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Hypocrite Congressman Benishek Didn't Pay His Taxes, Now Wants to Increase Taxes on Northern Michigan Families
Apr. 15th 2014
Democrats Call Out Republican Politicians for Shifting Tax Burden to Middle Class and Seniors
Apr. 14th 2014
Another No Good, Very Bad Week for Terri Lynn Land
Apr. 11th 2014
Snyder's Claims on Furniture Scandal Don't Match the Facts
Apr. 10th 2014
Snyder's Cousin Wins No-Bid Contract from Gov. Snyder's Administration
Apr. 9th 2014
Announcing our 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Keynote Speaker
Apr. 9th 2014
Michigan Dems Launch Online Poll: "What Would You Do with $41 Million?"
Apr. 8th 2014
New Video Exposes Terri Lynn Land's Opposition to Equal Pay
Apr. 8th 2014
Gov. Snyder Again Dodges $41 Million Question
Apr. 7th 2014
Land Dismisses Attacks on Peters' Children as "Silly"
Apr. 7th 2014
MEMO: Another Terrible Week for Terri Lynn Land Campaign
Apr. 4th 2014
Michigan Democratic Party Responds to Supreme Court Striking Down Aggregate Contribution Limits
Apr. 2nd 2014
MEMO: Democrats Leading the Way on Giving Michigan a Raise
Apr. 2nd 2014
Michiganders Cannot Trust Land When She Refuses to Answer Straightforward Questions
Apr. 1st 2014
Democratic Municipal Official of the Month Nathan Triplett Advances the March of Equality
Apr. 1st 2014
MDP Chair Praises Attorney General Holder for Decision to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages in Michigan
Mar. 28th 2014
Terri Lynn Land Reserves the Right to Attack Peters' Children
Mar. 27th 2014
The $41 Million Dollar Question: Why is Gov. Snyder Spending So Much on his Cousin's Office Furniture?
Mar. 26th 2014
Dems Disclose Snyder Multi-Million Dollar Furniture Scandal
Mar. 25th 2014
President Bill Clinton to Keynote 2014 Michigan Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Mar. 23rd 2014

Hypocrite Congressman Benishek Didn't Pay His Taxes, Now Wants to Increase Taxes on Northern Michigan Families
Apr. 15th 2014

LANSING - On Tax Day, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson released the following statement on the tax lien filed against Congressman Dan Benishek after he left thousands of dollars of his own taxes unpaid:

"Since Congressman Benishek can’t be bothered to pay his own taxes and still hasn’t come clean with the voters about his unpaid taxes, it’s no surprise that he’s doubled down on Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget that taxes middle-class Michigan families in order to cut taxes for millionaires like himself," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "No matter how you look at it, Congressman Benishek has made it clear he’s only looking out for himself."

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BACKGROUND:

Detroit Free Press: California business associated with U.S. Rep. Benishek in tax lien dispute

WASHINGTON — A business associated with U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, is the subject of a tax lien in California, but the congressman has so far declined to describe in detail what caused it to be filed.

The Free Press has learned that a tax lien for $3,769.46 has been filed by California’s Franchise Tax Board against Wild River Land Management and Marketing, a Crystal Falls business located at Benishek’s address. The lien is for tax year 2009.

In last year’s congressional financial disclosure, Benishek, a former surgeon who is in his second 2-year-term, listed himself as president of Wild River Land Management and Marketing. His wife Judy is listed as the business’ resident agent, according to state incorporation records.

California officials said confidentiality rules prohibited them from discussing any specifics behind the lien. Benishek’s office, when contacted by the Free Press, said the lien represents “an ongoing dispute” with California, which is trying to “collect taxes on income that doesn’t exist.”

Benishek’s office said the congressman has received no income in California. It did not respond to a request for more information about the facts behind the dispute.

Congressman Benishek Voted for the House Republican Budget Proposal. [H Con Res 96, Vote #177, 4/10/14]

White House: Republican Budget Proposal Would Cut Pell Grants, Prescription Drug Coverage, and Support for Stopping Domestic Violence.  In 2014 the White House reported that the Republican budget proposal would hurt 4.3 million seniors nationally who have benefited from the closure of the prescription drug donut hole. The budget would also eliminate 616,000 students from the Pell Grant program while cutting over $3 billion in funding for the program nationally. The budget would also cut 64,000 victims of domestic violence from the STOP Violence Against Women Program. [White House, 4/09/14]

Economic Policy Institute: Republican Budget Could Cost 3 Million Jobs.  “On net, I estimate that the House budget resolution would decrease GDP by 0.9 percent and decrease nonfarm payrolls by 1.1 million jobs in fiscal year 2015, relative to CBO’s current-law baseline. The following fiscal year, when Ryan’s cuts to discretionary spending kick in, ‘The Path to Prosperity’ would decrease GDP by 2.5 percent and cost 3.0 million jobs. And if the recovery remains sluggish, large job losses could continue under the Ryan budget in 2017 and beyond.” [Economic Policy Institute, 4/01/14]

Republican Budget Would Lower Taxes for the Wealthy While Raising Taxes on the Middle Class by $2,000. “The budget lowers the top tax rate to 25 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers, down from the current 39.6 percent, while raising taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000.” [New York Times Editorial,4/01/14

Republican Budget Would Cut Pell Grants by More than $125 Billion While Reducing Pell Grant Eligibility. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported: “Ryan proposes to cut Pell Grants by more than $125 billion over the next decade.  He would freeze the maximum grant for ten years, even as college tuition costs continue to rise.” Politico reported: “The budget requires the president and Congress to submit a plan to ensure the viability of the Social Security Trust Fund and to reduce the number of students eligible for Pell Grants.” [CBPP, 4/01/14; Politico, 4/01/14]

Democrats Call Out Republican Politicians for Shifting Tax Burden to Middle Class and Seniors
Apr. 14th 2014

Democrats hold Tax Day events in Royal Oak, Grand Rapids, Centerline, Lansing and Flint 

LANSING - With Tax Day tomorrow, Democratic leaders barnstormed the State today, holding events in front of post offices all over the state to call attention to the massive tax shift onto middle class families and seniors under Gov. Snyder and legislative Republicans. Democrats held events in Royal Oak, Grand Rapids, Center Line, Lansing and Flint.

