Michigan Political Campaigns Topped $192 Million in 2006

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network has released the “2006 Citizen’s Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance.” According to the guide, political campaigns in Michigan raised and spent more than $192 million in the 2006 election cycle. According to a press release:

Campaigns for state offices, including governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state representative, state senator, state board of education, elected university boards and the judiciary, totaled $134.8 million. State candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives raised $19.3 million and the Stabenow-Bouchard U.S. Senate race cost $19.1 million. Committees that supported or opposed the various ballot questions raised another $19.4 million.

The gubernatorial campaign totaled $78.9 million, more than twice the cost of the 2002 gubernatorial campaign. It included $35.5 million in self-funding by Republican challenger Dick DeVos, the fourth highest total ever for an American gubernatorial candidate and the most ever by a Republican. The campaign also featured $18.1 million in candidate-focused issue advertising that was not reported in any campaign finance report. The Michigan Democratic Party sponsored $12.8 million of that total, while DeVos supporters spent $5.3 million.

General election candidates for the Michigan Senate raised $16.1 million in the 2006 cycle, up by 39 percent compared to 2002, and four races cost more than $1.95 million each. General election candidates for the Michigan House raised $15.1 million, up by 52 percent compared to 2002, and four races topped $1 million each. Of the 148 winning candidates for the Legislature, 139 had greater financial support than their opponent, or no major-party opponent.

The top 150 state political action committees raised $51.9 million in the 2006 cycle, up by 55 percent compared to the 2002 or 2004 cycles. The ten largest PACs, including the legislative caucuses’ PACs, raised $26.5 million, more than the next 140 combined. Elected officials had 92 leadership PACs that collectively raised $8.3 million. The Coalition for Progress became the biggest PAC in Michigan history by raising $5,460,000. Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo and Pat Stryker of Colorado Springs gave Coalition for Progress 98 percent of its funds.

The complete guide includes summaries of candidates’ finances, lists of top contributors to electoral winners, and lists of top contributors to the legislative caucuses’ PACS, politicians’ leadership PACs, and state party committees.

Updated 2006 Campaign Finance Report for Vern Ehlers Online

photo of vern ehlers

The blog “Eye On Ehlers” has highlighted the fact that updated campaign finance records are available for Grand Rapids area Congressperson Vern Ehlers. The entire record is available on Opensecrets.org but some of the more interesting items include:

  • Ehlers’ top 20 contributors to his 2006 campaign included the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association ($10,000), the Credit Union National Association ($7,500), Amway/Alticor ($7,000), Consumers Energy ($6,120), FlexFab ($5,900), and the KMW Group ($5,900).
  • Ehlers received $177,620 in Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions. Ehlers received the most money from the transportation industry, where his top benefactor was the Aircraft Owner & Pilots Association. Ehlers also received money from companies profiting off the Iraq War including L-3 Communications, Raytheon, and Honeywell International. His second largest section of contributions came from the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate industry including $7,500 from the Credit Union National Association, $4,000 from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, $4,000 from the National Association of Realtors, and $4,000 from the National Multi Housing Council.
  • Ehlers raised most of his money in the 49506 and 49546 zip codes in Grand Rapids and the 49301 zip code in Ada.

Michigan Ballot Proposals: Language, Summaries, and Opposition

There are five ballot proposals before voters on Tuesday, some of which have received little attention in the corporate press. Media Mouse has compiled a short rundown of what the proposals are and who is funding them.

There are five ballot proposals before the voters on November 7 that address conservation funding, affirmative action, dove hunting, eminent domain, and school funding. In Michigan, there are four ways that a proposal can be put on the ballot—a legislative referendum in which a bill that does not appropriate money can have a provision that requires a majority vote by the people before the law goes into effect, a voter referendum in which people get citizens to sign petitions to put the issue before the voters with the law in question suspended until after a vote is taken (ex: Proposal 3), a statutory initiative in which the people who want a new law gather signatures on petitions asking the Legislature to act on a piece of proposed legislation and then if it is not acted on it goes on the ballot for a popular vote (Proposal 5), and a constitutional amendment proposed by a two-thirds vote in the legislature or by petitions signed by at least ten percent of the number of people that voted in the last governor’s race. A rundown of the proposals is below:

Proposal 1: A Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Require that Money Held in Conservation and Recreation Funds can only be used for their Intended Purposes

Ballot Language:

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

Create a Conservation and Recreation Legacy Fund within the Constitution and establish existing conservation and recreation accounts as components of the fund.

Use current funding sources such as state park entrance and camping fees; snowmobile, ORV and boating registration fees; hunting and fishing license fees; taxes and other revenues to fund accounts.

Establish the current Game and Fish Protection Fund and the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund within the Constitution.

Provide that money held in Funds can only be used for specific purposes related to conservation and recreation and cannot be used for any purpose other than those intended.

Should this proposal be adopted?

Summary, Support, and Opposition

The proposal would amend the State Constitution to protect Department of Natural Resource funds from being diverted into purposes for those other than intended. According to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the language of the proposed amendment is almost identical to the existing statute in Public Act 451 of 1994, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. The CRC further found that there has only been one diversion from these funds, with a $7.8 million diversion from the Waterways Fund in 2002 to help balance the state’s general fund. Money in some of these accounts has lessened in recent years, but the CRC attributes it to declined participation in outdoor activities and less general fund spending. Proposal 1 is supported by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and there is no organized opposition.

Proposal 2: A proposal to amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin for public employment, education, or contracting purposes.

Ballot Language:

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

Ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes. Public institutions affected by the proposal include state government, local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts.

Prohibit public institutions from discriminating against groups or individuals due to their gender, ethnicity, race, color or national origin. (A separate provision of the state constitution already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.)

Should this proposal be adopted?

Summary, Support, and Opposition

Proposal 2 has been the most contentious ballot proposal on the ballot this election. It has been funded almost entirely by Ward Connerly, a California businessman who has led campaigns around the country to eliminate affirmative action, most notably in California. Connerly’s work has been funded by a host of far right funders including the Bradley, Scaife, and Olin foundations. There has been organized opposition to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) since the petition process began with activists attacking the idea of naming an anti-affirmative action measure a “civil rights” initiative and widespread allegations of fraud. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission documented widespread and systematic fraud in the petition gathering process while numerous other entities from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Urban League have said that the effect of eliminating affirmative action will be devastating for people of color in Michigan as the state is already one of the most segregated in the United States. Electoral opposition to the proposal has been organized by One United Michigan while Proposal 2 has been opposed publicly by almost every politician or organized group with the exception being white supremacist groups such as the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Ku Klux Klan.

