Ken Sikkema http://michiganradio.org en A review of Gov. Snyder's State of the State address http://michiganradio.org/post/review-gov-snyders-state-state-address <p></p><p>Governor Rick Snyder gave his fourth State of the State address, Thursday night. In a speech covering a wide range of topics, he spent a lot of time focusing on his accomplishments and gave a broad overview of what he hopes to accomplish in 2014.</p><p>Joining us to take a closer look are Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Zoe Clark, co-host of It's Just Politics on Michigan Radio.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 21:47:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 16074 at http://michiganradio.org A review of Gov. Snyder's State of the State address What to do with Michigan's projected budget surplus? http://michiganradio.org/post/what-do-michigans-projected-budget-surplus <p></p><p>Each week we take a look at what’s happening in Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.&nbsp;</p><p>The state legislature is back to work, and as Sikkema predicted last year, talks are swirling around what to do with the state’s projected budget surplus. Estimates are putting it at about $500 million. What should be done with the money?</p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 21:47:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 15961 at http://michiganradio.org What to do with Michigan's projected budget surplus? What might the Michigan Legislature do in 2014? http://michiganradio.org/post/what-might-michigan-legislature-do-2014 <div><p>I<span style="line-height: 1.5;">t’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.</span></p></div><div>The legislature has wrapped up session for the year. And, after the holidays we’re entering an election year. Let's find out, besides the gubernatorial election, what other major elections should we be watching next year, and what might the legislature accomplish in 2014?</div><div> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:45:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 15766 at http://michiganradio.org What might the Michigan Legislature do in 2014? Weekly Political Roundup: Campaign donation limits, impact on 2014 elections http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-campaign-donation-limits-impact-2014-elections <p>Each&nbsp;Thursday&nbsp;we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.&nbsp;</p><p>This morning, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson proposed new rules that would require more disclosure of who pays for issue ads. The Senate added language to block the Secretary of State’s proposal, and approved a bill that would double the amount an individual could contribute to a candidate or a candidate committee.</p><p>“What the Secretary of State is trying to do is level a very unequal playing field when it comes to financing campaigns,” Sikkema explains. “Right now, a candidate committee has to disclose everybody who gave any amount of money, and there are severe limits on how much an individual can give. But independent committees do not have to disclose and there are no limits as to contributions.”</p><p>After moving quickly through the Senate, this proposal now faces the House.</p><p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 22:25:29 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 15290 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Campaign donation limits, impact on 2014 elections What's to prevent a shutdown from happening again? http://michiganradio.org/post/whats-prevent-shutdown-happening-again <p></p><p>After a partial government shutdown that lasted 16 days,&nbsp;<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-congressional-delegation-divided-government-shutdowndebt-ceiling-vote">an agreement was reached</a>&nbsp;Wednesday night to reopen the government. While both Democratic senators from Michigan voted "yes" on the bill to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, Republicans in the House were split. In today's Weekly Political Roundup, we check in with our political analysts Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema.</p><p><strong>No winners on this one</strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Polls indicate that this is not a popular move. Everybody took a hit, especially Republicans. They certainly came out the worst in all of this," said&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Susan&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Demas</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. "So, that might be some incentive to not go down this road again, but unfortunately this has become the way that we do business in this country, whenever we have a debt limit or we have to fund the government this becomes a time a great brinksmanship where people want to try and get more of their agenda passed then we have in the past."&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>Republicans' "fundamental mistake"</strong></p><p>"I think Republicans made a&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">fundamental mistake here in trying to negotiate either an end or major changes to the Affordable Care Act, which they call </span>Obamacare," said Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. "And, when you are in a negotiating position ... you don't ask the other side to give up on their most fundamentally held position. