U.S. Senate

Politics
12:56 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Stabenow using farm bill to woo Michigan growers

Senator Debbie Stabenow stopped at Zeeland Farm Services to announce her push for the tax break Monday. ZFS would get the incentive for their investments in bio-based manufacturing.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is up for reelection this November and is looking to prove her bona fides amongst the state's agriculturally-minded constituents.

According to a story from Bloomberg News, incumbent lawmakers are struggling to find new ways to prove their worth to voters after Congress outlawed earmarks for home-state projects.

Stabenow, Bloomberg writes, is using a $969 billion national farm policy bill she wrote as head of the Senate Agriculture Committee to show Michigan voters ---especially food growers--- that she is working for them.

From Bloomberg News:

[Stabenow] persuaded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to let her bring up the legislation early so she could tout its expanded assistance to farmers -- including Michigan fruit growers, who have suffered crippling crop losses this spring.

Unseasonably-fluctuating temperatures in March and April have been wreaking havoc on Michigan's tart cherry crop, a staple product for some northern parts of the state. The Environment Report's Bob Allen reported in April that Northwest Michigan saw a tart cherry crop loss of 50 percent to 70 percent this year. Other fruits like apples, peaches and plums were also hit hard.

Bloomberg News writes that "cherries and other fruit crops damaged in Michigan would have more protections under the expanded insurance system in the farm bill," and Stabenow would like to make sure farmers know it.

According to Bloomberg, some growers are getting the message:

Ben LaCross, a northern Michigan grower of cherries, apples and plums, told reporters last week that his farm would be in “free fall” without federal assistance, adding that Stabenow’s measure would expand the tools available to help farmers cope with crop failures like the one this year.

“Crop insurance will help keep family businesses like mine in business,” LaCross said.

The farm bill is being debated in the Senate.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
4:40 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Snyder wants e-retailers to collect Michigan sales tax

user Kcdtsg wikimedia commons

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is appealing to lawmakers in Washington to make online retailers collect state sales tax.

Melissa Anders from MLive.com reports that Gov. Snyder sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders this week expressing his support for the Marketplace Fairness Act. The law would require companies doing business online to calculate sales tax based on customer location and collect the taxes on behalf of states.

Governor Snyder reportedly sees the law as "a way to level the playing field between brick-and-mortar shops and online retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com," Anders writes.

In the letter, Snyder also sights fiscal concerns:

"The Michigan Department of Treasury estimates that total revenue lost to e-commerce and mail-order purchases will amount to $872 million during fiscal years 2012 and 2013...it is crucial that the state has the tools to fairly collect the revenue that it is owed. The Marketplace Fairness act would provide states with the authority to do just that."

Michigan residents are already required to pay a "use tax" of 6 percent on their income tax returns for purchases made online. But it's difficult to enforce and few taxpayers heed the rule.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
6:54 pm
Sun April 29, 2012

Levin visits Afghanistan & Turkey

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee says Chairman Carl Levin and member Jack Reed are visiting Afghanistan, Turkey and NATO headquarters in Belgium starting this weekend.

The committee announced the trip Sunday by the two Democratic lawmakers. Levin is from Michigan and Reed is from Rhode Island.

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Politics
11:23 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Senate candidates release fundraising numbers for first quarter of 2012

Several GOP candidates debated in Zeeland, Michigan in January 2012.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Republican frontrunner, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, reports on his facebook page he raised $700,000 in the first quarter of this year for his campaign against incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.  The Stabenow campaign claims in an email she raised twice as much, “more than $1.5 million”.

Inside Michigan Politics Editor Bill Ballenger says whoever wins the primary is going to need a lot more money.

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Politics
8:04 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Actress Lisa Chan apologizes for role in Hoekstra Super Bowl ad

Images from the Pete Hoekstra Super Bowl ad.
Mark Brush images from YouTube

The actress featured in Pete Hoekstra's Super Bowl ad that sparked charges of racism has apologized.

