforestation and restorative

3. Support legislation that ensures a just transition to a 100% clean economy for
disproportionately impacted and overburdened communities as described in the Justice40
4. Use my power as a represented voice to lead the people of Michigan, and to push relevant
stakeholders to support a just transition to a 100% clean economy, even when faced with

Yes, I agree to take the Michigan Climate Pledge

Relevant experience – Master of Social Work, Grand Valley State University, 1990, 40+ years of volunteer work in civic organizations, 22+ years working in the Kent County Courthouse
Public offices – none
Involvement in environmental causes – Active in the Green Party for 35 years
Membership in any environmental organizations – Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Green Party, WMEAC

Identify your top environmental concerns – Climate Change, War, Environmental Inequity and Injustice, Alternative Energy and Transportation

Describe your environmental achievement(s) and/or your actions which you believe have had
the most impact on protecting the environment in your community: Car free for 30 years, environmental and bicycle advocacy, composting and recycling, gardening and natural landscaping.

As of the date of submission of this questionnaire, what are your campaign’s fundraising and
voter contact goals? How much progress have you made toward accomplishing these goals so
far? Social media and website development is almost complete. Candidate surveys completed. I don’t believe in campaign financing so I don’t plan on spending any money.


After decades of regulatory negligence, chronic underfunding, and corporate malfeasance,
environmental protections once meant to clean up and protect our Great Lakes have been
degraded. The signs are everywhere; toxic chemicals pollution, large algae blooms from factory
farm pollution, invasive species, agricultural wastes dumped in waterways, proliferation of
shoreline development, disappearing habitats for wildlife, outdated water infrastructure, and
weakened wetland protections. The Great Lakes are also threatened by aging oil pipelines and
new pipeline proposals. When the Lakes are unhealthy, it is a drain on our economy and it
means fewer jobs for the region, especially Michigan. Just as concerning, unhealthy lakes mean
fewer people can enjoy our beaches, our fishing, our waterways and the clean, affordable
drinking water upon which we rely.

A. Do you support decommissioning unsafe existing pipelines, limiting the construction of
new ones, and increasing pipeline safety? Yes. I don’t trust Enbridge or any other large energy company to keep the Great Lakes safe on their own. Instead of investing in more fossil fuel infrastructure, move to alternative energy and conservation.

B. Do you support the expansion of the public trust doctrine in statute to groundwater of
our state? Here is a brief primer on public trust. Yes, water must be protected from abuses and profit making enterprises. Clean water is a right of all living beings. There is a role for government to ensure that.

C. Over the past three decades, Michigan has chronically underinvested and disinvested
in essential water infrastructure. Michigan has an over $2 billion annual gap for the
next 20 years in drinking water, stormwater, and sewer infrastructure needs; and will
continue to grow as we face flooding and contamination from climate change and
poisoned water supplies from toxic chemicals, such as lead, dioxin, and PFAS. With
federal dollars coming in and state budget surplus, we have a once-in-a-century
opportunity for Michigan to begin to build a healthy, just, and equitable future that
centers on clean water. With this in mind, would you support continued real and
substantial investments in our water infrastructure? Yes, water must be a priority or we will all end up in situations like New Orleans, Flint and Jackson or droughts and forest fires like out west.

D. Will you support legislation aimed at reducing agricultural nutrient runoff which leads
to toxic algae blooms in the Great Lakes? This includes banning the application of
livestock manure/waste and chemical fertilizers on frozen or snow-covered ground,
and reducing the agronomic rate for phosphorus from manure applications to match
the rate recommended for other forms of phosphorus fertilizer. Yes, support for small farms and farmers that use healthy farming practices should be a priority. Take out the large corporations that are polluting.


