Election 2022: Candidates for Michigan Representative District 77 in their own words

·14 min read

On this year's ballot are members from both branches of the Michigan Legislature (the state House of Representatives and Senate). If you are unsure which legislative district you vote in, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center to find more information — including your sample ballot customized to your home address.

Whether you choose to vote absentee or in person, get to know the candidates before you vote by reading their responses to key issues facing Michiganders.

Here (below) are candidates in their own words. To return to the main election package, click here.

Meet the candidates

Logan Byrne (Democrat): I grew up on a small family farm in Attica, Michigan and relocated to the greater Lansing area when attending Michigan State University College of Law. I currently live in Dewitt. I am a board member on the Clinton County’s Zoning Board of Appeals and the Ingham County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section board. I am an attorney with experience in Labor, Employment, and Construction Law. I also have extensive experience in Immigration and Criminal Law and have worked with various nonprofits in Michigan and California. I currently work full-time for the Ingham County Circuit Court for the Hon. Rosemarie Aquilina. Additionally, I work part-time for the Genesee County Circuit Court for the Hon. Elizabeth Kelly, where I focus primarily on the Felony Criminal Flint Water cases. I am licensed to practice law in both Michigan and California. I am an appointee to the Clinton County Zoning Board of Appeals and active in the local Democratic party and Democratic organizations. Note: I have signed the Michigan League of Conservation Voters’ pledge to support a transition to clean and renewable energy.

Logan Byrne
Logan Byrne

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and came to Lansing at 19 to attend Michigan State University. While I love the diversity of my hometown and the experience of having been educated in public schools, I fell in love with Lansing and remained due to the culture of investing in community I found in Lansing from the start. I have now spent over 20 years working in civil rights and public policy in Lansing almost around the clock and I love it. Last spring I began the challenge of renovating a historic space for a bookstore in Downtown Lansing and in fall transitioned it to a nonprofit in order to ensure its stewardship could be board directed and its oversight community led. It opened February 2022 under volunteer stewardship as The Resistance and is focused on communities impacted by oppression. I have been proud to serve as president of the Lansing Association of Human Rights (LAHR), vice president of the board of the Firecracker Foundation, a board member of the Lansing Area AIDS Network, and an appointed committee member of the Ingham County Women’s Commission. In addition, I was federally appointed in 2015 to the Michigan Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and recently completed my second term on the committee where I served as co-chair. I have been fortunate to build a career around the issues I have spent my life fighting for. As Executive Director for Equality Michigan, I advocated for LGBT-friendly policies among legislators and other political leaders throughout the state and at every level of government. Previously, I worked in the Michigan House of Representatives for Democratic state legislators for nearly a decade, including as Chief of Staff for Representative Andy Coulouris where I focused on addressing issues of the judiciary and banking, ensuring Michigan residents could stay in their homes during Michigan’s foreclosure crisis. Since 2015 I have worked as a civil rights and political consultant focusing on civil rights issues.

Jon Horford (Democrat): Over the years, I’ve had many different titles in this community — student, athlete, coach, volunteer, mentor, and small business owner, to name a few. My dream is to see Michigan continue to grow and thrive! One of the things I enjoy most is listening and learning from other people. My passion for listening to people means members of my district will be heard on various issues that matter to them, and it will allow me to be a better advocate. I grew up in Lansing, went to Grand Ledge schools, and, after living all over the country, my wife and I have settled where we’re from because we genuinely care about the people here. I believe mid-Michigan holds the key to job opportunities, a bright future for our children, and expanded affordable housing options in our state. To make that happen, we will need strong, compassionate leaders who have experience serving our community. I am Co-Chair of Grand Ledge United; Vice-Chair Young Eaton County Democrats; member of the Michigan Black Leadership Advisory Council Health Committee; Vice-Chair of the Eaton County Parks and Recreation Commission; a Michigan Political Leadership Program Fellow; a Great Lakes Political Academy Fellow; and Rotary Club of Lansing Member. Note: I’ve taken the Operating Engineers 324 pledge, the #voteprochoice pledge, and the Michigan 100% Clean Energy/Climate Pledge.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

