News Feed

Roll Call: Rep. Adam Zemke
Aug. 14th 2015
Roll Call: Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.
Aug. 14th 2015
MDP Chair calls For Independent Investigation into Courser/Gamrat/Cotter Affair
Aug. 10th 2015
MDP Latino Caucus Chair Calls Out GOP for Being Party of Trump
Aug. 10th 2015
MDP Chair Brandon Dillon calls on GOP to Reject Caveman Approach on Serious Issues
Aug. 6th 2015
MDP Statement on First GOP Debate
Aug. 6th 2015
MDP Statement on Schuette, Clean Power Plan
Aug. 5th 2015
Michigan Democrats Announce Month of Action Against Out of Touch Republican Congressmen
Aug. 4th 2015
Roll Call: Meet Representative Scott Dianda
Jul. 30th 2015
Roll Call: Meet Party Chair Brandon Dillon
Jul. 24th 2015
MDP Chair Calls on GOP to Rescind Trump Invite
Jul. 22nd 2015
MDP State Central Delegates Elect Brandon Dillon as New Chair
Jul. 11th 2015
Democrats Blast GOP Senate Roads Plan
Jul. 1st 2015
Statement from MDP Chair Lon Johnson on US Supreme Court Redistricting Verdict
Jun. 29th 2015
Statement from MDP on Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling
Jun. 26th 2015
MDP Chair Lon Johnson Resigns Post, State Central Delegates to Elect New Chair
Jun. 25th 2015
Statement from MDP Chair Lon Johnson on EITC/GOP Roads Plan
Jun. 10th 2015
Congressman Benishek Once Again Turns His Back on Michigan Troops
May. 15th 2015
Walberg More Focused on Invading Women’s Privacy than Fixing Michigan Roads
May. 15th 2015
Democrats Condemn Senate GOP Hypocrisy on Prevailing Wage
May. 13th 2015

Roll Call: Rep. Adam Zemke
Aug. 14th 2015

Interviewed by Emily Kindred and Rebecca Maher

State Representative Adam Zemke (District 55) is serving his second term representing parts of Washtenaw County. Zemke is a strong and promising advocate for education reform and he has seen impressive bipartisan support for his proposed bills. Zemke spoke with Team MDP about growing up in Ann Arbor, transitioning from the private sphere to public office, and his ambitions for education policy.

MDP: What sort of issues or events led to your involvement in politics?

Rep. Zemke: My motivation was mostly driven by some non-profit work I had been doing in the education sphere. I worked a lot on getting programs into classrooms in socioeconomically-depressed communities to inspire project-based learning and expose younger kids to opportunities that they may not have thought they had. That’s a big part of the reason why I decided to run for the legislature-- about 90% of education policy and funding comes from the state, and that all flows from the legislative process. I was also active politically back home (Ann Arbor) through local democratic clubs and working for state representatives.

MDP: Why do you identify as a Democrat?

Rep. Zemke: I initially started gravitating towards the Democratic Party due to social issues. I was raised in a household where my mother was very vocal about the fact that women’s healthcare decisions should be made by women, and she gave me a lot of good reasons to understand her beliefs and agree with that philosophy. It was more of an identity issue for me initially, and that’s what really brought me over to the Democratic Party. Then, as I started to understand more about economics, I gained a better understanding of how the middle class is built and the importance of supporting people with a good, fair wage.

MDP: What has been one of the most unexpected aspects of your involvement in politics so far?

Rep. Zemke: I think all of it is kind of unexpected! I worked in the private sector prior to running for office, and there’s definitely a difference. That could be entirely because relationships in politics are a really strong glue that either hold people together or separate them-- I feel like that’s less true in the private sector, or the engineering world, at least.  Politics is very relationship-heavy.

MDP: What keeps you positive throughout the political process, despite the challenges we face?

Rep. Zemke: The ability to get to the majority is definitely what keeps me excited. You do have small victories every once in a while, and there are issues that-- despite what you hear from the media-- Republicans and Democrats do end up working on together. It’s always going to take 56 votes in the House, 20 voted in the Senate, and one gubernatorial signature to put something into law. Respect is very important-- I feel like people get caught up in demonizing someone just because they might disagree on a particular issue, and it can’t be like that. I obviously wanted democrats to be in the majority when I came in, but we weren’t, so I approach working with Republicans on issues where we could find common ground very proactively.

MDP: What have been some of your proudest achievements in representing your district?

