No shortage of Dems seeking state House seats

Despite the heavy Republican majority in northern Oakland County, there are multiple candidates in the Democratic primary for state House Districts 45 and 46.

In District 45, three Democrats are vying for the chance to run against incumbent Republican Tom McMillin in November: Ted Golden, Joanna VanRaaphorst and Douglas Wilson. McMillin, of Rochester Hills, is unopposed on the Republican side.

In District 46, incumbent Republican Brad Jacobson of Oxford is also unopposed. Democrats David Jay Lillis and Daniel Sargent have filed as Democrats.

Due to redistricting following the 2010 Census, Oakland Township has been divided into two House districts. The township was formerly within the same district as Rochester and Rochester Hills. This year, only Precincts 4 and 7 in the southwestern part of the township are included in District 45, which still  includes all of Rochester and Rochester Hills. The rest of the township falls in District 46, which includes Oxford, Orion, Addison and Brandon townships.

District 45

Golden, a dermatologist who lives in Rochester Hills, earned his medical degree at the University of Michigan. In 2010 he ran for state Senate. On his website,, he says his interest in politics was awakened by the “abusive behavior” his family received from the legal system while he was going through a divorce. He wants to amend the state constitution to provide independent oversight of the state judicial system.

VanRaaphorst, of Rochester, co-owns a dental practice with her husband. She describes herself as a fiscally conservative, moderate Democrat. On her website,, she said she supports public schools and will work to strengthen the economy.

She has received endorsements from UAW Region 1, the National Organization for Women, DTE Energy, International Union of Operating Engineers, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights, Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Nurse’s Association.

Wilson (, of Rochester Hills, calls himself a centrist. He earned an MBA at Madonna University, served in the Army as a Czech/Russian/Slovak interpreter and has spent 20 years as a paramedic. He ran for state Senate in 2004. He points out that both of his opponents come from the medical field.

“I think I am actually quite representative of the general populace we really need in office,” he said. “There’s probably not an issue the average person on the street has been through that I cannot relate to.”

District 46

Lillis, of Lake Orion, said this is his sixth time running for public office.  He runs, he said, because of his dissatisfaction with those in office.

“We’ve got politicians who come out and talk a good story, but they don’t do the job,” he said. “The job is to represent the people of the district.”

Lillis has been a chef for 40 years and is currently working aboard the Pride of America. It makes it hard to run a campaign, but he said he made a commitment. If he wins the seat, he said he’ll work equally hard. His campaign is self-financed because he believes politicians who accept money end up beholden to someone other than their constituents.

“A lot of people run because they want the job. I’m running because I want to do the job,” he said.

Sargent, of Oxford, teaches economics and sociology at Oxford High School. A Navy veteran, he formerly served on the Lake Orion Board of Education.

“I’ve just been dismayed the last seven or eight years with what our state has been doing with education,” he said. “I want to help turn our government back into being responsive to individuals, rather than corporations.”

Sargent ( holds two master’s degrees related to education. Before becoming a teacher, he was a computer operations Manager at ATT/Ameritech.

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