Libertarian Wenke throws hat into 6th District race

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

KALAMAZOO — A familiar face in Kalamazoo is running for the 6th District U.S. House race.

Lorence Wenke, 71, is the Libertarian candidate who previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives for six years until term limits ended his tenure.

Wenke was appointed chair of the Tax Policy Committee during his first term, chair of the Higher Education and Career Preparation Committee during his second term, and minority vice-chair of the Labor and Retiree Healthcare Committee in his final term.

Prior to his election to the State House, Wenke was a Kalamazoo County Commissioner for eight years and served as chairman for three years.

The Kalamazoo native was then defeated by Tonya Schuitmaker in the 2010 Republican Party primary election for the 20th district of the Michigan Senate.

Wenke then switched to the Libertarian Party over differences with the GOP on gay marriage and issues surrounding taxation.

“When I was in my first term in the Legislature, I was one of three Republican legislators out of 63 to vote against the addition of the Marriage Protection Amendment to Michigan’s Constitution,” Wenke recalled. “That one vote led me to somewhat be separated and punished by the Republican Party. It became what I was associated with. The more I got involved, the more I saw the amount of discrimination.”

He would go on to call representatives from the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, where he felt most connected to the latter.

Wenke, who announced his candidacy for the congressional race in June, said he stands for minimum government and maximum freedom.

“The national debt right now is the equivalent of stealing,” he said. “When you have the intention of borrowing money with no intention of paying back, that’s stealing. We’re addicted to debt as a nation. It’s going to take some strong-willed people to get past this.”

Wenke earned a business degree from Western Michigan University in 1967. Today he is owner and president of Wenke/Sunbelt Greenhouses.

When he was a legislator for the state, Wenke said he discovered a desire to introduce legislation and make laws that would benefit others.

“I would like to be in a position, as a congressman, where I can introduce legislation to the federal government that I think would solve some problems the nation faces that are critical to our future and our children’s future.”

To learn more about the Libertarian, voters can visit

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Oct. 20, 2016)

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