Rep. Zemke: I’ve worked on a lot of education policy since I came to the House, which is what I always wanted to do, and I feel I’ve been very well-rewarded in that sense. In Lansing, education is the most politically sensitive topic that there is. Within my first six months in office, I started working on a package of bills to revamp educator evaluations-- a topic that is not traditionally well-received in Michigan, because they’re currently very unfair, and really not well done. Despite the fact that we have encountered a bit of a struggle along the way, the bills that we’ve put forward have had support from both extreme right-wing reform groups and labor unions. I was told by some folks who’ve been in Lansing for a while that they haven’t seen that happen in over a decade, especially not in education. That’s definitely something that I’m proud of. It could have gone very badly, but it’s actually turned out very well.

MDP: What did you like most about growing up in Ann Arbor?

Rep. Zemke: Ann Arbor is a great place to grow up, and I wish every community had the opportunities we have-- and that every student knew about those opportunities. I would say the educational opportunities that the Ann Arbor area provides and the cultural diversity that goes into those opportunities is what makes it a really cool place.

MDP: How would you describe Michigan to a non-Michigander?

Rep. Zemke: Simply put, Michigan is the best state in the country. We have everything here-- we have beautiful, abundant natural resources and hidden gems that regularly make those “9 Most Beautiful Places in the Country” lists. From an economic standpoint, we have created the strongest manufacturing base of any state in the country. We have a strong history of building a really robust middle class. Michigan is the best place to be-- there is nothing you will find elsewhere that we don’t have some taste of here in Michigan.

MDP: Do you have a favorite vacation spot in Michigan?

Rep. Zemke: The first thing that comes to mind are the Les Cheneaux islands off of the eastern UP. They’re very beautiful. Anywhere on the water works for me.

MDP: What is one fun fact about you that most people might not know?

Rep. Zemke: I’m a huge history buff. I love reading about history-- all eras. I really love architecture and design as well.

MDP: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Rep. Zemke: Mint chocolate chip. From Washtenaw Dairy (in Ann Arbor), of course!

MDP: What advice would you give to someone looking to get ahead in politics?

Rep. Zemke: Two things: take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you and always go into everything with an open mind. 

Roll Call: Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.
Aug. 14th 2015

As interviewed by Sarah Zieve

Freshman State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (District. 23) represents parts of Ingham County, including his alma mater, Michigan State University. Throughout his career in politics Hertel has stood up to big banks and helped families stay in their homes. As a Senator, Hertel has been working on investing in Michigan’s students. Hertel spoke with Team MDP about representing MSU, working in the Senate and growing up in Detroit.

MDP: What sorts of issues or events led you to get involved in politics?

Sen. Hertel: I grew up in a politically active family outside of Detroit. I went to school at Michigan State and was very involved with the College Democrats there. When I was 22, I decided to run for County Commission. There was a Republican incumbent and I did not believe he represented the district well. We had a lot of young people in the district. My team and I registered 3000 kids off campus to vote and won by 315 votes. It was inspired by my family but I did it in a slightly different way.

MDP: What keeps you positive throughout the political process?

Sen. Hertel: A couple of things. One, we need to redefine victory. For example, I got the only democratic amendment in the Senate to the budget--$500,000 to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. So that was a good day. In terms of how I stay optimistic, I have four kids at home so I do not have an opportunity to be anything but optimistic.

MDP: Are you working on anything right now that you are excited to share with your constituents?

Sen. Hertel: We are working on our student tax credit bill. This bill would allow for students to write off the debt value interest on their student loans for the first five years after they graduate. It would help them get on their feet and help them stay in Michigan and help them be a part of our economy. I think it solves two problems for us: it helps us retain talent here and lets those young people have a little bit of a break after they graduate.

MDP:What do you hope for the future of public universities in Michigan?

Sen. Hertel: We need to find a way to fund these schools correctly. We have a responsibility to the young people in this state to find an affordable way to go to college. The best way to invest in people is by making college affordable.

MDP: What do you value most about growing up and living in Michigan?

Sen. Hertel:  I grew up in Detroit. To see that city hit its hard times and then come back, is really important to me. I have friends from high school who are moving back to the city now. It is really exciting. That is the best story Michigan has going for it right now.

MDP: What is your favorite Michigan based businesses?

Sen. Hertel: GM, Shorts Brewery, Better Made Potato Chips, and Faygo!

MDP: What is a fun fact about you that most people may not know?

Sen. Hertel: I was the lead singer of a band named Dirt Squad in college.

MDP: What advice would you give to a Michigan voter who wanted to get involved in politics beyond the ballot box?

Sen. Hertel: My advice is to get involved in a local campaign. The biggest difference you are going to make on any campaign is with that guy running for county commissioner for the first time.