"If you’re in the middle class or a senior, you’re probably noticing paying a lot more in taxes this year," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "That’s because Gov. Snyder and legislative Republicans backed a huge tax shift that hit our middle class families and seniors hardest, all so corporations can get a massive cut."

Under Republican politicians in Lansing, taxes on the middle class families and seniors were increased by $1.5 billion to pay for a $1.8 billion tax cut for corporate special interests and wealthy CEOs. 

Some of the hardest hitting changes for the middle class and seniors include:

  • over $1 billion in cuts to education;
  • the new Retirement tax on seniors;
  • elimination of the $600 per-child tax-deduction;
  • cuts to the Homestead Property Tax;
  • rollbacks to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"A secure retirement is a promise, and that promise was broken when Republicans imposed a new retirement tax on seniors like me," said Jim Pearson, a retired history teacher from Highland Township. "Many of us living on a fixed income now have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for our prescriptions because of the Republican retirement tax."

And Pearson isn’t alone; the new retirement tax cost Michigan retirees over $340 million, with many seniors paying thousands of dollars more each year.

Neil Yashinski, an IT technician from Troy, used to receive $600 from the per-child tax deduction, but that was eliminated by the Republican legislature. He also has kids in school who have seen firsthand the result of Republicans’ cuts to education.

"I have three children and I’ve seen firsthand the cuts to our schools that make it harder for them to succeed," said Yashinski. "I’m also paying almost $1,000 more every year because of Republican tax increases on families like mine. It’s disgraceful that education is sacrificed and middle class families like mine are paying more, just so corporations can pay less."

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Another No Good, Very Bad Week for Terri Lynn Land
Apr. 11th 2014

From: Joshua Pugh, MDP Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
RE: Another No Good, Very Bad Week for Terri Lynn Land
Date: April 11, 2014

First - New polling was released this week with Gary Peters leading Terri Lynn Landby 5 points, despite the estimated $5 million her special interest allies have spent in false attacks to boost her campaign.

Next - Land is facing major scrutiny for shutting down the trailer park she claims she learned her values from, and evicting 170 families for apparently no reason. Land expected to make millions by kicking out all the residents she grew up with, but the lot remains vacant today.

Finally - Video of Land saying that women don't care about equal pay has sparked a firestorm of criticism. President Obama and Senator Debbie Stabenow panned Land's comments, which are out of touch and offensive to Michigan women and families. 

Peters Leads Land by 5 Points Despite $5 Million in False Special Interest Attacks

WHTC - Peters Leads Land in U.S. Senate Race Poll: "Congressman Gary Peters has a slight lead over former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land in a new poll on the U.S. Senate race. Public Policy Polling finds the suburban Detroit Democrat has a 41-percent to 36-percent lead over Land. In December, the firm's numbers gave Land a two-percent lead, 42-percent to 40-percent. According to pollsters, Peters is doing well with independent voters and is being boosted by a more positive public perception of the Affordable Care Act's rollout." Read More.

Pressure Mounts on Land to Explain Why She Evicted 170 Families from Trailer Park Where She Learned Her Values 

Buzzfeed – Terri Lynn Land Closed Mobile Home Park She Boasts About In Ads, Evicted Hundreds of Families:“The mobile home park Republican Terri Lynn Land talks of in ads is now vacant. One hundred and seventy families were forced to move out to make way for commercial development.” Read More.

Oakland Press – Land Owned Mobile Home Park, Destroyed Community and Now Sits Vacant: “Buzzfeed aired Land’s comments that she had grown up in a trailer park, then tweaked her by producing documents that family business interests and sold a mobile home park and evicted the residents. And she was the target of the president at a Texas fundraiser, who singled her out for comments that gender gap in pay is the result of women’s choices, although the president didn’t mention her by name. “Very rarely do you meet people who make the choice to be paid less for doing the same job,” Obama was quoted as saying by the pooled press at the event. Obama was in Ann Arbor last week pushing for an increase to the federal minimum wage.Land, a former Michigan secretary of state, and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters from Bloomfield Township are, so far, in a neck-and-neck race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated retiring U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.” Read More. 

Land Under Fire for Saying Women Don't Care about Equal Pay

Cosmopolitan – Terri Lynn Land Says Women Don't Deserve Raises: “The same day that Democrats are drawing attention to the wage gap, American Bridge 21st Century unearthed a speech by the GOP's Terri Lynn Land, former Secretary of State and likely Republican Senate nominee in Michigan, saying that women have other priorities (via Talking Points Memo). ‘Well, we all like to be paid more, and that's great, but the reality is that women have a different lifestyle," she said. "They have kids, they have to take them to get dentist appointments, doctors' appointments, all those kinds of things, and they're more interested in flexibility in a job than pay.’ This was from a speech she made in 2010, not 1950, by the way.” Read More.

Talking Points Memo – Terri Lynn Land: Equal Pay Not Women’s Priority: “Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), the likely Republican nominee for Senate in Michigan, said women prioritize flexibility in a job ahead of salary.’Well we all like to be paid more and that's great but the reality is that women have a different lifestyle," Land said in the speech. "They have kids, they have to take them to get dentist appointments, doctors appointments all those kinds of things and they're more interested in flexibility in a job than pay.’ Land's comments were made during a 2010 speech at a Senior Women's Club event in The Community House in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. The remarks were highlighted by the American Bridge 21st Century PAC.The video was posted the same day that Democrats initiated an effort to draw attention to gender pay disparities.

Read More.