Proposal 3: A referendum on Public Act 160 of 2004—an act to allow the establishment of a hunting season for mourning doves.

Ballot Language:

Authorize the Natural Resources Commission to establish a hunting season for mourning doves.

Require a mourning dove hunter to have a small game license and a $2.00 mourning dove stamp.

Stipulate that revenue from the stamp must be split evenly between the Game and Fish Protection Fund and the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.

Require the Department of Natural Resources to address responsible mourning dove hunting; management practices for the propagation of mourning doves; and participation in mourning dove hunting by youth, the elderly and the disabled in the Department’s annual hunting guide.

Should this law be approved?

Summary, Support, and Opposition

Public Act 160 of 2004 was an amendment to Public Act 451 of 1994 that reclassified the Mourning Dove as a game bird and permitted Mourning Dove hunting, making Michigan the 41st state to permit Mourning Dove hunting. Opponents of the measure, led by the Committee to Keep Doves Protected, organized a campaign to put the law before voters arguing that Mourning Doves have been protected since 1905, that they are not overpopulated, that they are shot for target practice and not food, and that they are not harmful to humans, farms, or property. Supporters of dove hunting have been led by Citizens for Wildlife Conservation who has received funding from out-of-state pro-hunting organizations including the National Rifle Association, the Ballot Issues Coalition (an NRA offshoot in Virginia), the National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International, and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Proposal 4: A proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit government from taking private property by eminent domain for certain private purposes.

Ballot Language:

Prohibit government from taking private property for transfer to another private individual or business for purposes of economic development or increasing tax revenue.

Provide that if an individual’s principal residence is taken by government for public use, the individual must be paid at least 125% of property’s fair market value.

Require government that takes a private property to demonstrate that the taking is for a public use; if taken to eliminate blight, require a higher standard of proof to demonstrate that the taking of that property is for a public use.

Preserve existing rights of property owners.

Should this proposal be adopted?

Summary, Support, and Opposition

Proposal 4 is supported by the Protected Our Property Rights Coalition, a project of the Michigan Association of Realtors which is one of the top 10 political action committees (PACs) in Michigan politics. Supporters of the proposal argue that the proposal restores homeowners rights by preventing the government from taking someone’s home or property under eminent domain and giving it to a third party for economic development. Opponents believe that the proposal—represented by the Michigan Municipal League—argue that economic development is the proper role of the government and that the government should have the power to use eminent domain to purchase property and transfer it to a private entity.

Proposal 5: A legislative initiative to establish mandatory school funding levels.

Ballot Language:

The proposed law would:

Increase current funding by approximately $565 million and require State to provide annual funding increases equal to the rate of inflation for public schools, intermediate school districts, community colleges, and higher education (includes state universities and financial aid/grant programs).

Require State to fund any deficiencies from General Fund.

Base funding for school districts with a declining enrollment on three-year student enrollment average.

Reduce and cap retirement fund contribution paid by public schools, community colleges and state universities; shift remaining portion to state.

Reduce funding gap between school districts receiving basic per-pupil foundation allowance and those receiving maximum foundation allowance.

Should this proposed law be approved?

Summary, Support, and Opposition

Proposal 5 is supported by the K-16 Coalition for Michigan’s Future and is described as an education ballot initiative that requires the State of Michigan to provide reasonable annual inflationary funding increases to local public K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities. The proposal is designed to address funding difficulties facing public schools through the aforementioned increase, capping Retirement Fund contributions from schools, and reducing the funding gap between school districts receiving basic per-pupil foundation allowances and those receiving the maximum foundation allowance. The proposal is opposed by the Coalition to Stop the K-16 Spending mandate who argues that the cost demands are staggering and that funding this proposal will mean cuts in other areas of the budget. Similarly, many politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties have opposed this proposal at recent candidate forums citing the fact that it will tie the hands of the legislature.

Challengers Debate Incumbent Senator at 29th Michigan Senate District Forum

Democratic Party challenger David LaGrand and Libertarian Party challenger Bill Gelineau debated incumbent Republican State Senator Bill Hardiman on Monday at a candidate form held at Grand Valley State University.

On Monday at Grand Valley State University, Democratic Party candidate David LaGrand and Libertarian Party candidate Bill Gelineau debated incumbent Republican State Senator Bill Hardiman. The 29th Senate District includes the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Lowell and Cascade and the townships of Lowell, Vergennes and Grattan. As part of Media Mouse’s ongoing effort to provide as much substantive election coverage as possible, the questions and candidate responses have been summarized:


David LaGrand (DL): He lives in Grand Rapids and believes that the major issue is the economy and that there needs to be someone in office to help businesses. Police and fire service have been cut as tax cuts have been seen as the solution to economic problems. However, good services are essential and many businesses look for services when making the decision where to locate.

Bill Hardiman (BH): It has been an honor to serve for four years. During that time, he has sponsored 17 bills—ranging from healthcare to seniors—that have made it into law. He has brought dollars back into the community while believing in integrity and representing West Michigan values. He has one of the best attendance records in the Senate while also being active in his home community.

Bill Gelineau (BG): He said that he is an advocate of small government and wants a different and improved system for elections. He sees major problems with voting and family cohesion. He urged attendees to go to his website since his positions are dramatically different from those of the major party candidates.

Q: The Single Business Tax (SBT) will soon become history, did you support eliminating it and would you replace it dollar for dollar?

BH: He supported it as it is a horrible tax and Michigan is the only state with it. He supports replacing the whole $1.9 billion with business taxes instead of taxes on residents.

BG: He was an advocate for getting rid of it. He would replace half of the revenue while extending state taxes (such as the gas tax) to fund special education. He would also cut waste and fraud to make up for lost revenue.

DL: The tax was eliminated in an act of “political Russian roulette” where a huge hole was put in the budget as a means of issuing a challenge and seeing if the difference could be made up. It should have been a bipartisan effort.

Q: DeVos has suggested the repeal of the Personal Property Tax, do you support the proposal?

BG: He supports it in principle but it is the wrong time for it. Democrats raise taxes while Republicans protect the wealthy, resulting in a system where ordinary citizens are forced to pay.

DL: As a business owner, he has paid the tax and it does act as a disincentive to reinvest as the tax lessens over time. He would support getting rid of it but not on the backs of the poor or residents living on fixed incomes.

BH: The Senate was looking at the SBT and its repeal was passed because it would be phased out in 2009 and because of the ballot initiative that was going to eliminate it. As part of that process, all taxes, including the Personal Property Tax, should be looked at in a bipartisan fashion.

