WUOMFM

Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steven Johnson was surprised to learn he might be heading to Lansing next year to represent Michigan's 72nd District.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The primary election in West Michigan's 72nd District to replace term-limited Republican State Representative Ken Yonker was a crowded race, and perhaps most surprised by the outcome was the winner himself.

Steven Johnson of Wayland came out on top, solidly beating the four other candidates, including one backed by the powerful DeVos family. 

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


One of Michigan's marquee races is the one to replace retiring Republican Rep. Dan Benishek in the 1st Congressional District.

 

The district covers the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula.

State Sen. Tom Casperson and former State Sen. Jason Allen were hoping to make the November ballot.

So was a retired three-star Marine Lieutenant General named Jack Bergman.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at Michigan primary results, including Congressman John Conyers' closest challenge in years, an upset in the state's 1st congressional district and what drives voters to support or reject millages. Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss yesterday's turnout and whether an August primary is the best strategy to boost voter participation in non-presidential primaries.


Stateside 8.2.2016

Aug 3, 2016

Today, we learn why health insurance companies are looking to raise their rates 17%. And, we look at how Michigan's outdoor sports scene is changing.

Detroit Congressman John Conyers.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It appears John Conyers will return to Congress for the 27th time.

The Detroit Democrat is the longest-serving member of Congress. A civil rights icon known for championing traditional progressive causes, he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964.

Despite growing calls for Conyers to step aside for a younger successor, the 87-year-old says he’s just not thinking about that.

“I go on because I still like it. I’m able to help so many people, that it keeps me going,” he said.

Ingham county prosecutor strikes plea deal

Aug 2, 2016
Ingham Co. Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings faced 15 charges related to soliticing prostitutes.
CREDIT STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Former Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Stuart Dunnings pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor Tuesday in front of a Jackson district court judge.

Dunnings was facing 14 misdemeanors and one 15-year felony. The charges ranged from soliciting prostitutes to encouraging a woman to become a prostitute. Dunnings pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in office and one misdemeanor for soliciting a prostitute. He now faces up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and City Council members have called a truce in the city's trash war.

The two sides are fighting over which company gets a contract to pick up residents' trash. Weaver favors Rizzo Environmental Services; City Council favors the current contractor, Republic Services.

Weaver and the council agreed to a stipulated order allowing Republic to temporarily resume trash pickup until a court hearing on August 11.

LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Employers in Michigan would have to let workers earn paid sick days under a petition drive that got the OK to start collecting signatures. A state elections board says the petition meets all the technical requirements of Michigan campaign laws.

A similar drive to put paid sick time on the November ballot folded this past spring.

“We didn’t have enough signatures,” said Danielle Atkinson, one of the organizers with Raise Michigan. “Unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to get an issue on the ballot, and we just fell short.”

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democrats in Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District have no way of knowing yet who they’ll be casting a ballot for in November. The district includes northern Oakland County, Livingston County, and Ingham County.

a police squad car
Flickr user Scott Davidson/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Residents of Wayne, a small community about 25 miles west of Detroit, will see a public safety millage question on their Tuesday primary ballots.

It’s a slightly unusual one, though.

The question will ask Wayne residents whether they want to join a regional authority that funds public safety services — the South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority, or SMORSA.

After tomorrow's congressional and legislative primaries, just 97 days remain until Election Day 2016. Of course, it's never too early to look ahead to the 2018 elections and, at least one petition campaign is already making plans in that direction.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Money for the Detroit Zoo is one of the issues voters in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties will decide tomorrow.

Voters OK'd the initial tax in 2008.

Since then the zoo has overhauled a lot of its facilities and expanded its offerings – and attendance is way up.

That levy expires at the end of next year, and the zoo hopes voters will continue to agree to the 0.1 mill property tax for another decade.

An owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $10 a year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 5:15 pm Monday, August 1st:

On Monday, city officials reached an interim agreement with Republic to resume trash pickup, starting August 2. The arrangement will remain in place until August 12. Officials say trash collection will be delayed by one day for the rest of this week; it should be back on schedule by the start of next week.

A meeting of the Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) is scheduled for August 10th to decide who will perform trash pickups permanently.

Sunday July 31st:

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and whether mentions of the Flint water crisis this week were political fodder. Kruth and Lessenberry also look at some races to watch in the state primary Tuesday, and a failed attempt to put a millage to fund Detroit regional transit on the November ballot. 

Stateside 7.29.2016

Jul 29, 2016

 

Today, we continue our "Artisans of Michigan" series with a visit to a blacksmith shop. And, we hear how the Step Forward program can help homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

Photo courtesy of Cause Collective

It's been a noisy couple of weeks with the political conventions. Speeches. Shouting. Protestors. In fact, it's been a loud, noisy, campaign season that's left our country angry and fractured.

However, a lot of voices and viewpoints haven't been heard, and a contemporary art project called "The Truth Booth" is giving people the opportunity to be heard.

Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is charging six more state employees in connection with the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply.

Susan Demas says there was a stark contrast between the DNC (pictured) and the RNC.
Lorie Shaull / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The national conventions for the Republicans and Democrats are officially in the books, and the two candidates have been officially chosen. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start to make their final push toward November, there is also a primary election fast approaching here in Michigan.

If you were unaware of the August 2 primary, you're probably not alone as the turnouts for primary elections are usually pretty "dismal," according to Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics. But can the recent buzz from the DNC and the RNC boost the turnout? Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, doesn't believe it will. In fact, if anything, he thinks with the wall-to-wall TV coverage of both conventions, the public may be a little burned out when it comes to politics.

MSHDA Executive Director Kevin MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer: "We have millions and millions of dollars available Elsenheimer: "[MSHDA is now] funded. We have millions and millions of dollars available to go ahead and use to help people out."
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

During the Great Recession, a lot of people ran into financial trouble and lost their homes to foreclosure. Some still are. And in Wayne County, the number of homes at risk of tax foreclosure is staggering. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has several programs to help eligible people.

One of those programs is called Step Forward. It funnels federal dollars from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) into the hands of low-income homeowners and potential homeowners.

A Hillary Clinton supporter at the DNC.
STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody has had a busy two weeks. He covered the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, after covering the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

He joined us on Stateside to debrief after the DNC, and provide his take on how the two conventions compared.

“I think each convention had a targeted audience in Michigan and each reached that audience,” he said.

Kalamazoo
Public domain

Kalamazoo is getting $70 million from philanthropists and others that will be used to create a foundation to help solve the city's budget woes, and cut property taxes.

The Kalamazoo City Commission decided Thursday to move forward with the idea of creating the Foundation for Excellence.

Officials expect the foundation would be fully funded by 2020, so revenue from investments would be available long-term.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s state Democratic Party says his party is largely unified coming out of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

State chairman Brandon Dillon spent a lot of time during the four-day convention trying to calm and cajole Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters in Michigan’s delegation, not always successfully.

Still, Dillon says the news media has overstated the number of Sanders backers who plan to bolt the Democratic Party.

"Here's what I know: We have to stop Donald Trump!" former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the DNC.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Speaking at last night’s Democratic National Convention, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton understands what the U.S. needs. 

“Our next president knows that our nation is a village. That we are one family. And in a family, no one gets left behind,” says Granholm. 

Granholm cited the Flint water crisis as an example. “When Flint’s water poisons its children, it hurts all of us.  These are our children. We are all Flint!” she told the DNC audience.

Henrietta Ivey works two minimum wage jobs and has a hard times making ends meet.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Detroit home care worker stood in the spotlight at tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Henrietta Ivey works two minimum wage jobs. She brought her campaign to raise the minimum wage to the main stage at the DNC.

“For me and all home care workers all across America, and my family, this is personal,” says Ivey, “In Michigan, we are ‘fighting for 15.’  A $15 minimum wage and a union … because no working American family should have to be forced to live in poverty.”

Democrats put raising the minimum wage to $15-an-hour in their party platform.

Stateside 7.28.2016

Jul 28, 2016

Today, we learn about a unique plan to teach tech skill to Detroit students. And, we talk to a man who did push-ups for eight hours to break a record.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The final night of the Democratic National Convention will bring Hillary Clinton’s formal acceptance of the party’s presidential nomination.

Her acceptance will mark a historic week for the Democrats, but also a week of disappointment for Bernie Sanders supporters. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, was in attendance during Tuesday’s roll call vote, where he had a chance to reflect on this year’s election cycle.

“My thoughts were far less about politics,” Kildee said. “I thought about … my five-year-old granddaughter, who will now grow up in a country where that glass ceiling has been broken.”

On the final day of the Democratic National Convention, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders met with Michigan delegates, where he talked about Flint water and Donald Trump.

The crowd in the overflowing hotel ballroom started chanting his name before Bernie Sanders entered.

Sanders delegates and supporters had front row seats and cheered the former presidential candidate several times, though not when he talked about the need to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont Senator touched on a few Michigan issues.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Mayor Mike Duggan talked about Detroit’s recovery (and took a shot at Donald Trump) during last night’s Democratic National Convention.

Mayor Duggan used his time at the podium to tout Detroit’s recovery.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s lead tainted drinking water has been a crisis for more than a year.  

Now it’s also national political issue.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night after delegates watched video tracing the history of the crisis dating back to April of 20-14.

Once at the podium, Weaver stated the situation bleakly.

“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver told the packed sports arena. “The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away.”

aks at a rally for immigration reform in Kalamazoo, MI.
Courtesy of Sarahi Nieves

What is family life really like for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States? 

That's the question Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project explores in a new documentary by Dustin Dwyer, entitled "Out From the Shadows: Living Undocumented."

Pages