Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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."

Debate-gate

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero is way behind according to a poll by EPIC-MRA. Of the 600 people polled, 51% said they'd back Republican Rick Snyder, and just 29% said they'd support Bernero. 20% of the respondents were undecided, so if Bernero can convince the undecided voters, he could make up the gap.

A state panel has named an emergency financial manager to run the city of Benton Harbor. Governor Granholm declared a financial emergency in Benton Harbor in February.

State officials say Benton Harbor's financial troubles include a deficit that has been growing by double digits. The city asked for an emergency infusion of cash from the state last month to make its payroll.

A state board named former Detroit auditor general and chief financial officer Joseph Harris to run the city, with the power to control all spending and renegotiate union contracts.

Terry Stanton is a spokesman for the state Treasury. He says drastic action is needed at times to set a city's finances right.

"The state is only as financially strong as the units within the state and, unfortunately, sometimes it's a long ways down the road before the state can step in," says Stanton.

Benton Harbor is the third city in Michigan being run by an emergency manager. The others are Pontiac and Ecorse.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has approved developers plans to build part of a golf course over a Benton Harbor beachfront park.

Developers want to build a golf course resort along Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor. The plan calls for three of holes to be inside Jean Klock Park.

Residents opposed to the golf course say the development is illegal and will destroy the sand dunes. But they didn't get a chance to make their case because the D-N-R approved the plan without discussion or a public meeting.

Five years ago riots in Benton Harbor, Michigan drew national attention to racial issues and poverty there.

Today an arm of the Whirlpool Corporation wants to build a golf resort in the struggling city.

The location has some city residents less than pleased.

Benton Harbor is the poorest city in Michigan.

Unemployment is officially at 17% and the median household income is in the teens.

Vacant lots and boarded up buildings litter the downtown. But there is natural beauty in Benton Harbor.

Jean Klock Park

Apr 21, 2008

The city of Benton Harbor is deeply divided over the future of Jean Klock Park. And like many things in America, this is, not far below the surface, a story about race and class, and history.

Yet there is also an element of Victorian romance here. My guess is that most of the people fighting over the issue don’t know much about the man behind it.

John Nellis Klock lived a classic Horatio Alger story. He was born in upstate New York the year the Civil War ended, into a family so poor he had to go to work full-time as a typesetter at age eleven.

Dozens of people testified in Benton Harbor last night (TH) at a packed city hearing on the future of the nearly 100-year old Jean Klock Park.

Benton Harbor is the poorest city in Michigan. Poverty and racial unrest led to two nights of rioting here in 2003, and vacant lots and boarded up buildings litter the downtown of this former industrial city.

But there is some beauty in Benton Harbor. On the west side of town, out by the Whirlpool National Headquarters, is an undeveloped half mile of Lake Michigan beachfront surrounded by high dunes.

In the summer of 1967 chaos broke out in the streets of Detroit. After five days of violence 43 were dead, thousands were injured and over 4000 people had been arrested.

This summer – forty years later – Michigan Radio takes an in-depth look at the deadliest riot of the 1960's. Why did the riots begin? What fueled them? And, have we ever really recovered?

Our documentary, "Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riots" explores how the riots affected people, neighborhoods and even music. It explores questions such as: Whether it was truly a riot? Or, a rebellion? Is the "white-flight" that we see today in Detroit a consequence of the riots? Did the riots cripple the relationship between the state of Michigan and Detroit?

We also hear from Michigan Radio reporters as well as first-hand accounts of what it was like to be in Detroit during the riot.

Listen to the Documentary here:

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