News Feed

Walberg More Focused on Invading Women’s Privacy than Fixing Michigan Roads
May. 15th 2015
Congressman Benishek Once Again Turns His Back on Michigan Troops
May. 15th 2015
Democrats Condemn Senate GOP Hypocrisy on Prevailing Wage
May. 13th 2015
Statement from MDP Chair Lon Johnson on Proposal One
May. 5th 2015
Michigan, Wisconsin Democrats Respond to Scott Walker's Visit to Michigan
May. 4th 2015
Michigan Veterans Reject Congressman Benishek’s ‘False Promise’ to Help Vets
Apr. 16th 2015
Michigan Democrats Announce 2015 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner to Honor Congressman Dingell, Senator Levin; Will Feature Special Guest Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Apr. 2nd 2015
Keep Christie Economics Out of Michigan
Mar. 27th 2015
Statement from Michigan Democrats on Snyder Handing Pardon to Connected Attorney for Drunk Driving Conviction
Mar. 27th 2015
Michigan Democratic Party Makes 2016 Delegate Selection Plan available for Review
Mar. 26th 2015
Statement from Michigan Democrats on Congressman Dan Benishek
Mar. 24th 2015
Snyder Marks Sunshine Week by Appointing Lobbyist as New State Treasurer
Mar. 17th 2015
Michigan Democrats Slam Massive Bonus Handed to Former Detroit Schools EM
Mar. 9th 2015
Michigan And Ohio Democratic Parties Submit Brief in Support of Marriage Equality
Mar. 5th 2015
Michigan Democrats Slam Latest Friends and Family Contract from Snyder Administration
Mar. 2nd 2015
$70 Million for A Better View? Democrats Launch Online Petition Urging Accountability for Republican Politicians
Feb. 24th 2015
Statement from MDP Chair in Response to Gov. Snyder's Proposed Budget
Feb. 11th 2015
Memo: Snyder's Record of Attacking Michigan's Most Vulnerable
Jan. 21st 2015
Snyder's Record Opposing Equality for LGBT Michiganders
Jan. 21st 2015
Democrats Call on Governor to Cooperate in Building a Strong Middle Class and a Michigan that Works for Everyone
Jan. 20th 2015

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."

###

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]

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."

###

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]

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."

###

Statement from MDP Chair Lon Johnson on Proposal One
May. 5th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democrats released the following statement in response to the failure of Proposal One:

"This ballot proposal failed because working Michigan families said enough," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Raising taxes on working families while corporations see their taxes cut is no way to build a Michigan where we can stay and succeed. Moving forward, this legislature and governor should recognize and reflect the voters' rejection tonight of one-sided sacrifices from our working families. It's time for corporations to pay their fair share."

###

Michigan, Wisconsin Democrats Respond to Scott Walker's Visit to Michigan
May. 4th 2015

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party and Wisconsin Democratic Party released the following joint statement in response to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's visit to Michigan:

“Under Gov. Snyder, middle class families have seen their tax bill increase year after year, yet our state is still running deficits, population is lagging the rest of the country, and our economy continues to struggle," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "That’s because Republicans handed corporations one of the largest tax breaks in Michigan history, and paid for it by making it harder on Michigan families. Michigan is struggling enough under Snyder, we don't need Walker's help."

"Middle class families can’t afford someone like Walker, who makes drastic cuts to education, transportation and infrastructure, just to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires," added Mike Tate, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair. "Right now, Wisconsin ranks 40th in the nation and dead last in the Midwest in terms of private-sector job growth, and has a staggering $2 billion budget deficit. Wisconsin families need relief, not an out of touch road show touting polices that have hurt Wisconsin."

Michigan Veterans Reject Congressman Benishek’s ‘False Promise’ to Help Vets
Apr. 16th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson and state Sen. David Knezek (D - Dearborn Heights) hosted a conference call with media in response to Republican Congressman Dan Benishek's recent claims that he is breaking his retirement pledge in order to better serve veterans.

A group of Michigan veterans also released the following statement today, in response to Congressman Dan Benishek’s (R) op-ed claiming he’s breaking his retirement pledge to better serve veterans. The following statement can be attributed to Gordie Bourland, Army veteran from Petoskey, Marc Carr, Army veteran from Sault Ste. Marie, and Kel Smythe, Army veteran from Escanaba:
 
"As Michigan veterans, we’re appalled at the nerve of Congressman Benishek to claim he’s breaking his retirement pledge to help veterans – because just the other day he voted with his Republican pals in Congress to underfund the VA by $19 billion. The VA cuts Benishek supported would mean longer wait times, more expensive trips to the clinic, and less benefits to go around. We reject Congressman Benishek’s false promise of help; he’d only break it anyway."

"The veterans who live and vote in Michigan need someone looking out for them in Washington," added state Sen. David Knezek, Marine Corps and Iraq War veteran from Dearborn Heights. "These are the men and women who wore the uniform and sacrificed their safety for the security of those of us back home – and they deserve better than Congressman Benishek. Congressman Benishek may claim to be staying in Congress to help vets, but Benishek’s friends in DC have clearly persuaded him otherwise.

"I think we all know it’s because he’d rather keep his Washington job than honor his promise to voters."

###
 
BACKGROUND:
 
Benishek Voted to Underfund the Department of Veterans Affairs by $19 Billion over Ten Years. The House Republican Budget inadequately funds the Department of Veterans Affairs below what the President and veterans’ groups requested by $1.9 billion in 2016 and $19 billion over ten years, making it more difficult for the Veterans Administration to provide timely access to quality health care and other benefits and services. [H.CON.RES 27, Vote #142, 3/25/15]
 
AMVETS, DAV, Paralyzed Veterans of America And VFW Touted Administration Budget Recommendations For VA Funding. “Today, four of the nation’s leading veterans service organizations—AMVETS (American Veterans), DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) and the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars)—released The Independent Budget Report for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for FY 2016 and FY 2017. The report outlines projected funding requirements for the programs administered by the VA. 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.” [DAV press release, 2/2/15]
 
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 a motion 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 bill 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]

Michigan Democrats Announce 2015 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner to Honor Congressman Dingell, Senator Levin; Will Feature Special Guest Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Apr. 2nd 2015

LANSING - Today, Michigan Democratic Party officials announced the 2015 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner will honor Congressman John Dingell and Senator Carl Levin for their decades of service. The dinner will feature special guest Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Michigan to help us honor two giants in the Michigan Democratic Party,” said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. “Congressman Dingell and Senator Levin were Michigan’s lions in Washington for decades, and we couldn’t be happier to dedicate this year’s dinner to their unrivaled service on behalf of Michigan families.”

The dinner will be hosted at Cobo Hall’s Grand Riverview Ballroom, and will be at 6:15 PM on Saturday, May 9, 2015. 

“It’s a real honor to be invited to help Michigan Democrats pay tribute to the incredible legacies of Congressman Dingell and Senator Levin,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Democrats know that the way we build our economy is from the middle out, and the inspiring careers of these two great leaders is a testament to that.” 

### 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is appearing at this event only as a special guest. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not asking for funds or donations.

Keep Christie Economics Out of Michigan
Mar. 27th 2015

From: Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair
To: Interested Parties
RE: Keep Christie Economics Out of Michigan
Date: Friday, March 27, 2015

Today Michigan Democrats took the opportunity of Chris Christie's visit to Macomb County to highlight Christie's failed record in New Jersey, and question why Macomb County Republicans would invited him to the state.

One only needs to look to New Jersey's economy to know what Governor Chris Christie’s top-down economic policies would mean for this country - benefiting the wealthy and burdening the middle class. 

The result of his economic policies in New Jersey is a perfect example of how the Republican top-down economic plan puts a greater strain on the middle class and holds back the state’s ability to grow. In Michigan, we understand the importance of a strong economy, and Democrats value a hardworking middle class that drives our economy. 

For that reason, I’m not sure why the Macomb County GOP decided to invite Christie to speak at their Lincoln Day Dinner, but I hope he’s not giving financial advice. 

