Two small business owners vie for West Michigan House seat

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — Two small business owners will contest the Nov. 8 election for Michigan House seats.

Republican Angela Rigas will run against U.S. Navy veteran and Democrat Kimberly Kennedy-Barrington in the 79th District race that covers M-6 Kent County to the south but west of Otto and some Allegan and Barrie counties.

Rigas, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, describes herself on her campaign website as “pro-life and pro-liberty” and “a voice for the voiceless students, children and veterans.” The Alto resident is a small business owner and a previous delegate to the county and state Republican conventions.

Kennedy-Barrington or Byron Center is the founder of 100 Shades of Diverse Abilities L3C. The small business owner is disabled after surviving a stroke and cancer and is a member of the Michigan Rehabilitation Services Commission.

MLive/Grand Rapids Press has partnered with the Michigan Nonpartisan Coalition of Women Voters to provide readers with candidate information. Each candidate was asked to outline their positions on the various public policy issues listed below.

All responses in the Voter Guide are submitted directly by candidates and are not edited by the League of Women Voters, unless necessary pruning is made when responses exceed the character limit. Spelling and grammar have not been corrected. It is entirely in the public service interest to issue candidate statements and opinions and should not be considered endorsement. The coalition never supports or opposes any candidate or party.

For information on races in other state, county and local primaries, visit

What, if anything, should Michigan do to 1) provide equitable, quality public education for all students and 2) address teacher shortages?


“Making public schools competitive by increasing students’ access to alternative schools such as charter schools, religious schools and home schools also gives students spare cash.

Create a more competitive environment for our educators (competitive wages, insurance and retirement) through competitive public and private school choices to ensure our students receive the best education possible. “


“In the past 24 months, many parents have had to become teachers for them and other children. Parents of children with special needs have had to carry this burden alone. I think all parents should earn a paraprofessional certification and be paid to teach Their children. Parents with graduate and undergraduate degrees should award those credits to teaching degrees and award teaching certificates.”

What policies do you support to help Michigan residents improve their financial situation?


“Abolish income taxes, lower property taxes, and make Michigan more business-friendly to encourage business. Eliminate gas taxes and return unnecessary spending to tax-paying citizens.”


“Redistribute wealth to strengthen the backbone of our economy, the small business. Michigan can remove market barriers and empower entrepreneurs across industries, services and products. I will make sure grassroots organizations and their leaders are informed about federal and state funding when will it be available.”

What state policies do you support for elections, campaign finance, and voting rights in Michigan?


“Elections should be fair and strong to ensure a transparent election process. This must be done through voter ID laws and make Michigan a closed primary state. Absentee ballots should be reserved for military/out-of-county and disabled people only.

Black money is corrupt and must be kept out of the electoral process and quarterly reports of all campaigns must be established. Violations must be promptly investigated and resolved. “


“Integrity of Voter Rights Respect for diversity, equity and inclusion and to consider the diverse ability of citizens to vote is critical. Voters need to safeguard their right to vote for accessibility, convenience and autonomy. There is currently no mandate Require access to polling centres, so I’m going to introduce the bill.”

What actions or policies do you support to protect Michigan’s water, air and land for present and future generations? What is your position on energy efficiency and renewable energy?


“Conservation is an important issue, especially for Michigan. Invasive species have to be dealt with by support groups that are already addressing this issue.

It’s great if renewable energy is more efficient or already cleaner than current energy sources. An efficient and truly renewable form of renewable energy is nuclear energy. Investing in natural gas will also give our state an edge over other areas in energy production. “


“I started with me and my campaign with minimal paper use. With over 875 candidates running, this would be a ton of papers tossed around. The Michigan governor and current lawmakers are currently working on water and Air Solutions, I will join and support them.”

How will you address racial, economic, health, and educational inequities, including 23 percent of Michigan’s children and 17 percent of poor seniors?


“Bring real education into our schools and remove damaging rhetoric and politics from education. Cut taxes and facilitate bringing business and jobs back to Michigan. Ensure health care is competitive to ensure better delivery for individuals rate.”


“Expanding the services of the MiAble program. Millions of Americans with disabilities depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care, food, and housing. Many of these benefits require meeting the eligibility criteria that limit the eligibility of individuals with reported assets greater than $2,000. The means or resource test. The federal Achieving a Better Living Experience (ABLE) Act authorizes states to establish tax-advantaged savings plans so that people with disabilities can save and invest without compromising eligibility for public benefits.

Donate up to $16,000 per year. With the ABLE to Work Act, additional income can be saved. “

What, if any, should be done to curb gun violence in our communities?


“Support local law enforcement, introduce gun safety programs in education. Improve safety in educational institutions, remove restrictions on gun purchases by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, and make Michigan a Constitution-carrying state and keep Michigan your base state.”


“When you apply for a gun license, you should take a psychological test and if you fail, you should not buy a gun. Michigan’s gun license is valid for 5 years, and I think the psychological test should be done 6 months before it expires, and those who fail the license should be Revocation. In the event of a firearm incident, especially a concealed carry weapon permit should be revoked!”

November 2022 general election

Information about the Michigan State race can be found at

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