On systemic racism

Logan Byrne (Democrat): Michigan should continue its efforts in criminal justice reform to help address systemic racism. As an attorney, I have witnessed the inequitable application of the criminal justice system on minority communities. As a state representative, I will support modifications to Michigan’s jail credit laws, so that all individuals are entitled to credit for the time they served in jail or prison. Likewise, I support law enforcement training programs, which educate officers on the constitutional rights of immigrants to avoid civil rights violations and expensive civil rights lawsuits.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): Systemic racism exists due to a foundational imbalance of power, a long tradition of the misrepresentation and omission of the uglier facts of our country’s history and the exclusion of our Black and Brown and Indigenous communities from access and opportunities. State government cannot address racism without acknowledging the harm that occurs toward our Black, Chicano/a, Latinx and Indigenous communities; listening to those impacted regarding inequities built over time; and taking measurable action toward resolution. This means finding alternatives to carceral solutions and policing, and creating an expectation of equal representation and access to resources in every sphere.

Emily Dievendorf
Emily Dievendorf

Jon Horford (Democrat): Ignorance and extremism are costing innocent people their lives. Perpetuating dangerous lies about the threat people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and history pose to the racial hierarchy in the forms of Replacement Theory, the misunderstanding of CRT, COVID conspiracies, and the Gay Agenda conspiracy is moving America backward. I believe in racial justice for all and that the injustice of systemic racism needs to be addressed through, but not limited to: comprehensive criminal justice reform, fundamentally re-imagining police departments and their roles in BIPOC communities, and investment in BIPOC communities.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

On the COVID-19 response

Logan Byrne (Democrat): (Grade B+) While COVID-19 was unprecedented, Michigan led the nation in taking necessary steps to slow the spread of the pandemic. Retrospectively, Michigan should have taken additional steps to support local businesses and to protect our most vulnerable populations, including long-term care facility populations and nursing home populations.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): I grade the State of Michigan a B+ with Republicans taking the majority of the blame for making it difficult for the Governor to continue to lead with the strength she was able to show at the beginning of the pandemic. The state was wise to shut down when it did and led the nation in caring for its residents by doing so. Small businesses, however, could have used more support and sooner. The strong leadership shown by the Governor’s early EOs was not allowed to continue, with Republicans leaving school administrators and business leaders, who didn’t have health policy expertise, to make impossible health decisions for our children and community.

Jon Horford (Democrat): I was happy that the state moved to shut down non-essential business in the beginning of the pandemic to help save lives and reduce congestion of our hospital systems statewide. However, I think a lack of assistance/funding from the state after limiting businesses led to the closure of many businesses that would have survived had they not been forced to close/limit their offerings. Now, federal dollars need to be spent to support the industries which were hardest-hit by the COVID-19  pandemic, including small businesses, healthcare, and education.

Jon Horford
Jon Horford

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

On economic stability and inflation

Logan Byrne (Democrat): Michigan should foster an environment that encourages the creation of new businesses, while offering incentives for well-established businesses to relocate to the state. Similarly. encouraging production of locally made products will not only strengthen our regional economy but will reinforce our state’s local supply chain. Additionally, regional economic development will create high paying jobs to help fight against the rising cost of groceries and other household expenses. Likewise, agriculture, starting with the family farm, has always been the bedrock of Michigan's economy. I support a comprehensive economic plan designed to protect and nurture the already robust agricultural sector in Michigan.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): State government can pass a living wage. Health care should be more affordable. We need to keep track of the basic needs that inflation is impacting. Michigan’s budget is strong right now and is in an unusual position to support and nurture the training and growth of communities traditionally excluded from the labor market. Business incubators created and run by communities impacted by oppression should be funded. Agricultural programming and land for Black farmers should be funded. Small businesses and nonprofits need funding to survive.