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Republicans would have been better off if they had made their position something to do with entitlement reform, or debt reduction or maybe changes in the tax code because&nbsp;Democrats believe that all of those areas need change too. As long as they insist on tying&nbsp;this to </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">de-funding</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Obamacare<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;or ended </span>Obamacare<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> we are going to see the same result time after time, after time," said </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Listen to the full interview above.</span></em></p><p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 21:44:49 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 14889 at http://michiganradio.org What's to prevent a shutdown from happening again? A look at Michigan politics this week http://michiganradio.org/post/look-michigan-politics-week <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It&rsquo;s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for <a href="http://www.mlive.com/">MLIVE.com </a>a</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">nd Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Governor Snyder&#39;s &quot;One Tough Nerd&quot; <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/does-snyders-economic-record-earn-him-title-one-successful-nerd">commercials return</a> signaling the start of a very long Election 2014 campaign season. And, we ask: Is the Tea Party losing steam?&nbsp;</span></p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.&nbsp;</em></p><p></p><p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 14605 at http://michiganradio.org A look at Michigan politics this week Where did all the moderates go? http://michiganradio.org/post/where-did-all-moderates-go <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Once elected, a politician is supposed to work with colleagues to design policy to help government operate efficiently and serve the people. Since legislators represent different geographical areas of people, they often have to compromise.</span></p><p>That&rsquo;s where moderates are key. They are not so steeped in ideology and are willing to find common ground that leads to compromise.</p><p>These days, that sounds rather quaint.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Moderates are rare animals.</span></p><p>Listen to what Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and former Republican state Senate majority leader, and&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Jack </span>Lessenberry<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Michigan Radio&#39;s political analyst, think about these rare birds in today&#39;s politics.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></span></p><p> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 21:02:06 +0000 Stateside Staff 14586 at http://michiganradio.org Where did all the moderates go? Weekly Political Roundup: Drug testing welfare recipients, Republican conference http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-drug-testing-welfare-recipients-republican-conference <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s Thursday. The day we talk Michigan politics with Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, columnist for </span><a href="http://www.mlive.com/">MLIVE.com</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This week, a bill that would require welfare recipients to do some kind of community service in order to get cash assistance or a welfare check passed in the Senate. &nbsp;And another bill related to drug testing and welfare benefits cleared the state House Commerce Committee.</span></p><p>Then, the <a href="http://www.mackinac2013.org/">Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference</a> kicks off this weekend with nationally recognized guests including three potential presidential candidates set to speak there. They are Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 20:49:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 14503 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Drug testing welfare recipients, Republican conference Weekly Political Roundup: Medicaid expansion passes, Tea Party goes after Lt. Gov. Calley http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-medicaid-expansion-passes-tea-party-goes-after-lt-gov-calley <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It's our weekly review of Michigan politics with Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, columnist for </span><a href="http://www.mlive.com/">MLIVE.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><a href="http://www.mlive.com/">com</a> and Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</span></p><p>We start with Medicaid, and while the expansion finally passed in the Senate the vote didn’t happen without a bit of drama and struggle.</p><p>"There was still an awful lot of controversy. There was some horse-trading involved with an issue Senator Tom Casperson, who represents the Upper Peninsula wanted, and that finally changed his vote. And, it was just a typical messy process which is what happens in the legislature," said Demas.</p><p>However, this isn’t the end of the story. The law passed without immediate effect. As it stands now, the law won’t go into effect until April. The Snyder administration says this will cost the state about $630 million in lost federal funds. Demas&nbsp;said there are still a lot of hurdles <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/next-step-medicaid-expansion-back-state-house">before Medicaid expansion goes into effect</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Let's turn now to Lieutenant Governor Brian&nbsp;Calley.&nbsp; Tea Party activist, <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/tea-party-activist-challenge-michigans-lt-gov-republican-nomination">Wes&nbsp;Nakagiri&nbsp;says he plans to challenge the renomination of Calley</a>&nbsp;at the Republican convention next summer.