Stateside: Debbie Dingell and Saul Anuzis share thoughts on approaching political year

Jan 9, 2013

What does 2013 have in store for Michigan politics?

Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, and Debbie Dingell, President of D2 Strategies, spoke today with Zoe Clark.

They addressed the importance of Democrats and Republicans collaborating on key issues for the state.

Dingell predicted an ardent strategy from Democrats.

“The air is not cleared and will be an issue for the next two years. The challenge for Democrats is to develop a strategy that gets at the core of the issue but doesn’t hurt Michigan in the process,” said Dingell.

“The biggest challenge for all of us is, how do we do what’s right and what’s best for Michigan? How do we move forward on good public policy where we actually have common ground?” said Anuzis.

Both Dingell and Anuzis agreed on improving Michigan's education system.

“Education is going to be another tough issue… I’m very concerned that Michigan is slipping competitively on all levels and we cannot continue to let that happen,” said Dingell.

“I think there is a philosophical difference. Funding is not the problem in Michigan right now; we have one of the highest rates of funding per-pupil in the country. The problem we have today is some of the reforms that are necessary in the schools. We’ve got to turn Michigan’s economy around, we’ve got to get our cultural state around so people are staying in the state. Probably the most important thing we can do to get there is education.” said Anuzis.

“I think it’s going to be a very policy-direct discussion about which direction we should go. The demonization [of teachers] that’s been part of the dialogue for the past year is not a healthy dialogue,” said Dingell.

According to Dingell, Democrats will continue to push their policy agenda.

“At both a national and state level you’ll see Democrats trying to drive a policy agenda that is best for the state,” said Dingell.

“I think this is a healthy process. The fact that the Democrats will be aggressive is appropriate…I don’t think anyone is demonizing teachers. I would say that 95 percent of teachers are doing exactly what people in the state want them to do,” said Anuzis.

For more of the interview, listen to our podcast above.

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