 

MDP Chair calls For Independent Investigation into Courser/Gamrat/Cotter Affair
Aug. 10th 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from the Michigan Democratic Party

Monday, August 10, 2015

Contact: Lavora Barnes, LavoraBarnes@michigandems.com

What Did Speaker Cotter Know…And When Did He Know It

MDP Chair calls For Independent Investigation into Courser/Gamrat/Cotter Affair

LANSING – Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon called for an independent investigation into Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter to determine what he knew and when he knew about the potential criminal cover-up of the affair between Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.

"Republican Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter has a lot of explaining to do,” said MDP Chair Brandon Dillon. “According to news reports and even the Speakers own admission, his office was aware  of the situation with Representative Courser and Gamrat long before the bombshell story broke in the Detroit News late last week, yet he allowed three whistleblower staffers to be fired. The only way to get to the bottom of this entire story is for Attorney General Schuette to launch an independent investigation immediately.”

On Friday August 7, 2015 MIRS news reported that “…[Ben] Graham and possibly other former staffers in the Courser/Gamrat employ spoke with former Cotter Chief of Staff Norm Saari about Courser’s request and other concerns about the House members conduct.”  On the Big Show with Michael Patrick Shiels this morning Speaker Cotter admitted that his office had “multiple conversations” with the former staff of Rep. Courser/Gamrat and that this wasn’t unusual because ultimately “they all work for the Speaker.”

“It is inappropriate for the House Speaker to investigate himself,” Dillon continued. “Given the number of serious concerns that need to be addressed, the Attorney General needs to get in there and uncover the truth for the people of Michigan. When did the Speaker know about the affair and the cover-up? Were State resources used in the criminal cover-up? Why were staffers fired after going to the Speaker’s staff with their concerns? Are there any texts and/or emails between the fired staffers and House leadership?”

 

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MDP Latino Caucus Chair Calls Out GOP for Being Party of Trump
Aug. 10th 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from the Michigan Democratic Party

 

Monday August 10, 2015

Contact: Lavora Barnes, lavorabarnes@michigandems.com, 734-645-5279

 

Michigan Democratic Latino Caucus Chair Calls Out GOP for Being the Party of Trump

Plans to Take Part in Democratic Protest of Visit

 

Michigan Democratic Latino Caucus Chair Rosendo Rocha Jr. is calling on the GOP to condemn the anti-immigrant and anti-veteran politics of Donald Trump in advance of his visit to Michigan next week.

"As both a Latino and a veteran, I believe Donald Trump's brand of anti-immigrant and anti-veteran politics has no place in Michigan. Michigan Republicans should have rescinded their invitation and should be working to rid their party of such rhetoric," said Rocha, a combat veteran who served over 20 years in the military.

Mr. Trump will be traveling to a region of the state with a Latino population of nearly 30,000 and over 40,000 veterans.

"Let's be very clear here: Donald Trump is not an outlier within the Republican Party, he is the Republican Party. Jeb Bush may be speaking out against Trump's anti-veteran comments now, but he also was supportive of efforts to attack John Kerry's military record. Rick Perry speaks out against Trump now, but has also smeared Latinos and Mexican Americans as criminals. The GOP needs to denounce these views in all of their candidates, not just Trump."

Tomorrow, August 11, Rocha will join Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon and other activists at 3:00 PM EST outside Trump's speech in Birch Run to remind the GOP that Michiganders will not tolerate their hateful rhetoric.

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MDP Chair Brandon Dillon calls on GOP to Reject Caveman Approach on Serious Issues
Aug. 6th 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from the Michigan Democratic Party

Thursday, August 5, 2015

Contact: Lavora Barnes, LavoraBarnes@michigandems.com or (734) 645-5279

MDP Chair Brandon Dillon calls on GOP to Reject Caveman Approach on Serious Issues

Dillon available for interviews following GOP presidential debate

LANSING—“Tonight the GOP presidential candidates, with Donald Trump at center stage, will highlight just how out of touch they are on serious issues like climate change, women's health, immigration and the economy. I challenge these candidates to stand up to those who ignore science, common sense and the needs of middle-class families.

Michigan voters are looking for a candidate that doesn’t have their head in the sand and understands the real issues facing Michigan families."

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon will be available for interviews following tonight’s GOP presidential debate. 

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MDP Statement on First GOP Debate
Aug. 6th 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from the Michigan Democratic Party

Thursday, August 5, 2015

Contact: Lavora Barnes, LavoraBarnes@michigandems.com or (734) 645-5279

MDP Statement on First GOP Debate

"Once again the GOP presidential candidates have proven how completely out of touch they are. They spent the evening competing with each other to see which of them could be the most right-wing, anti-woman, anti-immigrant and anti-family. Voters will see their policies for what they are - dangerously backwards."