MSNBC – Terri Lynn Land Says Women Aren’t Concerned With Equal Pay for Equal Work: Making matters slightly worse, American Bridge 21st Century PAC released a video today of Michigan’s Terri Lynn Land, the Republicans’ U.S. Senate hopeful, arguing, “Well, we all like to be paid more and that’s great. But the reality is that women have a different lifestyle. They have kids, they have to take them to get dentists’ appointments, doctors’ appointments all those kinds of things, and they’re more interested in flexibility in a job than pay.” [Update: An extended version of the clip with more context is available here.] So, Land not only sees women in traditional gender roles, but is also convinced that women aren’t especially concerned with receiving unequal pay for equal work – because ‘women have a different lifestyle.’ Read More.

 Huffington Post – Obama Slams Female GOP Candidate Who Said Women Don't Care So Much About Equal Pay: “When President Barack Obama blasted Senate Republicans Wednesday night for blocking a Democratic-supported bill that would address the gap between men's and women's pay in the U.S., he singled out one female Senate candidate in his remarks.Obama didn't mention Terri Lynn Land by name. But according to the White House press pool report from a Democratic fundraiser in Houston, he expressed his frustration with “Republican obstructionism” on a number of issues, including equal pay, and mentioned “a GOP Senate candidate in Michigan, not by name, who defended the gender gap in pay as a result of women’s choices." “Very rarely do you meet people who make the choice to be paid less for doing the same job,” Obama said. [...] Although Land is making headlines for her fundraising prowess, a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling shows her trailing incumbent Rep. Gary Peters (D) 36 percent to 41 percent. The race for Michigan's Senate seat is one of the nation's toughest midterm campaigns.” Read More.

Detroit News – On Land’s Statement that Equal Pay is Not a Priority: “Very rarely do you meet people who make the choice to be paid less for doing the same job.” “The president grouped Land with Republicans whom he claims “just think that this idea there’s a gender pay gap is a fantasy, it’s not real. ...“(I)n fact, I think there was a candidate for the Senate, a Republican in Michigan, who voiced the opinion that women make other choices. And I think that’s certainly true; every individual makes other choices. Very rarely do you meet people who make the choice to be paid less for doing the same job.” Read More. 

MLive – Land Did Not Say She Would Vote for Equal Pay Act: “Swift did not say if Land would vote for the bill introduced in the Senate, which would expand the Equal Pay Act. Another Democrat, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, took issue with the notion that women have different lifestyles than men. “This whole thing that women don’t care about pay: Excuse me?” Stabenow said during a press call with reporters on Thursday. “Flex time won’t pay for groceries. Flex time doesn’t pay for gas in your car. And when I look at my son versus my daughter, they both love their children and would love to pick them up after school. That doesn’t mean my daughter should be paid less because she wants to pick her kids up after school like my son does.”” Read More.  

Deadline Detroit - President Criticized Land for her Indefensible Position on Gender Pay Discrimination: “The hotly contested race for U.S. Senate in Michigan is getting hotter. Candidates U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat, and Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land, have been running TV ads highly critical of one another. Now, President Obama is weighing in on the race that could conceivably determine which party controls the Senate after the November elections. The Detroit News reports that the president criticized Land for her position on gender pay discrimination.” Read More.

Mining Gazette – Stabenow: “Outrageous” Land Does Not Support Paycheck Fairness Act: “Stabenow said some of the arguments she's heard against the bill have been ‘outrageous,’ including former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land's statement that women want flexibility instead of higher wages. ‘Excuse me? Flex time won't pay for groceries. Flex time doesn't pay for gas in your car,’ Stabenow said. ‘When I look at my son versus my daughter, they both love their children and want to pick them up after school. That doesn't mean my daughter should be paid less.’” Read More.

Snyder's Claims on Furniture Scandal Don't Match the Facts
Apr. 10th 2014

Since the Michigan Democratic Party disclosed emails indicating that Snyder Administration officials and Snyder's secretive NERD Fund intervened during the 2011 budget crisis to protect the Governor's cousin and a financial backer from cuts, the Snyder Administration has been engaged in a desperate campaign to spin away the truth. The problem is, none of their claims stand up to the facts as established in the emails and contracts that have been revealed.

CLAIM: Governor says his cousin's Haworth/DBI contract was awarded before he took office, so this issue should be dismissed.

FACT: When the contract began isn't the issue. What's at issue is the Governor doubling his cousin's Haworth/DBI contract in Sept 2012 - (21 months into his term) from $19 million to $41 million. This occurred just as his massive cuts to education and new taxes on seniors and families were going into effect.

FACT: What's also at issue are emails that show Snyder Administration officialsand the controversial NERD Fund intervened in the midst of the state’s 2011 budget crisis to protect the Governor’s cousin and a major financial contributor from a $1 million cap on the purchase of state office furniture.

FACT: George Snyder's (DBI's) contract has been extended 7 times since Snyder took office.

CLAIM: Governor Spokesperson Sara Wurfel says the $41 million contract was with Haworth, not the Governor's cousin at DBI.  

FACT: The Governor's cousin's company (DBI) has a partnership with Haworth in the $41 million contract. DBI is listed as a "single point of contact" for the contract itself as well as for "project planning," "design and implementation," and "project management" among many others.

FACT: Snyder's cousin at DBI led the charge when the contract was threatened with a cut in 2011; getting Richard Baird at the NERD Fund and then state Budget Director John Nixon to intervene and shield the Haworth/DBI contractfrom proposed cuts coming out of the Senate in 2011.

Snyder's Cousin Wins No-Bid Contract from Gov. Snyder's Administration
Apr. 9th 2014

$731,000 Award from MEDC Deepens Furniture Scandal

DETROIT - Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson released the following statement in response to a report that the MEDC handed a no-bid contract worth $731,000 to Haworth Inc. and DBI, the company owned by Gov. Snyder's cousin:

"It sure is good to be Gov. Snyder's cousin these days,' said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Not only does Snyder's cousin see his furniture contract doubled to $41 million - even while seniors and families see cuts - but he gets the inside track on no-bid contracts awarded by the MEDC. Snyder repeatedly said he believed in competitive bidding, but once again when it comes to his family's contracts with the state, what he says and what he does are two different things. These latest revelations only raise more troubling questions about how business is conducted in the Snyder administration."