Q: Granholm has proposed doubling the number of 4-year college graduates, do you support this measure and how would you pay for it?

BG: We still need the same number of people to work in less qualified jobs while simply promising this number of graduates will not make it happen. A problem is that college costs are too little as state subsidizes artificially lower the price.

BH: He supports the effort but sees trade schools as an option. The economy must be improved to fund it.

DL: He says that such aspirational statements can be a problem but this should be a priority as he agrees with Granholm. Good jobs come with good education and it could be funded through tax credits.

Q: Do you support Proposal 5 and if it passes how would you fund it?

DL: He does not want it to pass but he understands the impetus behind it, but it is dangerous to earmark funds in the budget because it will mean cuts elsewhere.

BG: It is a bad proposal but neither party will take on the educational bureaucracy that demands so much public funding. Private schools are able to provide the same education at 60% of the cost.

BH: He is opposed to the proposal and he worked hard to protect K-12 funding (which grew while others cut). He also increased funding for Grand Valley State University and for at-risk programs at the Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Q: In the past few years state social services for the poor and low income have been cut, do you agree with these cuts and would you change the funding on any programs?

DL: There is a major difference between him and Bill Hardiman on this issue as Bill Hardiman authored a bill setting a lifetime limit on aid to the poor. When you cut people from aid they turn to crime and there needs to be a safety net to support the poor. He favored a minimum wage increase while Hardiman opposed it.

BH: He was poor coming up and he believes in helping those that can get off welfare. The limit was not in the Senate proposal until after the Democrats (Granholm wanted it) asked for it.

BG: Welfare money should not be the focus of the discussion, but the Homestead Tax Credit and tax incentives for the poor should be expand. Corporations should not be subsidized with tax welfare.

DL: Bill Hardiman authored the bill and it put 40,000 children at risk.

BH: He worked with the 48-month time limit to allow for several exceptions.

BG: Everyone wants to help children but the real issue is cutting corporate welfare.

Q: Michigan is ranked 43rd out of 50 states with one of the highest infant mortality rates, what would you do to address this problem?

BH: He has supported programs such as the African American Health Institute and the Minority Health Institute to help African-American awareness of the problem. He funds parent education and provides parenting dollars for lower income people.

BG: A young lady without a father is more likely to have an abortion or be in poverty, many problems are eliminated with two parent homes.

DL: He is an advocate of two-parent homes, but we need to be serious about universal access to health care and realizing that mortality and malnutrition are linked and that therefore we must address poverty and hunger.

BH: He addressed fatherhood and parenting with the DHS and pushed for Earned Income Credits in the Senate.

BG: He supports not removing young couples from their parents insurance as a way of partially addressing the problem.

DL: According to Hardiman, the Earned Income Credit was an argument for not raising the minimum wage.

Q: What is your position on Proposal 2 and what would the outcome be if it passes?

BG: He supports Proposal 2 as its opponents have distorted the outcome. Title IX and federal programs would not be affected and it is time that the government stop treating people differently.

DL: Anyone who thinks that racism is not alive is not looking. One of the issues on which he and Hardiman agree, although Hardiman agrees with the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. We need to keep it from being passed to protect women and people of color.

BH: He opposed it and believes the Supreme Court decision is good as it disallows quotas while allowing race to be considered in law school for its positive benefits.

BG: Many folks are insulted by the idea that women and people of color cannot make it, the government should not pick and chose whom to support.

BH: There has not been a level playing field.

DL: The American Dream will not function if there is no equal opportunity because power is held by white men only.

Q: Is the state gas tax enough to fund highways and are area roads at the right level of quality?

BH: The gas tax is about right but it might have to be looked at sometime, although he supports looking at the whole tax structure. He would focus on infrastructure and reminded the audience that he blocked a Granholm attempt to cut area road projects.

DL: It is rash to talk about increasing the gas tax in an era of high prices. There needs to be more effective advocacy to get money here.

BG: He would prioritize repair and maintenance over construction and would raise the gas tax while looking at toll roads to prevent poor from funding road projects.

BH: The governor’s “Fix it First” program would have taken money to the other side of the state.

DL: Agrees with looking at toll roads, as it does not penalize the urban core areas.

BG: New roads provide direct subsidies to developers.

Q: Television ads in other races have raised the issue of imported trash and the fact that it cannot be banned under NAFTA – what would you do to address the issue?

DL: He would reduce out of state trash by raising fees and rebating money to municipalities. No changes need to be made to trade agreements to solve the issue using a Democratic proposal.

BG: Likes the idea of raising fees but the problem was created 40 years ago when it was demanded that each county have their own landfill capacity. The issue shows that there is too much partisanship to work together on it.

BH: Does not support a fee increase, as we would pay for it. He is intrigued by LaGrand’s proposal, but we have done what we can do on the issue for now. There was a 2004 bill requiring Canadian trash to meet Michigan standards and there is a law ready to turn back Canadian trash if it becomes a possibility due to federal changes.

BG: Nobody has discussed recycling as means of reducing waste.

Q: What are your views on current regulations governing the privatization of the state’s waters?

BH: Water is important; the Senate passed SB 850 to put into effect the annex 2001 agreement for water withdrawal standards and to allow for public comment.

DL: We must retain the state waters and not allow them to go out of the state. Water needs to be cleaned, especially Lansing. He is opposed to factory farms and their sewage run-off while Bill Hardiman supports them.

BG: The Great Lakes Compact is sufficient. Pollution is not focused on now and one change he would make is allowing individuals to sue polluters.

BH: He likes farms and says that he can work with all farmers.

DL: At the last debate that Hardiman attended he said that he favored increasing the number of factory farms. Factory farms are unregulated.

Q: Would you do anything to promote alternative energy?

DL: He would like to pass a law that allows people to sell energy back to Consumers Energy. Michigan has a great potential for wind energy but now people can stop windmills as “nuisances,” so he would like to address that issue. He says that the state must have a renewable energy portfolio.

DL: It is imperative to work on alternative fuels. He has supported tax breaks for ethanol and said that ethanol will help farmers.

BG: He would raise the gas tax and is concerned that there are not many places to access alternative fuels. He is worried that incentives for alternative energy will go to corporations.

DL: Ethanol is a shell game in which oil-based fertilizer goes onto corn meaning that you are essentially turning oil into oil. He says that instead we must work on truly clean wind and solar energy.

Q: Does the content and tone of advertisements produced by the Michigan GOP reflect how you are campaigning?

BH: No, he contacted Michigan GOP chair Anuzis about the extreme negativity. He runs a positive campaign and does not want such negativity in his campaign.

