Jennifer White

Host - All Things Considered

Jennifer White is Michigan Radio's All Things Considered host. Jenn has served as Executive Producer and host of the television program, "Out of the Blue: The Michigan Difference," on the Big Ten Network.

She was also the host of the nationally distributed public radio documentary "Finding Our Bootstraps: Americans Deal With Recession," and has served as Executive Producer and host of the public television programs "Out of the Box" and "Edible Legacies."

Recently, she has moderated several political forums, including gubernatorial and mayoral debates for both public radio and television. A native of Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan, she has worked at Michigan Public Media since 1999, most recently as the station's Director of Media Outreach and Community Relations. From 2005-2009, she served as Station Manager for Michigan Television, WFUM-TV.

Over the past few weeks, Detroit Public Schools have been facing sick-outs from teachers protesting school conditions, pay, and Governor Snyder’s proposed plan to address the district’s massive debt.

I spoke to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants about the situation at DPS and whether there is a clear path forward.

Mayor Mike Duggan toured some Detroit schools and says the conditions are a mixed bag.

Listen to this week's political roundup here:

Governor Snyder this week declared a state of emergency in the city of Flint due to the city’s water crisis. This follows the resignation of Dan Wyant, the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and news that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the city’s contaminated water.

user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As the Michigan Legislature wraps up for the year we wanted to take a look back at 2015 with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

Sikkema and Demas agree that the list of legislative successes is short this year. Sikkema says:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As the Michigan House and Senate wrap up for the year, there’s a piece of legislation that could change what voters experience in the booth. The Republican majority is working to pass a plan that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on the ballot.

I spoke with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Both Demas and Sikkema point out that this is not the first time Republicans have tried to pass a ban on straight ticket voting.

Each week Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, join us to take a look at Michigan politics. 

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, Gov. Rick Snyder called for a pause on efforts to admit Syrian refugees into the U.S. and Michigan. Snyder says while he eventually wants to allow Syrian refugees to settle in the state, he first wants the federal government to review their security protocols for assigning refugee status.

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With the roads funding plan behind them, the Michigan Legislature is on break until December. When they return, fixing Detroit Public Schools will be at the top of the legislative agenda.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a controversial plan for DPS that would start a new district responsible for educational instruction and general operations while leaving the roughly $500 million in legacy debt with the old district.

Michigan roads
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The legislature this week passed a package of bills to fund Michigan roads. The legislation would bump up the state’s gas tax by seven cents per gallon, and boost vehicle registration fees by 20% beginning in 2017. It will increase taxes by $600 million also starting in 2017. The plan will also move $600 million from other areas in the state budget.

The Michigan Legislature may be inching toward a roads funding package. The roughly $1 billion plan would take $600 million from the state’s general fund and could include a rollback in the state income tax rate. It would also increase vehicle registration fees by 40%. While the House has passed the plan, the Michigan Senate scheduled and then delayed a vote on the plan.

This week, we aired a State of Opportunity special, Life after High School. The show focused on the options open to young people trying to figure out how to build a future for themselves. We spent some time talking about the challenge and expense of attending a university or college.

But for young people in the foster care system or students who have experienced homelessness, that leap to college is even bigger.

Gov. Snyder at a press conference this month announcing his plan to overhaul the Detroit Public School District.
screenshot / Livestream

Gov. Rick Snyder this week announced his plan for overhauling Detroit Public Schools. It includes splitting the district and leaving the debt with the old DPS, while a new district would move forward with school operations and education. 

Money
Steve Carmody

The Michigan Legislature has approved $9 million to deal with the fallout from the Flint water crisis. That price tag has turned attention to how the state’s rainy-day fund is used.

Gov. Rick Snyder has made replenishing that fund a budget priority since he entered office.

Jennifer White spoke to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants about the state of the rainy-day fund.

Demas says as of the last budget cycle there's about $386 million in the fund. 

Sunset Baby rehearsal
BMA / BMA

Sunset Baby, by award-winning playwright and Detroit native Dominique Morisseau, tells the story of a former revolutionary who wants to reconnect with his daughter, Nina. Nina feels her father abandoned her and her mother in pursuit of his social causes.

As Nina moves between her father and her hustler boyfriend, loyalty, love, the power of revolution, and the reliability of memory are all tested.  

Laura MacIntyre, Amber Hasan (holding D.J.), and She'a Cobb
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Govenor Snyder last week announced the city of Flint will be switching back to Detroit water.

This comes after months of complaints by Flint residents; tests showing the water was unsafe; and most recently, reports of elevated lead levels in some Flint children. Jennifer White sat down with three women raising kids in Flint to hear their experiences.