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BACKGROUND: 

"Governments need to make decisions based on competitive bidding and value for taxpayer money."  ["Four bills signed into law," Gov. Snyder press release, 7/19/11]

"Again, I’ve always believe in competitively bidding things." [Detroit Free Press video, 9/23/13]

Gov. Snyder: Michigan must focus on 'we,' not 'me' in making sacrifices to help reinvent state [AP headline, 3/9/11]

Snyder calls for working, not whining to fix state finances [Detroit Free Press headline, Tom Walsh column, 2/1/11]

"My Fellow Michigan Citizens: . . . They will involve difficult but necessary changes to bring Michigan’s budget into structural balance. There will be shared sacrifice, but through that shared sacrifice, Michigan will emerge as a stronger and more vibrant state." Executive Budget: Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013].  

Even before Snyder presented the [budget] plan to lawmakers Thursday, he was defending it, saying it would put the economically troubled state on sound financial footing. "We're getting rid of all the special-interest kind of items," he said. ["Michigan budget: Snyder seeks 'shared sacrifices' from seniors, state workers, schools, cities," AP, 3/17/11]

DBI's New $41 Million Contract with State of Michigan

MDP Letter to US Attorney

Political contributions from Haworth, Inc. to Michigan Republicans

Political contributions from DBI to Gov. Snyder

Announcing our 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Keynote Speaker
Apr. 9th 2014

President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker for the Michigan Democratic Party's 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, April 26 at Cobo Hall. Details to come. 

Reserve your seat: http://michigandems.eventbrite.com/?aff=Website

Michigan Dems Launch Online Poll: "What Would You Do with $41 Million?"
Apr. 8th 2014

Amidst Snyder furniture scandal, Dems want your vote -- money for new state office furniture or roads, school supplies?

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party launched an online poll asking how Michigan families would spend $41 million of taxpayer money. While Republican Gov. Snyder was slashing education and raising taxes on seniors and middle class families, top Snyder Administration officials were working to shield his cousin’s state furniture contract from budget cuts. To make matters worse, the very next year this same contract was doubled to $41 million.

"Republican Gov. Snyder had a choice, and he chose to shield his cousin's state furniture contract from budget cuts then double it to $41 million, even while cutting education for kids and imposing new taxes on seniors and the middle class," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Instead of working to help our middle-class families and fund priorities such as our schools and roads, the Snyder Administration protected Snyder's cousin's multi million dollar office furniture business from cuts, then doubled the contract."

In tough economic times, did Michigan need a $41 million office furniture contract from Snyder's cousin? Couldn’t that money have been better invested?

How many teachers, books or computers could be put back into our classrooms with $41 million? Or how many potholes filled and crumbling roads repaired? What about our middle-class families and seniors, whose new tax increases are going to pay for more office furniture?

We want to know: how would you spend $41 million?

To cast your vote, visit michigandems.com/snyder-scandal.

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New Video Exposes Terri Lynn Land's Opposition to Equal Pay
Apr. 8th 2014

While Peters Continues to Fight to Close Gender Pay Gap, Land’s Failure to Address Equal Pay Is Just One More Reason Why Michigan Women & Middle Class Families Can’t Trust Her

LANSING - On Equal Pay Day today, new video has surfaced exposing Terri Lynn Land's opposition to ensuring paycheck fairness. Watch here:http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/terri-lynn-land-women-equal-pay-flexibility

In her U.S. Senate campaign, former Republican National Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land has not even recognized the problem at all.

In stark contrast, Gary Peters has been an outspoken champion for equal pay. One of the first votes Peters took in Washington was to help pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He also helped introduce the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women and men earn equal pay for the same work. 

A report by the American Association of University Women out this week reveals the problem of gender pay discrimination – on average, women report earning 82% of male income one year after college. It also found that, despite men and women borrowing similar amounts to pay for college, women gave a greater share of their earnings to student debt repayment, due to the gender income gap.

"Gary is committed to closing the gender wage gap because he believes that ensuring equal pay for equal work is common-sense, good business, and good for our economy, but it appears Former Republican National Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land does not even think wage discrimination is a problem at all," said Joshua Pugh, Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director. "Michigan middle class families can count on Gary’s proven record of fighting for equal pay, and they deserve better than Land's failure to even recognize the problem. How can Michigan women trust Land fight for them on equal pay when she’s too busy hiding behind outside special interests to even acknowledge that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed?"

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Gov. Snyder Again Dodges $41 Million Question
Apr. 7th 2014

DETROIT - This morning at Pancakes and Politics at the Detroit Athletic Club, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson asked Republican Gov. Snyder why he doubled his cousin's furniture contract with the state to $41 million, while cutting education and placing new taxes on middle-class families and seniors. 

The governor responded by dodging the question, refusing to address why his cousin's contract with the state was doubled from $19 million to $41 million on his watch. The new $41 million contract with the state can be viewed here.

"Republican Gov. Snyder is still dodging the $41 million question - why he doubled his cousin's new furniture contract, all while cutting education and placing unfair new taxes on our seniors and middle-class families," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "This governor's use of the secret NERD Fund to ensure special treatment for his cousin and for campaign donors gives new meaning to the phrase 'friends and family first.' That's why this governor and his NERD Fund need to be investigated immediately."

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Land Dismisses Attacks on Peters' Children as "Silly"
Apr. 7th 2014

Former National Republican Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land is now dismissing Right to Life's offensive and inappropriate attacks on Gary Peters' two teenage daughters as "silly."

Late Friday, Land responded to a Detroit News post about her refusal to sign a common-sense pledge to keep both candidates' children out of negative political attacks. Currently Right to Life, one of Land's special interest backers, is attacking Gary's two teenage daughters and refuses to take down their attack from their website.