BG: Negative campaigning will be with us unless we change the electoral system to get rid of gerrymandering and make serious electoral reforms.

DL: He presented a pledge for no “robo-calls” in the election and urged Hardiman to sign it. He will pass a law requiring all literature to say who paid, authored, and authorized it.

BH: He has sponsored legislation getting rid of robo-calls. He already has done it on his own and does not do them as he runs a clean campaign.

BG: Government is good at exempting political parties from rules that govern businesses, so political parties do not have to follow the Do-not Call Registry.

DL: Bill Hardiman made Robo-calls in the last election.

BH: The calls were made on his behalf but he did not authorize them and could not stop them.

Closing Statement

BG: We need more discussion, not less. It is not negative to talk about corruption in society and democracy. We need proportional representation because with a corrupt political process, people drop out when they feel that their vote does not count.

DL: Hardiman said that part of integrity is showing up, but it needs to be much more than that. There has been a failure of leadership on Hardiman’s half and he is ready to take Hardiman’s spot and bring funding back to the community and to improve the economy.

BH: It is good to discuss the issues. He grew up in this community in a poor area and went from Grand Rapids Community College, to Grand Valley State University, and on to Western Michigan University. He realizes how lucky he is to represent the community. He worked with businesses as mayor of Kentwood. He faced obstacles and tough issues as a Senator, but he brought money into the community.

Candidates Debate at 75th District Michigan House Candidate Forum

Democratic candidate Robert Dean and Republican candidate Tom Doyle debated last night at a candidate forum for Michigan’s 75th House District. One of the two candidates will represent northeast Grand Rapids after the November 7 election.

Last night Democratic candidate Robert Dean, a former Grand Rapids Public Schools board member and City Commissioner, debated Republican candidate and assistant prosecutor Tim Doyle at a candidate forum held at Grand Valley State University. The 75th Michigan House of Representative covers areas of Grand Rapids east of Fuller Avenue and east of Eastern Avenue. In keeping with Media Mouse’s commitment to provide substantive election coverage, we have summarized the questions and candidate responses:

Opening Statements

Tim Doyle (TD): It is important to have leadership in Lansing. He is running on three main issues that people have brought up as he has gone door to door. These issues are the economy (get back on track with a competitive economy), education (make sure Michigan has the education and skills for the jobs of tomorrow), and neighborhoods (make them safe and with a high quality of life).

Robert Dean (RD): He has experience in the community and a long history of involvement and solutions as a results-oriented leader. He has served as a pastor, school board member, and city commissioner. He places service above self, wants to go to Lansing to restore revenue sharing, and does not want to see any cuts to police and fire service.

Q: The Single Business Tax (SBT) will be eliminated in 2007, what would you replace it with and would you replace all the money?

RD: He would replace it dollar for dollar and while he is in favor of eliminating it, there must be something in place. He says that you cannot wait until after the election to say what you want to do, and as such, he advocates a broad-based tax that will not punish companies as the SBT does.

TD: Make sure the economic environment retains and attracts employers. He does not think a plan is needed for “the bad tax” before elected as the tax cost jobs and prevented companies from coming to Michigan.

Q: Do you support eliminating and replacing the personal Property Tax?

TD: You do not need to replace it dollar for dollar, but replace most of the money. It is good to give businesses tax breaks for creating jobs but there must be an overall competitive tax policy.

RD: The legislature should look at eliminating this onerous tax but it cannot be done on the backs of programs for seniors and education.

Q: With the state general fund at its current levels, cuts would need to be made if revenue sharing increased – what would you cut?

RD: He advocates growing the state out of the current budget situation by looking at how to generate revenue. He wrote the city of Grand Rapids’ business plan that helped to do this. He says it is over regulation and the perception that the tax climate is preventing business more so than taxes themselves preventing businesses from investing in Michigan. He told people to look at “Health Hill” on Michigan Street for an example of his successes.

TD: We need to get the state back on track and he agrees with Dean that revenue sharing needs to be increased.

Q: Granholm wants to double the number of four-year college graduates, do you support this and how would you fund it?

TD: It is a good goal and he supports it, but people he has conversed with going door-to-door are looking for jobs more than degrees. He thinks that it would be a better use of money to focus on 2-year programs at community colleges that provide people with the skills for the factory jobs of today.

RD: He supports the proposal and says that it can be done if the state is creative in its funding.

Q: Should charter schools be allowed to expand?

RD: No, the experiment to create competition has failed, as standards have not gone up. They are taking money from the same Michigan general fund but are not regulated by the state.

TD: He supports an increase in the cap if there is priority funding for urban schools. He says that it is important to give parents a choice and that charter schools make public schools accountable through competition.

Q: Do you support Proposal 5’s increase of state money for education based on inflation, and if it passes, how would you fund it?

TD: The Grand Rapids Public Schools oppose it, as does he because it ties the budget to inflation. Education is one of the only areas that has seen an increased budget over the past few years and it would be devastating for other programs if the legislators hands were tied by this proposal.

RD: He does not support it because people elect legislators to make budget decisions and if there is a problem with school funding legislators need to be held accountable.

Q: If Proposal 5 passes, what would be cut to pay for it?

RD: The money could be found by reforming the penal system, as rates of prisoner reentry are “crazy.” He would like to see people going to prison and being trained for when they reenter society.

TD: The penal system and Department of Human Services, but it would be difficult to fund each year. He supports programs to help prisoners adjust to society as a means of reducing prison expenses.

Q: Services have been cut for poor and low income Michigan residents over the past few years, do these cuts match your priorities and are there any such programs that you would cut increase funding for?

TD: You have to represent everyone and all programs are on the table. He would like to consolidate programs as was done with seniors and the “single point of entry” in order to make it easier for people to get signed up.

RD: He is a “compassionate conservative” and he initiated the “single point of entry” approach with Area Agency on Aging and others. He stressed that it is essential to understand that lives are being dealt with when cuts are made.

Q: Would you have voted to increase the minimum wage had you been in office?

RD: He was one of those involved in the campaign to increase it. One reason he was involved is that those taking care of seniors—as his mother did for many years—are paid low wages with 42% of senior caregivers living below the poverty line.

TD: He would have voted for it, as the alternative of tying it to inflation would have been disastrous. That proposal, according to business owners he spoke with, would have required them to eliminate jobs. He said it is more important to fund education for higher-ranking jobs as there are not that many minimum wage jobs.

Q: Michigan is a prevailing wage state for construction projects; do you support waivers for school systems to avoid this?