Under Chris Christie, New Jersey has ranked near last in the nation in job creation. In fact, not only has New Jersey lagged behind the country in job growth, but it has only regained half the jobs it lost in the recession while the country has gained. New Jersey has also seen a record eight state credit downgrades under Chris Christie, and rating agencies are still threatening to downgrade New Jersey further. 

New Jersey’s household income rate dropped more than 12 percent during Chris Christie’s first term. Additionally, six of the seven largest cities in New Jersey with statistically significant changes in income between 2009 and 2013 saw drops in income of up to 25 percent. 

Homeowners in New Jersey also saw their home values plummet throughout Christie’s tenure as Governor. Home values were actually lower in 85 percent of municipalities in 2013 than they had been in 2009, when Christie assumed office.  

The bottom line: Christie was bad for New Jersey, and if he is given the opportunity would be damaging for Michigan and for America. 

Statement from Michigan Democrats on Snyder Handing Pardon to Connected Attorney for Drunk Driving Conviction
Mar. 27th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson released the following statement in response to an Associated Press investigation revealing Gov. Rick Snyder handed a pardon to a connected attorney for a drunk driving conviction.

"By pardoning a politically-connected attorney convicted of drunk driving, this governor has reached a new low," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "I don't know who is more shameless - the drunk driver asking for a pardon, or the governor who granted it."

###

BACKGROUND:

Center for Public Integrity: "The political kingmaker nobody knows," March 26, 2015.

Associated Press: "Exclusive: Snyder uses pardon for connected lawyer," March 27, 2015.

Michigan Democratic Party Makes 2016 Delegate Selection Plan available for Review
Mar. 26th 2015

From: Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair
To: Interested Parties
RE: Michigan Democratic Party Makes 2016 Delegate Selection Plan available for Review
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Michigan Democratic Party has completed its proposed Delegate Selection Plan for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The plan will be available for review for a thirty day public comment period on the MDP website at michigandems.com/delegateselection beginning today, March 26, 2015. After the comment period expires, the Plan will be submitted to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee for final approval and further action with the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee.

The Plan provides that Michigan will have a total of 152 delegates and 11 alternates, to be selected proportionately, based on the results of a government-run primary. This "first determining step" in the Michigan delegate selection process will occur on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016, to be held in conjunction with the Michigan GOP Presidential Primary. Further information can be found in the Plan itself.

If there are any questions, comments or criticisms about the Plan, you may contact the Michigan Democratic Party.

Statement from Michigan Democrats on Congressman Dan Benishek
Mar. 24th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson released the following statement in response to a report on Interlochen Public Radio that Congressman Dan Benishek will be breaking his three-term pledge and running for reelection in 2016. 

"Congressman Benishek is out of touch with the needs of Northern Michigan, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's breaking his three-term pledge by running for a fourth term in Congress," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "Congressman Benishek has repeatedly embraced the wrong priorities for Northern Michigan families, instead of working to build a state where we can stay and succeed. 

"Just last week, Washington Republicans released a budget that would end Medicare as we know it, transforming it into a voucher program, and would return our economy to the same top-down economics that has failed us in the past," continued Johnson. "Northern Michigan deserves a Congressman that goes to Washington and works for them, not another politician who breaks his word.” 

###

Snyder Marks Sunshine Week by Appointing Lobbyist as New State Treasurer
Mar. 17th 2015

LANSING - Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson responded to Snyder's appointment of Nick Khouri, an active registered lobbyist, as the new state treasurer. 

"Putting a registered lobbyist in charge of all taxpayer dollars at the Department of Treasury is no way to create public trust in government, and certainly underscores the urgency of acting on Democrats' government accountability legislation," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "But this is nothing new when it comes to Snyder's Treasury Department, which has been riddled with controversy and scandal.

"Snyder first state treasurer was Andy Dillon, who used his position to audition for his next job for a government contractor, then was paid not to work while on a Caribbean cruise," continued Johnson. "Next, he brought on Kevin Clinton, who signed off on Snyder's housing agency using more than $200,000 in public funds on limousines, premium flights, gourmet meals and fancy hotel rooms. This Sunshine Week, it's long past time we get a full accounting from the Snyder administration and strong measures in place to bring transparency, openness and accountability to state government."

Michigan Democrats Slam Massive Bonus Handed to Former Detroit Schools EM
Mar. 9th 2015

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on reports that the Snyder Administration handed a $50,000 bonus to the former Emergency Manager for Detroit Public Schools.

"Handing out a massive $50,000 bonus to a failing political appointee at Detroit Public Schools isn't the first time the Snyder Administration has gotten caught handing out taxpayer-funded bonuses, raises, and questionable payroll practices," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "We remember the lavish reimbursements for 1st class travel, luxury hotels, limos and 80% pay raises for investment managers, as well as keeping former Treasurer Andy Dillon on payroll long after his resignation. These practices have no place in state government, let alone at a time of budget cuts, struggling schools and detriorating roads. It's long past time that there be an independent investigation into these practices in the Snyder Administration."

In December 2014, Snyder said to the Detroit News that emergency management of Detroit Public Schools has been a "failure."

###

BACKGROUND:

Detroit Free Press: Former DPS emergency manager got $50,000 in bonus pay
WWJ (AP): ‘No Particular Benchmarks’ For Bonus Pay: DPS Emergency Manager Leaves With Another $50K
"While there were no particular benchmarks (for the bonus pay), Martin worked to stabilize enrollment, restored numerous programs at the elementary and middle school levels, redesigned career tech programs and sold or leased numerous unused or vacant properties which generated millions of dollars for the district," Terry Stanton, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Treasury, wrote in an e-mail. He said the decision was made after consulting with Gov. Rick Snyder's office. Martin had a $225,000-a-year contract. His total compensation over the 18 months was $340,962, not including the bonus pay, according to Stanton. Critics point out that the district's ongoing deficit shot up to nearly $170 million under Martin — something the former emergency manager has attributed to several factors, including declining enrollment, a reduction in federal funding and a failed countywide school millage. The district had built expected revenue from the millage into its budget. School board member LaMar Lemmons, a longtime critic of emergency management over DPS, said the extra pay wasn't appropriate given the district's financial woes. "That's enough to pay a teacher's salary and reduce class size somewhere," he said.  
 
Detroit Free Press: Former DPS head gave three 'assignment' bonuses
On Jan. 7, Martin authorized "additional assignment" bonuses for general counsel Jean-Vierre Adams ($12,000), Diane Jones, chief information and strategic officer ($15,000), and Lamont Satchel, chief innovation officer ($18,000), records show. . . . Records show he also gave monthly car allowances of $600 to Satchel and $500 to Jones.
 
Detroit News: Nolan Finley: The emergency manager model is failing DPS
And yet here we are, starting over for the fourth time in six years with a new man with a new plan. This has moved beyond the borders of absurd. It's a travesty. The school district and the schools are no closer to functionality than they were when state oversight began. . . . And a committee of community leaders is cobbling together suggested reforms intended to inform Snyder's proposal. Could this be more confusing?

 
Michigan And Ohio Democratic Parties Submit Brief in Support of Marriage Equality
Mar. 5th 2015

State Democratic Parties joined by 156 elected officials from four states

WASHINGTON - Today, the Ohio Democratic Party and the Michigan Democratic Party, joined by more than 150 elected officials from the four states of the Sixth Circuit, together filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of marriage equality.

The Brief urges the Court to reverse the judgment of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and reject the argument made by the Sixth Circuit and the Ohio and Michigan Attorneys General that the basic constitutional rights of Ohio couples and their children should be subject to popular vote. To view the Brief, click here.

“Elected officials from across the Sixth Circuit are speaking up for the thousands of couples in our four states whose rights are being violated by the bans on same sex marriage,” said David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party Chair. “And our point is simple—basic rights such as equal protection should not be subject to popular elections, but are protected by the United States Constitution.”

“Here in Michigan, far too many families have been denied liberty and justice for too long, because of the out of touch actions of Republicans Bill Schuette and Rick Snyder,” said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. 