By declining to condemn Right to Life's political attack on Gary's children, Land is continuing to reserve the right to attack Peters' children in her campaign.

"The fact that former National Republican Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land thinks that keeping children out of negative political attacks is 'silly' just goes to show exactly why Michigan middle class families can't trust her," said Joshua Pugh, Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director. "Land won't condemn her special interest backers when they crossed a line, and now she's actually reserving the right to continue to attack Gary's son and two daughters in her campaign. Land won't answer basic questions about her platform, but she will take a hard position on making sure she and her allies can sink as low as possible in this campaign and attack Gary's children. It's outrageous and Michiganders deserve better."

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MEMO: Another Terrible Week for Terri Lynn Land Campaign
Apr. 4th 2014

From: Joshua Pugh, MDP Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
RE: Another Terrible Week for Terri Lynn Land Campaign
Date: Friday, April 4, 2014

In what should have been an easy moment to earn positive attention for her campaign, Land fell flat turning in her petitions this week. Land stumbled over a question about foreign policy, then actually walked away from another reporter trying to ask her about campaign finance. Her bizarre press appearance this week comes on the heels of her embarrassing first news conference call when her campaign tried to take the entire call off the record.

Next - Land embraced the Ryan Budget that would end Medicare as we know it just to give more tax breaks to millionaires, and tried to distract from her opposition to the auto rescue with a vague attempt to talk about Michigan manufacturing. 

Finally - Land continues to face scrutiny for refusing to sign a pledge that would keep each candidate's children out of political attacks. Land is actually reserving the right to continue to target Gary's son and two teenage daughters, just as her special interest backers have done. 

WLNS - US Senate Candidate Terri Lynn Land Blanks on Crimea: “Ms. Land has done a number of radio shows, her campaign did hold a phone news conference last week, which the Peters campaign criticized because she didn't take a stance on some issues.[…] On minimum wage she did not take a stance. ‘I'm open to looking at minimum wage,’ said Land.The business community says it will cost jobs. Land: ‘That's why we need to look at it, but its been awhile since we had an increase, so I want to be open to an increase.’ Before the reporter could ask another question on the president's role in Crimea Ms. Land paused as her media secretary said that would be the last question, and it was.[…] Reporter: ‘So the president is doing a good job?’ Land: ‘I think that's the last question.’ Watch more.

WLNS - Land Walks Away From Question on Campaign Financing:“...And with that, the eight question news conference was over as her campaign filed the signatures with the state elections bureau. Afterwards, a reporter asked for one more question which she answered. But when another reporter wanted to ask about campaign financing, she walked away.” Read more.

Detroit News - Land's Attempts to Hide from Reporters "Backfires": “The Land campaign apparently invited only local reporters from a Lansing-area news organization, leaving full-time political reporters in town out of the mix. But the approach appears to have backfired when WLNS-TV sent senior Capitol correspondent Tim Skubick, who peppered Land with questions on gay marriage, minimum wage and the crisis in Crimea. Land’s campaign, which did not return messages seeking comment, sent out a press release Monday afternoon announcing the day’s news that Land had become the first Senate candidate to file her petitions under the label of ‘in case you missed it.’ Perhaps a more accurate label for the Capitol press corps should have been: ‘Since you weren’t invited.’” Read more.   

Land Called The Republican Budget The “First Step To A Balanced Budget.” In April 2014, MIRS reported that when “Asked if she supported the Ryan budget, in an e-mailed response, Land didn't give a yes or no answer, offering instead, ‘Putting a budget on the floor is the first step to a balanced budget, which is more than (U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry REID and the Senate Democrats have done.  ‘Harry Reid decided the Senate Democrats are simply not going to draft a budget this year -- leading to more chaos, more crisis and less predictability for families and businesses.  Harry Reid and Gary Peters just don't understand that Washington needs to do what Michigan businesses and families do -- and what our own Governor does--balance the budget. The best way to get our fiscal house in order is by taking a dual approach that reforms our broken tax code and reduces the big government spending that has run rampant under both parties for too long in Washington, D.C.’” [MIRS, 4/2/14]

Detroit News - Reserving the right to attack Gary Peters’ children: “So where is Terri Lynn Land? Hiding behind her special interest backers, per usual. Ms. Land has benefited from more than $4 million in special interest dark money, and she is beholden to them to the point that she won’t speak out when they cross the line and attack Gary Peters’s teenage daughters. Land has even refused to sign a pledge promising to keep both candidates’ children out of political attacks — so she’s actually reserving the right to attack Peters’s children in the future. Michiganians have to ask: how can we trust someone like Terri Land, who thinks teenagers are fair game for her special interest allies’ nasty campaign politics?” Read more

Michigan Democratic Party Responds to Supreme Court Striking Down Aggregate Contribution Limits
Apr. 2nd 2014

MDP: Tsunami of outside political cash threatens to drown our democracy

DETROIT - Today the Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision striking down aggregate contribution limits in McCutcheon v. FEC:

"The Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. FEC marks a sad day for our democracy, as a tsunami of money is threatening to drown our democracy," said Paul Stevenson, Michigan Democratic Party Justice Caucus Chair. "This decision will make it easier for billionaire special interests like the DeVos family and Koch Brothers to influence our elections, and allow Republican politicians like Rick Snyder and Terri Land to continue to escape any transparency or accountability from Michigan's middle-class families. Our state needs leaders who will work to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected."

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MEMO: Democrats Leading the Way on Giving Michigan a Raise
Apr. 2nd 2014

From: Joshua Pugh, Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
RE: Democrats Leading the Way on Giving Michigan a Raise
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Today, President Obama is in Ann Arbor pushing for action on giving Michigan families a raise by increasing the minimum wage. 

The President is joined at the University of Michigan today by Mark Schauer, candidate for Michigan governor, Congressman Gary Peters, candidate for U.S. Senate, and dozens of other Democratic elected leaders and candidates. 