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MDP Statement on Schuette, Clean Power Plan
Aug. 5th 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Contact: Lavora Barnes, LavoraBarnes@michigandems.com

MDP statement on Schuette, Clean Power Plan

LANSING—Michigan Democratic Party Chair, Brandon Dillon, issued the following statement regarding Attorney General Bill Schuette’s opposition to the Clean Power Plan:

“It’s time for Attorney General Bill Schuette to stop going to bat for corporate polluters and fight for the health of Michigan kids, families and seniors. President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan is the most important public health initiative in decades and Michigan should embrace it—not fight it. Schuette has already wasted millions in taxpayer dollars in frivolous lawsuits to further his political career. When it comes to cleaning up dangerous pollution, Schuette should put politics aside and stand up for Michigan families and our Great Lakes.”

 

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Michigan Democrats Announce Month of Action Against Out of Touch Republican Congressmen
Aug. 4th 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from the Michigan Democratic Party

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Contact: Lavora Barnes, 734-645-5279, lavorabarnes@michigandems.com

Michigan Democrats Announce Month of Action Against Out of Touch Republican Congressmen

LANSING - Today Michigan Democrats announced the launch of a month of action accountability campaign against Republican members of Congress Dan Benishek, Tim Walberg and Mike Bishop.

"These Republican members of Congress have proven again and again that they're out of touch with the priorities of Michigan families and communities," said Brandon Dillon, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Republican politicians support trade policies that are shipping our Michigan jobs overseas, and as if that wasn't bad enough, they want to gut Medicare and Social Security, threatening the promise of a secure retirement."

Throughout the month of August, Democrats will be activating Michiganders who have been harmed by the out of touch policies promoted by Republican politicians in Washington.

 

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Roll Call: Meet Representative Scott Dianda
Jul. 30th 2015

Interviewed by Rebecca Maher and Sarah Zieve

As a second-term state representative for the 110th district in the Upper Peninsula, Scott Dianda drives 575 miles to Lansing to represent his seven counties. As a lifelong UP resident and Democrat, Representative Dianda values the hard working spirit and diversity of the UP. Dianda sat down with MDP to talk about his current legislation, life in the U.P., and his favorite local businesses.

MDP: What led you to become involved in politics?

Rep Dianda: I was a small business owner in the village of Calumet, where I am from. I was elected to be a member of the board of the county as a trustee at the age of 22. I wanted to be involved in the community because I felt there were a lot of things I wanted to see change. Then, as the president of the Michigan State Employees Association, I became very interested in making sure that a good quality of life was attainable for everyone instead of just a few. 

MDP: What has been your proudest achievement in representing your district?

Rep Dianda: A number of my proudest achievements deal with constituent services for the seven counties I represent. My office and I work on a variety of constituent issues like licensing and unemployment. I like doing legislative work but I am so proud that we can take care of my people’s problems.

MDP: How would you describe Michigan, and your region, to a non-Michigander?

Rep Dianda: The west end of upper Michigan is breathtaking. Our area is one of the most beautiful areas you will ever see. It is also a very friendly, welcoming place where people are very open to newcomers and really enjoy having visitors. 

MDP: What are some of your favorite places in Michigan?

Rep Dianda: My favorite vacation spot is in my district in Keweenaw County. It is sparse but very rugged and beautiful. I am a big fan of outdoor sports and always like to recreate. With that amount of land, the freedom you have up there is unbelievable. On my route from the UP to Lansing, I often stop along the shores of Lake Michigan and walk the beach.

MDP: What is your favorite Michigan local business?

Rep Dianda: The Society of St. John makes some of the best fruit cakes that I have ever tasted. I also enjoy a number of local jams and jellies from the UP.

MDP: What is a fun fact that most people would not know about you?

Rep Dianda: I am an avid woodworker. I really enjoy refinishing furniture and fixing up older pieces of furniture.

MDP: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Rep Dianda: Mackinac Island Fudge! You get everything in it!

MDP: What is your advice for Michigan voters who want to become more involved in politics?

Rep Dianda: Start early and research all of the issues that are going on in Michigan. I encourage everyone to get involved in the political process and to know who the candidates are and who is standing up for the issues.

 

Roll Call: Meet Party Chair Brandon Dillon
Jul. 24th 2015

By Maggie Wilk and Rebecca Maher

The Michigan Democratic Party is launching their "Roll Call: Meet the Democrats" campaign in an effort to connect Michiganders with Democratic leaders across the state. Who better to kick it off than the new state Democratic Party Chairman, Brandon Dillon? Dillon was elected to his new position on July 11th after serving as a three-term state representative for Grand Rapids. He sat down with us to discuss his past political experiences and vision for the future of the Party. This series was developed by amazing MDP interns as part of their summer internship. 

MDP: Why are you a Democrat?

