Election 2014

Politics & Government
5:45 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

If this guy doesn't win in Georgia, he'll try his luck in Michigan

Allan Levene figures he has 10 years left to live, and he really wants to serve in Congress.

... and in Hawaii, and in Minnesota.

Allan Levene, a naturalized U.S. citizen from London, England, is running for Congress in four different states.

He can do that.

The U.S. Constitution states that to be a representative in Congress, you only have to live in the state when you are elected.

Levene says if he doesn't win the primary this May in Georgia, where he lives now, he's going to try his luck in Michigan, Hawaii, and Minnesota.

Why? 

Read more
Opinion
10:34 am
Thu February 27, 2014

We need to learn how to talk about the mental health of our aging representatives

Earlier this week, the newspapers and airwaves were full of tributes to John Dingell, who announced this term would be his last.

Dingell, who turns 88 this summer, is the longest-serving Congressmen in history, and when I first met him, was one of the physically most powerful men in Congress.

Today, he is hard of hearing and frail, but nobody has ever said he wasn’t mentally able to do the job.

This hasn’t always been the case with long-serving congressmen. During his last campaign for the U.S. Senate at age 94, South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond spoke of the brave defenders of the Alamo, and added that they had held off “three thousand Russians.”

Thurmond’s handlers didn’t let him speak much in public after that. He won reelection, but spent most of his final term in Walter Reed Hospital, except when they brought him to the Senate to vote.

Nobody likes to talk about this, but there seems to have been a universal consensus that Dale Kildee, who decided not to run for reelection two years ago, needed to leave.

There’s a reason you haven’t seen him interviewed or commenting on issues since he left. He is, in fact, younger that John Dingell, but not all of us age at the same rate.

I know a woman in her 60s who no longer knows who her husband is.

Read more
Stateside
5:10 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Jack Lessenberry reflects on Rep. John Dingell's announced retirement

Rep. John Dingell announcing his retirement at a lucheon today.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

"I am not leaving Congress. I am coming home to Michigan."

With those words, Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, has announced he is leaving Congress after serving more than 58 years.

Dingell was first elected in 1955 to the House seat that had been held by his late father.

The 87-year-old Dearborn Democrat has gone on to carve out his own piece of American history: No one has ever served longer in Congress.

Michigan Radio political commentator Jack Lessenberry joined us to talk about Dingell's legacy.

You can listen to our conversation with him below:


Politics & Government
11:22 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Minimum wage campaign begins collecting names

The group wants to gradually raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. It would also end the exemption that allows employers to pay less to workers who earn tips.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The campaign to raise Michigan’s minimum wage will now begin collecting signatures.

A state panel gave the petition campaign the OK to go ahead. The Board of State Canvassers said the petition complies with the law, and now the campaign has until mid-May to collect 258,000 valid signatures. That would put the question to the Legislature. If lawmakers don’t adopt it, then it would go on the November ballot.

Read more
It's Just Politics
3:47 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Just how many ballot questions will you be voting on in November? Good question...

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

In 270 days – come Election Day 2014 – it’s not just candidates you’ll be voting for, there are likely to be plenty of ballot questions, too. And, much like 2012, when there were half a dozen ballot questions, we might just see a repeat of Ballot-o-palooza.

Ballot questions can sometimes get people who might not be super-invested in voting for a candidate to actually get out and vote for a particular issue. For example, 2004, when a slew of anti-gay marriage ballot proposals may very well have helped George W. Bush win reelection.

But it’s not easy to get ballot questions passed. Voters tend to shy away from passing new laws via ballot. In fact, if you don’t start out with more than a 60% approval of your question, the chances are you won’t win come Election Day.

In 2012, $154 million dollars were spent on ballot questions and yet all six were defeated.

Which raises the issue: Money spent on ballot questions is often money that would otherwise be spent on other campaigns. Thus, the decision to go to the ballot with a certain issue raises lots of questions: Is it the best use of money, personnel, volunteers? How will it affect turnout – that’s if it affects turnout at all.

What will this year’s dynamic be?

Well, look for news early next week on the minimum wage ballot drive that would initiate a law raising Michigan’s minimum wage to somewhere between $9 and $10 an hour.