Democrats' leadership on this issue stands in stark contrast to Republican politicians in Lansing and Washington, who oppose a common sense increase in the minimum wage and equal pay for women, even while they support tax breaks for wealthy special interests. 

Snyder Opposed To Increase In The Minimum Wage. "Governor Rick Snyder is opposing proposals at the state and federal levels to increase the minimum wage."  [WWJ, 2/16/13]

Gov. Rick Snyder's office: Raising minimum wage not a burning issue, not the only way to help workers. "It hasn't been a burning issue because Michigan is already above the federal minimum," said Snyder spokesperson Dave Murray in a statement. [MLive, 11/18/13]

When asked about his thoughts on an increased minimum wage, Snyder responded simply: “To be open with you, I’m not spending time really on minimum wage as an issue because I’m trying to get higher paying jobs for everybody.” ["From same-sex marriage to being 'a yuppie': 5 key issues from Gov. Snyder's discussion at U-M," MLive, 2/11/14]

"The lame-duck Legislature’s adoption of controversial Right-to-Work legislation last year that the governor signed into law was dramatic proof that Snyder doesn’t see the needs of working people as much of a priority. . . . But the challenger seems to understand that despite Snyder’s success in ensuring state government runs more efficiently and that Michigan has become more attractive to potential employers, working people are paying a high price for the state’s reinvention." ["Challenger's idea might resonate," The Times Herald editorial, 11/19/13]

Terri Land Refused to Support Raising the Minimum wage. "Democrats see a clear difference between a battle-tested campaigner like Peters and Land, who easily won two lower-profile secretary of state races and recently served as a member to the Republican National Committee.They believe Land — who in an interview dodged questions about her position on the minimum wage, Medicare reform and Michigan abortion legislation — will implode once the spotlight intensifies and her record as secretary of state is picked apart." [Politico, 2/20/14]

Congressman Walberg said He “Felt the Federal Government was Wrong to Set Any Level of Minimum Wage.” In 2007, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported that Walberg “felt the federal government was wrong to set any level of minimum wage, though he wouldn't try to take it off the books.” [Battle Creek Enquirer, 2/20/07]

Congressman Walberg Said that the Minimum Wage Amounted to “Socialism” and That it “Never Has Worked on the Face of this Earth.” “If you say the minimum wage ought to be raised to $15 – why $15? Why not $50? Why not $60? Why not do that? Who says minimum wage ought to be $15? Let’s move it to something where we all will make the same. That’s socialism. Never has worked on the face of this earth, won’t work here,” Walberg said. [YouTube, 8/23/13]

Reps. Benishek, Huizenga, Amash, Camp, Upton, Walberg, Rogers, Miller, and Bentivolio Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage from $7.25 to $10.10 Over Three Years. Upon enactment, the measure would have increased the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.20 within three months. A year from this date, the federal minimum wage would increase from $8.20 to $9.15. A year from this date, the federal minimum wage would increase to $10.10. [HR 803, Vote #74, 3/15/13]

Michiganders Cannot Trust Land When She Refuses to Answer Straightforward Questions
Apr. 1st 2014

Land continues to hide behind special interests; reserves the right to attack Peters’ three children

LANSING - Former Republican National Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land actually walked away from reporters this week when asked reasonable questions about campaign financing. When asked about foreign policy, WLNS’ Tim Skubick reported that Land responded, “I’m sorry, what?” to an inquiry about her position on Crimea, then said it was the last question.

WATCH Land walk away from reporters' questionshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBYsqHroWsA

This is just the latest example of Ms. Land's refusal or inability to answer straightforward questions about her positions in her bid for U.S. Senate. Last week, her campaign tried to take Land’s first news conference call entirely off the record. She has also refused to condemn an attack on Peters' children, and to sign a pledge to keep both candidates' children out of negative political attacks.

Land is benefiting from special interests flooding the race with more than $4 million in dark money fueled false attacks, but has refused to hold public events, answer questions, and defend her anti-middle class agenda.

"How can Michigan middle class families trust Terri Lynn Land when her answer to reasonable questions on everything from campaign finances to foreign policy is to walk away, or refuse to respond outright?" asked Joshua Pugh, Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director. "Land ushered in a new era of dark money when she was Secretary of State, and now she’s benefiting from special interests spending millions to boost her campaign, while she hides from actual voters. Land needs to come out of her bunker and defend her special interest-backed, anti-middle class agenda that reserves the right to attack Gary’s children, ends the guaranteed benefit of Medicare, bans the birth control pill, but gives new tax breaks to billionaires."

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Democratic Municipal Official of the Month Nathan Triplett Advances the March of Equality
Apr. 1st 2014

NOTE: DMO is a Democratic National Committee constituency group representing local voices in Democratic politics, and Democratic voices in local politics. For more information and to become a member, please contact Oliver Judd at oliver.judd@nationaldmo.org. This post has been adapted from a post by the National DMO.

President Barack Obama has declared 2014 a Year of Action. This initiative includes turning public focus to how towns and cities are leading the way on national issues. Municipalities are the laboratories where new policies are tested, and where local voices move forward despite national gridlock. In Michigan, cities are leading the way on technology, innovation, and equality. Recently, President Obama signed his historic Farm Bill in East Lansing, highlighting the crucial role Michigan communities play in feeding the nation. This month DMO joins the President in recognizing East Lansing. Meet Nathan Triplett, a mayor dedicated to the fight for equality, and our DMO of the Month for March.

East Lansing has long lead the nation in anti-discrimination efforts. In 1972, the city was the first in America to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In celebration of 40 years of non-discrimination, local officials from across the state have come together to champion civil equality. Not least among these is Mayor Triplett, who vocally supports LEAD (Local Electeds Against Discrimination) and similar LGBT non-discrimination efforts. Mayor Triplett also understands that full equality doesn’t stop at the right to marry. “In our state, and in 33 others, it’s perfectly legal to fire someone or to refuse to serve them solely because they are gay or transgender,” he wrote in a recent op-ed commenting on the startling lack of such legal protection. Nathan Triplett keeps his town’s history of equality alive, fighting to ensure civil rights for its citizens.

