This is interview #26 in JohnsonForAmerica.com’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day. A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!
Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Eric Larson. Eric graduated from the University of Michigan Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Science and Engineering in nuclear engineering. He then attended the University of Iowa College of Medicine where he earned his M.D. and then anesthesiology specialty training certification. Eric and his wife Marcy settled in West Michigan to raise their family and practice medicine. Eric is an anesthesiologist who works throughout the Grand Rapids metro area. They live in Cascade with their three wonderful children. Eric is now running for State Representative in Michigan’s 72nd district.
Josiah Schmidt: What compelled you to enter elective politics?
Eric Larson: I entered elective politics out of a deep concern for my state’s economy and poor decisions made in state government. I am concerned that my children won’t have the same opportunities that I did and want to do what I can to turn our state around.
Josiah Schmidt: What issues are most important to Michiganders?
Eric Larson: The most important issues to Michiganders are obviously the economy and unemployment situation. Michigan is near the bottom of personal income growth, employment, and job/business creation nationwide. Many of these problems were at least facilitated in part by bad state government policies and these need to be corrected.
Josiah Schmidt: What do you offer that your opponents do not?’
Eric Larson: I believe that I am the best qualified candidate for the state house of representatives because I have proven a commitment to individual liberty. Also, as a physician I have specialized knowledge in health care issues that will be useful in dealing with the state budget which is dominated by health care costs.
Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?
Eric Larson: I suppose my liberty positions evolved over time. It began probably with Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand. I then read more from liberty/freedom authors like Hayek, von Mises, and the writings in Reason magazine. I’ve been influenced by people like Stossel and Napolitano and then contemporary politicians like Jefferson, Ron Paul and Czech president Klaus.
Josiah Schmidt: What is the first thing you will do as a State Representative?
Eric Larson: As state representative my first goal is to reverse a lot of the wrong-headed economic policies enacted by the state government. Elimination of targeted tax cuts through the MEDC/MEGA (which is just another derivation of command and control economic policy). Implementation of a right-to-work state so that workers are not compelled to join a union to work. Improve government transparency by forcing all units of government to ‘open the books’ and keep my votes online and interactive with my constituents.
Josiah Schmidt: Which area of government spending would you most like to cut?
Eric Larson: I am most interested in addressing the out of control spending for state workers. They are our employees yet while we continue to take pay cuts they receive pay increases and get benefits outside of what is attainable in the private sector. We must get this pay in line before we create a dangerous situation with two classes of citizens: government workers and the taxpayers.
Josiah Schmidt: What will you do to help bring jobs and businesses back to Michigan?
Eric Larson: Basically, we need to create incentives to organically grow jobs by improving the labor market by making Michigan a right-to-work state and decrease business taxes (cut the MBT and property taxes). Also, ending the MEDC/MEGA and bad programs like the film incentive subsidy.
Josiah Schmidt: How should the state of Michigan respond to the passage of Obamacare?
Eric Larson: The state of Michigan should respond by passing HCR Z which prevents any Michigan citizen from being compelled to purchase health insurance. The rest will rely on education at the state level where we need to inform people of the very dangerous implications of the bill. If the people of Michigan resist the bill either in implementing it or participating in it they will effectively negate its effect.
Josiah Schmidt: Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Eric Larson: I would like to extend my thanks to you to give me this opportunity to give your readers a glimpse into my campaign. Our district already has a great liberty minded representative, Justin Amash, who has served as an inspiration to me in what can be accomplished as a principled person in Lansing. He’s leaving office to run for Congress and I hope to follow the precendence that he has set with transparency and standing true to the message of individual liberty.
Josiah Schmidt: Where can people go to find out more about you and contribute to your campaign?
Eric Larson: People can visit my website at www.ericlarson2010.com and sign up for email alerts or volunteer (even if they are out of state we could use their help on the phones around the primary in late July). You can also donate to the campaign there online or get the address for checks. I’m on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Larson/237929759141 or on twitter at http://twitter.com/EricLLarson.