“Thousands of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on frivolous, fringe arguments, which have only served to embarrass our state. This effort to deny equal rights to parents and children, based on nothing more than a desire to score cheap partisan points with the far right wing of the Republican party, is just wrong,” added Johnson.

Mark Totten, one of the attorneys who wrote the brief, said "for two years now the State of Michigan has argued that the children at issue in the Michigan case would be better off as orphans then have two gay parents.  That's wrong. The rights of these kids - so many of whom are special needs – to have two loving parents should not be decided at the ballot box."

State Representative Nickie Antonio said “all loving, committed relationships in Ohio should matter equally. However, while I have the responsibility to pass laws that affect over 11 million Ohioans as a State Representative, I am denied the dignity and protections to marry Jean Kosmac, my partner of 20 years. It's time to value all families in Ohio."

###

Michigan Democrats Slam Latest Friends and Family Contract from Snyder Administration
Mar. 2nd 2015

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on the latest revelation of special treatment for friends and family in the Snyder Administration.

"We've seen again and again that a stunning level of corruption and cronyism is running rampant in Snyder's Administration," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "This latest report of a pricey law firm winning millions in no-bid contract extensions from the partner's wife in the Snyder Administration would be unbelievable - if it wasn't so familiar. Democrats won't rest until the Administration puts a stop to these ridiculous special favors for friends and family."

###

BACKGROUND: 

February 28, 2015

A partner in a law firm that holds a $4.2-million MDOC legal contract is married to a woman who was the department's registered lobbyist when the contract was extended without bids in 2012 and 2013. 

LANSING – A partner in a Grand Rapids law firm that holds a $4.2-million Michigan Department of Corrections legal contract is married to a former Corrections Department official who was the department's registered lobbyist when the contract was extended in 2012 and 2013, records show.

The contract was to be extended by another nine months by the State Administrative Board on Tuesday, but the length of the extension was shortened to one month at the request of Gov. Rick Snyder's office after the Free Press raised questions about the contract in a Tuesday article.

Kevin Peterson is a partner in Peterson Paletta, which in 2009 was awarded the three-year contract to train and oversee inmate "legal writers" who help less-literate inmates draft court filings, including appeals of their convictions and lawsuits related to the conditions of their confinement.

Peterson Paletta was one of four bidders on the original contract and its proposal received the highest score in an analysis that considered prior experience, staffing and other factors.

Peterson's wife, Jessica, was the legislative liaison in the chief deputy director's office of the Corrections Department and the department's registered lobbyist from 2011 until January 2014, according to state records. She then moved to a communications role until she resigned in October 2014, department spokesman Chris Gautz said Friday.

Jessica Peterson did not work for the department when the contract was awarded, disclosed the fact her husband's firm had a contract with the department when she was hired, as required, and was "too far removed" from the procurement process to have a role in extending the contract, Gautz said.

But an attorney with an Okemos firm said lawyers there have been waiting for years for the contract to come up for bid and even met with Corrections Department Director Dan Heyns in March 2012 to let him know they were interested.

"If you're going to privatize government services, it should be done on a fair and equitable basis," said Alexander Rusek of White Law PLLC in Okemos. "They've had years to prepare, (yet) it was extended beyond the contract terms on a no-bid basis."

Kevin Peterson did not respond Friday to telephone and e-mail messages. Jessica Peterson could not be reached.

The contract with Peterson Paletta, initially worth $2.3 million over three years, was extended by one year at an added cost of $752,000 in July 2012 and by an additional one year, again for $752,000, in May 2013. The contract, at some point, was extended a third time, for a six-month period from September 2014 through Saturday, at a cost of $376,000, though that third extension was not provided for in the contract and had not received State Administrative Board approval, according to state records.

On Tuesday, the contract was extended a fourth time, despite the fact the contract provides for a maximum of two one-year extensions.

But instead of the nine-month, $564,000 increase requested by the department, which officials said was needed to give the department time to rebid the contract, the State Administrative Board extended the contract only one month, at a cost of $60,000. That was at the request of the governor's representative on the board, legal counsel James Robert Redford, Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. She said the governor's office felt a one-month extension would be more prudent but wouldn't elaborate on reasons for the late change.

The board made that change Tuesday, the same day the Free Press published a report highlighting the little-known contract and reporting on criticism of the contract from both a fiscal conservative and an advocate for prisoners' civil rights.

Jessica Peterson didn't work for the department in 2009, when the contract was first awarded, though she did work at the Capitol then. In 2009, Peterson worked for two powerful chairmen in the Republican-controlled Senate. She was legislative director for Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, from 2007 until April 2009, and legislative director for Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, from April 2009 until December 2010, according to her work history on the social networking site LinkedIn.

Snyder, a Republican, took office in 2011, after the contract was awarded but before its initial three-year term expired.

Gautz said the two optional extensions were granted because the law firm was doing a good job. It's not clear why the department didn't move more quickly to get the contract rebid at the end of those extensions, as required, though lack of manpower and delays in getting administrative approval are likely reasons, Gautz said.

"We have multiple kinds of these contracts at various stages, through the department," Gautz said Friday. "Our policy is to know (when the contract is approaching its end date) and try to get that on the schedule."

"That didn't happen in this case, or at least as quickly as we would like," he said.

Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, said department officials have the authority to extend contracts without board approval if necessary to assure uninterrupted service.

Rusek said his firm believes it can provide better service at a lower price.

Gautz confirmed Rusek met with Heyns in 2012.

Rusek said he wasn't aware of Peterson Paletta's connection with a department official, but "any time you have the public and private sectors mixing in that way it causes some concern."

-----

Detroit Free Press: State pays law firm to help prisoners sue

February 23, 2015

A state administrative panel is expected to approve an extension to a $4.1-million contract with a Grand Rapids law firm that helps Michigan prisoners overturn their convictions and sue the state.

LANSING — A state administrative panel today is expected to approve a nine-month extension to a $4.1-million contract with a Grand Rapids law firm that helps state prisoners overturn their convictions and sue the state over the conditions of their confinement.

The contract with the law firm Peterson Paletta draws criticism from both ends of the political spectrum.

Some who are hard on criminals or want to cut the prison budget say it's ridiculous for the Corrections Department to use taxpayer money to pay private attorneys to help prisoners sue the state.

Advocates for prisoners' rights say the "legal writer" program — under which the law firm trains and oversees inmates who help less literate prisoners draft legal pleadings and complaints — is useful, but too few inmates receive too little help from it.

Prison officials say the program, which costs about $752,000 a year, was created pursuant to a 1996 federal court order arising from a 1992 prisoner lawsuit.

Peterson Paletta, which is not the first law firm hired to train the inmate legal writers and monitor their work, was hired in 2009 for a three-year contract that has already been extended twice. Today, the State Administrative Board is considering a third contract extension, which is nine months long and worth $564,000, bringing the total contract value to $4.7 million.

Kevin Peterson, a partner in Peterson Paletta, mostly declined comment on the contract, referring questions to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

State officials said in their submission to the State Administrative Board that the latest extension is needed to give time to rebid the contract and provide for a transition period if the contract is won by a different firm. The contract itself is needed "to comply with the prisoners' constitutional right of access to the courts."

Only a minority of the state's 43,000 prisoners are eligible for the program. The others are expected to do their own legal work by making use of the prison law libraries, which the department is in the process of converting from libraries with books to libraries that will be electronic only.

About 29,000 prisoners who have a high school diploma or GED are generally not eligible, leaving fewer than 15,000 who are eligible on that basis. Inmates can also qualify for the program if they can't speak or write English or have a mental or physical disability that prevents them from using the law library, or are in segregation.

Neither Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, nor Peterson of Peterson Paletta could say Monday how many inmates use the service in a given year. Inmate legal writers receive about 80 hours of training from the law firm over about six weeks. The firm also provides computers to communicate with the inmate legal writers.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said when the state charges citizens with criminal offenses it has an obligation to provide legal defense to those who can't afford one.

