Gretchen Driskell Wins Race for 52nd House District
Gretchen Driskell plans to keep campaign promise and restore education funding.
Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell is now the newly elected state representative for Michigan's 52nd District.
With 124 of the 169 precincts counted, Driskell had 17,460 votes and Mark Ouimet had 17,207, according to unofficial results from Washtenaw County.
Driskell ran against incumbent Republican Ouimet of Scio Township. Driskell, who has been Saline mayor since 1999, was critical of the Republicans' cuts to revenue sharing payments to municipalities since announcing her campaign in March.
"I don't want to cut any more revenues," she said.
She said she plans to have a more detailed plan by January but she said her focus will be restoring education funding, a major platform of her campaign.
"What really resonated when I went door to door and talked to people was their concern about school funding for their kids, class sizes and the education that their kids were getting," she said.
Driskell said she wants to invest in the community and improve K-12 education.
"Job growth is important but, at the end of the day, education is a part of economic growth," she said.
Driskell faced tough competition against Ouimet since the 52nd District was redrawn in 2010, making it more friendly to Republicans because heavily Democratic areas in Ann Arbor were replaced by more Republican-leaning areas. However, she managed to win with a margin of more than 250 votes.
Marina Muchnik, of Saline, said she voted for Driskell because she wanted to see her move up despite that taxes were raised when she was in office.
"I think she was a good mayor for Saline," she said.
Karena Tolford, of Saline, also voted for Driskell.
"I voted for her because she was the previous mayor for Saline and I feel like Saline is doing well," she said.
Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said Tuesday's election was a big win for the Democrats in Michigan.
"Michigan House Democrats are excited to welcome many new colleagues to the House and we're eager to get to work on behalf of our state," he said. "All over Michigan, voters favored Democratic candidates and our message of making education a priority again. I am so proud of the extraordinary effort that our candidates and supporters gave over these last months.
"We look forward to working with the governor and House and Senate Republicans to ensure that we do what is best for all the citizens in the great state of Michigan.”