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Elected Libertarian councilman campaigned on high city debt

Libertarian Councilman Erwin Haas
Erwin Haas,
Kentwood, Mich., City Commissioner

Thanks to newly-elected Libertarian Erwin Haas, the people in Kentwood, Mich., a suburb of Grand Rapids, now know there's a huge public debt problem.

Haas won a tightly contested race to unseat incumbent Maurice Groce by 68 votes, for the second ward seat of the city commission. The vote was 1,105 to 1,037.

Haas may have won his race because he disagreed with his opponent on the size of the city's debt.

"My campaign pointed out that we had $30 million in debt, which surprised and shook up a lot of voters," said Haas.

He notes that this debt was incurred by unnecessary expenditures for a new city hall, a hall of justice, and a library.

"As a result, taxes have had to be increased, pinching many a resident who would like to spend that money to pay for medications or for paint for their houses," he said.

Haas plans to immerse himself in the city's various financial documents.

"I'm going to immerse myself in the budget and financial statements, learn how the city works, connect with my fellow commissioners, citizens, and the city staff, and hopefully help forestall financial unpleasantness."

A retired physician, Erwin Haas served as a flight surgeon in Vietnam and has written for LewRockwell.com, Liberty magazine, and Medical Economics. He holds an M.B.A. degree and has taught marketing at Grand Valley State University.