State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, a conservative who has clashed with Gov. Rick Snyder on Medicaid expansion and higher fuel taxes, announced Thursday that he is running for governor in 2018.
The 51-year-old aerospace engineer, who first won election in 2010 during the tea party wave, is the second Republican to actively campaign for the job, though more are expected to jump in. Snyder cannot run again due to term limits.
"Michigan deserves principled solutions that prioritize the best interests of all of our citizens, not an influential few," Colbeck said in an email to supporters. "I have spent my career engineering innovative solutions that satisfy the best interests of my customers. It is about time that elected officials remember that our customers are all of our citizens not simply the ones who contributed the most to our campaigns. The government works for the people, not the other way around."
Colbeck, of Wayne County's Canton Township, made his announcement during the same week that other likely GOP candidates such as Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley are attending the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference. Colbeck has been an outspoken critic of expanding government-provided health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, hiking gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees to better fund roads, and implementing Common Core education standards.
Most recently, Colbeck's bill to create an anti-abortion "Choose Life" fundraising license plate has gained traction in the Legislature.
Calley on Thursday plans to unveil more proposals to "clean up Lansing," two days after he said he is spearheading a 2018 ballot drive to make the Legislature part-time. Schuette on Wednesday announced the creation of a new unit in his office to prosecute heroin dealers and doctors who overprescribe prescription drugs.
Until now, Saginaw doctor Jim Hines has been the only Republican to be actively campaigning.