Read more
Opinion
10:16 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Snyder's budget seems to get better reviews from Democrats than Republicans

Here’s some pretty safe advice: If you go to a party and see someone who looks interesting, try not to say,

"Have you studied the details of Gov. Snyder’s latest state budget proposal?"

Unless you are with a bunch of politicians in Lansing, it's a pretty sure bet that you’ll end up talking to the potato chips.

Gov. Snyder’s budget is interesting, however, in a number of ways. There are two important things to remember, however. First, this is clearly the budget of a politician running for reelection.

Read more
Stateside
5:26 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Gov. Snyder officially kicks off his re-election campaign

From Gov. Snyder's Super Bowl ad.
YouTube

Governor Snyder is officially launching his re-election bid today. That’s after a 60-second ad that ran throughout much of the state last night during the Super Bowl. 

In the ad, the Governor is touted as the “Comeback Kid” and there's a heavy focus on his economic policies.

Gov. Snyder joined us today on Stateside.

*Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
8:55 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Talking about the politics behind Michigan's gubernatorial campaign

Michigan State Capitol Building
User: mattileo/flickr

Rick Pluta joined us to talk about the politics behind Gov. Snyder’s re-election bid, about Snyder’s Super Bowl ad, and about Snyder’s likely Democratic opponent Mark Schauer.

Rick Pluta is the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and my co-host of It’s Just Politics.

Politics & Government
8:38 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Gov. Snyder will formally launch his reelection campaign next week

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo) will formally kickoff his campaign with a Super Bowl ad and two days of campaigning across the state next week.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder will formally launch his reelection bid Sunday with a Super Bowl TV ad, followed by a six-stop announcement tour on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

The announcement is no surprise.

The Republican governor has made clear for quite some time his intentions to seek a second four-year term.

The governor could make some mention of his plans Friday afternoon when he addresses the Michigan Press Association.

His likely Democratic opponent on the November ballot is former congressman Mark Schauer.

Opinion
11:38 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Our voting system needs repair

This is an election year, and if you haven’t noticed, you'll soon be engulfed by an inescapable tidal wave of advertising that will make that clear. Last night’s State of the Union speech was, in one sense, a campaign platform.

So were all of the various Republican responses. We’ve seen precious little bipartisan cooperation in Washington or in Lansing these last few years, and unless the martians invade, you can probably count on even less this year.

But regardless of your politics, there is one area in which we need to cooperate to make changes. Not in for whom we vote, but in the mechanics of how we vote.

Read more
Opinion
10:41 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Why Michigan's Democratic leaders aren't happy with a minimum-wage ballot campaign

Jack Lessenberry

There’s a new group called the Economic Justice Coalition which is seriously considering trying to get a proposal on the ballot to raise the minimum wage in Michigan.

You might think that would make Democrats happy. Their gubernatorial candidate, Mark Schauer, came out in favor of a minimum wage hike two months ago.

But Democratic leaders aren’t thrilled with a ballot campaign, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute. Now, it’s not that they don’t want a higher minimum wage.Virtually all of them do. Schauer said if elected, he would try to raise Michigan’s from the present $7.40 an hour to $9.25 an hour over three years.

Read more
Stateside
5:04 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Agema admits 'errors in judgment,' but refuses to resign

State and national GOP chairs have now called on Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to resign his position.

Agema stirred controversy after making anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments.

Late Friday, Agema issued a statement acknowledging “errors in judgment,” but says he won’t resign.

This has many people asking what Agema’s comments mean for Republicans – particularly for Muslim or gay members of the Republican Party.