&nbsp;Nakagiri&nbsp;says Governor Snyder needs a more conservative lieutenant governor to help the administration stay the conservative course. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"If this Tea Party challenge to Brian </span>Calley<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> is successful at the convention, it gives the Democrats a huge issue during the fall general election campaign. They will use the argument that the Lieutenant Governor is far too conservative or radical for the Michigan electorate,"&nbsp;</span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> said.</span></p><p><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Click on the link above to hear the full interview.</span></em></p><p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 20:27:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 14192 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Medicaid expansion passes, Tea Party goes after Lt. Gov. Calley Weekly Political Roundup: Rough road ahead for transportion funding http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-rough-road-ahead-transportion-funding <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Each week we take a look at Michigan politics with Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, columnist for </span><a href="http://www.mlive.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;">MLIVE.com</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>Governor Snyder has been calling for increased funding for Michigan roads to the tune of $1.2 billion a year. This is one of the items he has not gotten a lot of traction on so far from lawmakers on either side of the political aisle.</p><p>According to Sikkema, the last time <a href="http://www.michiganinbrief.org/edition06/text/issues/issue-50.htm">Michigan increased fees and a tax</a> for transportation funding was back in 1997.</p><p>"The reason we keep going back to this sales tax issue is because Michigan is relatively unique. It has a sales tax on top of its state and federal gas tax and that sales tax doesn't go to roads it goes to schools and revenue sharing. There are only about three or four states in the country where all the taxes at the pump don't go to roads. Michigan is one of them," he said.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Are better roads, better for business?</span></p><p> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 20:24:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 14007 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Rough road ahead for transportion funding Weekly Political Roundup: Detroit mayoral candidates, Medicaid expansion http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-detroit-mayoral-candidates-medicaid-expansion <p></p><p>Each week we take a look at Michigan politics with Susan Demas, columnist for MLIVE.com, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p>Today, what's next with Medicaid expansion? And, why Governor Snyder&nbsp;is keeping an eye on who will become Detroit's next mayor.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 20:47:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 13907 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Detroit mayoral candidates, Medicaid expansion Weekly Political Roundup: In Detroit, bankruptcy timeline, impact on residents http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-detroit-bankruptcy-timeline-impact-residents <p></p><div>The eyes of the nation are on Detroit, as the city navigates through the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. &nbsp;And a group of Republican U.S. senators has wasted no time responding to the prospect of federal aid for the Motor City. They've crafted amendments to two separate appropriation bills to block federal intervention in municipal bankruptcy. That's despite the fact that neither Governor Rick Snyder nor Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr have put federal assistance on the table as a solution. <span style="line-height: 1.5;">So, moving forward, what does all this mean for Detroit, and for the state? For this, we talk with K</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">en </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, columnist with </span><a href="http://www.mlive.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Mlive.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><a href="http://www.mlive.com/">com</a>.</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:02:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 13696 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: In Detroit, bankruptcy timeline, impact on residents Gov. Snyder's negotiation style in question http://michiganradio.org/post/gov-snyders-negotiation-style-question <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</span></p><p>The state budget is on its way to Governor Snyder for his signature, while there is an investment of $65 million in early education, the Governor did not get three of his major priorities met. Medicaid expansion, transportation funding, and Common Core for K-12 education.</p><p>"He [Snyder] can't afford to sort of roll over all the time on the conservative agenda items, where he signs everything they want without getting them [conservatives] to agree to pass some of his high priority items," says Sikkema.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Thu, 06 Jun 2013 21:29:00 +0000 Jennifer White 12931 at http://michiganradio.org Gov. Snyder's negotiation style in question Suggested changes in benefits for those seriously injured in car accidents http://michiganradio.org/post/suggested-changes-benefits-those-seriously-injured-car-accidents <p></p><p>Each week host Jennifer White discusses Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p>Two new bills have been recently introduced in the state legislature, which would dramatically impact the amount of care received by those injured in a catastrophic car accident. Under current law, severely injured Michiganders can receive unlimited benefits for their care; however, unlimited care may turn into a thing of the past.