Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Rally for film incentives in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith

About 80 people shared success stories they said are a result of the tax breaks passed two years ago.

Producers, actors, caterers, assistants, hotel owners, even personal trainers from all over west Michigan gathered to trumpet their success since the film incentives passed 2 and a half years ago.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Since Robert Jones  passed away this past weekend, election officials have been working to come up with a plan of action. Jones was a candidate for the Michigan Senate and the election is just fourteen days away.

Photograph courtesy of www.060.housedems.com

State Representative Robert Jones was an enormously popular former mayor of Kalamazoo who was in an intense battle to win a seat in the state senate. Intense, but not nasty.

But two days ago, Robert Jones suddenly died in his home, throwing the race into chaos and elections officials into a tizzy.

Lars Plougmann

Here are some numbers for you from the Michigan Secretary of State's office.

  • 95.5% - percent of the voting age population in Michigan registered to vote
  • 7.28 million people registered - a record for a Michigan gubernatorial election
  • 7.40 million people - the highest number of registered voters Michigan has ever seen (2008 presidential election)

But just because people are registered to vote doesn't mean they will.

Issues & Ale: Campaign ads and the upcoming election Tuesday,
Oct. 19, 2010 Dr. Grins Comedy Club, Grand Rapids, Host
Jack Lessenberry and the Center for Michigan's Truth Squad looked
at the fact and fiction behind campaign ads. 

View Photos | View Videos

Newspapers aren’t doing well these days, though the companies that own them are still making money. Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry says the result is being played out in Detroit.


Thirty years ago, I worked for the publisher and owner of a family-owned newspaper in Ohio, a somewhat crotchety gentleman  in his early seventies who I came to know pretty well.

Photo from Jones campaign website

Michigan House Representative and current Democratic candidate for State Senate Robert Jones died this past weekend. He was 66 and being treated for esophogeal cancer, but officials at Kalamzoo's Democratic Party Headquarters say his death still came as a surprise.

Jones' death has raised several questions about the race for the State Senate seat in Michigan's 20th district (representing parts of Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties).

In this morning's news...

Oct 18, 2010
Coffee, bagel, and computers
Photo by user Infrogmation / Creative Commons

Kalamazoo State Representative Robert Jones Dies

(photos by Steve Carmody) / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General is welcoming a federal judge’s decision to allow a lawsuit challenging the new health care reform law to move forward.

20 states, including Michigan, filed suit against the law, in particular one key provision that requires everyone to purchase health insurance.

Bentley Historical Library

Its critics called it "naive idealism."

In the 1950s, the United States' answer to the global spread of Communism had been military strength and monetary aid to prop up nations friendly to the U.S., including dictators and other authoritarian governments.

That changed late one chilly night on the campus of the University of Michigan when Democratic candidate for president, John F. Kennedy, challenged students to help the world.

They took it seriously. They organized. They made a proposal, and Kennedy embraced it.

He called it the Peace Corps.

In "Kennedy and the Peace Corps: Idealism on the Ground" you'll hear from some of the students who took on Kennedy's challenge and the White House staff who helped make it reality.

Listen to the documentary here:

Sarah Palin
Therealbs2002 / Wikimedia Commons

The Associated Press reports that:

Sarah Palin is backing Tea Party favorite Dan Benishek to represent northern Michigan in Congress.

Benishek was among nine candidates Palin endorsed Monday on her Facebook page.

The former Alaska governor describes Republican political newcomer Benishek as a "commonsense voice" who supports repealing President Barack Obama's health care plan.

3 Things: Ruth Johnson

Oct 12, 2010
Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson
Photo Courtesy of www.rj4mi.com

All this year, Michigan Radio has been asking people from across the state for their ideas on how to improve things in Michigan. The series is called 3 Things and, this week and next, we're mixing it up a bit. We're talking to the major candidates running in statewide elections. Today, we hear from Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson. She's the Republican candidate for Secretary of State.  You can hear her interview here.

3 Things: Jocelyn Benson

Oct 11, 2010
Photograph courtesy of the votebenson.com website

All this year, Michigan Radio has been asking people from across the state for three ideas of what we can all do to improve things. Now, we're mixing it up a bit. We're asking the candidates for statewide office to make three promises to the people of Michigan. It's 3 Things: Election Edition. This morning, we heard from the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson.  You can hear the interview here.