TD: There should be a waiver for schools, especially with schools in Grand Rapids falling apart as it makes it hard to learn. He says that the prevailing wage is up for debate but if it stifles building, he is opposed to it.

RD: He supports local control and supported in previous jobs. There must be a local decision to do prevailing wage.

Q: Most highway construction is funded with the gas tax—is the tax at the right rate and are roads in good shape?

RD: The roads are not at the right level of quality given the fact that money is there. Dean said that this is an issue where it is clear that wealthy interests are supporting his opponent and urged people to check online for a list of PACs and special interests supporting Doyle.

TD: He said that special interests have made a choice about who is a better leader. The roads are not good and the area consistently comes up short in proportional funding for roads. It is a travesty that the roads are so bad but he will not raise gas taxes.

Q: Is there a state role in public transit? Do you support changes?

TD: The state has a role and there needs to be a focus on the benefits of public transit from an economic and social perspective. It is necessary for urban revitalization and getting people to jobs. It needs to be proportionately funded.

RD: He worked on a regional transportation partnership while a City Commissioner. He thinks funding can be increased by partnering and building alliances.

Q: Imported trash has come up as an issue in other races with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) saying that out of state trash cannot be treated differently. Michigan trash rates are the lowest in the region, would you do anything to make changes on this issue?

RD: He has supported increased rates since the start of his campaign. Michigan could look to the model from Pennsylvania where the raising of rates has almost eliminated the problem. He also supports a moratorium on new landfills.

TD: He is opposed to raising rates, as citizens would pay more. Michigan needs to pressure the national legislature to work on the issue. Much of Michigan’s trash goes to Wisconsin, he would like to see Canadian trash pick up Michigan trash on the way and go to Wisconsin.

Q: The diversion of the state’s waters, especially in light of a bottling plant north of Grand Rapids, has become an issue—what do you think of current regulations?

TD: They are sufficient as there is a cap in place. This environmental issue is more important that Canadian trash—Michigan needs to prevent the Southwestern United States from taking its water. However, if lake levels become affected he supports revisiting current regulations.

RD: You do not want the state to become the “great dry state” instead of the “great lakes state” and it is essential that we look at the selling of water for profit. This issue also connects with the trash issue, as landfills must have filters and protections to prevent run-off into waterways.

Q: How do you feel about live fire exercises in the Great Lakes proposed by the Coast Guard?

RD: They should not be able to do it. You have to look at the lead in the ammunition and the poisoning of the ecosystem as a result. He was also involved in the issue of lead as an environmental issue with homes in the 3rd Ward of Grand Rapids—he got a $5 million grant from the federal government to address that problem.

TD: It is a bad example to relate lead in ammunition to homes, but we do need to look at how it will effect the environment. Some scientists say it will not harm the environment. Environmental concerns must be balanced with national security concerns.

Q: Do you support the repeal of the motorcycle helmet law?

RD: He does not think it is a good idea to repeal it in light of his work as a night Chaplin at area hospitals and the head injuries that he has seen. It becomes a long term cost for society through healthcare costs for those injured.

TD: In his reviewing of traffic deaths he has seen horrific accidents and society will have to pay through healthcare costs that insurance does not cover. When personal decisions affect society, they sometimes have to be regulated.

Q: Does the content and tone of Michigan GOP literature reflect your views?

TD: He said immediately that he is opposed to the ads run by the Michigan GOP and that similar advertisements should not be allowed on either side. These independent expenditures are an issue that he wants to deal with in Lansing.

RD: It is a lack of leadership and experience that produced the ads. He has stood up and said that he would not allow it in his campaign and it has not happened. If Doyle cannot stop it now, how would he in Lansing?

TD: It is a lack of legal knowledge by Dean, nobody can control them and that is why it needs to be addressed.

RD: Doyle is hiding behind legal technicalities.

Q: Incarceration rates are growing, if the incarceration of nonviolent offenders is not the best route, what alternatives do you propose?

RD: He would remove mandatory sentencing guidelines and give judges leeway in sentencing as that goes to the heart of the problem.

TD: Dean is again showing a lack of knowledge, judges have guidelines and they exist for uniformity’s sake. You have to start with education and giving skills and opportunity; focus at the community level.

Q: Do you support limiting abortion in the case of rape and incest?

TD: He is endorsed by Right to Life and their position that it does not matter how a life was created but that we need to focus on that life. There needs to be programs for adoption and support.

RD: He was also endorsed by Right to Life.

Q: What would you do to increase participation in the political process?

RD: He would be a Democrat. In looking at the corruption, it is clear that people are voting with their feet by refusing to vote. He would bring back accountability and honesty.

TD: It has to start in schools where the importance of civics must be stressed. People do not understand the basics or that voting is important.

Q: More and more jobs are full time without benefits, how would you address the healthcare issue and do you support the approach used in Maine?

TD: The Maine approach is interesting and it should be looked at. Healthcare is the biggest long-term issue and we need to figure out how to make it more affordable. Reducing emergency room visits by offering other options would help.

RD: Pharmaceutical corporations are making massive profits while being immune from lawsuits if their drugs cause deaths. We need to look at the state’s bulk buying as a potential means of reducing the cost of drugs.

Closing Statements

RD: He served two terms on the City Commission and the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board. The election is crucial in maintaining the status quo or getting change. When on the board, he helped GRPS to get its highest MEAP scores and had success with development with the “Health Hill.” He is running because he has a deep concern for the community and city.

TD: There are three key issues—economy (create an atmosphere for jobs staying), education (workforce development), and quality of neighborhoods (faith-based community and philanthropy has helped with this). Grand Rapids needs someone that can get things done and understands the process, which he does due to working in the Senate while in law school. He reminded the audience that the Grand Rapids Press endorsed him.

Voter's Guide Provides Look at Major and Third Party Candidates Running for State and Federal Office Michigan

The League of Women Voters has put together a useful voter’s guide for the 2006 election that looks at a variety of state and federal candidates running for office this year.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan has put together a voting guide for the 2006 election and as the election gets closer, Media Mouse thought it would be pertinent to post locally relevant portions of it below. Unlike much of the election coverage in the corporate media, the voter guide includes candidates outside of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Governor – Four Year Term – Vote for One (1)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words, “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


How do you propose to bring additional revenue into the state of Michigan budget?


What new measures would you advocate to preserve Michigan’s natural resources, including the Great Lakes?


Beyond creating an attractive business climate, what specific proposal would you offer for increasing jobs in Michigan?

