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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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

NPR.org

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton faced off in the final presidential debate on Wednesday night at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The debate followed the same format as the first presidential debate.

It was divided into six segments of around 15 minutes each on major topics selected by the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Wallace announced those topics last week. They were:

Today, we discuss the 36 recommendations state lawmakers have to ensure Michigan doesn't see a repeat of the Flint water crisis. And, we hear from the author of a new guidebook for parents of children with autism.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

On Monday night, Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team hit the road again for the second Issues & Ale election preview event of the season.

Senators Jim Ananich and Jim Stamas speak to the press after the committee released its recommendations.
screengrab / YouTube MLive

Lawmakers have ideas for how to ensure there is not a repeat of the Flint water crisis.

A report released Wednesday by State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, makes 36 recommendations.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders have reached a tentative deal to end their trash dispute.

Two companies have been picking up Flint garbage for weeks, as the mayor and city council disagreed on which company should have the multi-million-dollar contract.

But last week, the mayor’s choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, was linked to a federal corruption investigation in southeast Michigan. While not named in the indictment handed down against a Clinton Township trustee, newspaper reports claim an official with Rizzo bribed the township official to get its garbage contract.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

After a long, grueling campaign season, Election Day is only 20 days away. This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at ballot battles in southeast Michigan, including an unusual situation in Macomb County, where a Clinton Township Trustee who's running for supervisor is facing bribery charges.

They also discuss L. Brooks Patterson's bid for a seventh term as Oakland County Executive and a mass transit millage proposal in metro Detroit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats and Republicans are spending heavily on TV ad buys to sway voters in a handful of state house elections.

Democrats need to win 9 seats currently held by Republicans next month to take control of the state house.    

Ajamu Baraka at Wayne State University.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s time to reject the “politics of fear,” and embrace third-party alternatives in American politics.

That was the message Ajamu Baraka had for an audience at Detroit’s Wayne State University on Tuesday.

Baraka, a longtime political activist who founded the U.S. Human Rights Network, is the Green Party candidate for vice president. He and running mate Jill Stein will appear on the ballot in 45 states, including Michigan.

Baraka says he and Stein represent an opportunity to “break the two-party monopoly” on government.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library

Kalamazoo has struggled with balancing its budget, and finding enough money to invest in new programs.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell wants to accept a private donation of $70 million to help balance the city’s budget, and partner with those donors to set up a foundation where other philanthropists can donate even more money.

Then, the city would be able to lean on those donated funds to pay for city services in the future.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine in Detroit.
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Senator Tim Kaine was in Detroit today. The running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at the non-profit Focus: HOPE.

Kaine’s speech was mostly focused on Clinton’s plans for the economy and working to end poverty.

Part of Clinton and Kaine’s plan, he says, is to increase skilled and technical jobs. Kaine says it is especially important in places like Detroit.

Courtesy of Lena Epstein

She's Jewish. A woman. A millennial. And she supports Donald Trump for president. That's how Lena Epstein introduced herself in her recent opinion piece for the Washington Examiner.

Epstein is the third-generation owner and general manager of Vesco Oil Corporation in Southfield. She was one of Trump’s earliest supporters and is now co-chair for the Trump campaign in Michigan.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine speaking earlier this year.
U.S. Department of Education

Michigan got yet another presidential campaign visit today. Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine was in Detroit.

Kaine spoke at Focus: HOPE.

Focus:HOPE is a nonprofit that works to fight racial injustice and poverty. Kaine talked about running mate Hillary Clinton’s plan to end poverty.

Watch his speech here:

Pence spoke to a packed house at the Macomb County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

President Obama and Hillary Clinton have “weakened America’s status in the world” with their policies.

But a President Donald Trump would boldly reverse course, Indiana Governor and Vice Presidential hopeful Mike Pence told a crowd of Macomb County Republican loyalists Monday night.

Pence fired up a sold-out crowd at the Macomb County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

Pence said Clinton “literally personifies the failed status quo in Washington D.C.” He accused her of being the “architect” of policies that have led to a “weakened America and a stifled economy.”

Under Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit has used federal anti-blight funds for an aggressive demolition campaign.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s rapid-fire demolition campaign under Mayor Mike Duggan was rife with questionable bidding practices and lacked major internal controls, according to state and federal reviews of that program.

That revelation emerged Monday, as the city announced the U.S. Treasury had released another $42 million in federal funds for the program.

But that funding had been suspended for two months, as the treasury department reviewed a Michigan State Housing Development Authority investigation.

Today, we hear why Donald Trump's message is hitting home in Macomb County. And, a geographer shows us why relying on ZIP codes led the state to mistakenly underestimate the lead in water problem in Flint. 

Savannah Halleaux

 

The United States Department of Agriculture is reaching out in a special way to women and minority farmers and growers in Michigan.

What’s behind this focus on “non-traditional” growers? And why is the USDA making its Michigan announcement in Flint?

