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politics

President Donald Trump has just nominated former Congressman Pete Hoekstra to be ambassador to the Netherlands. The appointment should be speedily confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Hoekstra, who came to this country as a baby, was born in Holland and speaks fluent Dutch.

He’s a former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and in every respect is as fully qualified for this job as any political appointee could be.

Ambassadors fall into two categories. Those who have come up through the ranks of the Foreign Service, and are state department experts in their field. They tend to be ambassadors in places like Paraguay. Former politicians or well-heeled campaign contributors tend to get ambassadorial appointments in more glamorous countries.

Rep. Justin Amash takes questions from constituents in Grand Rapids.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Congressman Justin Amash faced more than two hours of harsh questioning from constituents at a town hall event in Grand Rapids last night.

It was Amash’s first town hall since his controversial vote in the U.S. House to support the Republican health care bill, known as the American Health Care Act or AHCA.

More than a dozen state senators have sponsored a bill that would eliminate Michigan's income tax by 2022.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is debating concealed guns and a sweetheart deal for a salt mine.

To discuss those bills, Stateside welcomed Vicki Barnett – a former mayor of Farmington Hills and former democratic legislator – alongside Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislator.

Regarding concealed weapons, some members of the legislature support repealing a law that requires training and a permit in order to carry and conceal firearms. Supporters say Michigan law currently lets anyone openly carry firearms, so people should not have to pay more, and file extra paperwork simply to carry firearms inside jackets or other clothing.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump has now been in office for more than 120 days.

To assess how Trump’s presidency has gone so far, Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst, hosted Issues & Ale-President Trump: A Michigan Report Card.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan House has approved legislation to prohibit a lawmaker who resigns or who has been expelled from office from running in the special election to fill the seat.

The bill passed 72-36 Thursday is a response to former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat running in special elections to finish the remainder of their terms in 2015. He had resigned and she had been expelled after being accused of misusing state resources to try to cover up their extramarital affair.

U.S. Senator from Michigan Gary Peters (D) is joining calls for further investigations into the extent of Russian hacking during the presidential election.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

These first three weeks of Donald Trump's new administration produced a dizzying flood of executive orders, actions, tweets, protests.

Today brought a chance to dig into all of it with U.S. Senator Gary Peters. In a wide-ranging interview, Stateside spoke with the senator about the current climate in Washington, Russian sanctions, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Democratic resistance to the Trump administration's policies, and Peters' support of a missile defense base in Battle Creek. 

VINCENT DUFFY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Michigan is one of only a couple states that don't subject the governor and the legislature to open records laws.

Now, the Michigan legislature – Republicans and Democrats – are signing on to legislation that would increase the number of lawmakers subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. An 11-bill package known as the Legislative Open Records Act is part of that legislation. 

Why aren't they listening to me?!
user Ayana T. Miller / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Discussing politics can be a tenuous activity these days. Whether at school, work, home, or (and I know you won't believe this) on Facebook, many people have seen political discussions melt down into yelling or name-calling.

We asked you to tell us your stories about successful conversations you have experienced, and heard some interesting responses.

Some people found that having a calm, rational discussion to be impossible. 

President Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's been a busy week in the world of politics. For instance: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was accused of posturing, and President Donald Trump continues to stir things up in Washington.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to break it all down. 

Cheyna Roth/Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Even with the election over and the new president sworn in, discussing politics can be volatile for many people. In many instances, the dialogue can quickly become inflammatory or accusatory. Feelings are hurt. Relationships are strained.  

Digital_Third_Eye / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Across the country, Democrats are asking how to come back from their 2016 losses. One California party leader has a proposal: move the party’s headquarters to Michigan.

Phil Angelides is a former chairman of both the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and California's Democratic Party. In an article in Politico, he urged the party to “rebuild from the ground up.” Detroit, Angelides believes, is the best place to begin that process.

Two of the biggest topics of the week when it comes to Michigan politics involved the proposal to mandate employers to let workers earn paid sick time and the effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The new Michigan legislature was in session this week, and there has been no shortage of topics to discuss.

To help sort through it all in Stateside's weekly political roundup is Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader; and Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator.

Tim Greimel, the outgoing leader of the Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives, put it this way:

“I’ve talked to thousands of voters, and never had a single one say we’ve needed more money and less accountability and less transparency in politics.” 

