Douglas P. Marker and Patrick J. Wood each figures he has the best chance to unseat Republican state Rep. Phil Green in November.

First, however, Marker and Wood – both Democrats – must duel each other in the Aug. 4 primary election.

The winner – in November – represents voters in the state’s 84th House district, which includes Tuscola and Huron counties.

Marker, 48, of Huron County’s Winsor Township, insists he can compete with Green in a “very conservative” area.

Marker claims Tuscola County Democratic Party leaders “recruited (Wood) because they didn’t like my pro-life stance, my pro-life conservative values.”

The district encompassing Tuscola and Huron counties “has only went Democratic, I think, when Terry Brown was elected (in 2006), and he’s about the only one that’s ever done it,” Marker said.

Brown was re-elected in 2008, lost his seat in 2010 and won it back in 2012.

Wood, 52, of Millington, maintains he is true to his party’s values, noting Wood’s grandfather, the late James Spohn, helped found the United Auto Workers union.

“I wish (Marker) all the luck in the world, but I’m a Democrat,” Wood said.

“Is (Marker) confused on what party he is affiliated with?” added Wood. “He is right, he is a pro-life conservative just like Phil Green.

“I am an advocate of women’s rights. Women’s reproductive rights should be their own.”

Marker, a 1990 Cass City High School graduate, drives a propane truck for Ferrellgas in Michigan’s Thumb area, where he said he has been a farmer and former manager of grain elevators in Cass City.

“My mom (the late Mary Marker) was a Democrat, and was Elmwood Township treasurer all the time I grew up,” Marker said.

Marker said he has worked at factories in Caro and Cass City, once serving as a union steward.

Marker said that, if elected, he’ll propose a “fair wage bill,” adding one of his goals is to “force large businesses to pay fair wages.”

“I know that if (Thumb area) factories can pay more here, then we can get workers to move up here, and support the local schools,” Marker said. “What’s the best way to help education in the Thumb? It’s to get parents and families to have children here.”

Wood, a 1985 Millington High School graduate, owns the Curly Cone ice cream shop in Millington, and is president of the Millington Downtown Development Authority. He said he owned Curly’s Lakehouse Grill in Columbiaville for 13 years, before selling it last year.

Wood said that as a business owner and “community servant,” trying to boost small businesses and small farms, he’s the best candidate to defeat Green.

Wood said his late grandfather, Spohn, paid a physical price at the hands of those opposing Spohn’s union values. Wood said he recalled Spohn’s character when Wood decided to run for state representative.

“When (James Spohn) was a young man and – I believe 34 or 35 years old, living on the south end of Flint in the very neighborhood I grew up in – he was dragged out of his house and almost beaten to death,” Wood said. “He was thrown out of a car down by Pontiac, and told that if he ever came back to Flint, Michigan, they would end him and his whole family.

“This is the person that I thought about when I thought ‘Hey, it’s your time to serve; it’s your time to step up to the plate and take a stand for something.’”

Wood said his family owned a milk-distribution company based in Flint, noting he was a “milkman” who delivered milk for years.

“We ran our family business, and just like the family farm, the dairy business has been swallowed up by corporations, and our business went away,” Wood said. “Now you can walk into a big box grocery store and buy a gallon of milk for $1.09, and an independent distributor can’t buy one for $1.79. Things have changed.”

Wood noted “the 80-acre, 30-head dairy farm is extinct – and we’ve got to do something about that.”

Wood said he once ran a mortgage company, and owned a flower-and-chocolate shop, noting his experience owning businesses will help him lead as a state representative.

Marker emphasized he is a lifelong resident of the 84th District, living in either Tuscola or Huron counties. He said he is “pro agriculture,” noting he once managed a Star of the West Milling Co. grain elevator complex. He said he’ll strongly support Michigan Sugar Co. processing plants, and the Poet Biorefining plant producing ethanol in Caro.

Marker said he once drove a milk-hauling truck, and vowed to try to assist the Dairy Farmers of America milk-processing plant in Cass City to process more milk.

Marker said he supports people’s right to “keep and bear arms,” adding he is “pro-Second Amendment.”

He noted his goal is “to beat Phil Green and to get Republicans to vote for me.”

“All life matters,” Marker stressed. “I am a pro-life Democrat. I have taken some heat but that’s OK by me. I understand.”

Tom Gilchrist is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at