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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Detroit Monday that we can expect "a positive message" during the last month of her campaign.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou discuss whether that will resonate with Michigan voters. Lessenberry and Tribou also look at a Detroit Free Press investigation that finds the state may have overpaid for supplies it bought in response to the Flint water crisis, and the teacher shortage that continues to plague Detroit Public Schools.


Today, foreign affairs analyst Robin Wright explains what our next president needs to know about the Middle East. And, we hear Kitchen, After Rumi's Guest House, a poem that touches on what it means to be American.

A Kurdish boy from the Syrian town of Kobani holds onto a fence that surrounds a refugee camp in Turkey.
User Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Robin Wright began her journalism career as a student at the University of Michigan, where she was the first female sports editor in the history of the Michigan Daily.

She has gone on to become a widely known and honored foreign affairs analyst, journalist and author. Her books include Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam and The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran.

This coming Thursday, Wright returns to Ann Arbor to give the Margaret Waterman Alumnae Lecture. She joined us today.

Today, we hear how Donald Trump's sinking popularity puts down-ballot GOP candidates at risk. And, as part of NPR's "A Nation Engaged" project, we hear a poem titled "Apology to My Father" from a University of Michigan sophomore. 

woman at podium
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

The Michigan League for Public Policy aimed to have what it called an “honest discussion” about racial inequality in Michigan at its annual forum Monday. 

From the Flint water crisis to the state of Detroit Public Schools, the League wanted Michiganders to take a hard look at how racial inequality impacts their communities and learn about ways to make change. 

flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The aftermath of last night’s presidential debate has left the Republican Party in all-out crisis mode.

An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll following the release of the tape of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump is now in the double digits.

House Speaker Paul Ryan today held a conference call with House Republicans. He said he can’t and won’t defend Trump, and that House Republicans should do what’s best for them in the remaining weeks of the election.

But, he will not rescind his endorsement of Trump.

What does this all mean for Republicans on the down-ballot in Michigan?

woman holding sign that says women for trump
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

A couple dozen Donald Trump supporters waved signs outside a rally in Detroit Monday for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Rosanne Ponkowski was one of those pro-Trump demonstrators. She carried a sign that said “Women for Trump.”

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will make a post-debate stop Monday in Detroit.

This will be Clinton’s first Michigan visit since August 11th. The trip coincides with the October 11th deadline to register to vote in the November election.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made five trips to Michigan since the Republican national convention.

The Clinton campaign hopes to avoid an Election Day surprise like the presidential primary loss to Senator Bernie Sanders last March. Sanders campaigned for Clinton in Michigan last week.

DonaldJTrump.com

Some Republicans are calling for Donald Trump to step aside as the Republican presidential nominee, but that would not remove his name from the ballot in Michigan.

It’s simply too late to remove Trump’s name from the ballot, says Michigan Elections Bureau spokesman Fred Woodhams.

"There’s nothing in law to allow the Secretary of State, or anyone else, except a judge, to change the ballot," says Woodhams.

Woodhams says absentee ballots have already been finalized and mailed, which means voting has effectively begun in Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, the Flint city council will consider contracts for the next round of lead service line replacements.

The pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of lead leeching into people’s tap water.  To date, the city has replaced about 200 service lines.  

The contracts before the city council would target an additional 700 homes.  The project organizer hopes contractors will be able to replace at least 300 of those service lines before winter weather sets in.

Debate image
NPR

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton faced off in the second presidential debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

This debate took the form of a town meeting.

About 13% of Michiganders are undecided – enough to possibly make a difference this year
User: Keith Ivey / flickr

As the presidential race tightens, voter turnout could play a decisive role, and a new study warns that some Americans may have a harder time casting ballots than others.

Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, says data from the last presidential election points to serious shortcomings in how polling is managed in communities of color.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered all U.S. and state flags to be lowered to honor fallen firefighters.

The governor's announcement is in accordance with President Barack Obama's proclamation honoring the National Firefighters Memorial Service.

The flags are to be flown at half-staff or half-mast on Sunday until sunset.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Update 10:37 p.m.:

After renouncing his support of Trump, Michigan's Lt. Gov. felt Trump turned in a winning performance during the debate:

Stateside 10.7.16

Oct 7, 2016

Today, we discuss why even Michigan's wealthier cities are not happy with the state taking a bigger chunk of the Michigan sales tax. And, we hear an argument for why researchers need to start speaking directly to the public instead of being filtered by spin doctors.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

  

The Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing was built in 1879, and later restored in 1992. Now, in 2016, its caretakers say there are some real problems with the guts of the building.