Dillon: I grew up in a very politically aware family that was half Democrat and half Republican, and my grandfather influenced me as a really strong New Deal Democrat. I’ve always had an interest in progressive politics but it really wasn’t until I went to Northeastern to get my Masters in Political Science and interned with Senator Kennedy that I started getting more politically involved.

MDP: What do you like most about working in politics?

Dillon: There is no other job that I can think of where you get to interact with so many different people with so many different ideas from around the state, the country, and sometimes even the world. As a candidate it was always unbelievable to see how much work and energy people are willing to put into your campaign. They put in extremely long hours, and they do it because they believe in something. That’s inspiring.

MDP: What keeps you positive throughout the political process despite all the challenges we face?

Dillon: Being in the minority party has been very frustrating because I think the Republicans have done severe, and often times permanent, damage to the state. We do have elections every two years, so just understanding that this is not a permanent situation and that Democrats will be in control again keeps me positive. We have been able to stand strong and achieve some victories, too. We’ve worked with the governor to pass the Medicaid expansion and to block some bad legislation, and those small victories kept us going even as we struggled.

MDP: Do you have any goals for the MDP as we get closer to 2016?

Dillon: Win. We want to win as many seats as possible. My goal is to have a strong party, not just in 2016 and 2018, but also in ten years. I want to make sure we’re consistently winning and gaining members so that we can make better policy. I look forward to being more involved with helping get Democrats elected, and not just the congressional and state house and senate candidates, but also the local candidates. We need to get people excited to run for school board, township clerk, county commissioner, and other local positions so that we can build a stronger, deeper bench of Democratic candidates across the state.

MDP: How would you describe Michigan to a non-Michigander?

Dillon: Michigan is a microcosm of the entire country. It is a very diverse state, with both major urban areas and some of the most rural areas in the entire country. It’s home to the automobile and is the economic engine of the country, but there are also a lot of exciting new changes going on. It’s an exciting place to be.

MDP: What is your favorite Michigan-based business?

Dillon: Founders Brewing Company. I really enjoy all the breweries around Grand Rapids and seeing the progress and community downtown.

MDP: What is one thing that many people do not know about you?

Dillon: I have an obsession with my hair...

MDP: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Dillon: I don’t eat a lot of ice cream, but I do love Klondike Bars. Anything that has ice cream surrounded by chocolate.

MDP: Do you have any advice for Michiganders who want to become more involved in politics?

Dillon: Most people either get hooked on politics or hate it, and finding the right issue or the right candidate to get you excited about the political process makes the difference. Find something or someone that you support and get involved from there. It’s a frustrating career but very rewarding. There is no better feeling than winning on election day and no worse feeling than losing, so be prepared for both in your career.

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MDP Chair Calls on GOP to Rescind Trump Invite
Jul. 22nd 2015

MDP Chairman Brandon Dillon is calling on Michigan Republicans to denounce Donald Trump and rescind his invitation to a local GOP Lincoln Day Dinner August 11th.

"Donald Trump's brand of anti-immigrant, anti-veteran politics should not be welcome in Michigan. His shameful comments are a slap in the face to Michigan's Latino communities and large veterans population."

Mr. Trump will be traveling to a region of the state with a Latino population of nearly 30,000 and over 40,000 veterans. 

"Michigan Republicans should denounce his comments and rescind their invite for Mr. Trump to headline a fundraising dinner. Neither party should use xenophobia and exclusion to raise money."

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MDP State Central Delegates Elect Brandon Dillon as New Chair
Jul. 11th 2015

PORT HURON - Michigan Democratic Party State Central Delegates elected Brandon Dillon as Chair today. Dillon succeeds Lon Johnson who resigned the post to run as a candidate in Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

"We have a unique opportunity to unite the diverse elements of our party and build an organization that is well-positioned to win in 2016 and beyond," said Brandon Dillon, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. "I am eager to get started and help Michigan Democrats fight for the middle class and defeat the extreme anti-family, anti-worker Republican agenda."

Dillon will partner with Lavora Barnes who will serve as Chief Operating Officer for the Party. The two campaigned together ahead of the Chair election emphasizing their complimentary skills. Barnes is a former state director for Obama for America, served as a director in the White House Office of Media Affairs and a press secretary for the Clinton-Gore Campaign, and is a former communications director for the Michigan House Democrats.

A State Representative from Grand Rapids and former Kent County Commissioner, Dillon brings a demonstrated track record as an advocate for public education, labor, women, LGBT rights and Michigan's middle class. He previously served as the campaign chair for the Michigan House Democrats, recruiting candidates and overseeing competitive races in districts across the state. 

State Central Delegates also appointed Fay Beydoun as Third Vice Chair, elected Norwood Jewell and Mary Fleming to the Democratic National Committee, and passed a resolution on Police Brutality and the Use of Force.