Even the view from my panoramic sunroof isn't helping.
Bruce Berrien / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

I found my Jetta Sportswagen TDI in 2013.

I bought the car after extensive research, and it was exactly what I needed -- roomy but sporty, solid construction, room in the back for my dogs, excellent safety ratings, and the sweet, sweet gas-mileage-and-carbon-footprint cherry on top of that automotive sundae.

I was seduced. I "spreche die Deutsch."

The last couple of years I have raved to friends and family about my Jetta -- how I can drive to Chicago and back on one tank of gas. I loved how impressed my friends were by the panoramic sunroof.

Even my parents liked this car.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder will ask the state Legislature to kick in half of the $12 million needed to switch the city of Flint back to the Detroit water system. The rest of the cost will be shared by Flint and the C.S. Mott Foundation.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

Jennifer White was joined by Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, to take a look at Michigan politics.

This week, they discussed whether there were any lingering effects of the scandal involving former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. They also took a look at the issues the legislature is likely to tackle this session, including funding for roads.

Here's their conversation:

Todd Courser
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Each week,  Jennifer White talks to Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. Today they discussed the disciplinary hearings for state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. 

Sikkema and Demas say  the hearings highlight a new level of hyperpartisanship in state  politics. 

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Jennifer White spoke to Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, about legislative progress towards a roads funding package.

Sikkema says there hasn't been real progress made and Republicans have failed to identify the cuts they would make in the state budget to pay for road improvements. He also says he thinks Republicans need to be willing to make the cuts they identify, rather than leave them for a later legislature to handle.

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Commission has approved the consent agreement with the state by a 14 to 1 vote. The consent agreement will require the county to make deep cuts in spending and address chronic issues in its jails. 

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jennifer White to look more closely at how that consent agreement might work.

flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Each week  Jennifer White speaks to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, about the latest in state politics.

This week, they discussed the federal civil rights complaint filed by the Detroit Public Schools elected board against Governor Rick Snyder.

Money
User: penywise / MorgueFile

The city of Detroit emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last year. Now, Wayne County, where Detroit is located, finds itself facing about a $50 million structural deficit and unfunded pension liability estimated at $850 to $940 million.

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services.

Veterans returning home after World War II received a big helping hand from American taxpayers. The GI Bill helped millions get a college education. 

Today, veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also get help paying for college. The Post 9/11 GI Bill can pay up to around $20,000 a year in taxpayer-funded college tuition.

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
flickr user Michael Gil / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Senate this week approved a package of bills that would gradually increase the state gas tax over three years and give $1.5 billion to roads funding. But the House and Senate still have to overcome significant differences in their respective plans to fund roads and infrastructure.

Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio’s co-host of It’s Just Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jenn White to talk about what it will take to finally get a roads funding plan passed.

U.S. Supreme Court
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Michigan and three other states are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke to NPR's legal correspondent, Nina Totenberg, about the case and its possible implications for Michigan and the rest of the country. 

Here's their conversation:

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed the $54 billion state budget that pays for schools, universities, prisons, and more. That marks about six months of activity for the newest Michigan Legislature.

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Michigan Radio's Jenn White. They talk about where the state is investing money and where it's pulling back.

Budget tiles
Simon Cunningham / Flickr

The state has completed the 2016 budget. Republicans and Democrats celebrated an increase in education funding and early literacy programs.

The Legislature also carved out money for Michigan roads, but not the estimated $2 billion needed annually to fix the state's crumbling infrastructure.

Mackinac Bridge
Julie Falk / Flickr

Kresge Foundation President, Rip Rapson, spoke at the Mackinac Policy Conference this year. He laid out the foundation's plans to invest in Detroit's post-bankruptcy development. Rapson says investments in early education, transportation, and Detroit's small business and entrepreneurial sector are all necessary to create a stable future for the city.

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is entering another round of negotiations to raise money for Michigan’s roads, following a decisive defeat of Proposal 1.

Jennifer White spoke to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, about the politics of getting a viable roads funding plan passed. 

Here's their conversation:

Michigan roads
user nirbhao / Flickr

Proposal 1 was rejected by voters in yesterday’s special election. That takes Gov. Rick Snyder and the state Legislature back to table to try to come up with a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads. What are the political implications of this defeat for Gov. Snyder and for the Republican-led legislature?

Stethoscope
Adrian Clark / Flickr

The issue of police violence against black men has been a central news story in recent weeks and months. Reverend James Dickson says many more black men are dying due to preventable and treatable illnesses. Reverend Dickson is the founder of Fitness Fellowship International, a fitness, health, and wellness initiative for black men. Dickson spoke to Jennifer White about why he started Fitness Fellowship International and how he hopes to help black men live healthier lives.

Here's their conversation:

 

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