Democrats

The state of Michigan will receive detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau next week.  The information will have far reaching effects.  In December, Michigan learned its population slipped by about 54 thousand , to just under 9.9 million people.  Now the details. 

The new census data breaks down Michigan’s population into a number of subsets, including race and ethnicity.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero delivered his sixth State of the City address last night. As Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports, he had a lot to say about past accomplishments but said next to nothing about the city's projected $15 million dollar budget deficit:

"Look around and see for yourself, it's happening in Lansing," Bernero said. That was the theme of Lansing mayor Virg Bernero's state of the city address.

To that end, Bernero spoke a lot about recent business investment in the capitol city.  He didn't speak directly to Lansing's projected $15 million budget deficit.

He did suggest part of the budget problem can be found across the street from Lansing city hall at the state capitol.

"City budgets across Michigan are on life support.   The loss of property tax values means the loss of property tax revenue.  High unemployment means the loss of income tax revenue.  And the continued failure of state government to manage its own budget problems has cost of tens of millions in state shared revenues," Bernero said.

Bernero also said Lansing needs to work with its neighbors to deal with a variety of regional problems.

Bernero was the Democratic nominee in Michigan's 2010 Gubernatorial race. He lost the race to his Republican opponent Rick Snyder. Snyder delivered his first State of the State address as Governor last Wednesday evening.

Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

The Democratic response to Governor Snyder's State of the State address was delivered by Gretchen Whitmer, leader of the Michigan Senate Democrats. You can watch the response on the Michigan Senate Democrats website. The transcript of Whitmer's speech follows:

Good evening,

The election this past November saw Michigan government turn the page on an unproductive time of Michigan history.

Search Net Media / Flickr

There’s a lot of speculation today as to what Governor Snyder will say when he makes his first State of the State speech tonight.

Well, we’ll find out soon enough. However, I’m also interested in what the Democrats are going to say in response. Now, there are a lot of people who think whatever they say won’t matter much.

After all, the Dems were pounded into the ground in the last election. They lost a record twenty seats in the House, where the Republicans have a sixty-three to forty-seven seat edge.

And they are in a lot worse shape in the state senate, where they now hold only a dozen seats out of thirty-eight. That’s the weakest position they’ve been in since 1954.

Nevertheless, what goes around does tend to come around. Nobody thinks Governor Snyder‘s honeymoon with the voters will last forever. Nor is it likely that all of his fellow Republicans in the legislature are always going to support what he wants to do.

These are also not normal times. Michigan has lost nearly a million jobs in the last decade, and has the highest unemployment rate of any major state in the nation. Additionally, it’s clear that our method of funding state government is broken.

Huron-Manistee National Forest
Photo courtesy of Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service

This week the U.S. Census will release its initial population totals for the country and the states. That data will begin the scramble to redraw Michigan’s congressional districts.

Michigan will probably lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives when the new census numbers come out (going from 15 to 14 seats).

The state’s incoming Republican governor and Republican controlled legislature are expected to redraw congressional boundaries so they can favor Republican candidates.

CT scan machine
user NithinRao / Creative Commons

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is set to chair the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Stabenow takes over the position from Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.  Lincoln lost her Senate seat to Republican John Boozman on November 2nd.

In a statement released today, Stabenow, a Democrat, says:

I am ready to lead the Senate Agriculture Committee in the 112 th Congress. Agriculture is critical to Michigan’s economy, employing a quarter of our workforce. Not only does agriculture create jobs and feed our families across America, but it is also helping us develop new fuels and energy sources.

Stabenow has served as a Democratic Senator from Michigan since 2000.

As the Detroit News reports:

Stabenow's position will give the Great Lakes State an enormous amount of influence over the next farm bill, which is slated for 2012. The bill is the cornerstone of the federal government's agriculture, food and nutrition policy and states like Michigan with sizable farming sectors have significant interest in its outcome; work on the 2012 bill began in April.

Edmund Fitzgerald
Bob Campbell / NOAA

Kathy Barks Hoffman, of the Associated Press, has a great piece in the South Bend Tribune that takes a look at what went wrong for Democrats in the state before Election Day.  She writes:

Michigan Democrats started 2010 with their main candidate for governor withdrawing from the race, donors feeling the pinch of the poor economy and the drag of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's unpopularity hanging around their necks.

On November 2nd, Republicans won the Governor's office and the races for Attorney General and Secretary of State.  The GOP also widened their majority in the state Senate and won control of the state House of Representatives from the Democrats.

Hoffman notes that Democratic voters did not turn out to the polls like they did in the 2006 gubernatorial election.  She sites data from political strategist Ed Sarpolus that shows 300,000 fewer Democrats voted compared to four years ago.

Hoffman cites other reasons for the Democrat's loses:

  • Independent voters swung toward the GOP
  • Democrats didn't know very much about their candidates
  • Democratic candidate for governor Virg Bernro couldn't match Republican candidate (and now governor-elect) Rick Snyder's fundraising
News headlines
Photo courtesy of Infrogmation/Creative Commons

Michigan will have at least 4 freshman members of Congress after November’s general election.

But all that new blood means Michigan is losing something special in Washington...seniority.

By January,  Republicans Pete Hoekstra and Vern Ehlers, and Democrats Bart Stupak and Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick will have packed up and moved out of their congressional offices in Washington. 

Hoekstra, Ehlers and Stupak voluntarily retired. Cheeks-Kilpatrick lost her party’s August primary.

Courtesy Russ Hicks

The Tea Party Express roadshow is making several stops today in Michigan in hope of energizing conservative voters before next week’s election.

 About 500 people crowded a vacant lot in downtown Jackson for the event which was part political rally and part fundraiser.

The tea party vote could be critical in several close congressional and state legislative races next week.

Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kramer says establishment Republicans and Democrats are underestimating the movement.  

Both the republican and democratic nominating conventions will be held this weekend. So what actually happens at these things? Aren't they just overhyped pageants so the parties can put their candidates on display?

While that might be the case for the national conventions, the Michigan conventions are different. Balloons and confetti are absent.  Horsetrading and backroom deals  rule the day.

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