Hoekstra, who is vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, first attempted to defend the ad, but later pulled it down after the outcry.

Lisa Chan posted the apology yesterday on her Facebook page:

"I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities. As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven. I feel horrible about my participation and I am determined to resolve my actions."

Hoekstra, the front runner for the Republican nomination, was hoping the ad would draw attention to his campaign. It did - just the wrong kind of attention. The Hill reports the  "Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling, shows Stabenow up 51 percent to 37 percent. That's an increase over the 9-point lead she held in their July poll."

Election 2012
6:50 am
Mon February 6, 2012

New Hoekstra campaign ad brings charges of xenophobia

Former West Michigan Congressman Peter Hoekstra wants to become the Republican candidate to run against U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in November.
Republican Conference Flickr

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoesktra's campaign aired a new television ad against incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow last night during the Super Bowl. In the 30 second ad, a young woman of Asian decent speaks in broken English and calls Stabenow, "Debbie Spend-it-now."

The Associated Press reports that the ad is, "bringing charges of racial insensitivity. GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw flat-out scolded the Holland Republican for the ad calling it 'appalling.' De Leeuw opposes Democrat Stabenow's re-election but adds that "racism and xenophobia" aren't the way to go. Hoekstra's Facebook page says that those "trying to make this an issue of race demonstrates their total ignorance of job creation policies."

In the ad, the young woman says," Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow. Debbie spends so much American money. You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow."

Though the ad aired during the Super Bowl less than 12 hours ago, in this age of instant web-based reaction, political pundits and reporters have already written dozens of articles about the spot:

Politics
2:40 am
Wed January 25, 2012

GOP senate candidates debate bailouts for banks and car companies

Six Republicans hoping to unseat U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow debated an incredible range of issues at a forum organized by the Ottawa County Patriots Tuesday night. This is the second time the presumed front runner, former West Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra, has debated his rivals.

“It’s a great group of candidates. I could vote for any of them,” Bob Carr said after the 2-hour-long forum. Carr is a tea party member who drove more than an hour to Zeeland from Oceana County.

Dozens of the roughly 250 people crammed into the town’s library sport Carr’s own “Dump Debbie” political buttons. Carr says he’s given away around a thousand of them.

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Election 2012
5:25 pm
Sat January 14, 2012

GOP Senatorial Debate

Five men hoping to challenge U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in November spoke to Tea Party members Saturday afternoon in Mount Pleasant. The candidates included libertarian activist Scotty Boman; former Hillsdale College vice president Clark Durant; and Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association.

The debate was sponsored by Michigan for a Conservative Senate and CMU Campus Conservatives.

Former congressman Pete Hoekstra was not at the event. The GOP front runner has said he won’t participate in forums that are attached to a straw poll. The same tea party groups that sponsored the debate will participate in a straw poll next month to endorse a candidate.

Politics
1:19 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Michigan Tea partiers try to unite behind 1 Senate entrant

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra
Republican Conference / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Many of Michigan's tea party activists are trying to coalesce behind one of the eight Republicans running for the chance to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

But former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra fears the setup favors one of his rivals and plans to skip a Saturday Senate debate with tea partiers at Central Michigan University. Five of the GOP hopefuls are participating in the event.

The internal politics could hurt the GOP's chances of denying Stabenow a third term.

Hoekstra has come in for criticism from some tea party groups who say he's not paying enough attention to them. Hoekstra's campaign says he's meeting with many tea party groups.

It's unclear if the tea partiers will be able to unite behind one candidate. Some groups aren't attending Saturday's debate.

Politics
5:03 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Campaign finance and the Michigan U.S. Senate seat (audio)

user: AMagill / flickr

Third quarter fundraising results are being reported by those in the race for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat. Here to to look at why the money matters are Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

We also talk about Governor Rick Snyder's comments about his decision to run for a second term.

