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Get to know the candidates: Patrick Colbeck

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- State Senator Patrick Colbeck (R) says a lot of prayer went into his decision to run for governor.

Growing up in the Canton area, religion has always been a pillar of Colbeck's identity.

“My mom was the organist at our church and so I was in choir with her," Colbeck tells FOX 17. "I was an alter boy, the whole nine yards. So we’ve always been faithful from a faith perspective.”

Before graduating from the University of Michigan with degrees in aerospace engineering, Colbeck attended Detroit Catholic Central High school where he learned a motto that he says he carries with him.

“Our motto was ‘Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge,’ and I think that’s what helped form the base structure of who I am," Colbeck says.

Colbeck's religious discipline is what he says anchors his stances on social issues like LGBTQ rights. He recently made headlines when he helped rewrite K-12 social studies standards that stripped references to gay rights, Roe v. Wade, climate change and take the word "democratic" out of "core democratic values."

“A lot of folks are providing a, they want to make sure we talk about LGBT rights as a civil right and I said, ‘You know what? We can talk about that," Colbeck says." Let’s just make sure we’re balancing that with the discussion over religious conscience.’”

Colbeck worked in the private sector as an engineer for Boeing, an instructor at Space Camp and running small businesses.

"My focus is on problem solving," Colbeck says. "So if you’ve watched any of the debates that have happened between me and the other gubernatorial candidates, the other guys are pretty good at talking points, they’re very good with the short answers and work well with the one-minute format. Me on the other hand, I focus on solutions.”

Colbeck says his background in the private sector informs his tax policies.

“That’s what engineers like to do, they like to fix things like fix the roads without increasing taxes," Colbeck says. "Like eliminating the state personal income tax and senior pension tax, like lowering the cost of auto insurance while retaining lifetime benefits.”

Now, Colbeck says he’s running a campaign based on "principled solutions."

“This is all about principled solutions and when you talk about some basic principles, the first principle is that government works for us, not the other way around," Colbeck says.

Colbeck says as he travels across the state, he’s learning voters want many of the same things.

“I learned they’re very upset about the roads and man, I’m with them on that for sure," Colbeck says. "And I’ve probably been the most vocal opponent to the tax increase to fix our roads because it turned out to be a bait-and-switch, as I told everybody.”

Colbeck says he also wants do something about auto insurance.

“If we go back into a tort system, we can fix it and there’s a way to do so in a way that retains lifetime benefits- that’s what people are really passionate about," Colbeck says. “They’re sick and tired of politics as usual. This is not just a Republican issue, this is not just an Independent or Democratic issue, all of the above are tired of it and I’m right there with them.”

The Michigan primary election is August 7.

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