USDA Farm Service Agency administrator Val Dolcini joined us today to talk about the USDA's push to reach out to these "non-traditional" producers, and some of the challenges facing today’s farmers and ranchers.

michigan.gov

Changes could be in store for Michigan’s veterans’ services. 

A House and Senate joint committee heard testimony Monday about a package of bills that would create a new Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority. The Authority would oversee new veteran facilities, and eventually, lawmakers hope, the entire Michigan Veteran Health System would go under the umbrella of the authority.

The legislation comes after an audit of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans last February revealed persistent issues like staffing shortages and not following through on abuse complaints.

State law specifically says people without photo IDs, can sign an affidavit - and still vote
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are 7,495,216 people registered to vote in Michigan in the 2016 presidential elections. That’s more than 40,000 more than were registered in the last presidential election, according the Secretary of State’s Office. There are more voters registered now than in 2008, the previous record.

The deadline to register to vote in the November election was last week.

Some of the biggest registration surges came from counties with a large college-age population; Washtenaw, Ingham, Isabella, Marquette, and Kalamazoo counties.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Indiana Governor Mike Pence brings the campaign spotlight to Macomb County tonight. He'll be speaking at the Lincoln Day dinner in Shelby Township. Organizers say it’s the largest crowd in recent memory for the Lincoln Day dinner, and it’s proof that Macomb County is still fertile ground for the GOP message.

Trump merchandise
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state Republican leader is losing her party position because she won’t back Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Wendy Lynn Day was elected grassroots vice chair at a state party convention last year. In the role, she served as a liaison between the Republican Party and the tea party movement.

Day backed Senator Ted Cruz in the primary, but said she cannot support Trump, whom she does not consider a Republican.

There are three weeks to go until Election Day and Republicans are in despair, while Democrats are paranoid because no one is quite sure what the Donald Trump Effect will be on the ballot come November 8th.

It appears the Trump campaign is in a free fall, the statistical analysis website 538 now rates Trump’s chances of winning Michigan at 7.7 percent.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan's House Democrats are looking to take control of the chamber this November, but that won't be easy.

The Democrats need to win at least 56 of 110 seats to have a House majority. They currently hold 46.

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats do have some advantages that should spur optimism going into the November election. 

More from the Associated Press:

Vice presidential candidates Republican Mike Pence (L) and Democrat Tim Kaine (R).
wikimedia commons

Both major party candidates for the next U.S. vice president plan campaign stops in Michigan this week.

Donald Trump’s running mate is up first. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is scheduled to headline a dinner hosted by the Macomb County Republican Party tonight.

Traditionally blue-collar Macomb remains one of Trump’s few bright spots in Michigan, where most recent polls show Hillary Clinton regaining a healthy lead, though none has her topping 50% of the total vote.

Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Time Kaine, will pay a visit to Detroit Tuesday.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes Water Authority put $1.3 billion worth of bonds on the market last week.

It’s the first bond offering for the new regional authority, which emerged from Detroit’s bankruptcy process. It now provides wholesale water and services to millions of people across southeast Michigan.

About $1.1 billion of that will be used to refinance existing debt at a lower interest rate, says Nicolette Bateson, the GLWA’s Chief Financial Officer. She says that should produce almost $310 million in savings over the life of the bonds.

Michigan's 10th Congressional District.
United States Department of the Interior / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s 10th Congressional District stretches from the tip of the Thumb to northern Macomb County. 

Voters will choose between two candidates with relatively thin resumes in the District.

Businessman Paul Mitchell is making his second run for Congress. He ran two years ago in a different district in a different part of the state.  

When asked about that, this was his initial response.

“Turn that off for a second,” Mitchell asked for the recording to stop, “I have one question for you.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Two judges from the Detroit-area are challenging Michigan Supreme Court justices Joan Larsen and David Viviano.

  The two races are the most significant races for statewide office on the Nov. 8 ballot.

  Larsen was a law professor before she was appointed to the court last year by Gov. Rick Snyder. Viviano, a former Macomb County judge, has been on the Supreme Court since 2013. He, too, was appointed by Snyder.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Conditions are ideal for Democrats to bolster their ranks in the Michigan Legislature, but capturing a House majority to end Republican control of state government could be elusive.

  Democrats' advantages include higher voter turnout for the presidential election and the departure of dozens of Republicans who cannot run again under term limits. Democrats have gained House seats in every presidential contest since 2004.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) - Presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to put Michigan in the Republicans' corner for the first time in two dozen years by taking aim at trade deals and an economy that's left blue-collar workers behind.

Democrat Hillary Clinton says the billionaire businessman is no friend of workers because of using Chinese steel in his construction projects and opposing the auto bailout.

In the middle are voters, who say they're split over the candidates' trustworthiness.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lawsuits keep piling up in the wake of the Flint water crisis. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about a new complaint that calls for a grand jury criminal investigation into Gov. Rick Snyder's legal fees. We also talk about another challenge to Michigan's 180-day time limit on collecting petition signatures and upcoming visits from vice-presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.


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