 

Election 2012
4:44 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Clark Durant to formally launch Senate bid

Clark Durant will officially announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate tomorrow.
Clark Durant Facebook page

Former Michigan State Board of Education President Clark Durant says he will formally launch his bid for the U.S. Senate tomorrow in Detroit.

Durant is seeking the Republican nomination to face Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) on the November 2012 ballot.

Durant is a former president of the state Board of Education. He made a failed attempt to win his party’s U.S. Senate nomination 20 years ago.

He also ran unsuccessfully for the state Supreme Court. 

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Politics
11:06 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Political Races in Michigan, Stranger Than Fiction

Officially, this is still summer, even though the first leaves are tumbling from the trees and the light looks more like fall.

Politically, however, it is clear what season it is: Silly season. Yesterday’s news included one candidate for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, Pete Hoekstra, happily accepting the endorsement of a man, Mike Cox,  whom he openly despised and reviled barely a year ago.

Also, a state legislator announced she’d challenge one of the nation’s longest-serving incumbent congressmen. The oddest thing about this is not the David and Goliath aspect. It is that the congressman doesn’t even live in that district.

She does, but most think he will be a heavy favorite anyway. Meanwhile, in Lansing, the Republicans who control the state senate are moving closer to setting a date for a presidential primary.

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Commentary
10:28 am
Fri August 12, 2011

A Senate Surprise

Well, yesterday was not a great day for Pete Hoekstra, the former congressman from Holland. Two days ago, he was seen as the all-but-certain Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate next year.

With the nation’s economic crisis continuing, and more and more voters worried about the future, there seemed to be a growing chance that incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow may be vulnerable. Hoekstra, who got into the race last month after initially declining to run, thought he had a clear shot.

There were a few minor candidates, but they lacked funding or name recognition. But then yesterday, three longtime Michigan GOP heavyweights staged a coup of sorts. Two former state party chairs, Betsy DeVos, wife of Amway heir Dick DeVos, and Saul Anuzis, joined former U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham in endorsing a candidate.  And it wasn’t Pete Hoekstra.

Matter of fact, it wasn’t even someone who is formally in the race yet, though that will quickly change. The Big Three came out strongly for Clark Durant, a Grosse Pointer who is the founder of Cornerstone Schools, a group of charter schools in Detroit.

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Election 2012
7:56 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Gary Glenn will seek Senate seat

The Michigan president of the American Family Association says he's running for the Republican nomination
in the race to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Gary Glenn issued a statement Tuesday saying that federal election law requires him to file a formal declaration of candidacy this week.

In the statement, Glenn praises U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, the only Republican in Michigan's congressional delegation to vote against the debt ceiling bill that President Barack Obama signed Tuesday. Stabenow voted for the bill.

Tuesday also saw another prominent Republican say he won't join the U.S. Senate field. Ypsilanti cardiologist Rob Steele says his work is too demanding for a statewide race.

Ex-U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra recently declared his candidacy for the Republican Senate nomination.

Election 2012
2:17 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

A conversation with Pete Hoekstra on "their" decision to run

Pete Hoekstra and his wife Diane at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival when he ran for governor in 2010. He lost the Republican nomination to Governor Rick Snyder.
facebook.com/petehoekstra

Former U.S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra says he and his family are prepared to challenge Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2012.

“We get a new majority in place in the US Senate we can start changing and reversing those policies. And that’s what I want to be a part of.”

After 18 years in Congress, Hoekstra retired from his rather secure seat representing a conservative district along the Lake Michigan shore. He had hopes of become Michigan’s new Governor. But he placed second in the Republican primary behind current Governor Rick Snyder.

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Commentary
2:01 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

GOP Losing Streak

For many years, Michigan has had a strong two-party tradition. During the nineteen-eighties and early nineties, Michigan voters came closer than any other state to mirroring the national presidential results. But we don’t just go with the winners.

