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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

With a week to go before election night, discussing politics over drinks seemed a good idea Tuesday night.

That’s when Michigan Radio held its final Issues & Ale election preview event before the fateful Nov. 8.

The event took place at HopCat in Detroit and Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry hosted.

Panelists were Brandon Dillon, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Aaron Foley, editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine, Republican consultant Stu Sandler and Zoe Clark, co-host of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics.

While conversation moved through various topics, all of which related to the ballot Michigan voters will see next Tuesday, one idea continued to take the forefront: the polarization this election has caused between people in this country.

Subjects from the documentary film "Bring It to the Table".
BringItToTheTable.com

In five days, Americans will vote.

The deep distrust and dislike so many people feel for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has led to an exceptionally bitter campaign where political dialogue has all too often devolved into shouting profanities at each other.

Julie Winokur is a filmmaker who hopes to provide an antidote to political ranting. Her project and documentary Bring It To The Table is helping people stop bickering about politics. She is in Ann Arbor today to screen her film and to get people talking.

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

 

With the clock ticking down on the presidential campaign, Michigan and its 16 electoral votes are in the spotlight.

The candidates and the high-profile people campaigning for them are virtually tripping over each other as they criss-cross the state.

Yesterday Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., former President Bill Clinton, and Bernie Sanders were in Michigan. Today, Ivanka Trump is in Rochester, and Indiana Governor Mike Pence campaigns in Portage.

And there will be more rallies tomorrow. First Pence in Lansing, and then Hillary Clinton in Detroit’s Eastern Market, and Eric Trump will work his way through Michigan.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes believes all this activity proves the Mitten is in play.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Campaign spending on 15 pivotal state House seats tops $10 million, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. 

Democrats need to win nine state House seats currently held by Republicans to wrest control of the lower chamber in Lansing. And both sides are spending heavily.

A Flint firefighters teaches adult volunteers how to escape from a smoky home.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week, people in Flint, Lansing and Royal Oak will vote on renewing public safety millages.

Flint police officers are spending their off-duty hours handing out information to promote the vote. Last night, firefighters showed volunteers how to escape a smoky fire, while city officials talked up the millage renewal.  

The renewal vote could be the difference between Flint hiring new firefighters or layoffs.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

So you're sick of the election.

Good news: just a few days left.

Better news: we're taking you on a road trip around a divided part of the state, where we hear from Michiganders (including an activist 8-year-old) about their own lives, and how it's shaping their perspectives on this election.

Fried pickles, grass fed beef, and some excellent coffee are included. But maybe don't eat them all at the same time.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Election Day is less than a week away, and one of the most competitive races in the nation is right here in Michigan.

For our segment This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about Democrat Gretchen Driskell's bid to win the state's 7th Congressional District over incumbent Republican Tim Walberg.

They also talk about the race in the 1st Congressional District that could be important on a national level and whether third-party candidates stand a chance in Michigan.


via michigan.org

The “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign is a net money-loser for the state.

At least that’s what researchers at the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy conclude in a new report.

McDaniel told us Republican voter turnout was more or less in line with what the party expected.
www.migop.org

A federal judge in New Jersey is asking the Michigan Republican Party to explain its Election Day anti-fraud plan.

There is less than a week before Michigan voters go to the polls.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

High-profile allies for the Clinton and Trump campaigns will be in Michigan Wednesday. 

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, will be stumping for votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Kalamazoo and Traverse City. Clinton will need Sanders' supporters. They gave him the win in Michigan’s presidential primary earlier this year.

Donald Trump Jr. has stops planned at college campuses in East Lansing and Allendale.  His sister, Ivanka will be meeting with a businesswomen's group in Troy on Wednesday evening.  

The last pipes for the KWA were laid earlier earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Federal, state, and Flint officials sat down behind closed doors at city hall on Monday to discuss ways to respond to questions about the city’s planned switch to a new water source.

Possibly next year, the city will connect with the recently completed Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline.   The city is committed to switching to the KWA pipeline as its new primary source of drinking water. 

A glass being filled with tap water.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint-area charities are concerned that hundreds of people may be forced out of their apartments as the city tries to get commercial water customers to pay their delinquent bills.

Flint is under pressure from the state to get more of the city’s water customers up to date on their bills.

The city has put many commercial customers on notice that their water could be cut off soon. That includes large apartment complexes.

The United Way’s Jamie Gaskin says charities may have trouble finding enough places for displaced tenants to stay.

Flint's next phase of the Fast Start program will target 788 homes during the next two months.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes to replace the city’s one thousandth lead service line by the end of the year.

Mayor Karen Weaver says phase 3 of her Fast Start pipe replacement program will target nearly 800 homes in the next two months. That’s on top of the more than 200 pipes replaced to date.

Pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of the lead contamination in Flint’s tap water. The city has enough money to replace another 4,000 pipes next year.

But Weaver says Flint needs more help, especially from the federal government.

Today, we hear from the Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District, one of the most competitive districts in the country. And, in the spirit of Halloween, we hear from the owner of Michigan's biggest haunted house.

Jack Bergman
Screen grab of "Your Choice - Lt. General Jack Bergman (Ret.) for Congress" / Jack Bergman

The most hotly contested congressional race in Michigan is widely viewed as happening in the First Congressional District. It covers the entire Upper Peninsula and a good-sized chunk of the northern Lower Peninsula.