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Democrats Blast GOP Senate Roads Plan
Jul. 1st 2015

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party blasted the Senate Republican Roads Plan for hitting ordinary Michigan families hard while letting corporations off the hook. The package relies on higher gas taxes, up to $700 million in cuts to vital programs and a tax hike on low income working families.

 

“This roads plan comes at the expense of Michigan families, hit yet again with a tax increase, while corporations enjoy another pass at paying their fair share." said Lon Johnson, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Working families can not stay and succeed in a state where Republicans continue to finance Michigan's future with one-sided sacrifices." 

 

Over the last five years, Republicans have orchestrated one of the largest tax shifts in Michigan history requiring workers to provide for schools, roads and other critical programs while corporations have enjoyed over $2 billion in tax cuts.

 

Statement from MDP Chair Lon Johnson on US Supreme Court Redistricting Verdict
Jun. 29th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democrats released the following statement in response to the US Supreme Court redistricting verdict:

"This verdict sends a clear message that gerrymandering to suppress voting is no longer a viable political strategy," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Republican economic and social policies are alienating voters. With every election, more people are voting Democratic. Republicans see the numbers. They know the only way to maintain a majority in Michigan is by drawing unapologetic lines that blatantly stack the deck in their favor. This verdict paves the way for Michigan to explore the option of a fairer system that better reflects voter sentiment in our state."

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Statement from MDP on Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling
Jun. 26th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democrats released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality:

"Today's ruling in favor of marriage equality is a big step forward for the LGBT community nationwide but especially here in Michigan where our attorney general has consistently fought against the right of same-sex couples to marry," said Mark LaChey, Michigan Democratic Party LGBT and Allies Caucus Chair. "We recognize, however, that this is only the beginning of our fight. Even with today's ruling, "married on Sunday, fired on Monday" remains the legal reality for LGBT Michiganders. Moving forward, we will not only fight against the current effort by Republicans in Lansing to blunt the effect of today's decision but also to push for full social and economic equality for all of us who call this great state our home."

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MDP Chair Lon Johnson Resigns Post, State Central Delegates to Elect New Chair
Jun. 25th 2015
LANSING - Lon Johnson announced his resignation as Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party effective July 11. Johnson is departing the post to compete in the race for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.  
 
"We have worked hard over the past few years to strengthen our infrastructure and grow the party," said Johnson. "As a result, the MDP is well-positioned to achieve the ambitious goals we have set. I welcome a successor who will build on those efforts and lead Michigan Democrats to victory in 2016 and beyond."    
 
State Central Delegates, already slated to meet prior to Mr. Johnson's announcement, will convene as scheduled on July 11 in Port Huron. Candidates will be nominated and a successor elected during that meeting. Under the Party's Rules, Delegates to the State Central Committee, Officers of the State Central Committee, and all Democratic National Committee Members for the State of Michigan are eligible to vote to elect a new Chair. 
 
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Statement from MDP Chair Lon Johnson on EITC/GOP Roads Plan
Jun. 10th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democrats released the following statement on the House Republican proposal to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit to fund roads:

"Instead of listening to voters last month, Republicans in Lansing are forging ahead with a proposed tax increase on working families to help fund their roads plan," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "They define corporate tax credit cuts as a tax increase but claim eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit isn't. Let's be clear. Cutting the EITC is a tax increase and raising taxes on working families while corporations see their taxes cut is no way to build a Michigan where we can stay and succeed. It's shocking that this legislature did not recognize the voters' rejection of one-sided sacrifices from our working families."

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Congressman Benishek Once Again Turns His Back on Michigan Troops
May. 15th 2015

LANSING - In continuing his dishonorable tradition of abandoning our nation’s military when they need it most, Congressman Benishek joined fellow reckless Republicans in allowing members of the military to go without pay in the event of a government shutdown.

This comes just days after Benishek criticized the VA’s ability to care for veterans, not disclosing to a reporter that he had actually voted against funding for the VA to carry out additional PTSD treatment, suicide prevention, and disability claims processing.

"Congressman Benishek has proven yet again that despite what he may tell his constituents, he doesn't care about the men and women who wear the cloth of our country," said Sen. David Knezek (D - Dearborn Heights), the first Iraq War veteran to serve in the Michigan Legislature. "I can't imagine why a sitting Congressman would turn his back on the United States Armed Forces. Ensuring that our military members get paid even in the event of a government shutdown is an absolute no-brainer. Congressman Benishek's continued failure to stand up for the men and women who defend our country is one of the highest forms of disrespect I've ever seen. It's un-American."