We’ve also had one of the oldest and strongest traditions of ticket-splitting in the nation. Back in 1964, Democrat Lyndon Johnson carried the state by more than a million votes, something never seen before or since. But seven hundred thousand of those voters crossed over to give Republican George Romney a landslide as well.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Former U.S. House of Representatives candidate sues Facebook for deactivating account

Moughni sent hundreds of Facebook friend requests, prompting Facebook to shut down his account.
Moughni's campaign Facebook page

A former U.S. House of Representatives candidate is suing Facebook.

Majed Moughni  is a lawyer from Dearborn. He ran during the Republican primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by John Dingell in 2010. His campaign strategy involved using his personal Facebook page to gain as many friends as possible across the voting district. But Facebook shut down his account in June before the August primaries for sending too many friend requests. Moughni says this also shut down his campaign.

Now he’s suing Facebook, but he’s not asking for money. He wants the social media company to stop using an automatic system to delete accounts and to restore his personal page. He says there should a way for Facebook users to appeal account deactivation:

“We think a multi-billion dollar corporation should at least have a live person that you can communicate with, a call-in center, that you can, you know, at least file a petition if your account was wrong deactivated – you should be able to get some recourse.”

Moughni said uprisings in Egypt and Libya prove how important Facebook is. But in his next campaign, he will use more than just Facebook.

UPDATED: According to the DetNews.com, a spokesman for Facebook said the account was disabled by an automated system that "is designed to prevent spammers and fakes from harassing our users and polluting the ecosystem." He also said that the "system always warns a user when they are nearing thresholds that will have features blocked or their account disabled. These warnings come as a pop-up that must be clicked through."

-Bridget Bodnar, Michigan Radio News

Election 2012
7:30 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Republican challenger for Senator Stabenow's seat

A photo in the U.S. Senate in 2007. Randy Heckman hopes to be in a similar photograph in 2013.
US Senate

A former Grand Rapids judge is the first Republican to formally launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

This opens the campaign for a Republican primary that’s still more than a year away.

Former probate judge and conservative activist Randy Hekman is the first but by no means the last Republican to launch a primary campaign.

Big political names including former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, and Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis are among those eyeing the race.

Hekman says he intends to run on reducing the national debt and getting more people to support hometown churches and charities.

“You’ve got to change hearts of people because they’re core of our problem – the problem beneath the problem is in my opinion this self-centeredness.”

"I believe that we need local charity. I believe, for example, if every man, woman, and child that has an income in our country could tithe 10 percent of their gross income, that would be one-point-four trillion dollars that could go to charity that could meet this need in a much more efficient and human-based and human-centered way than currently."

The winner of the Republican primary in 17 months will face two-term incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow on the November 2012 ballot.

Federal Courts
12:01 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Help Wanted: Federal Judge

There are two unique job openings in Detroit. How would you like to be a federal judge? The Associated Press reports:

 

Applications are available for people who want to become a federal judge in Detroit. 

Michigan

Sens

. Carl Levin and Debbie

Stabenow

are asking a committee to advise them on two openings. It will be chaired by Detroit lawyer Eugene Driker. 

There are openings at the federal court in Detroit because judges Bernard Friedman and Arthur Tarnow have chosen to take senior status, which can reduce their caseloads. 

Wayne County Judge David Allen recently withdrew his name after more than a year of delay. Levin and

Stabenow

had recommended him to President Barack Obama but he was never formally nominated.  

Allen says the confirmation process in the

U.S

. Senate is "broken."   

Applications from Levin's office are due Jan. 24.

Dingell Wins
12:28 am
Wed November 3, 2010

John Dingell, Dean of the U.S. House, Will Keep His Seat (Again)

Congressman John D. Dingell won his 28th term last night. Here he's being sworn in by Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn in 1955.
John Dingell's website

John Dingell has declared his victory in a closer-than-expected race against Republican Robert Steele.  Dingell has served 56 years, and he will go on to a 28th term.

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