"It's a stewardship issue that has to be met by the current group of lawmakers, as for any group of lawmakers," said Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants who also served as a Republican legislative leader.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

 

Local governments around the state have been trying to figure out how to keep things going on a tighter budget. They’re not bringing in as much money as they have during better economic times of the past.

That's partly because the state has been cutting back on how much sales tax revenue it shares with cities and towns. And a lot of local leaders want to change that.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Consultants say cost restructuring may be needed to make Flint’s water bills more affordable.

Even before Flint water was unsafe to drink without a filter, many people tried to avoid turning on their taps because of the cost.

As Flint’s population dwindled, more of the cost of paying for the system fell on fewer and fewer people.   City officials added to the cost by siphoning off cash to pay for other city needs. Thousands of city residents either fell behind on their bills or had their water service shutoff. 

Today, we speak with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Ann Arbor about the 2016 presidential election. And we hear from an Americana duo about their new album, which tackles the Kalamazoo shooting and other tough subjects.

man at whiteboard
detroitmi.gov

 

It was born in the throes of Detroit’s bankruptcy: the idea to take the aging, debt-ridden Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and transform it into a regional entity.

The Great Lakes Water Authority seems to be stoking a true spirit of cooperation in Southeast Michigan and performing the way its designers hoped it would.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about why it’s so important that the regional water authority succeeds and how it’s helping Detroit’s debt problems.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty (left) interviews Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) with Stateside Executive Producer Joe Linstroth in Ann Arbor on October 6, 2016.
Mitchell Rivard

Republicans and Democrats have made it clear that the state of Michigan is in play for the 2016 presidential election.

Another high-profile campaign visit to the state comes in the form of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. He is making stops in four cities (Dearborn, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Grand Rapids) stumping for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

firefighter
U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some Democratic state lawmakers are calling for the Legislature to add breast cancer to the list of conditions covered by a state health care fund for first responders. The fund was created two years ago.

State Senator Curtis Hertel said policymakers were slow to recognize the risk to female firefighters, in part, because there are so many more men in the profession. But he said new studies show the dangers to female first responders.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A printer’s error is forcing Genesee County to order 300,000 new ballots for next month’s election.

The original ballots contained mistakes that prevent the ballots from being tabulated. For example, problems with the timing track on the side of the form will prevent a computer from reading the ballot. 

County Clerk John Gleason is concerned some absentee voters have already mailed back defective ballots. He says new ballots will be sent out.

“There’s no excuse,” says Gleason, “This is the most critical instrument in our democracy … our vote.”

Flickr user anderfhart/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It's been 20 years since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed during the Clinton administration, and the TV and radio industry claims to still feels its effects.

The legislation sparked public controversy because of the changes it brought to broadcasting, having introduced media cross-ownership and being the first update in government policies for communications in over 60 years. Today, smaller, independent programmers continue to compete with growing media giants in securing a hold on the market.

mayor virg bernero at microphone with crowd behind him
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing officials are stepping up efforts to pass a renewal of the capital city’s public safety millage in next month’s election.

The millage was first approved by Lansing voters in 2011. The intent was to replace the millions of dollars the city lost in property tax revenues after property values fell sharply during the Great Recession. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will be in Michigan tomorrow urging voters to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump. 

The Clinton campaign says Sanders will talk about how Secretary Clinton's economic plan will work for everyone, and how Donald Trump's plan will instead benefit the very wealthy.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

We kicked off our first Issues & Ale event of the election season Monday night at the Beer Grotto in Lansing.

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

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence are squared off in the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia on Tuesday, October 4.

It was the only vice-presidential debate before Election Day.

(By the way, you have until Tuesday, October 11 to register to vote if you haven't done so already. Find out how here.)

Today we hear about a Traverse City urn company that's on the cutting edge of the funeral business. And, we learn why the term "first lady" is obsolete.

A new policy will hopefully help supervisors track any racial profiling
Michigan State Police

Given the recent friction between law enforcement and citizens, Gov. Rick Snyder says action needs to be taken to forge better relationships.

Some of that action came Tuesday in the form of a 17-bill package and an executive order. Snyder says the legislation combined with the executive order will help strengthen community relations between law enforcement and the community.

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