But if an inmate has a legitimate complaint about prison conditions, "I would imagine they would be able to find attorneys who would be happy to take their cases (on a contingency basis), because they would be eligible to collect for it," Drolet said. "They should find representation the same way everybody else has to."

But Peter Martel, a program associate for the American Friends Service Committee's criminal justice program in Ann Arbor, said changes to state law, including caps on allowable attorney fees and the ability of the state to waive attorney fees as part of a case settlement, make it highly unlikely attorneys will take prisoner cases on a contingency basis.

Martel, who worked as a prison legal writer in the 2000s when he was incarcerated for armed robbery and now is studying to be an attorney, said the program provides positive training for inmates who do good work for their fellow prisoners.

A weakness of the program, Martel said, is that inmates must complete the administrative complaint process before they are eligible to sue and they aren't allowed to get the help of legal writers to help with the complex administrative hearing process. As a result, he said, many potentially legitimate legal claims get barred because of mistakes.

It would be useful if inmates with some legal training could get involved earlier, even to tell prisoners what not to waste their time on, he said. "There are all kinds of things to complain about in prison; that doesn't necessarily make them good legal complaints," he said.

As for attempts to overturn convictions, court-appointed attorneys help with one appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, Martel said. After that, inmates are on their own, and the legal writers are needed to help make sure pleadings get to the Michigan Supreme Court or federal courts on a timely basis, Martel said.

The State Administrative Board — which includes representatives of the governor, the attorney general and other top state officials — is normally a rubber stamp for contracts sent by the administration for approval.

$70 Million for A Better View? Democrats Launch Online Petition Urging Accountability for Republican Politicians
Feb. 24th 2015

Michiganders to Meekhof, Snyder: spend millions on roads, schools, middle class, not fancy new offices for Senate GOP

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party launched an online petition and lawmaker accountability project focused on Senate Republicans' outrageous attempt to waste our tax dollars on a fancy new office building. 

"Michiganders have a very clear message for Republican politicians: they've had enough of special treatment and cronyism in state government," said Garrett Arwa, Michigan Democratic Party Executive Director. "This $70 million 'room with a view' move is nothing more than a boondoggle, and it's offensive that it comes at a time when the state is asking taxpayers to shoulder a half billion dollar budget deficit, because of Snyder's billion-dollar handouts to corporations."

When asked in a House hearing if the office move was to ensure senators would have a better view of the state Capitol, then-Senate secretary Carol Viventi replied "pretty much." To add further insult to Michigan taxpayers, the current Senate office building could be renovated for less than half of the price tag of this planned office shuffle.

Democrats also highlighted another hallmark of Gov. Snyder's time in office: since 2011, state government debt has increased by $2 billion, according to Snyder's own dashboard. 

"Rick Snyder and Republican politicians have already asked hardworking Michigan families to pick up the tab for their irresponsible budgeting, in the form of billions in new taxes and new cuts to health and public safety programs," continued Arwa. "Now, we're being asked for another $70 million in unnecessary debt, all so Republican politicians can move their offices one block to get a better view of the Capitol."

###

NOTE: The online petition can be viewed here.

BACKGROUND: 

"Not all of the offices face the Capitol, is that the crux of the problem?" asked a skeptical Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills). "Pretty much," Viventi said. "Isn’t this an expensive proposition for taxpayers in order to make sure that senators get a better view of the Capitol?" Greimel asked. ["Despite projected $454 million budget crunch, Michigan senators push for new offices," WXYZ video, 2/11/15]

Frank Beckmann: "Those senators are again looking for enough support to float $70 million worth of taxpayer backed bonds to purchase a new office building for themselves. The main reason given for seeking the new digs, according to testimony by Senate Secretary Carol Vivendi last year, is so every senator’s office would enjoy a clear view of the state capitol. I’m not making this up." ["Real estate could scuttle Snyder agenda," Detroit News, 2/13/15]  

"Michigan Senate looking to move offices one block" [Detroit Free Press headline, 11/27/14]

Some Lansing lawmakers are trying hard to make a case for a brand new Michigan State Senate office building.  But we think this is a lousy time to make the request!  Those pushing the plan appear to be out of touch with the average state taxpayer.  They have their priorities upside down. Last year, former Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville pushed legislation to sell the Billie Farnum Senate Office Building built in the 1970’s.  The bill passed the Michigan Senate 22 - 14.   Supporters say the current building is outdated, lacks adequate security and doesn’t provide a good view of the capitol.  There’s bi-partisan disagreement on that! Nevertheless, a proposal was chosen to develop a new office building for $51 million.  Seventy million in state bonds is being sought to finance it.  Richardville told Action News investigative reporter Ross Jones, “It was a good business decision.”  Our question: For whom? The State of Michigan is currently facing at least a $325 million budget shortfall.  Some state departments are being consolidated.  In May, state legislative leaders will be asking voters for a 1-cent sales tax increase to raise revenue to fix up our pathetic roads.  Now is the time for Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan House of Representatives to peel back the onion and ask tough questions of the Senate. Is a new state office building really necessary? Michigan taxpayers deserve open and fiscally responsible government. [WXYZ: Editorial: Bad timing for new MI. Senate office building request! 2/19/15]

Frank Beckmann: "Even if the senators seeking a room with a view are right, the repair costs are less than half what it would cost to buy the new building. So the new purchase remains impossible to justify, given the state’s deficit of nearly a half billion dollars and the upcoming call for taxpayers to dig deeper in their pockets to pay for road repairs at a time when legislators can’t find ways to cut their own spending." ["Real estate could scuttle Snyder agenda," Detroit News, 2/13/15]

The white paper with the lowest batting average is one titled “Create a Culture of Ethics in Michigan's Government.” There he advocated for reporting all financial transactions between lobbyists and public officials, banning all gifts from lobbyists for elected officials and limiting contributions to Political Action Committees (PACs) to $5,000 per year. He accomplished three of the 18 goals he'd laid out in that white paper for a batting average of 17 percent. ["Snyder Has Accomplished 68% Of Campaign Policy Goals," MIRS, 7/18/14]

Michigan gets an "F" on "Corruption Risk Report Card" [MPR, 4/3/12]

Common Cause Michigan on voting and lobbying reforms: “Deja vu? Tonight we heard brief mention of reform in government ethics, pay to play politics, and increased disclosure for lobbying and public contracts. Gov. Snyder called for the same changes that he did in January of 2012 - these fell on deaf ears," said Melanie McElroy, Executive Director. "Snyder also pledged to work with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson on necessary, common sense reforms for our elections in Michigan. Instituting reforms like online voter registration, and in-person, no-reason absentee voting would make elections more fair and accessible for all Michigan voters. Snyder and Johnson owe it to Michigan voters to bring these reforms to fruition in 2013 - and good government groups like Common Cause will be watching.” ["Reaction to Gov. Snyder's State of the State speech: Praise, criticism and a little snark," MLive, 1/16/13]

Regardless, MIRS researched the office setups of all 50 legislatures across the country and hasn't been able to find one where a legislative body shares a building, which isn't wholly owned by the government, with a private firm. ["Senate's Move Could Set Up Rare Building Share With Firm That Lobbies," MIRS, 2/6/15]

Statement from MDP Chair in Response to Gov. Snyder's Proposed Budget
Feb. 11th 2015

LANSING - Today the Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement in response to Gov. Snyder's 2015-16 budget presentation:

"Snyder is once again calling for more sacrifice from middle class families, seniors and kids while corporations and those at the top continue to enjoy tax break after tax break and his political allies get no-bid contracts," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "This Republican approach has kept us lurching from budget crisis to budget crisis. It is long past time we focused our attention on building a state where everyone can stay and succeed by strengthening the middle class and investing in our people."

Memo: Snyder's Record of Attacking Michigan's Most Vulnerable
Jan. 21st 2015

Tonight Gov. Snyder is simply misleading Michigan about his record of attacks on our most vulnerable families and workers.

The truth is, Gov. Snyder has launched constant attacks on struggling Michigan families, attacks that have been labeled ’outrageous,’ ‘a nightmare,’ and ‘a huge failure.’