Joining us now is Joe Sylvester, chair of the Michigan Log Cabin Republicans. Log Cabin Republicans are people who work within the party to push for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Taking a closer look at Gov. Snyder's State of the State address

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivering the 2011 State of the State address

Governor Snyder delivered his fourth State of the State address Thursday night. The Republican Governor called Michigan the "comeback" state and talked up the economy, saying Michigan has come a long way from the dark days of the Great Recession. Not surprisingly though, Democrats didn't quite agree - highlighting cuts to education spending and the state's Earned Income Tax Credit. Chad Livengood took a close look at Snyder's speech with us today.
Politics & Government
10:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Listen to Gov. Snyder's 2014 State of the State speech

Gov. Snyder delivers 2014 State of the State address.
Gov. Snyder's office

If you missed tonight's speech, you can listen to here:


It's Just Politics
1:29 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Snyder and the appearance of political 'cronyism'

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Control – the ability to command and direct events – is the elusive ambition of politicians. Politicians seek office promising to get things done or, in some rare cases, to stop something from getting done. But, mostly, they want to control their fates. We all want that, of course, but, it is not that simple.

Public life is complicated and messy.

Take, for example, Gov. Snyder. In just less than a week, Snyder will deliver his fourth State of the State address. He’ll wax on about the accomplishments of the last three years as he also proposes an agenda for this year and lays the groundwork for his reelection bid.

And, yes, we say his reelection bid. Though the governor has not yet announced he will seek reelection, as we’ve talked about before on It’s Just Politics, Snyder is certainly already acting like a candidate. The governor’s reelection campaign has already bought airtime, just like they did four years ago, on Super Bowl Sunday. (One more reason we know Snyder will run again: He’s said the Detroit Lions will be in the Super Bowl before he leaves office… yet another thing he can’t control.)

Going into the 2014 election, Gov. Snyder and other Republicans would like to be focused on good news like revenue surpluses and balanced budgets. But something always seems to get in the way. And, this week, that was the continuing drama surrounding former state Treasurer Andy Dillon’s personal and professional life.

Read more
Stateside
5:01 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Chris Gautz talks about the coming year in Michigan politics

Chris Gautz.
Twitter

2014 is going to be a major year in Michigan politics. You can expect much of the spotlight to be fixed on the gubernatorial election with presumed candidates Rick Snyder for the Republicans and Mark Schauer for the Democrats.

But Crain's Detroit Business thinks there are other names worth watching in 2014. Writer Chris Gautz joined us to talk about the people to watch in state politics.

*Listen to the audio above.

Politics & Government
2:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

PAC spending is expected to be a big part of the 2014 election year in Michigan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

2014 will be a big election year in Michigan and spending by Political Action Committees is expected to be just as big.

Rich Robinson is the director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Read more
It's Just Politics
1:35 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Michigan’s budget surplus: More money, more problems? Sure, but it beats the alternative

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Lansing these days could be renamed Surplus City, where we’re just looking for ways to spend the money that Michigan is expected to rake in this year. It appears our deficit days are behind us; we are now looking at a tidy little budget surplus. Early estimates put the number in the hundreds of millions of dollars range but we’ll get an official projection a week from today when the state holds the next revenue estimating conference.

People come to the Capitol and watch as economists talk about, ya know, economic things and come up with an official budget number. And one thing is certain: No matter how big the surplus is, there will be more ideas on how to spend it than actual money to spend. And, there’s already a list including road funding and more money for schools and universities.

Democrats also say they want to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit and Homestead Property Tax Credit. And, there will likely be talk about more money for local governments. These are things that Democrats, as the minority party in the Capitol, would typically have little influence over. But they have a little more to work with right now. That’s because, for one thing, it’s an election year, if -- as expected -- Republicans put more money into schools and universities -- it becomes harder for Democrats to use those as campaign issues. There’s also controversial questions like road funding and auto insurance, issues that aren’t likely to get resolved without some measure of Democratic cooperation.

So, we are faced here, with a fiscal philosophical question: What is a budget surplus?

Read more
Politics & Government
9:18 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Michigan Gov. Snyder proud of health laws, realistic about 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is proud of the substantial changes he and lawmakers made to Michigan's health care landscape in 2013.

Almost a half-million low-income adults will qualify for government health insurance through an expansion of Medicaid. An overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield is creating a nearly $1.6 billion health endowment fund.

More low-income children are eligible for dental coverage.

Read more
Weekly Political Roundup
4:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

What might the Michigan Legislature do in 2014?

Graham Davis flickr

It’s Thursday, the day 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.

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?

Pages