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BACKGROUND: 

Benishek Voted To Block An Amendment To Ensure A Pay Raise & Ensure Servicemembers Are Paid In Event Of Government Shutdown. In May 2015, Benishek voted against a motion to recommit that would ensure a  2.3% pay increase for fiscal year 2016 for servicemembers and would ensure that servicemembers are paid in the event of a government shutdown. [HR 1735, Vote #238, 5/15/15] 

Benishek Voted To Underfund The Department Of Veterans Affairs By An Estimated $19 Billion Over Ten Years. The House Republican Budget Benishek voted for called for funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs below the president’s request by $1.4 billion in 2016 and $19 billion over ten years. “The Independent Budget veterans service organizations (IBVSOs) are pleased to see that the Administration has committed to investing significant new resources to the VA, particularly for health care. . . . The revised budget request for FY 2016 is especially welcome because the IBVSOs had been concerned that the funding levels previously provided through advance appropriations for FY 2016 were not sufficient to meet clearly increasing demand.” [H.CON.RES 27, Vote #142, 3/25/15; Budget Committee Democrats, FY16 Republican Budget; IBVSO Press Release,2/2/15; Military Times, 5/1/15

Benishek Voted Against An Additional $15 Million For Veterans Medical Services. On April 30, 2015, Benishek voted against an amendment to H.R. 2029, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs would strengthen support services for America’s veterans in the Mil Con-VA Appropriations by providing an additional $15 million for Veterans Medical Services, which includes funding for long-term veterans care, support for Caregivers, Homeless Veterans assistance, and drug treatment. [HR 2029,Vote #192, 4/30/15; Democraticleader.gov, 4/30/15

Benishek Voted Against Quicker Disability Claims Processing To Alleviate Backlog For Veterans. In 2013, Benishek voted against an amendment that would help reduce the backlog of disability claims for veterans. The amendment would add $9.2 million in funding (double the funds in the underlying appropriations bill) to hire an additional 94 claims processors to help reduce the veterans disability claims backlog. The amendment failed 198-227. [HR 2216, Vote #192, 6/04/13] 

Benishek Voted Against Millions In Additional Funding For Suicide Prevention And PTSD For Veterans. In 2011, Benishek voted against an amendment which would have provided an additional $20 million for veterans’ medical service to help with post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention. “Rep. Bill Owens offered an amendment to a military appropriations bill in the House of Representatives that would increase spending on veterans’ mental health services by $20 million.” The motion failed 184-234. [HR 2055, Vote #417, 6/14/11; Watertown Daily Times, 6/14/11

Benishek Voted Against Additional $28.3 Million For Medical And Prosthetic Research And Development For Veterans’ Care. In May 2012, Benishek voted against increased funding for medical and prosthetic research and development by $28.3 million. The amendment would have reduced the amount provided for the Defense Base Closure Account by $56.7 million and used $28.3 million to invest in veteran’s health and prosthetic research and development. The motion failed, 188-230. [CQ; HR 5854, Vote #304, 5/31/12; Congressional Record, H3358, 5/31/12] 

Benishek Told A Reporter He’s Frustrated By VA Officials Who “Talk The Talk But Don’t Walk The Walk.” In an interview discussing the recent deaths of veterans at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin, Benishek complained about VA officials and the slow progress of reforms at the VA health centers. Benishek said, “So they talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk, and frankly it’s very disturbing.” [Fox 31, 5/10/15]

Walberg More Focused on Invading Women’s Privacy than Fixing Michigan Roads
May. 15th 2015

As the Highway Trust Fund expires, Republicans in Congress champion controversial abortion bill

LANSING – Republican Congressman Tim Walberg further exposed his reckless ideology yesterday by voting to invade the privacy of victims of rape and sexual assault, mere days after he told a town hall that “government was too involved in people’s lives.”

Unfortunately for hardworking Michiganders, Walberg’s misguided priorities ignore the need to create jobs and make Michigan commuters safer, as Republicans in Congress allow the Highway Trust Fund to expire.

"It’s mind-boggling that Congressman Walberg is focused on invading women’s privacy, but can’t find the time to put Michiganders back to work by focusing on rebuilding Michigan’s roads," said Joshua Pugh, Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director. "Walberg complains publicly about the state of the roads in front of his house, yet he’s too busy in Washington interfering in women’s health care choices to do anything about it."