Earlier this month on Stateside, Zoe Clark spoke with the Democratic contender, Lon Johnson. Today, we spoke with Republican candidate, retired Marine Lt. General Jack Bergman.

Trump supporter Laurie Sanger came to the Grand Rapids Trump event dressed as Hillary Clinton.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Donald Trump spent part of his Halloween in Michigan. The Republican presidential candidate held rallies in Grand Rapids and the battleground area of Macomb County.

While recent polls still show Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with a lead in Michigan, support and enthusiasm were high at the rally. Laurie Sanger got into the Halloween spirit by coming to the rally in costume. She wore an orange “jumpsuit” with Clinton’s name on the back and handcuffs on her wrist.

“I expected more Hillarys here,” Sanger said. “I didn’t know I’d be the only one.”

The Michigan Republican Party has announced that it will not have one, large party on Election night in Michigan.

This is unusual as both parties traditionally hold election night events for folks running for office and for party activists and donors. The celebrations are usually held at big convention halls or hotels so folks can watch election results come in - think balloons, confetti, and victory speeches.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Update:  A federal judge's order that would have prevented Michigan from enforcing a state law to keep voters from taking photos of their ballot in the Nov. 8 election has been overturned. So for now, no ballot selfies on election day.

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about the state's push to try and re-instate a ban on voters taking “selfies” with their ballots. We also discuss Gov. Rick Snyder's veto of legislation to overhaul Medicaid and the legacy of Tom Hayden in today's tumultuous political climate.


Campaign signs stacked against a wall in a union office.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Political parties are gearing up their “get-out-the-vote” efforts as the 2016 election enters its final days.

Unions have been a critical part of the Democratic Party’s get out the vote efforts for decades. This past week, union leaders held a get out the vote rally in Flint.

Becky Pringle is the vice president of the National Education Association. She says “they have work to do” convincing union families to support Hillary Clinton.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson spoke to a small but enthusiastic crowd in Detroit last night.

“Don’t vote for Trump ... Don’t vote for Clinton,” shouted Johnson to several hundred supporters gathered at Cobo Center.  

The crowd cheered Johnson’s calls for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, dismantling the Department of Homeland Security and pardoning Edward Snowden. 

Before the rally, Gary Johnson told reporters his “small government” message is “resonating” with voters --  at least the ones his campaign is able to reach.

Gretchen Driskell
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

The race for Michigan’s 7th Congressional District is one of the most competitive in the country. The two major-party candidates have both raised more than $2 million for their campaigns.

Gretchen Driskell, a former seven-term mayor of Saline and the a current member of the Michigan House of Representatives, is the challenger in the race. And although she’s running as a Democrat, she considers herself an independent.

“The groups behind [the calls] we know very little about," Mauger told us.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Many of us can’t wait for this election year to be over. We’ve seen a lot of things we’ve never seen before, and little of it has been good.

That’s not limited to the presidential race. It’s happening all over Michigan in races for the state House of Representatives.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network teamed up for an investigative report on votes in the Legislature that could easily be seen as self-serving.

These votes include:

  • The owner of a business that installs septic systems sponsored a bill that would grant emergency waivers from season vehicle weight limits on people who haul around septic systems.

  • The president of a real estate management company sponsoring a bill that would make it more difficult to sue landlords for damages arising from bedbug infestations.

  • A state senator telling a hometown newspaper he could not vote on a bill that came to the Senate floor because it would give his daughter, a judge, a raise. He then turned around and voted “yes” on the same bill when it returned to the Senate.

Today, we hear how Traverse City became a top destination for famous authors. And, we learn why the Boeing 747 once stationed at Willow Run Airport never flew a single flight.

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

 

We’re 12 days out from Election Day.

Throughout the long months of campaign speeches, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes believes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have missed the mark in addressing an issue that is key to Michigan’s future.

In his column today, he wrote that the candidates and their surrogates are putting out a message that better fits the Carter era than the era of Apple and autonomous vehicles.

Mike Jackson feels that Proposal A could make Detroit less attractive to developers.
flickr user Ken Lund / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Detroiters will find two community benefits proposals on the ballot this Election Day.

A CBO would require developers who get public support for their projects, like tax breaks, to provide certain benefits to the community.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims there will be “large-scale voter fraud” this election. But election officials say they’re confident that will not be the case in Michigan. 

“We want to assure everyone, regardless of their political ideology or their partisan affiliation that their voice will be heard on election day and their voice will be counted,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Woodhams says this isn’t the first election he’s fielded these concerns, and guesses it won’t be the last.

Volunteers learn the ropes of poll watching during a meeting this week in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Training is underway this week in Michigan for people planning to be poll watchers during next month’s election.

Complaints of rigged voting and voter intimidation have spurred people to volunteer as poll watchers.

Veterans Day in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill Wednesday that requires the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, its successor agency, or the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to send reports to the governor and Legislature four times a year. The reports must examine issues like timeliness of medication distribution, how patient’s money is accounted for, and staffing levels.

Representative Holly Hughes, R-White River Twp., was a sponsor of the bill. She said the reporting is necessary given the constant turnover in state government.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s elected leaders once again have the ability to file a lawsuit against the state for its handling of the city’s water crisis.

Today, the city’s state-appointed oversight board reversed a policy that effectively blocked the city from filing lawsuits.  

Back in March, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver filed a notice with the court, saying the city was potentially looking at suing the state of Michigan for decisions and mistakes made by state employees that led to Flint’s drinking water crisis.

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