Dick DeVos, Republican

I was born and raised in Ada, Michigan. I graduated from Forest Hills Public Schools and received a Bachelor of Business Administration Northwood University. I led Amway/Alticor as president for nine years, and I am currently the president of The Windquest Group, a private investment company. I have been involved with many community revitalization projects in Grand Rapids through the Grand Action committee.

1. Making Michigan’s business climate attractive to job providers is vital to our state budget. As governor, I will create a pro-jobs tax structure that will end Michigan’s reputation as an unfriendly business climate and make Michigan more competitive with other states. To ensure that we can provide funding for important state services such as education, public safety, road projects and Medicaid, we must create in Michigan a climate that fosters job creation and economic growth.

2. Any conservation strategy for Michigan must start with the Great Lakes. It is absolutely essential that we keep our water clean, safe and plentiful. As governor, I will fight against polluters, guard against water diversions and work to stop dangerous invasive species. I also believe in the importance of practicing conservation for people, not from people. My administration will fight to ensure access to our natural resources and protect Michigan’s strong outdoor heritage.

3. In The Michigan TurnAround Plan (www.TheMichiganTurnAroundPlan.com), I outline 134 specific steps that will bring jobs to Michigan. For example, we must make state government a friend of job makers by creating one-stop shopping for businesses. We must make sure job training results in a job. We must improve our education system to make sure every child has a chance. Finally, we must do more to sell Michigan-made products around the world resulting in more jobs.

Jennifer M. Granholm, Democrat

I previously served as federal prosecutor in Detroit, where I had a 98 percent conviction rate, and as Wayne County’s chief lawyer, where I reduced taxpayer funded lawsuit payouts by 87 percent. Elected Attorney General in 1998, I continued to protect consumers and Michigan’s families by cracking down on gas gougers and prosecuting nursing home employees who abused elders. My husband Daniel Mulhern and I have three children.

1. I balanced the state’s budget, despite inheriting $4 billion in deficits, without a general tax increase. I will not shift the tax burden from corporations to working families. I am bringing in additional revenue by going anywhere and doing anything to bring jobs to Michigan. I made government more efficient and improved our business climate. I have improved our quality of life, workforce, and infrastructure – the most important factors in business location decisions.

2. I am modernizing Michigan’s economy with pro-environment investments in alternative and renewable energy. My administration is drafting a statewide rule that will reduce harmful mercury emissions by 90%. I recently signed landmark laws to protect the Great Lakes from water diversion and from ships who dump toxic chemicals, and I will vigorously enforce these laws. I will continue to enforce steep penalties on polluters and fight to keep out-of-state waste from being dumped in Michigan.

3. My $6 billion Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow plan is the nation’s most aggressive economic plan. My $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund has already funded 61 startup projects, creating thousands of jobs in growing industries. Our stringent new high school curriculum and my proposed $4,000 scholarship for every child will give Michigan the world’s most qualified workforce. I am putting Michigan to work today by speeding up construction projects and training workers for existing openings.

Douglas Campbell, Green

A graduate of Ohio State University and a registered professional engineer in Michigan, I am currently employed as a white-collar autoworker and am a member of IFPTE local 2001. Like all Green Party candidates, I accept only individual contributions. No PAC, soft, corporate or other special-interest money and the expectation of payback it brings. Only by funding campaigns with clean money can elected officials remain loyal to The People, not corporate special interests.

1. I propose redirecting Michigan’s priorities away from current corrupt and unjustifiable practices such as corporate welfare and incarcerating people for simple possession, and back toward the fundamental business of the State. Ending the siege of Iraq will free up Michigan’s eleven-billion-dollar share of the cost. I also propose closing loopholes such as the Diesel fuel road tax subsidy, eliminating tax exemptions, revitalizing the estate tax and taxing money, not people.

2. Existing law is adequate if vigorously enforced. New measures are unnecessary and will be ineffective if inadequately enforced. We need more investigators, more field personnel and above all, whistleblower protection. The working people at facilities potentially threatening Michigan’s natural resources are best positioned to know what’s going wrong; we need to assure them they will not lose everything for speaking up and reporting wrongdoing. We need to permanently set aside wilderness areas.

3. “Creating an attractive business climate” is a thinly-veiled code phrase for corporate welfare: Giving away tax dollars to large corporations and transferring the tax liability to individuals. It has never increased the number of people employed and it never will. I will hire people directly, WPA-fashion, to do the State’s business. Reopen the Lafayette Clinic and the Recorder’s Court, clean up environmental disasters, build roads to a Michigan specification, operate public transit systems …

Bhagwan Dashairya, US Taxpayers

I have a BS degree in Mathematics from Allahabad University, BS in Mechanical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University, PhD in Engineering from Mississippi University and MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Davenport University. I am President and CEO of Dashairya & Associates, a management consulting firm and Executive Director of the Council of Organizations of Asian Indians in Michigan. I have been married for 32 years and have 3 children who have attended U of M and MSU.

1. Bring good paying manufacturing jobs back to America by replacing the Federal Income Tax with revenue tariffs. Reduce government by privatizing services. Part-time pay for part time legislature. Every department will have an indexed budget relationship proportional to tax revenue creating a balanced budget forever. Eliminate all advertising and media expenditures by state government. Eliminate economic development grants.

2. The natural resources are our nation’s wealth and hence, must be preserved and protected physically and environmentally from foreign invaders, natural or manmade. We believe the natural resources should be used to benefit our people.

3. Bring good paying manufacturing jobs back to America by replacing federal income tax with revenue tariffs. Eliminate single business tax. Privatize government services. Eliminate all taxes for seniors. Privatize all education. Part-time pay for part-time legislature. Use U.S. Constitution as a guide to conduct our business with only one motto “Government of People, Government for People, and Government by People”. Indexed Budget.

Gregory Creswell, Libertarian

I was Born and raised in Detroit Michigan. I have been married for 24 years, and am a father of two. I graduated from Chadsey High School in 1975, and attended Wayne County Community College. I am a member of Brass Roots and a donor to numerous free-market and individual rights groups. I attend a Baptist church and have volunteered numerous times for certain causes. My family has supported charities for years.

1. The politicians do not need additional revenue; they need to stop wasting our money. Prisons should only be used to protect the public from dangerous criminals; everyone should be free to engage in any peaceful, honest activity. Libertarians advocate tearing down barriers to entrepreneurism, economic growth and privatized education. Instead of maintaining the welfare system, we should establish a dollar-for-dollar tax-cut for charitable donations.

2. Libertarians advocate privatization to preserve and protect all of Michigan’s natural resources, along with making all polluters (not other taxpayers) pay for clean-ups. The great lakes are threatened by the introduction of non-indigenous wildlife. Ships that have passed through international waters should be required to prove they have purged their ballast prior to being admitted to the Great Lakes system.

