September 2016

Michigan Vaper Steps into Politics: J. Ervin Bates takes the next step — running for office


By Susan Oser

You’ve probably seen him in Vape Magazine doing some coverage on VapeXpo, Mr. E Liquid and a few others. You probably heard about him in Michigan as one of the leading vaping activists in the state. There’s now a new mission in J. Ervin Bates’ life and that is to run as the 67th State of Michigan Representative.

For most vapers out there, you’re probably thinking, that’s awesome, we already got Larry Faircloth in West Virginia, and now another one who’s willing to go make some changes in office (or at least try to).

So, what exactly made J. Ervin Bates run for office in the first place?

Just like most of us politically, the partisanship, the bickering, and for the most part, the inaction of most of our senators and representatives was just a bit tiring. Thus, he decided to put his hat in the ring as an Independent candidate. It would’ve been possible for him to be a Republican, but unfortunately, he missed the deadline because of his early May decision. Having said that, he’s had to collect 15,000 signatures so that he can get on the ballot alone, which for anyone is an uphill battle, but it is one that he is willing to do and fight. On the other hand, he can skip over the primaries totally and just campaign up to the November election.

In fact, he’s doing what some politicians have already done this year, create a grassroots campaign and not only bring vaping into the political forefront but other issues that he cares about in the state. So, if you think he’s running as a single-issue candidate in the game, you’re sadly mistaken.

Other issues that Mr. Bates cares about are on his website at They include: education and the DPS, roads, etc. In other words, he wants to make change like any other politician, but wants to do it honestly.

That’s where the fundraising question comes in. If there is one issue that every voter is concerned about, it’s the money and where it goes. For Bates, he has that covered. First of all, he has a young treasurer with a lot of financial experience. All donations made will be set up through a fund and posted on the website. Paperwork has been filed in the state of Michigan to make sure that everything is on the level

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and legit. Mr. Bates is first to give a message to any vaping candidate out there: be transparent with EVERYTHING, especially where the money goes because that will make or break your trustworthiness and how you run your campaign.

Since Bates is a vaper, the question is, how did he get into it? What is his story?

Mr. Bates got introduced to vaping through his daughter’s friends and her fiancé two years ago on July 4, 2014. When he tried it out, he really liked it and decided to buy his own kit. Like mostly everyone, he started with an Ego which he still has and sometimes uses today. Since that time, he has not only gotten healthier, but he has breathed better and has lost a little bit of weight because of it.

He had some strong words to say on a few aspects of the vaping community that I asked him about including the division that has occurred in the vaping community when it has come to drama, advocacy, etc. He said that EVERYONE needs to find some common ground. If there is a group, individual or organization that can cover the federal level, let them do that and report to the group that works the state level, and on down the line. Have the communication lines going and working as a team? The shop owners, juice makers, and even customers need to all be involved talking about this and working together with letters, going to rallies, etc. If none of this teamwork happens, the vaping industry and the community itself is literally screwed and more will be lost, than gained.

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So, what’s Mr. Bates done in Michigan for vaping?

Quite a lot actually. He along with members of the Michigan Smoke-Free Alternative Association and the Vapers Association for Rights and Standards have connected to Matt Dunaskis, a former Michigan State Senator, and vaper. From what has been told this guy is not only going to be a help to Michigan vapers, but he is also very passionate about the industry. They have also talked to Representative Bill Huizenga is now on board to support HR 2058.

Even if you’ve worn out with all these regulations that have or will be put in place, or perhaps your senator or representative is not answering you when questioned about vaping, Mr. Bates emphatically emphasizes to keep going and not giving up. In fact, that is what those in power who are anti-vaping are looking for us to do, and essentially want us to do. It’s not that they are too busy to answer our emails and our letters, it’s because they choose not to on this very issue.

Thus, as a vaper, it is IMPERATIVE that you talk about it to everyone. Talk to those who are interested in cutting down their cigarette usage. Talk to family. Be the responsible educator, not a cloud chaser. Educate yourself on the issues at hand that can affect you personally as a vaper as well as that favorite shop you like visiting to get the vape gear. Also be aware of those laws that could prohibit you from buying online as they can be a dent into the industry as well. While facts are ok, you could bore someone to death. The personal stories are what really count. IF you know someone that has just started, someone suffering with lung cancer because they never had education or access to vaping, those are the stories that will make an impact. It’s important to note that vaping has brought generations into one area to talk about vaping from 19 to 55 years old. These regulations sadly break that community and it’s why we all need to stay active.

To find out more about J. Ervin Bates and his run for State Representative:

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