Just this week, Snyder’s budget office spokesman claimed involving state workers “wouldn’t be a productive way” of solving Snyder’s budget deficit - ignoring the fact that state workers have been proactively proposing solutions to Snyder’s self-inflicted budget and mismanagement issues since he took office in 2011. 

Below are just a few of the specific ways over the last four years that this governor has made it harder for struggling Michiganders to get by.

CLOTHING ALLOWANCE CUT

 

Grand Rapids Press: State's welfare clothing stipend dries up (4/18/11)

Gruis, 34, of Byron Township, finds it hard to believe that allowance could be eliminated as part of a budget approved last week by a House subcommittee. “The people on welfare are already down,” said Gruis, who does much of her family’s clothes shopping at In The Image, a Grand Rapids charity that provides free shoes, clothing and furniture. “By taking that away, you are just putting someone further down. I think it’s a bad idea.” The Department of Human Services budget approved by the House’s DHS Appropriations Subcommittee is about $30 million less than Gov. Rick Snyder recommended. Along with ending the clothing allowance for able welfare recipients, the budget also would reduce temporary disability payments and approve Snyder’s recommendation that welfare recipients able to work be limited to four years of cash assistance. Subcommittee Chairman Dave Agema, R-Grandville, said tough times demand tough choices. “We don’t have the money,” Agema said. “The Democrats don’t come up with any ideas. They just complain. “Come up with a solution. Don’t just keep spending money.” Agema speculated that eliminating the clothing allowance would have minimal effect while saving nearly $10 million a year. “To be honest with you, I think in most cases it doesn’t go to clothes,” he said.

 

Snyder press release: State layoffs avoided as sequestration cuts now set to take effect; Total estimated reductions to programs totals $150.5 million (4/15/13)

The most significant direct impact to clients occurs within the Department of Human Services, where the annual allowance for children's clothing will be eliminated. The clothing allowance of $137 per child is currently provided each August to 21,000 children. The Department of Community Health will implement reductions to programs aimed at serving seniors as well as other grant program areas such as nutrition services and injury and disease prevention.

 

TAX SHIFT

 

HB 4361 (2011): Rick Snyder raised billions of dollars in taxes on:

 

- Working families and individuals -- by stopping the scheduled roll back in Michigan's income tax rate, costing Michigan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollar a year.

 

- Families with children -- by eliminating the $600 tax deduction for children under the age of 18, costing Michigan taxpayers more than $55 million a year.  Snyder also eliminated the $1,200 credit for adoption.

 

- Families trying to pay for their child's college -- by eliminating the college tuition tax credit. Snyder also eliminated tax credits for donations to Michigan colleges and universities.

 

- Senior citizens -- by taxing pensions and eliminating the $2,300 exemption for those 65 and older, costing Michigan taxpayers several hundred million dollars a year.

 

- Homeowners -- by cutting and eliminating (for higher incomes) the Homestead Property Tax Credit, costing Michigan taxpayers more than $270 million a year.

 

- Unemployed workers -- by eliminating the $2,300 exemption for those collecting UI benefits.

 

- The working poor -- by cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), costing Michigan taxpayers more than $260 million a year. Snyder also eliminated tax credits for donations to homeless shelters and food banks.

 

[Source: "Description of Recently Enacted Personal Income Tax Changes with Taxpayer Examples," House Fiscal Agency, 7/8/11]

 

The Times Herald: Editorial: He speaks of equity, but is it equitable to ask a retiree earning $40,000 a year in pension income to pay $1,700 in taxes to help offset a huge tax break for businesses? Is it fair to take money from the working poor and give it to their bosses? The governor talks of shared sacrifice, a noble sentiment. The problem is that it is unclear what sacrifices the wealthiest among us are being asked to make. ["Equity for one is a travesty for another," The Times Herald editorial, 3/16/11]

 

UI CUTS

 

Snyder Cuts Michigan Unemployment Benefits, Worker's Compensation [Huffington Post (AP), 12/20/11]

 

MLive: Fewer Michiganders received unemployment benefits under scaled-back program, report says

The report, released Wednesday, estimates the changes to Michigan's unemployment insurance program are associated with a loss of benefits for anywhere from 14,578 to 32,754 short-term unemployed workers in an average week, equivalent to a 19 to 35 percent drop in the recipiency rate. Those unemployed workers would have collected an average of $4 million to $9 million in benefits a week, the report found. In 2012 Michigan cut regular unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks, citing an insolvent state unemployment trust fund. The Legislature also passed several other changes that increased requirements for applicants, reduced eligibility for certain types of employment and gave more power to the state to contest claims, according to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project. . . . The cut in state benefits also meant Michiganders qualified for fewer weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits, since those programs were based on the state-provided benefits. The federal programs have since been discontinued. . . . State Senate Democrats, who are outnumbered by Republicans 26-12, recently renewed their efforts to offer jobless Michiganders an extra six weeks of unemployment benefits in light of the expiration of federal extended benefits.

 

Reduction in jobless aid is outrageous [The Times Herald editorial, 4/1/11]

This is so disheartening. Helping the jobless is expensive, of course, but it is neither as costly nor as cruel as sending good families into a nightmare of bankruptcy and despair. Part of the new law recognizes this. It extends jobless benefits for 185,000 Michiganders who otherwise would have lost them by year's end. So what we have in the new law is temporary help for the jobless followed by permanent cuts. Guess which of these aspects the governor emphasized when he announced the new law? A press release distributed by his office carried the headline: "Snyder signs bill to protect unemployed." If you're a Michigan worker, the governor is your friend -- until he isn't.

 

Veto the bill, Mr. Snyder [Huron Daily Tribune editorial, 3/25/11]

Unless Gov. Rick Snyder surprises everyone by vetoing this bill, cutting off unemployment insurance — a benefit workers earn — will force hardworking people to resort to accepting welfare. . . . Michigan residents are hurting enough, and it looks like the government is about to kick more than 10 percent of its residents while they’re already down.

  

WELFARE / FOOD STAMP CUTS

 

Think Progress: Michigan Gov. Snyder Cuts Aid For Low-Income Families After Slashing Taxes On Corporations (8/31/11)

 

Mich House Republicans vote to throw over 200K Michiganders off food assistance (& that’s only part of it)

 

CUTS TO THE BLIND

 

Detroit Free Press: Blind people, advocates demonstrate against Snyder's shake-up in services(3/1/12)

They chanted: “We are the blind, speaking for the blind,” and “Nothing about us without us.” Advocates say Snyder’s ordered shake-up violates federal rules and puts at risk nearly $15 million in federal rehabilitation and training funds. . . . Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan and other advocacy groups also object to Snyder’s plan to disband the Michigan Commission for the Blind and replace it with an advisory committee. They say they want a guaranteed voice for blind people in how services are provided, and that’s what the commission provides. They also say they don’t want blind programs administered out of the Department of Human Services, which handles welfare. “We want jobs; not welfare,” the protesters chanted today. “This whole thing was ill-conceived,” said Fred Wurtzel, a spokesman for the federation. “They did not do their homework. There are a number of other items that we believe will unravel fairly soon.”

 

National Federation of the Blind of Michigan Calls for Reversal of Executive Order on Commission for the Blind (2/29/12)

“Given the Governor’s emphasis on open, transparent, and data-driven decisions in state government,we are astonished by the poorly-thought-out executive order and the potential negative consequences it brings to blind people and the citizens of Michigan,” said Larry Posont, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. “Where will the forty blind vendors go for work?” Posont continued. “What will happen to their families? This will force more people into unemployment and on to welfare rather than creating jobs as the agency is designed to do.” “Where will the forty blind vendors go for work?” Posont continued. “What will happen to their families? This will force more people into unemployment and on to welfare rather than creating jobs as the agency is designed to do.”

 

Detroit Free Press: Snyder plan to cut agency for blind people stirs anger (2/28/12)

"We don't want any stinking advisory board," said Fred Wurtzel, past president of the Michigan Federation of the Blind. The state gets better results and more bang for the buck by having "a separate dedicated staff that specializes only in working with blind people," Wurtzel said, adding that he was not speaking on behalf of the federation. Joe Harcz, a member of both the federation and American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today, said federal law requires states to hold public hearings before making significant changes in their vocational training plans. But that didn't happen, he said.