3. A free-market economy, not government planning, is the best way to create jobs, keep the cost of goods down, and provide a better standard of living for everybody. To that end, Libertarians support eliminating the single business tax and replacing it, not with new taxes, but by making necessary budget cuts. Libertarians oppose corporate welfare and burdensome regulations that keep small businesses from being competitive. We oppose all attempts to regulate and tax internet transactions.or township clerk.

Secretary of State – Four Year Term – Vote for One (1)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


What are the most important functions of the office of Secretary of State?


What would you do to ensure accessibility to the polls and fairness for all Michigan voters?


What measures do you support or oppose regarding campaign finance reform?

Terri Lynn Land, Republican

In 2002, Terri Lynn Land was elected to serve as Michigan’s 41st Secretary of State. Since then, she has worked to make services more efficient and user-friendly. From offering expanded hours to instituting cutting-edge technology in branch offices, the department is providing services faster and easier than ever. Also under Land’s leadership, Michigan’s elections are now unified by one optical scan system. Other accomplishments include introducing new voting equipment for disabled voters and consolidating elections.

1. The Michigan Department of State touches more lives than any department in state government. It is my goal to ensure that every transaction takes place as efficiently and as easily as possible. Whether renewing a driver license, registering to vote for the first time, or registering a new vehicle, my mission as Secretary of State is to ensure that Michigan’s citizens are receiving the world class customer service they demand – and deserve.

2. I am proud of the work we’ve done in elections since taking office. With the help of local clerks, we have successfully implemented new federal standards for administering elections. Today, every polling location in Michigan is unified under one optical scan system, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. Additionally, we recently introduced new equipment in every polling location designed to allow those with disabilities to vote private and independently for the first time in Michigan’s history.

3. The campaign finance process should be open and accountable. I propose sweeping to our current system, as I believe that contributions should be posted online before they are deposited or spent. I also advocate greater accountability, which can be achieved by granting audit authority and subpoena power to the Secretary of State. With real-time, on-line disclosure and greater accountability, voters will have more access to information. Visit http://www.terrilynnland.com for more information.

Carmella Sabaugh, Democrat

I am currently serving my fourth term as Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds. Our office has received several National Association of County Officials “Good Government Awards” for programs offering “outstanding service to taxpayers.” In 2006, I was honored in the U.S. Congressional record for “an innovative new partnership” to fight document fraud with the Social Security Administration. Previously, I served four years on the Warren City Council and eleven years as Warren City Clerk.

1. The Secretary of State are responsible for keeping records on vehicle ownership, driver’s licenses, business services, elections, notary and document certification and organ donations. All are important functions but elections stand out. The office must ensure fair election procedures and must encourage new voter registration and voter participation. Every elector must have a clear understanding of the function of voting machines and the issues on the ballot. Voter education must be a top priority.

2. The Secretary of State must ensure all voting equipment is working properly, especially the new “Automark” machines designed to assist disabled voters. If elected, I would serve as an impartial official, insist on election transparency, and provide voters with as much information as possible, including offering sample ballots at branch offices. I support same day voter registration and no reason absentee voting. I am opposed to requiring photo identification to vote.

3. I favor making public, candidates who do not file campaign reports on time. I initiated this policy in Macomb County as Clerk and it should be the policy of the Secretary of State. I also favor higher daily fines for candidates who are filing late reports. Candidates who do not file campaign finance reports must be prosecuted. The public has the right to information about campaign contributions and expenditures.

Lynn Meadows, Green

Lynn Meadows earned a B.A. and M.A, was a Manager and Independent Sales Representative who recently retired from the UM Hospital Gift Shop. She is an avid volunteer, is currently chair of the Tamarack Greens, co-secretary on the Steering Committee of Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and President of the Committee for Chelsea Parks. She was recently honored by the Gray Panthers as one of the top activists in Washtenaw County.

1. Administering elections may be the most critical part of the Secretary of State’s job at this time. The Help Americans Vote Act has introduced new voting machines that have caused some concern among voters about the authenticity of our voting process. Another important challenge is to provide efficient customer service for licensing and voter registration both online and at local SOS offices. Long lines and 2 hour waits are unacceptable.

2. Election day should be declared a Holiday, or be on a Saturday and/or Sunday. Another option is to make Absentee Ballots available to all voters or to “vote by mail” as is done in Oregon. Voter registration should be automatic on the 18th birthday of US born citizens on record with the SOS and for new citizens on the day they become naturalized.

3. The kind of public funding that has been instituted by Maine, Arizona and others would greatly improve our current system in Michigan where outrageous amounts of special-interest money are spent. Public office is intended to serve the people, not just big campaign contributors. Television and radio stations are to give “public service” in exchange for licensing. Each qualified candidate should be given an equal amount of air time and/or be provided opportunities for debates.

Attorney General – Four Year Term – Vote for One (1)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


What is the most important issue facing the Attorney General and how do you propose to deal with that issue?


What would you do to enforce current Michigan environmental laws?


If elected, what would be your priorities?

Mike Cox, Republican

Did not respond in time for publication.

Amos Williams, Democrat

Amos Williams went to work at Dodge Main in Hamtramck as a member of the UAW in 1965 after high school. Williams joined the Army, fought in Viet Nam where he was decorated for Valor and received a Bronze Star and Purple Hearts. In 1968, he joined the Detroit Police Department, rose to Sergeant then Lieutenant, and received a Department Citation for service. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1980 and WSU in 1982…

1. The most important issue in this election comes down to a basic choice: do we want to continue to employ an Attorney General who does the bidding of special interests, or do we want an Attorney General who will faithfully execute his oath of office: to protect and defend the People and Constitution of our great state. From insurance companies who overcharge and wrongfully deny claims to environmental scofflaws to gas gougers, this Attorney General…

2. People who pollute our water and air should be held responsible for their actions. The Attorney General has the authority to prosecute those who violate the law, including environmental violations. The current AG has ignored referrals from the Department of Environmental Quality. I will conduct thorough investigations and initiate prosecutions of polluters. I will not bow to special interests who seek to make a profit at the expense of the environment.

3. I will protect seniors from scam artists who prey on them. I will vigorously enforce consumer protection laws. I will establish a strong child protection unit to protect our children from internet predators. I will protect the reproductive rights of women.

Charles F. Conces, US Taxpayers

4 Years in US Air Force, Electronic Countermeasures, B.A. in Languages, Married 43 years, Chairman of Lawmen Public Interest Group, Give Lectures to various groups, Has taught many classes in Pro-se law, Done research on laws for the last 8 years.

