There are many ways to get into politics, from volunteering to studying political science or public policy to working on a campaign that’s local to you. Many successful politicians boast advanced degrees and military service, but there are no indicators or guarantees that a politician is going to deliver on their campaign promises. In some cases, it is young people with big ideas and strong convictions about what’s right, that are able to follow through on the issues they run on and make a difference for their constituents.
In the case of former Michigan State Representative Steve Marino, an early interest in and affinity for politics has helped to guide his career choice. After serving as Senior Class President in high school, and Student Body President at Michigan State University, he opened his own business and became a lobbyist. His three bachelor’s degrees in Economics, Public Policy and Public Administration, and Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy all provide him with a base of knowledge on how the political system works. He was then elected to the Macomb County Board of Commissioners before running for the Michigan House.
Since completing the maximum allowed three terms in the Michigan House, Steve Marino is now pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University. During his time in office, Marino ran and won as a Republican, with a strong emphasis on small business and overall economic growth. His career will be one to watch, but how does he rate on keeping his promises?
When politicians are campaigning, it can sometimes feel like they’ll say anything to get elected. Campaign promises are often forgotten or sidelined as priorities are set and alliances are created to push through what is considered to be the most important pieces of legislation. Revisiting some of Marino’s original goals from his initial 2016 campaign will help to give us insight into his commitment to the issues he ran on.
2016 Priorities vs. Accomplishments
A quick visit to Ballotpedia gives a glimpse into Marino’s aspirations as he sought his first term. Looking back 7 years later, his accomplishments can be measured against what he initially set out to do.
Jobs were priority #1
- 2016: “For Michigan to continue its economic comeback, we must pursue solutions that make our state a magnet for jobs so people can afford to live, work, and raise a family here. We must reject the failed policies of the past that once killed jobs and drove Michigan’s economy into the ground.“
In his time in the Michigan House, Marino voted in favor of small businesses and economic growth 100% of the time. He earned The Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) Legislator of the Year award in 2021 and was declared a Legislative Economic Development Champion by the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA).
Marino wrote more than 20 Public Acts that focused on bolstering economic development incentives, aiding small businesses, and promoting economic diversification. Through his work with the MEDC, record-breaking investments were achieved from 2020-2022, and his work on a small business acceleration package yielded state grants and entrepreneurial growth.
- 2016: “When politicians overspend, too often their solution is to raise taxes. In order to keep Michigan competitive, we must keep taxes low for workers, job creators, and families.“
In 2022, Marino voted to reduce “certain tax rates and expand credits and exemptions for seniors, families, and other individuals,” which achieved a total state tax decrease of $2.5 billion. In 2021, he voted to establish multiple Property Tax Exemptions and in 2017, he voted to establish Tax Incentives for Job Creation by businesses.
- 2016: “A bright future with a good job begins with a great education. The federal government shouldn’t be dictating standards for our neighborhood schools; parents know what’s best for their children and we need to ensure more decisions are made at the local level.“
In 2021, Marino sponsored a bill requiring students to complete a Personal Finance Course before graduation and has been a continuous advocate for vocational training and dual enrollment. He also voted to increase funding for public schools and to increase pay for student teachers.
Protect freedom and defend values
- 2016: “Too many politicians want to dismantle the Constitution and erode our rights. Freedom is worth fighting for and as your state representative, Steve will take an oath to defend our shared values.“
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented infringements on personal liberties, Martino voted to return the power to the people at every opportunity to do so. He voted to prohibit a governmental entity from mandating the use of vaccine passports, voted to pass a bill that repealed the Governor’s Emergency Powers Act of 1945, and voted to pass a bill that authorized immunity for businesses from COVID-19 exposure lawsuits.
At only 34 years old, Steve Marino has the potential for a long career ahead of himself. Thanks to his consistency and straightforward approach to the issues that matter most, he’s all but guaranteed to see it through to the highest levels.