 

INFANT MORTALITY CUTS

 

Gov. Rick Snyder's 2014-15 budget cut $6.7 million in state funds for the special disproportionate share program to Hutzel, now a for-profit hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp. Add the federal (tax dollar) matching share of $13.3 million and you have $20 million less to support Hutzel's historic efforts to deliver more than 4,500 high-risk babies each year. Snyder's funding cut is more than ironic because in 2012 he offered a comprehensive plan to reduce the state's higher-than-average infant mortality rate. Michigan's rate is 7.1 per 1,000 live births compared with 6.1 nationally and much higher in the African-American population. ["DMC's Hutzel Women's Hospital could dodge $20M in state cuts – or cut core services," Crain's Detroit Business, 1/26/14]

 

Snyder's stance against funding Hutzel confuses backers [Crain's Detroit Business headline, 3/9/14]

Gov. Rick Snyder wants the state out of the business of subsidizing Hutzel Women's Hospital in Detroit, but that stance is confusing proponents of the funding because the hospital is a leader in the fight to reduce the state's infant mortality rate -- a goal Snyder continues to champion. Snyder did not include $6.7 million in state funding for Hutzel -- typically given in recognition of the hospital's high volume of births and leadership in maternal-fetal medicine -- in the budget he signed into law last year that is in effect through the end of September. Why the shift?

 

But as the Legislature debates a mid-year appropriations bill, the House inexplicably voted to strip funding from the Detroit Medical Center’s Hutzel Women’s Hospital that could have saved some of those babies. Hutzel delivers more than 4,500 at-risk babies every year, more than any other hospital in the state. . . . Hutzel is ground zero in the fight against the city’s infant deaths, and the hospital does not expect demand to decrease any time soon. Gov. Rick Snyder, who has acknowledged the infant mortality crisis in Detroit, believes the state shouldn’t be propping up a private business such as Hutzel. But Michigan appropriated $104 million in 2013 for other private businesses throughout the state, including the movie industry. In a bill that allots more than $200 million to fix roads, $6.7 million seems a small amount, especially considering the additional $13 million it would draw from the federal government. . . . We understand the Legislature is trying to make fiscally conservative decisions, but it should also prioritize spending that saves the lives of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents. ["Save the money for saving babies," Detroit News editorial," 3/9/14]

 

CUTS TO VETERANS

 

Snyder Issues Layoff Notices at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans [Michigan AFSCME Council 25, AFL-CIO press release, 1/24/13]

"Governor Snyder has now moved to resume his program of privatization, and is issuing layoff notices to 138 direct care workers at the GRHV.  These state employees will be replaced by employees of a contractor currently known as J2S Healthforce Group, and will receive about half the wages the state workers have earned, and will receive no benefits," continued Garrett. "What is most amazing is that the Governor shows such lack of concern about the welfare of our nation's heroes; soldiers who were wounded on the battlefield for our freedom," continued Garrett.  "If you look at the allegations made in court about the horrible treatment offered by the employees of J2S in the past, it truly shocks the conscience that anyone – let alone our nation's veterans – should be treated in such a manner: * . . . "It is very clear to me that Governor Snyder is pursuing his own political agenda, without any thought or consideration for us veterans and our families," stated Everett Carr, a disabled veteran residing at GRHV.  "Our veterans have given their all to serve our country, and they deserve respect and the very best care we can provide - not to be auctioned off to the lowest bidder!"

 

Veterans say state's money-saving move has cost them in quality of care [Detroit Free Press, 3/21/13]

The company, which has not returned phone calls from the Free Press, had an ad posted online on Craigslist on Wednesday saying it needs to hire 120 people to fulfill the contract. . . . On Saturday and Sunday, the home was understaffed and Vela wasn't given a chance to go to the restroom, eat breakfast, or take his medications in a timely manner, Rossman said in the letter. The delayed medication meant "my father's life was put in peril," she said.

 

Veterans home residents upset that Michigan budget cuts are targeting their caregivers [Grand Rapids Press, 6/10/11]

The Korean War veteran and three-year resident of the state-owned home is unsettled by a plan to privatize the jobs of 171 resident care aides at the 758-bed retirement and nursing facility. “For the life of me, I can’t see them getting rid of the caretakers they’ve got,” Slocum said. “They know each and every person that’s up there.” Those aides are in line to be the next casualties of Michigan’s budget-cutting ax. . . . Ronnie Skorupski, Local 261 vice president and a caregiver, acknowledges the financial predicament lawmakers had in balancing the budget with declining revenues, but said entrusting veterans’ care to the cheapest bidder misses the point. He also disputes whether the $4.2 million savings will be realized when training, turnover and other costs are factored in. “We take care of our veterans,” Skorupski said. “They know us. We take care of them. We’re family to them and that’s what it’s all about.” . . . Snyder proposed privatization in February when he presented his new budget.

 

DRUG TESTING WELFARE REPICIPENTS

 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder OKs Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

 

EAA

 

Detroit News: Op-Ed by Gov. Rick Snyder: The EAA is a worthy experiment (3/6/14)

 

Detroit Free Press: Op-Ed by Michigan Parents for Public Schools: EAA is gambling with the future of Michigan's children (12/16/13)

Most of us would give this district an F and prepare to close it down. But if you are Gov. Rick Snyder and State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, you hand over thousands of more students to this experiment in education.

 

Detroit Free Press: Op-ed by superintendant of Clarkston Community Schools: Educational Achievement Authority bad for state - and its kids (4/25/13)

One day, the governor proclaims the virtue of cooperation and legal processes; the next day he rushes through the lame duck legislature right to work bills without committee meetings and creates his own school district. Given that the governor uses the same principles to argue for and against processes and laws depending on his political vantage point, it makes it difficult to trust him. His efforts are relentlessly negative for most of Michigan’s school children and community-governed local school districts.

 

MLive: Op-Ed by Executive Director of Michigan Parents for Schools: EAA a 'huge failure'; proposal sets up better solutions for struggling schools

Snyder's Record Opposing Equality for LGBT Michiganders
Jan. 21st 2015

Tonight, once again Rick Snyder took the side of Bill Schuette and the worst elements of the Republican Party on equality for LGBT Michiganders. Snyder's idea of leadership is simply calling on others to take the lead on an issue, even as he has dodged, declined and dissembled again and again. Snyder should drop the political games and say where he stands on this vital issue: is it fair that LGBT Michiganders can be fired or evicted because of who they are?

The fact is, we've had countless discussions on expanding Elliott-Larsen, and it's clear where the vast majority of Michiganders stand on the issue. It's far past time for more conversations. It's time for action.

Below is background on Snyder's record on equality for LGBT Michiganders.

2010 debate

  • FINLEY: Thank you, Mr. Snyder, same question to you, abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, they never seem to go away in Michigan.

SNYDER: No. And they're important issues, and they mean a lot to people. What I would say on abortion, I'm pro life, and I have exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. On gay marriage, marriage is between a man and a woman. But people should also have the ability to make contracts between themselves. And then affirmative action, in terms of where that is, is I don't believe in quotas, we shouldn't have quotas. I did support the item of having preferences, but that was decided in our Constitution. Many of these issues were decided over the last few years, and I respect the answers. Because the focus we need to get to in our state is not just social issues, but jobs. I hear from people on social issues, but it keeps on coming back to jobs, jobs, jobs. So let's get the open for business sign up in Michigan, because in fact what you can do as governor is by creating jobs we address many of the social issues. If you're pro-life or pro-choice, one of the best answers we can get is to create jobs, because that helps abortions go down overall. So let's focus on the big issue of jobs.