Recently a federal judge struck down the ban on same sex marriages in Michigan, and Mayor Triplett jumped into action. He worked with other local officials to marry dozens of couples, and personally performed five of the ceremonies. After an appeals court issued a stay on further marriages, the mayor co-wrote a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder asking for federal recognition of the weddings already performed. Attorney General Holder has confirmed that federal agencies will recognize the marriages. Unfortunately, Michigan's Republican Governor has stated that although the couples were legally wed, the state will not recognize their marriages. Undeterred, Mayor Triplett believes that groundswell from municipalities has the power to make changes at the state level. Municipal offices have a history of forging the path on social issues, and it is no surprise that Mayor Triplett and other local Democrats have outpaced statewide officials on enacting anti-discrimination policies.   

Fairness, development, and enfranchisement are core values of Mayor Triplett’s governing style. For instance, he pushed for additional commissioners on the Board of Water and Light to ensure representation for all areas served by the utilities. He lobbied to keep the Department of Energy’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University after funding came into question. The facility is expected to create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of research positions. This January, Congress approved funding, and in March they broke ground on the site. Mayor Triplett also supported moving precinct boundaries to make voting easier for students at MSU. Where they had to walk over a mile to the nearest polling location, Triplett voted to ensure that every student at the university had the opportunity to cast their ballot on campus.

Though the Republican Governor has chosen to support the mistakes of the past, Nathan Triplett has decided to lead the way forward as a Michigan Democratic Municipal Official. As the President has recognized, this Year of Action depends on the work of local Democrats to keep the country moving towards progress. Nathan Triplett was named DMO of the Month for March because of his earnest commitment to equal rights and enfranchisement. Whether it is marriage equality, access to voting, or quality jobs, Mayor Triplett is committed to providing fair opportunities in East Lansing.

Nathan Triplett was elected to the East Lansing City Council in 2007. In 2013 he was unanimously voted to the Mayor’s office by the rest of the Council. Nathan works as Director of Priorities Michigan, and is a member of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees. He and his wife are members of the Edgewood United Church of Christ. Mayor Triplett also serves as the DMO Michigan State Chapter Chair.

You can tweet Mayor Triplett @NathanTriplett.

MDP Chair Praises Attorney General Holder for Decision to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages in Michigan
Mar. 28th 2014

LANSING - Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson issued the following statement in response to Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that the federal government will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in Michigan:

"Same-sex couples shouldn't have to rely on federal intervention to have their right to legal marriage recognized, but thanks to Republican Gov. Snyder that's exactly what's happening," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Gov. Snyder's decision to deny equal treatment to these couples is offensive and ridiculous. Loving, committed same-sex couples have been denied equal protection for too long in Michigan. Our state needs leaders like Gary Peters and Mark Schauer, who will stand up for full equality for every Michigander."

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Terri Lynn Land Reserves the Right to Attack Peters' Children
Mar. 27th 2014

LANSING - Former RNC Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land is refusing to sign a common-sense and responsible pledge to keep both candidates' children out of negative political attacks. Today, Land ignored direct questions about whether or not she would sign the pledge. Later, her campaign tweeted an attack signaling that they would not be signing and will reserve the right to make Gary Peters' son and two teenage daughters a target. 

Already Land's special interest ally, Right to Life, has targeted Peters' two teenage daughters. Peters called on Land to condemn the attack and then offered a pledge promising to draw the line at politically attacking each of their children during the campaign. 

Watch Land refuse to say that she would sign a pledge to stop political attacks on each of the candidate's children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxBCw_Q7Chw

"Former Republican National Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land thinks that she and her special interest allies can buy this U.S. Senate seat without any accountability to Michigan middle class families, and today she proved again that she would stoop to the ugliest kind of attacks," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Already Land's special interest backers are attacking Gary Peters' two teenage daughters - with her approval. By refusing to sign this pledge, Land is reserving the right to attack Gary's children throughout her campaign, which is shameful and wrong."

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The $41 Million Dollar Question: Why is Gov. Snyder Spending So Much on his Cousin's Office Furniture?
Mar. 26th 2014

Massive increase in furniture contract comes at time of huge cuts to education, seniors and middle class

Why won't Snyder explain to public why state government needs so much furniture from his cousin?

LANSING - Democrats today continued pressing Republican Gov. Snyder for answers to questions he is desperately attempting to avoid answering. Snyder refuses to answer why the state more than doubled Rick Snyder's cousin's new furniture contract from $19 million to $41 million in 2012 just as new taxes were hitting the middle class and seniors and education was being cut.

"The $41 million question Republican Gov. Snyder is trying to avoid is why it was so important that the State buy huge amounts of brand new office furniture from his cousin at a time of massive budget cuts to schools, layoffs and new taxes on the middle class," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair.  "How does he explain shielding his family member's contracts from cuts and then doubling them to Michigan's seniors and families that had to sacrifice? Snyder owes us an answer, not more trite dismissals."

As revelations mounted yesterday that the Governor used his secretive NERD Fund to prevent cuts to his cousin's contract, Snyder refused to answer these and other troubling questions regarding favoritism for political allies, relying instead on soundbites.

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BACKGROUND:

Snyder's cousin's $41 million new office furniture contract  can be found here.

Note - see page 6 of the contract for date of increase.
Dems Disclose Snyder Multi-Million Dollar Furniture Scandal
Mar. 25th 2014

Governor’s cousin, top aides, major contributor linked to $19 million state contract fix

LANSING – Snyder administration officials and the controversial NERD fund intervened in the midst of the state’s 2011 budget crisis to protect the Governor’s cousin and a major financial contributor from what could have been an $18-million loss. Snyder officials were acting to protect a lucrative state contract that was threatened by Senate Republicans who had put a $1 million cap on the purchase of state office furniture.