Jon Horford (Democrat): The State can find ways to better educate existing business owners and people that would like to be business owners on best practices to keep their businesses open and doing well. I’ve talked with a lot of people on the doors that had businesses but missed out on opportunities to benefit from COVID relief funding because of lack of knowledge when it came to properly filing for funding or because they were unaware of available programs that would have helped.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

On election security

Logan Byrne (Democrat): Michigan has safe and secure elections, which has been verified through various audits. I accept the results of the 2020 election. Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and should be cherished and protected. Through voting, we assert our beliefs and chart the state’s political course. As such, I oppose legislation designed to infringe on this basic right and instead support measures designed to ensure that every vote counts and that all eligible voters are able to make their voices heard. I oppose any bills that are designed to make it more difficult for citizens to vote.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): I fully accept the results of the 2020 election. I am a fierce advocate for voter protection and against voter suppression. I have worked many elections in different voter protection roles and I have led two complementary statewide investigations into obstacles to voting through my position as federal appointee to the Michigan Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on which I served most recently as co-chair and recently completed my second term. Our election officials do an excellent job administering elections but face intense and increasing pressure and interference from extremist elements. Our communities most impacted by oppression and discrimination continue to face efforts to discourage their ability to cast their ballots.

Jon Horford (Democrat): I accept the results of the 2020 election. I am proud of the Secretary of State and all of our local Clerk’s for administering one of the largest and most secure elections in November 2022. Our elections are free and fair and they will stay that way if we continue making it easy for voters to vote. That’s why I support expanding equitable access to the ballot through early voting, absentee ballot pre-processing, and full funding of our election administration at all levels.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

On reproductive rights

Logan Byrne (Democrat): Decisions about whether to choose abortion, adoption, or to raise a child must be left to an individual and their family with the counsel of a doctor or health care provider — not to politicians or governmental agencies. As such, I support the right of a woman to make reproductive medical decisions about her own body. Let me be clear — I will always stand with women across the nation in their right to choose, regardless of the circumstances.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): Abortion rights are a matter of life or death. Period. I am the only candidate in this race with experience with abortion, reproductive rights, and a history of fighting for comprehensive sex education and LGBTQIA+ rights. I will not give up on this fight.

Jon Horford (Democrat): This is a pivotal moment for reproductive rights. With the uncertainty of the future of reproductive freedom on the line, it’s more important now than ever before that we elect leaders who will defend a woman’s right to choose. Our campaign is proudly pro-choice. People of color experience significantly worse health outcomes than their white peers when it comes to maternal and infant mortality, unintended pregnancy, and HIV infection rates as a result of a system that has not adequately prioritized their health care needs.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

On LGBTQ rights

Logan Byrne (Democrat): I support the inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals in the protections given by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Michigan's Ethnic Intimidation Act. LGBTQ+ individuals should not face discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or in any other aspect of life. As such, I also support amending Article I, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution to add equal protection for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): Not only do I support the amendment of ELCRA, I have personally dedicated years of my life fighting to create a fully inclusive Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and have worked to pass nondiscrimination policies at every level of government, including working with local governments across the state and with the private sector.

Jon Horford (Democrat): We need to expand the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Expanding Elliot-Larsen would also prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ citizens in employment, housing, access to public accommodations, and more. Every Michigander deserves equal protection under the law, these protections are long overdue in our state and I will continue to be an advocate for the LGBTQ community by supporting these expansions.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

Other issues of import

Logan Byrne (Democrat): While politicians played the numbers game, the needs of rural Americans have been neglected. These needs have not been lost on me. Farmers and rural businesses deserve representation and an advocate willing to fight for them in the Michigan House of Representatives. I support farmers and will advocate forcefully for policies that benefit rural Michigan. For example, I support an intentional allocation of state budget resources to rebuild Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure, which will benefit Michiganders throughout the entire state.

Emily Dievendorf (Democrat): Hate and bias crimes and incidents, Restorative and transformative justice solutions, proactive and preventive action for addressing inequities experienced by our most vulnerable communities, keeping more people in their homes while addressing housing discrimination that perpetuates segregation and houselessness.

Jon Horford (Democrat): Urban Farming. This fast-growing phenomenon has the potential to nourish the health and social fabric of communities and create economic opportunities for rural communities and  farming families that could sustain through future generations. Funding and urban contaminants are two large issues that stop urban agriculture programs from coming to fruition. The cost that comes with starting up a farm or garden is expensive. Many urban farmers also are tasked with the cost of having to rehabilitate the soil to get rid of contaminants and could use the State’s help to kickstart more investment in this growing opportunity.

John Magoola (Republican): No response.

This story was assembled from email questionnaires managed by LSJ news assistants Jayne Higo and Veronica Bolanos. Contact them at LSJ-EAs@lsj.com or 517.377.1112.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Election 2022: Candidates for Michigan Representative District 77 in their own words