Opinion

  • Stephen Henderson: In that way, Schuette and Snyder are casting their roles in the same direction as others who have stood in the way of expanding liberty, even after the moral imperatives behind that liberty became painfully clear. It happened with slavery, with women’s suffrage, with the civil rights movement and every other effort to deliver more fully on the inalienable rights everyone is supposed to enjoy. Now it’s happening with gay rights. History? I don’t think it will remember our leaders fondly if they resist moral justice for gay people until the bitter, legal end. [Detroit Free Press: Stephen Henderson: "Schuette should realize the battle to suppress gay rights is over," Stephen Henderson column, 3/24/14"]

The governor and Attorney General Bill Schuette have said they believe it is fiscally prudent not to extend health insurance and other benefits to the partners of gay, lesbian or transgendered state or municipal employees. It’s a novel argument, one Lawson took a dim view of, and sounds more to us like a sop to voters who put prejudice ahead of sound government when they go to the polls. It is, after all, an election year. . . . For the rest of recorded history, men like Orval Faubus and George Wallace will be remembered as bigots for their bitter resistance to segregation during the 1960s. The same, we believe, will hold true for today’s political leaders who stand in the way of the recognition of same-sex unions.

  • A senior executive at Microsoft, which also supports the Washington initiative, defended the company's position by noting that disparate treatment of gays is inconsistent with Microsoft's quest for the best technical talent available. Gov. Rick Snyder often expresses similar aspirations, but he made a mockery of his own words last December when he signed legislation barring medical benefits for the same-sex partners of public employees. He did so despite polling data that show Michigan voters' support for same-sex unions has increased steadily since the state's constitutional prohibition was enacted more than seven years ago. . . . But since the federal courts seem in no hurry to intervene on gay couples' behalf, it will be apparently be up to Michiganders to rescue their own state from its history of homophobic folly. ["Ruling won't erase Michigan's anti-gay folly," Detroit Free Press editorial, 2/9/12]
  • Gov. Rick Snyder should veto the Republican Legislature's mean-spirited attempt to boot domestic partners of public employees out of any health insurance programs they had been participating in. . . . But equally important is the message this Legislature keeps sending: that Michigan is a rigidly intolerant state when it comes to gay and lesbians. . . . And that's why Snyder should put his veto power to use -- to stop this unrelenting effort to close every single gap that might somewhat level the playing field for gays and lesbians. Someone needs to stand up and demonstrate that Michigan welcomes everyone. And who better to do it than the governor, who speaks so often about the need to attract and retain talented workers and entrepreneurs to the state? He shouldn't contradict that message by adding that only heterosexuals are welcome. ["Veto the ban on partner benefits," Detroit Free Press editorial, 12/12/11]
  • Turkey shoot: 3 bills passed last week have earned Gov. Snyder's veto [Detroit Free Press editorial headline, 12/18/11]
    A second, more mean-spirited measure that has earned Snyder's veto would strip domestic partners of public employees of any health insurance coverage they currently receive. Though homophobic backers insist the measure is intended to exalt heterosexual marriage, the ban on partner benefits is nakedly designed to remind gay Michiganders that Republican legislators consider them second-class citizens. Allowing this bigotry to become part of Michigan's express employment policy would put the state's public employers at a competitive disadvantage and mock Gov. Snyder's oft-stated desire to make Michigan a magnet for the nation's most talented, best educated workers. If he sincerely aspires to move Michigan into the first rank of states, he'll waste little time in rejecting this piece of hate legislation, whose enactment would signal a victory for Michigan's most retrograde instincts.

If Snyder wants the "best and the brightest" in Michigan, how can he talk about bringing in foreigners while pulling out a "Do Not Enter" signs for gays and lesbians. . . . And this law would be cruelly canceling benefits that already exist. Real people will be harmed by this. . . . Carol Kennedy has a family history of breast cancer. She’ll need to fork over $5,000 out of pocket for an individual health insurance policy if her partner of 25 years, an Ann Arbor teacher, has her domestic partner benefits yanked. . . . Snyder can hop on gay bashers´ well-worn corkscrew of deception. He can cheapen his message that improving Michigan´s business climate by attracting quality talent is a top priority. Or Snyder can be consistent. He can stand up to the bullies. He can veto HB 4770. He can send a message that scoring cheap political points on an historically oppressed population to the glee of an ever-shrinking pool of small-minded people isn´t on his agenda. If Snyder is a man of his word, he will do just that.

  • Two years ago, shortly after he signed a GOP-sponsored bill barring medical benefits for same-sex partners into law, I asked Snyder face-to-face how he justified his acquiescence to such discriminatory treatment. Snyder evenly replied that he harbored no animus against the state’s gay employees or their families; legislators had told him, he said, that the state simply could not afford to extend coverage to partners who were not legally wed. “I was told it was a matter of economics,” the governor said. His tone was matter-of-fact, even sympathetic. But the import of his words, and his signature, were clear: It is fiscally impractical to treat them the way we treat other people. ["Making Michigan safe for well-mannered discrimination," Brian Dickerson column, Detroit Free Press, 12/15/13]
  • Detroit Free Press: Brian Dickerson: Why Snyder can't tell the truth about same-sex marriage

http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/brian-dickerson/2014/10/15/gay-marriage-michigan-rick-snyder/17271571/

  • Pride Source: Creep of the Week: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

Voting for Snyder is, quite literally, voting against gays and lesbians and their families. Not bothering to vote at all is, too.

http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=68548

  • Ann Arbor Independent: Editorial: In Fighting Same-Sex Marriage, Mich. Gov.’s Actions Evoke George Wallace

http://www.a2indy.com/2014/10/14/editorial-in-fighting-same-sex-marriage-mich-gov-s-actions-evoke-george-wallace/

  • ACLU Blasts Governor Snyder for Signing Domestic Partner Benefits Ban, Vows Legal Challenge
    “The decision to take healthcare benefits away from families just in time for the holidays is mean-spirited and cruel. Governor Snyder had an opportunity to show real leadership and put an end to the political games; instead he approved an extreme policy that sets our state back, jeopardizes our economy and puts our families at risk. The bill serves no other purpose than to single out a small minority of people and deprive them of critical protections as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. We are prepared to challenge this law on behalf of Michigan families in the coming weeks.”
    http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/aclu-blasts-governor-snyder-signing-domestic-partner-benefits-ban-vows-legal-challenge

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s ambivalence on the issue is not only discouraging, but also flies in the face of a majority of Michiganders, who are now in favor of same-sex marriage. . . . The behavior of our elected officials is neither appropriate nor representative of the collective will of Michigan’s citizens. Both Schuette and Snyder need to respect the majority opinion before advancing their own agendas. Snyder’s unwillingness to reconsider his stance on same-sex marriage or call for a legislative step toward to marriage equality is disheartening to the many couples married this weekend and unfair to the people whom he serves. Snyder has claimed that he only has the power to enforce the law, but continually backs legislation that makes its way through Michigan’s legislature. His hypocritical behavior and lack of leadership on this controversial issue during an election year is cowardly.

The time would be right for Snyder to let the issue go. Instead, he decided to fight for an anti-gay policy that thrills Dave Agema. How do I know that? Because the law's primary sponsor was none other than Dave Agema. For this reason alone, you'd think the anti-Agema crowd would make some noises about Snyder's anti-gay play. But no one appears to have made a peep. The truth is that more LGBT people are harmed by Snyder's same-sex benefits ban than by the vile, prejudiced remarks spewing from Agema's mouth. . . . And our supposedly moderate governor is even willing to waste taxpayer dollars defending a law that hurts LGBT families. You may rightly ask why Snyder, a self-proclaimed nerd, would do something so foolhardy. The likely answer is that he cares more about catering to the anti-gay forces, which make up a sizable chunk of the GOP, than doing the right thing. After all, it is an election year.

Snyder's anti-equality agenda

"We’re so very disappointed in the governor," Kary L. Moss, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union's Michigan chapter, said in an interview. "This was the moment for him to show real leadership, to rise above what I believe is petty politics, to tell the rest of the country that Michigan is not living in the dark ages and to create an open, inclusive Michigan."