John Dingell and Rahm Emanuel holding a paczki
Official photo from the United States Congress

This November Michigan voters will cast ballots in 15 races for the U.S. House of Representatives. Right now, two of those races are considered "toss-ups", according to NPR  - the race between Mark Schauer (D) and Tim Walberg (R)  in the 7th District, and the race between Dan Benishek (R) and Gary McDowell (D) in the 1st District.

Oak Reed sitting on fence
Photo courtesy of Oak Reed

Oak Reed ran for Homecoming King at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, but school officials tossed out Reed's ballots because, anatomically, Reed is not a male. That set off a national debate over transgender rights:

Next week we'll be airing special, live call-in shows with the candidates running for governor.  On Monday, from 9-10AM we'll hear from Democratic candidate Virg Bernero.  On Friday, also from 9-10AM, we'll hear from Republican nominee Rick Snyder.  Rick Pluta, the Michigan Public Radio Newtork's Lansing Bureau Chief, will host.  You can call-in and ask your questions at (877) 952-7870.

Center for Michigan

Here's an interesting post from FactCheck.org, "candidates have a legal right to lie to voters." It's protected speech. In fact, TV or radio stations running political ads they know to be false, can't refuse to run the ad.

That's why we need people like John Bebow from the Truth Squad and Lester Graham from Michigan Radio's Michigan Watch.

With two weeks to go before the October 1st budget deadline, lawmakers are fighting over controversial science funding.  As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports, the budget remains in limbo over a deal on stem cell research funding for the state's 15 public universities.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Rob Steele for Congress website

Republican Dr. Robert Steele is challenging Democratic incumbent John Dingell in this year's election. Congressman Dingell represents Michigan's 15th district and is the longest serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Matthew G. Bisanz

A new poll released yesterday shows Republican Rick Snyder leading Democrat Virg Bernero in the race for Governor.  The EPIC-MRA poll surveyed 600 likely voters.  53% of respondents say they support Snyder, 29% favor Bernero and 15% say they are undecided.  The election is November 2nd.

Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry says Democratic candidate for Governor Virg Bernero's crashing of GOP nominee Rick Snyder's town hall meeting on Monday evening was, "politically brilliant."


Sep 13, 2010


It appears Democratic candidate for Governor Virg Bernero and GOP nominee Rick Snyder aren't any closer to debating before the November election.  Discussions between the two campaigns about debate-specifics (including where and when) have broken down.  This news, of course, has many political observers across the state adding their two cents about 'debate-gate.' Here's a rundown of what they're saying:

A proposal would allow Michigan police to use new, portable drug testing kits when they suspect a motorist is under the influence of substances other than alcohol.

Legislation to allow the roadside drug tests was introduced Wednesday in the state House.

The bills would create guidelines for using a preliminary oral drug test during a traffic stop. Republican state Rep. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge says police could know within minutes whether a driver is high on drugs, similar to tests for alcohol that have been given at roadside traffic stops for years.

Michigan Radio

Governor Granholm has signed the first part of a budget deal that includes tapping the School Aid Fund to help retire a deficit. The bill shifts $208-million dollars from the schools fund and gives it to community colleges. That frees up funds to help eliminate about half of this year's budget shortfall. The governor and legislative leaders say it's a one-time measure that helps avert bigger cuts to critical services in the current fiscal year.

Michigan Radio

Incumbent Democratic Congressman John Dingell says he intends to keep his seat as Representative of Michigan's 15th District in the November election.

State Lawmakers Make Progress on Budget

Logos from candidates' websites


Well, it's that time.  The time to put away the beach bags, the flip-flops, and that industrial-size bottle of SPF 45.  Yes, friends, summer vacation is over.  As another Michigan August comes to an end and September comes knocking, it's time to say goodbye to lazy summer afternoons and  get back to business. 

Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the 1988 Republican convention in New Orleans
White House / Ronald Reagan Library

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.

A new poll shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder leading Democrat Virg Bernero.

The EPIC-MRA poll, released yesterday, showed 51% of voters favored Snyder, 29% backed Bernero.  Interestingly enough, with 10 weeks to go before the November 2nd election, 1 in 5 voters say they are still undecided.

Snyder spent $2.3 million on TV ads before the Aug. 3 primary. He's now better known and more favorably regarded by voters than the Lansing mayor.