Quick ID| Last Name: Gerard Akkerhuis House/Senate District Sought: 82 Party Affiliation: Green Party
Climate disruption is the greatest environmental challenge of this century and is the Sierra Club’s
number #1 priority. Science demands that we take bold action to reduce carbon pollution.
For the health of the planet, the public, and the economy, Michigan must continue to transition to a
100% clean energy future, and do so in ways that advance economic, racial, and gender justice and
create family-sustaining jobs. We must consistently choose clean energy over the dirty fuels of the
One of the solutions to expanding renewable energy is through energy freedom. Energy freedom
seeks to expand microgrids, community solar, get rid of the cap on net metering, as well as improve
rates that customers receive for power sent back to the grid through rooftop solar. It gives people
more freedom on how to spend their hard-earned money by empowering them to make decisions
about the energy they use.
A. Indicate in detail your understanding of the seriousness of climate change and what
you believe the Michigan Legislature should do about it.
B. Do you support requiring Michigan’s utility companies to fully commit to 100%
renewable energy by 2035? Yes, the sooner the better.

C. Currently, Michigan has one of the most restrictive caps of distributed generation (1%
of each utility’s energy generation) which limits the number of people who can create
their own energy through rooftop solar. By removing the Cap, more people can install
solar to save money, support a cleaner environment, as well as create and protect
thousands of solar energy jobs in Michigan. As a State Legislator would you support
removing this cap? Yes, even better to remove the large energy corporations all together.

The electric utility industry is using the retirement of coal-burning power plants as an excuse to increase
our country’s dependence on unsustainable fracked gas fueled electric power plants, instead of
maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy. Overproduction of fracked gas (despite a lack of
demand) has driven the expansion of pipelines into and throughout Michigan, which are disrupting local
communities and increasing our dependence on fossil fuels.
A. Will you advocate for Michigan to focus on increasing renewable energy investments
instead of natural gas and the expansion of natural gas pipelines and infrastructure?
Yes, there are lots of other ways to produce and conserve energy. All forms of energy production and storage are not perfect, all having problems and dangers. I would advocate for more research and development to make alternative energy safer and more efficient and to make conservation a more viable option.


Quick ID| Last Name: Gerard Akkerhuis House/Senate District Sought: 82 Party Affiliation: Green Party
In order for us to achieve climate and conservation victories, we must have a healthy democracy.
Michigan ranks dead last when it comes to transparency and accountability of state government.
Michigan’s legislature has worked around the clock to double campaign contribution limits,
approve unlimited political spending by dark money groups, and pass anti-democracy legislation
that would make it harder for individuals to vote.
A. As a State Legislator, will you support legislation that increases voter participation,
strengthens the voice of the people, and enacts campaign finance reform? This includes
complete disclosure of all political campaign expenditures by for-profit and nonprofit
corporations and all political action committees, including those making independent
Expenditures? Yes, I think finance is a barrier to free and democratic elections.

B. Will you work to protect and expand Michigan residents' right to vote by opposing all
forms of voter suppression, including voter ID laws, eliminating early voting days,
reducing the number of polling places, changing polling locations just days before an
election, and reducing multi-lingual voter assistance? If not, why not?
Yes, more participation of all citizens in the electoral process will bring us a truer democracy. Everyone has the right to vote and must not be suppressed in any way. These efforts to suppress voters are designed to keep certain populations from their right to vote.

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people
regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development,
implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. The Sierra Club
is committed to environmental justice principles and working against injustices. In Michigan,
ensuring the right of all people to clean, affordable drinking water and energy is a major
environmental justice issue.
A. As a state legislator, what measures would you take to ensure safe drinking water
quality for all? Yes. What solutions would you propose to guarantee drinking water access
and affordability for all? Take profit making out of the equation. Do you support a ban on water shutoffs? No, clean water is a right of all living beings.
B. Will you support and actively promote policies that address racial, economic, social,
and environmental justice such as legislation that requires EGLE permit reviews to
take into account cumulative air pollution impacts, requires payment of the prevailing
wage, provides for hiring from local communities on climate and clean energy projects,
secures workforce training and transition planning for coal and fracked gas industry
employees, and promotes strong enforcement of environmental laws–especially in the
most disproportionately affected communities? Yes, this is part of needed reparations.