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FOCUSING ON DIVISIVE ISSUES

Walberg Voted For Controversial Law Invading A Woman’s Privacy Even In Cases Of Rape And Sexual Assault.“The legislation, which also requires a 48-hour waiting period, informed consent forms and mandatory counseling for victims of rape and sexual assault before abortions, passed 242-184…” [The Hill, 5/13/15]

HEADLINE: The Hill: Late-term abortion ban keeps controversial incest rule. “Newly unveiled language in the House’s late-term abortion bill shows that GOP leaders did not meet all of the demands from members of their party who had opposed an earlier version, keeping in limits on incest-related abortion.” [The Hill, 5/11/15]

Walberg Voted In Favor Of Resolution Disapproving DC Law Protecting Employees From Discrimination Based On Their Reproductive Health Decisions. [HJ Res 43, Vote# 194, 4/30/15]

HEADLINE: CNN: New abortion controversy hits Congress. “The new House resolution, sponsored by Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, says the D.C. law, the "Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act," accomplishes the opposite of what its name implies.” [CNN, 4/22/15]

IGNORING MICHIGAN ROADS

700,000 Jobs Could Be Lost If The Highway Trust Fund Expires. “The Obama administration on Monday warned 700,000 jobs could be lost if Congress misses a deadline to replenish a highway spending fund and said Senate legislation could fall short of a long-term solution to maintain U.S. infrastructure.”  [Reuters, 5/12/14]

Walberg Blasted Size Of Government After Complaining Michigan Roads Resemble Beirut Infrastructure. During a town-hall meeting in May 2015, Walberg said, “We still have potholes. We still have bridges crumbling … Fix our roads. The road in front of my house is going back to gravel. [My driver] Dustin picked me up there regularly and has to go across what looks like Beirut. I’ve been in Beirut. I know what Beirut roads look like. My road looks like Beirut. Imagine, a member of Congress having a road looking like that. That’s terrible. They got to treat me better than that. I’m a member of Congress … But the point I am making is folks, the government has become too much of our lives.” [Daily Telegram, 5/08/15]

Republican Bill Would Cut Critical TIGER Grants. “Over the past three years, Michigan received $32.9 million for these projects … The House mark would slash TIGER grant funding to nearly 80 percent below its lowest level ever, despite the fact that the program is vastly oversubscribed.” [White House, 5/13/15]

Democrats Condemn Senate GOP Hypocrisy on Prevailing Wage
May. 13th 2015

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party condemned the Senate GOP for yet another attack on the ability of Michigan families to earn good wages and stay and succeed in our state.

Johnson pointed out that Senate Republican Leader Arlan Meekhof claimed that under Michigan's prevailing wage law, 'taxpayers have to pay more for their buildings.'

"If the goal is save money, Senate Republicans should drop their plan to waste $134 million on fancy new offices for politicians, rather than attack workers' wages," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Democrats won't rest until this boondoggle is stopped, because there's no justification for spending $134 million on a fancy new office building for politicians."

Johnson also highlighted that Meekhof's claim about Michigan's prevailing wage law is flatly false.

"Michigan's prevailing wage law supports better training and local jobs for local workers," continued Johnson. "Repealing this valuable, decades-old protection is no way to create a Michigan where we can stay and succeed. This is driven by Republican politicians and corporate special interests, and would depress wages, hurt our state's economy and drive skilled workers out of our state."

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President Obama Rally with Michigan Democrats

President Obama will join Gary Peters and Mark Schauer on Saturday, November 4th at Wayne State University's Matthaei Physical Education Center in Detroit. Doors will open at 4pm. Tickets are free and will be given out on a first come, first serve basis and can be picked up at any one of the Michigan Democratic Party's campaign offices listed below. 

17243 Mack Ave., Detroit

7309 Lilley Rd., Canton

18409 Livernois Ave., Detroit

17100 W. Twelve Mile Rd., Lower Level, Southfield

4 N. Saginaw, 2nd Floor, Pontiac

23918 Cherry Hill St., Dearborn

Bill Clinton Event with Michigan Democrats

Congressman Dan Kildee hosted an exciting rally with Bill Clinton, Gary Peters and Mark Schauer in Flint. See photos from the event here and sign up below to support Michigan Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm election.

Show your support for Michigan Democrats!

A Message from Michelle Obama

The November 4th election is critical for Michigan and our country. We have the chance to keep the Senate blue and influence the next few years of lawmaking in Lansing and beyond. Because this election is so important, Michelle Obama stopped by Detroit on October 10, 2014 to rally supporters to join the grassroots movement that will decide if Democrats come out on top in November. Watch her special message below, then sign up to support Michigan Democrats.

Phonebank for Michigan Dems

Whether you're in Ohio, Nevada or DC, Michigan's Democrats need your support to win key 2014 midterm races! We are excited to offer phonebanking opportunities to supporters all over the country. Sign up to phonebank remotely for Michigan Democrats below, and we will contact you shortly to get you set up. 

Hillary Clinton Event at Oakland University

Hillary Clinton visited Oakland University on Thursday, October 16th to rally supporters ahead of the 2014 midterm election. See photos of the event here and sign up below to support Michigan Democrats.

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