  • Governor signs ban on partner benefits for unmarried public employees [Pride Source headline, 1/5/12]
    Emily Dievendorf, policy director at Equality Michigan, also slammed the governor for the signing. "Gov. Snyder's support for these bills is appalling. Today, the Governor told unmarried public employees that they could no longer care for their partners or children. He has put hardworking gay and lesbian couples and their children into harm's way by eliminating important health care coverage.

Snyder refuses to be honest about his anti-equality agenda

  • Banning workplace discrimination shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and increasingly in the real world it’s not, but in our legislatures the bigotry and cowardice that stand in the way of righting that wrong have proven difficult to dislodge. . . . It’s ironic, given that the legislation would actually protect jobs, that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder used a similar tack when ducking whether he felt any responsibility to lead on the issue. Michigan is one of 29 states in which it is still legal for an employer to fire an employee for being gay. Snyder told MLive reporters two weeks ago that he’d be “happy to have a discussion on,” but deferred to the Michigan Legislature to raise issue. “At this point in time I’ve got a number of other things that I’ve had as priorities,” he said. Leadership matters, particularly when it comes to defending the civil rights of minority groups. Silence or inaction in the face of such bigotry is little better than complicity. [Stand up for LBGT equality," Battle Creek Enquirer editorial, 11/4/13]
  • If Snyder is serious about his aspirations, he needs to show the same leadership in the realm of same-sex marriage that he has begun to demonstrate in preparing Michigan for the health care needs of the 21st Century. At a minimum, that would mean welcoming a referendum to repeal the mean-spirited constitutional ban Michigan voters adopted in 2004, a law that has secured the state’s reputation for hostility to gay people. Ideally, Snyder would not merely condone such a referendum, but explain the state’s economic self-interest in supporting it. ["The high cost Michigan pays for excluding gay people," Detroit Free Press editorial, 6/30/13]
  • You can come at him every which way from Sunday and if he does not want to answer a question, he will not. Period. This is exceedingly true when it relates to social or wedge issues. . . . Yet on the eve of his reelection bid, his evasive answers are starting to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. Correspondents can now juxtapose what he doesn’t utter against what his potential Democratic opponent Mark Scahuer does say. . . . But here’s the danger with waffling. Your opponent can appear to be more candid than you are and that could cost you votes.  ["Gov. Snyder's unwillingness to take a stand may not serve him well in campaign," Tim Skubick column, MLive, 6/9/13]
  • But Michigan’s top GOP officials have been, if not silent, more obtuse than Agema’s actions merit. . . . Snyder visited the Free Press Friday, and when asked directly about Agema, declined to specify or sharpen his comments, saying they’re directed at anyone who uses divisive, discriminatory language. As rebukes go, it was tame, particularly in response to the kind of vitriol Agema spews. (It’s OK to condemn bigotry in plain language, governor. Try it. You might like it.) . . . But the response, so far, from top GOP officials like Snyder and Schostak seems a bit tepid. And here’s why that’s particularly troubling: Agema isn’t simply voicing an opinion. He’s in a position to craft national policy — as in a resolution reiterating the Republican party’s opposition to gay marriage, adopted last year by the Republican National Committee. ["Dave Agema's actions merit public rebuke from GOP leaders," Nancy Kaffer column, Detroit Free Press, 1/21/14]

Are you ready to expand state civil rights to include gays? Governor: “I haven’t really looked at that in terms of the things we’re working on. I’ve really been focused on more and better jobs?” Follow-up: So this is not on your agenda? With a slight chuckle, the governor, recalling he used answer to describe his earlier non-stance on Right to Work, offers this. “That would be your description. I’m a little more cautious about using that term these days.” And then he chuckles again. The LGBT community is not chuckling.

But in a 2010 debate while he was running for governor, he clearly articulated his opposition to marriage for same-sex couples: “On gay marriage, marriage is between a man and a woman. But people should also have the ability to make contracts between themselves.”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/michigans-republican-governor-refuses-to-take-position-on-ma 

Civil Rights Protections

  • Banning workplace discrimination shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and increasingly in the real world it’s not, but in our legislatures the bigotry and cowardice that stand in the way of righting that wrong have proven difficult to dislodge. . . . It’s ironic, given that the legislation would actually protect jobs, that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder used a similar tack when ducking whether he felt any responsibility to lead on the issue. Michigan is one of 29 states in which it is still legal for an employer to fire an employee for being gay. Snyder told MLive reporters two weeks ago that he’d be “happy to have a discussion on,” but deferred to the Michigan Legislature to raise issue. “At this point in time I’ve got a number of other things that I’ve had as priorities,” he said. Leadership matters, particularly when it comes to defending the civil rights of minority groups. Silence or inaction in the face of such bigotry is little better than complicity. [Stand up for LBGT equality," Battle Creek Enquirer editorial, 11/4/13]

Are you ready to expand state civil rights to include gays? Governor: “I haven’t really looked at that in terms of the things we’re working on. I’ve really been focused on more and better jobs?” Follow-up: So this is not on your agenda? With a slight chuckle, the governor, recalling he used answer to describe his earlier non-stance on Right to Work, offers this. “That would be your description. I’m a little more cautious about using that term these days.” And then he chuckles again. The LGBT community is not chuckling.

now comes the Lt. Governor who refuses to take a stance on extending civil rights to the gay community. “I’ve not pulled up or studied or looked at the issue yet,” explains Brian Calley “so I don’t have a position for you today.” Expanding the Elliot-Larsen civil rights act to include the LBGT community has been around for years and despite four years in the legislature and three as Lieutenant Governor, he's got nothing. Gov. Rick Snyder reports he has no position either. . . . Enter this debate the state’s GOP Attorney General Bill Schuette. His office was asked what his stance was on this civil rights question? The first email response from his team while he was out of town offered this: “This is an issue for the governor and legislature and I will fulfill my duty to defend and enforce the constitution and our laws.” . . . There is inside word that after the November elections, this measure will pass and they expect the governor’s support at that time. At this time, forget it.

 
Democrats Call on Governor to Cooperate in Building a Strong Middle Class and a Michigan that Works for Everyone
Jan. 20th 2015

Democratic Leaders: Irresponsible Republican policies hurting Michigan families

LANSING - Today Democratic leaders called on Gov. Snyder to take a new direction and work with Democrats to focus on building a stronger middle class, promoting economic mobility and increased wages for Michigan families.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D - Auburn Hills) and Senate Democratic Whip Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D - East Lansing) hosted a press conference today where they highlighted several troubling economic indicators that show that Gov. Snyder’s policies aren’t working. Among those are the $324 million budget shortfall, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing Michigan lagging behind the rest of the country in job creation and unemployment, and a new report from the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy showing Michigan’s tax system ranking 29th worst for fairness.

"Democrats stand ready to work with Gov. Snyder and Legislative Republicans when the focus is on building an economy that works for, not against, working families,” said Rep. Tim Greimel. “But what we will not support is more of the same failed policies that rig the system and force workers and seniors to pay more just so those at the very top can get more breaks. It’s time for Republican leaders to abandon these failed policies that have left Michigan with deficits and lagging behind the rest of the country in economic mobility.”

Democrats pointed out that thanks to Republican policies, the less that families take home from their jobs, the harder they are hit by Michigan’s backwards tax system.

“As the people entrusted to tackle the challenges facing our state, we owe it to working families to be laser focused on the issues that will actually help them provide a better life for their families - not on divisive political issues,” said Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. “The people of Michigan want us to put politics aside and foster an environment that encourages job creation and innovation right here in Michigan - I’m ready to do that, and I hope all my colleagues will join in.”

###

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.

Test

Test

Paid for with regulated funds by the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, 606 Townsend, Lansing, MI 48933, (517) 371-5410, MichiganDems.com. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
WELCOME TO THE
MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY

It’s time for Michigan to elect leaders who know what makes our state great - our people, our land and our Great Lakes. The Michigan Democratic Party is focused on empowering citizens with the tools they need to join their friends and neighbors in creating an accountable government, and electing leaders that they believe in. Are you in? We’re ready to win, but we can’t do it without your help.

JOIN THE MDP
CONTRIBUTE
VOLUNTEER