I have no doubt that’s true.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump has selected five people for his cabinet. His most recent choice is Republican Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, as Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

Though Price has served as Georgia's 6th District congressman since 2004, most of his childhood and young adulthood was spent in Michigan. 

Price was born in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Dearborn High School, according to Congress' Biographical Directory. He also pursued post-secondary education in Michigan.

flickr user Satya Murthy / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


The holidays can be a happy time, but gathering family members around the Thanksgiving table can also resurrect tensions and old resentments.

AUCHTOON.COM

Earlier this week I was pulling into work when a replay of a Renee Montagne interview with the great Mel Brooks came up on Michigan Radio.

I took the the opportunity to sit in the car and listen to the entire thing. It was good timing all around. Like always, he made me laugh out loud, but he also gave me some perspective.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

One of my favorite movies from last year was The Big Short. It brilliantly explained many of the complex factors that set in motion the collapse of the subprime mortgage market. It also captured the arrogance of the age. But the movie got one thing wrong. It suggested that only a few insiders understood what was really happening, when in fact many professionals and academics knew as early as 2003 that a crash was coming.

JOHN AUCHTER / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

Like most of us, I've pretty much run out of things to say about the election.

Any thoughts — from salient points to outraged rants — have been expressed.

I see many (cartoonists, commentators, Facebook posters) are settling now for "wow, what a messed up election season this has been" reflections. And that's certainly understandable.

Map showing the top 100 travel patterns based on trips taken in 2010.
RTA of Southeast Michigan

In the November election, voters in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties must vote on whether to approve a tax that would fund new transportation between the four counties. 

When you walk into the voting booth, this is the language you will see on your ballot.

Some of you may already know exactly how you're voting, but for those of you looking for more information about the proposal, we've got you covered.

What transportation is being proposed

Courtesy Vadon / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

At last night's Presidential debate, Donald Trump once again highlighted his concerns about voter fraud. 

John Auchter / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

A common question these days is, "How did it come to this? How did we end up with these presidential candidates?" The simplest answer is, "It's our fault." Would a curious, engaged, and active electorate have generated the current tickets? Probably not.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Who else thought when you first heard Basket of Deplorables: "That's the perfect name for a punk rock band"?

Well I definitely did, and it got me thinking.

Punk rock was in general a reaction to what rock and roll had become by the mid-1970s.

It had more or less bypassed its original audience: the young and the disaffected. Radio stations had become categorized, playlists were standardized, and established acts were given every advantage over the new and different.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Telling the wife of your boss at a dinner party that she is a racist is not a career enhancing move. Turns out, people don't like to be called racist — even if they are.

Let me explain.

Courtesy of UICA, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Few things are as polarizing in American society as the debate between gun control advocates and gun rights activists.

These arguments often play out in national and state legislatures, with many gun control advocates feeling the National Rifle Association has undue influence over politicians.

Michigan Radio’s Vincent Duffy hosted a panel discussion on the role that guns play in politics and elections at our latest Issues & Ale event.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

We check in with Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team for a roundup of the past week’s political news.

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark talk about the large pool of money the state house and senate are at odds over for Detroit Schools. They also discuss “rebuttable presumption” and whether or not petition signatures that are more than 180 days old should be counted.

candicemiller.house.gov

Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller surprised many last May when she announced she would retire from Congress. But she surprised even more folks in March when she announced she would run for Macomb County public works commissioner. She will challenge Anthony Marrocco, the longtime county public works commissioner, this fall.

Miller joined Zoe Clark on Stateside to explain why she decided to leave Washington to run for office as a county public works commissioner. 
 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The United States could be on the brink of electing its first woman president. It’s a glass ceiling that has waited a long time to be broken. But why has it taken us so long to reach this point?

Nancy L. Cohen asks this very question in her new book Breakthrough: The Making of America's First Woman President.

Twitter user @khakibluesocks

Earlier this week we asked you to send us selfies that show how you're feeling about this year's elections.

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Millennials are the largest generation in America, making up an entire third of the population.

They’re also the least likely to vote.

A report from Tufts University says that less than 20% of people age 18 to 29 voted in the 2014 election.

Andrew Koehlinger wants to do something about that. He’s the project director for VoteSpotter, an app that seeks to get younger voters engaged in the politics.

Tracy Samilton

It's the way of politics.

GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz delivered a well-received speech before a packed crowd at the Livingston County GOP Lincoln Dinner in Howell, Michigan on Wednesday.

But most people will only hear about the joke he made at Joe Biden's expense. 

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