</p><p>“What it would seek to do is put a million dollar cap on the benefits offered to people who suffered devastating injuries during a car accident,” explains Susan Demas. “We’re the only true no-fault state in the country, and the insurance industry has long since been very concerned about this.”</p><p>Claims of finances in disarray, and the burden of unlimited benefits on the economy have been core reasons given for reform of the current system. But political sub-plots behind the scenes may slow down the governor’s momentum with these bills.</p><p>“This is really one of the best opportunities in the last generation for significant reform,” suggests Ken Sikkema. “But it’s not without political implications for the next election.”</p><p><em>-Austin Davis, Michigan Radio Newsroom</em></p><p></p><p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 20:58:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12285 at http://michiganradio.org Suggested changes in benefits for those seriously injured in car accidents Weekly Political Roundup: Michigan Supreme Court, Democratic party http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-michigan-supreme-court-democratic-party <p></p><p>Each week we speak with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p>Governor Snyder has chosen his replacement for the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge David Viviano fills the seat left open after the resignation of Diane Hathaway after a bank fraud scandal involving the short sale of property in Grosse Pointe.</p><p>And, the Michigan Republican and Democratic parties elected their leadership. The Democratic party saw its longtime chair, Mark Brewer, concede victory to Lon Johnson. What could Johnson's leadership mean for the Democratic party in Michigan?</p><p> Thu, 28 Feb 2013 21:53:24 +0000 Jennifer White 11477 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Michigan Supreme Court, Democratic party Political Roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas: The start of the new session http://michiganradio.org/post/political-roundup-ken-sikkema-and-susan-demas-start-new-session <p>The new legislative session kicked off yesterday in Lansing.</p><p>Republican lawmakers were greeted by protesters angry about right to work legislation and other controversial moves made during the lame duck session.&nbsp;</p><p>House Speaker Jase Bolger was reelected as leader of the house though there were two dissenting votes from Democrats in what would historically have been a unanimous vote. &nbsp;</p><p>Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants talk the new session. Thu, 10 Jan 2013 19:43:39 +0000 Jennifer White 10707 at http://michiganradio.org Political Roundup: Election 2012 http://michiganradio.org/post/political-roundup-election-2012 <p></p><p>Two days post-election and there was a mixed bag of results here in Michigan. President Obama won, the State House held onto a Republican majority, all of the proposed constitutional amendments were voted down, and the emergency manager law was overturned. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks election results and what they mean for Michigan. She was joined by Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 21:21:30 +0000 Jennifer White 9846 at http://michiganradio.org Political Roundup: Election 2012 Political Roundup: Power shift in the Michigan House? http://michiganradio.org/post/political-roundup-possible-power-shift-michigan-house <p>Michigan House Representatives are up for election next Tuesday. All 110 seats. Both Houses of the legislature hold Republican majorities, but this election could mark a shift of power in Lansing if Democrats gain more votes. Jennifer White talks with Susan Demas, political analyst with Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p> Thu, 01 Nov 2012 21:40:25 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 9742 at http://michiganradio.org Political Roundup: Power shift in the Michigan House? Political Roundup: Presidential debate, Bolger problems and citizenship checkbox http://michiganradio.org/post/political-roundup-presidential-debate-bolger-problems-and-citizenship-checkbox <p>Every Thursday we take a look at Michigan politics with Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p>They talk with Jennifer White about the lack of mention for the auto industry at Wednesday night’s first Presidential debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republican Candidate for President Mitt Romney.</p> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 20:18:40 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 9368 at http://michiganradio.org Political Roundup: Presidential debate, Bolger problems and citizenship checkbox Political Roundup: Ad time, who's buying? http://michiganradio.org/post/political-roundup-ad-time-whos-buying-michigan <p>We’re a little over a month out from the November 6<sup>th</sup> election. At this point you would expect to hear a lot of political ads on television.</p><p>But there seem to be more TV ads for and against the various ballot proposals, and less from the presidential races.</p><p>For example, the Romney campaign pulled advertising from Michigan weeks ago, although a pro-Romney group has been running a new ad. But Susan Demas says money is not the issue.</p> Thu, 27 Sep 2012 21:04:55 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 9277 at http://michiganradio.org Political Roundup: Ad time, who's buying?