“While parents and seniors were being told by the governor they must sacrifice to balance the state’s billion-dollar deficit budget, Rick Snyder’s family and political friends were being taken care of,” said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair, who Tuesday released revealing email documents obtained by the party under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. “This scandal reveals hypocrisy reaching directly into the governor’s office and is a serious and disturbing breach of public trust.”

At the center of the scandal is NERD fund operative and top Snyder advisor, Richard Baird, and the state’s sole provider of new office furniture, Holland-based Haworth, Inc., whose officials are major financial backers of the Governor. Haworth had partnered with DBI Business Interiors, a company owned by George Snyder, Rick Snyder’s cousin, who lobbied Baird furiously to protect Haworth’s contract from the Senate’s cost-cutting legislation.

Email disclosures released today by Johnson document activities of Baird, Budget Director John Nixon and George Snyder, from April, 2011 to July of that year.  These email exchanges happened as the Governor and state Legislature dealt with a billion-dollar budget deficit by implementing controversial massive cuts to education and other spending along with a $1.42 billion tax increase on seniors and middle-class families.  The emails show that while Governor Snyder was calling for “shared sacrifice” from Michigan families, his cousin had successfully intervened with the Snyder administration to prevent Senate budget cuts for new office furniture purchases.  

Disclosures that Snyder’s secretive NERD slush fund and its operative, Baird, were influencing state contracts, the state budget and legislation to protect the governor’s cousin also suggest that the NERD fund may have been operating as a secret lobbying organization on behalf of corporate NERD donors and Snyder campaign contributors (see below Follow the Money doc).

Emails obtained by MDP show that after the state Senate passed a budget on April 26, 2011 that limited purchases of new office furniture for state agencies to $1 million, Baird was contacted three days later by the governor’s cousin, George Snyder.

After George Snyder told Baird in an April 29 email that he was “very upset and nervous about the language in the Senate budget bill on furniture,” Baird immediately contacted Budget Director Nixon, who responded, “We are on this.”   Less than two weeks later, the state House passed a budget without the $1-million limit on new furniture purchases. The budget without the furniture cost-cutting provision that upset George Snyder was adopted by the full Legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder in June, 2011.

The Haworth contract was more than doubled in September, 2012 to $41 million just as budget cuts to schools, revenue sharing and new taxes and families were in full swing.

“Campaign Contributions, and frantic emails from state contractors through secretly funded organizations certainly show special treatment for family and favored interests but also raise troubling questions of whether they are evidence of 'pay to play' arrangements," said Johnson.  Our concern is that this latest revelation is just the tip of the iceberg and that the secret NERD fund needs to be investigated.”  

Another, similar intervention by Baird was disclosed in other emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These involved Snyder campaign donor, Steve Trecha.

A SECOND CASE

Just over a month prior to Richard Baird’s intervention to help George Snyder and Haworth, Inc., Baird was contacted on March 14, 2011 by Trecha, President and CEO of Integrated Strategies Inc. Trecha wanted Baird’s help with a contract his company had with the Michigan Department of Corrections that was now up for bid. The day after Trecha contacted Baird, Baird again reached out to Budget Director Nixon, forwarding Trecha’s email to him with the comment, “Per our discussion.”

A few months later, on July 12, 2011, Integrated Strategies was awarded a $2.2 million Supply Chain Transformation contract with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

“Governor Snyder’s use of the NERD fund to protect lucrative state contracts of family members and political allies from budget cuts certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, putting friends and family first,” said Johnson.  “The Governor’s top job should be to protect the citizens of Michigan, not use secret and unaccountable organizations to make sure his friends and family are first in line to be shielded from cuts.”

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FOLLOW THE MONEY

Prior to April, 2011 and Richard Baird’s intervention, George Snyder and other DBI officials had contributed $5,441.75 to Rick Snyder’s campaign.  But after Baird’s intervention, DBI officials were feeling much more generous, contributing $9,915.14 to the Snyder campaign, almost doubling their contributions.  Officials and others connected to Haworth, Inc., meanwhile, are even larger Republican contributors.  

Haworth-connected donors gave $34,200 to Rick Snyder’s campaign, and have contributed $592,630 to various Michigan Republicans, including the state party.  Haworth, Inc.  also gave $25,000 to the Governor’s Club, a fund largely bankrolled by corporations affected by policy decisions Snyder makes on subjects such as energy policy and health care.

After the NERD fund intervened in the Integrated Strategies state contract, campaign cash began to flow from people linked with Integrated Strategies to the Snyder campaign.   Prior to getting Richard Baird’s help, the Snyder campaign had received just $750 from Steve Trecha.  Afterward, there was a ten-fold increase in contributions to the Snyder campaign during 2012 and 2013. Steve Trecha and his wife, Ellen Trecha, gave a combined $6,800 to the Snyder campaign, with Steve Trecha kicking in another $500 to the campaign account of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTATION:

Timeline document of DBI scandal

Timeline document of Integrated Strategies scandal

Spreadsheet of DBI contributions to Rick Snyder 

DBI Contract with State of Michigan

George Snyder emails - 4/29/11

George Snyder emails - 4/13/11

George Snyder emails - 7/7/11

MDP Letter to US Attorney

President Bill Clinton to Keynote 2014 Michigan Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Mar. 23rd 2014

LANSING - Today, Michigan Democratic Party officials announced the 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner will be headlined by President Bill Clinton. 

"I’m thrilled to welcome one of the great leaders of our time to Michigan to boost Democratic efforts to win in 2014," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "We’re very much looking forward to hearing from President Clinton on how Democratic leaders can continue to work to create opportunity for all."

"President Clinton has been a lifelong champion of the middle class, and I’m excited to welcome him to Michigan next month," said Senator Debbie Stabenow. "President Clinton recognizes how important every race in Michigan is to this country, and his commitment to our state will help ensure that this will be a winning year for Michigan’s middle-class families."

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