C. Will you support and actively promote strong enforcement of environmental
regulations that protect air and water quality throughout the state, including in the

Quick ID| Last Name: Gerard Akkerhuis House/Senate District Sought: 82 Party Affiliation: Green Party
most disproportionately affected communities? Will you support holding our state
environmental protection agency, EGLE, accountable to enforcing these regulations?
Yes, I’m not opposed to government regulations.

Perflouroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) are a family of chemicals found in the drinking water of
over one million Michiganders. In Michigan we have taken some important steps towards
addressing the PFAS crisis by conducting more extensive testing and moving towards setting a
drinking water standard PFAS, however, there is much more work to be done. PFAS enters human
bodies through a variety of exposure routes, not just through drinking water, and at this point we
have a “PFAS cycle” in the environment because of the extent of widespread use of these highly
toxic chemicals.
A. As a State Legislator, do you support the regulation of PFAS as a class of chemicals, as
well as regulatory standards that will take into account cumulative exposure among
vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children and infants, pregnant people, and
the chronically ill? Yes, I personally feel vulnerable to these pollutants and don’t want them in the environment.

B. As a State Legislator, will you ban the sale and use of PFAS in consumer products such
as food packaging, and do you support efforts to expand PFAS testing and labeling in
agricultural products? Yes.

Under current law, polluters can simply restrict access to a polluted site or aquifer instead of
cleaning up or treating the contamination they have caused. This allows polluters to directly profit
from the contamination of our land and water. For example, the Pall-Gelman group dumped
hundreds of thousands of gallons of 1,4 dioxane into the groundwater of Washtenaw County and the
court-approved management allows the pollution to remain and spread because there is no law
requiring that Pall-Gelman pump and treat the contaminated water.
A. As a State Legislator, will you support polluter-pay legislation that will require
polluters to clean up their toxic pollution? Yes, polluters have been let off the hook for far too long and need to pay up.


Quick ID| Last Name: Gerard Akkerhuis House/Senate District Sought: 82 Party Affiliation: Green Party
With the transportation sector making up the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the US,
and transportation pollution posing major risks to our health, ramping up our clean transportation
policies will be vital to ending the climate crisis and building healthier communities.
A. Will you support and strengthen state increased investment in electric vehicles,
charging infrastructure, expanded public transit, and fleet electrification. Will you
support a safe, affordable, equitable and accessible 21st century transportation system
that reduces oil use and cuts pollution? Yes, and I have not owned a car for 30 years. I use a bicycle or public transportation. When I do need a car, I rent one and always ask for a compact. I don’t think electric vehicles are a complete solution as they are still dependent on fossil fuels or nuclear power. More investment and development in public transportation is needed until the public is willing to use it.

The Sierra Club has adopted a public policy objective to protect 30% of publicly owned wild spaces
by 2030 and 50% by 2050. Attainment of that objective will assist in ensuring the conservation of
intact ecosystems, biodiversity, and climate resilience. Attainment of that objective will also help
achieve an important social policy adopted by the Sierra Club: citizens, especially in low income
communities, have little to no access to public recreational lands designed to bring them closer to
nature. Additionally, far too few communities have safe access to our network of protected parks
and public lands, with low-income families the least likely to benefit from a direct connection to
nature. All kids and communities deserve access to nature, which supports mental, physical, and
emotional wellbeing. Lawmakers should build on efforts to ensure every child in Michigan has an
opportunity to visit our parks and public lands, and all communities are able to access nature close
to home.
A. Will you oppose attempts to shrink or compromise existing state public lands, and
weaken protections for them? Yes. Those efforts are usually excuses to make lots of money. The profit motive is not good for the environment.

B. Will you support legislation that expands access to nature for all communities,
including our children and urban areas? Yes. We all need more nature in our lives.
C. Will you support legislation (including funding) that supports protecting at least 30%
of our land and 30% of our water by 2030? Yes, the funding is an investment in our future.
Has the candidate personally approved the responses given in this questionnaire? Yes



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