1. Corruption in government is the single most important issue. The incumbents have felt safe enough from public scrutiny, to break the law and deceive the public that it has turned into a “good old boy” network of protecting them from prosecution. That is why there are over 1 million illegally filed notices of lien filed on our fellow citizens, and Mike Cox, the present A.G. refuses to even address the issue.

2. The environment is very important. Government is guilty of pollution, as well as some private citizens. I would also work to see that new technology is not blocked by private interests to get more M.P.G. fuel efficiency.

3. a) Order all illegally filed “notices of lien” that do not have a certification or a court order accompanying them, be removed. b) Review cases where citizen’s constitutional rights have been violated and take appropriate action. c) Embark on a public education program to inform citizens of their rights. d) Order that all Ordinances, that were not properly adopted, be rescinded. e) Have an “open door” policy.

Bill Hall, Libertarian

Attorney/partner in Warner Norcross & Judd, one of Michigan’s largest private law firms, specializing in real estate and election law. More than 25 years’ experience with Warner Norcross advising individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Managed my firm’s Real Estate Services Group for more than 10 years – approximately 40 attorneys/paralegals. Boy Scout leader more than 12 years. Honors graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Wabash College. Listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

1. Attorney General Mike Cox’s term has been marked by scandal, impropriety and extreme partisanship. We need an Attorney General who is truly independent, not beholden to Republican or Democratic bosses or special interests, and will restore respect, integrity and a commitment to excellent service. One who will defend individuals and Small Business from Big Government, root out corruption and incompetence at all levels, and ensure politicians and bureaucrats follow the law and respect our rights.

2. Michigan governments at all levels own more land and control more of the Michigan economy than any other business. They don’t have the same incentive to preserve public resources against environmental damage that private owners have to preserve their own property. My first priority is to enforce environmental laws against government agencies. Second, I will prosecute polluters whose wrongdoing impacts many others, not private owners for minor impacts to wetlands on their own property.

3. First, being a watchdog against big government. Rooting out corruption and incompetence. Ensuring politicians and bureaucrats follow the law. Second, being a friend to Small Business. Working for, not against, a business climate that encourages job creation. Third, being family-friendly. Reforming the divorce/child support system. Ending Mike Cox’s crusade to jail parents who can’t pay child support. Fourth, defending medical freedom. Ending prosecutions of sick and dying cancer and AIDS patients for using medical marijuana.

United States Senator – Six Year Term – Vote for One (1)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words, “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


Are you concerned about the size of the federal deficit? Explain your answer.


What government measures would you propose to improve access to affordable health care?


The United States uses a great deal of fossil fuel for power generation and transportation. What measures would you support to tackle the ever increasing need for energy?

Michael Bouchard, Republican

From the many conversations I’ve had with Michigan citizens since entering the race for the U.S. Senate, one thing has become increasingly clear. We’re concerned that the American dream of a good job, affordable health care, secure retirement and most of all – a safe place to live – is less secure than it has been in the past. I’m running for the U.S. Senate because we owe it to our children and grandchildren to turn this around…

1. The government is running a deficit, not because it does not have enough revenue, but because it is spending too much. The level of federal spending has reached an absurdly high level and must be cut. I helped pass a balanced budget every year I was in the state legislature, and will do the same in the U.S. Senate. I also believe that every President should be granted line item veto authority to reduce spending…

2. The rising cost of health care has affected all Michigan businesses and our state is approaching crisis status. Yet universal healthcare is not the solution. I have yet to see an example where the government takes over a service from the private sector and delivers it more efficiently for less money. The government can help lower costs by passing medical malpractice reform, encouraging more consumer choice, and consumers to take greater responsibility for their health.

3. The energy problems we are facing are due, in large part, to Senate Democrats’ efforts to block the development of a comprehensive energy policy that encourages development of alternative energy sources. Energy independence is a homeland security issue, as we are currently dependent on volatile nations for many of our energy needs. By exploring and encouraging the development of new energy sources such as clean coal and ethanol through a comprehensive energy policy, we can…

Debbie Stabenow, Democrat

Senator Debbie Stabenow was born in Gladwin, Michigan and raised in Clare, she then attended Michigan State University. An acknowledged leader for many years, she has served in county government, the state legislature, the U.S. House and now as the first woman from Michigan ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Senator Stabenow’s home is in Lansing where she lives with her husband, Tom Athans. She has two grown children, Todd and Michelle, and one stepdaughter, Gina.

1. After the Clinton administration, we had the largest surplus in our history. Now, we face the largest deficit in our history. I opposed both the poorly planned economic policies and the war in Iraq that left us with this stunning deficit. We must return to sound economic policies that allow us to balance the budget while focusing on critical support for our troops and investments in education and innovation to grow the economy.

2. Skyrocketing health care costs are costing Michigan jobs and threatening Michigan families. I have authored real solutions to: a) Invest in new health technologies that experts say would reduce health care costs up to $300 billion while improving the quality of care. b) Reduce prescription drug prices by increasing competition, through greater access to generic drugs and safe re-importation from Canada. c) Help our automakers and manufacturers deal with huge “catastrophic” health care costs.

3. I fought for the Energy Act of 2005, which has jump-started the construction of ethanol and bio-diesel plants in Michigan, through tax incentives and a new renewable fuels standard. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I helped author a new Energy Title to the Farm Bill that focuses on production of bio-fuels and creating new jobs in this emerging industry. I want Americans to buy fuel from “Middle America” instead of the Middle East.

David Sole, Green

Anti-war, anti-racist, union activist starting 1960’s. Ann Arbor SDS 1969-70. Venceremos Brigade to Cuba 1970. Arrested fighting KKK, 1972. Member UAW since 1971- co-chair Local 15’s Stop Plant Closings Committee. Marched for workers’, immigrants’, women’s, LGBT rights. Protested U.S. attacks on Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran. Defying sanctions, delivered antibiotics to Iraqi hospitals 1998. Opposes Israeli crimes against Lebanese, Palestinian people. Member MECAWI; IAC; Workers World Party; President UAW Local 2334.

1. End federal deficit by immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and ending U.S. wars and threats to keep economic control of the world for the profits of giant corporations. Take the hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending and use it for education, jobs, housing and healthcare. Tax corporate profits and the rich, cut taxes for working people, and eliminate interest payments to the banks on federal debt to fund human needs not war.

2. Slash the Pentagon and military budget, tax the corporations and rich, and eliminate interest payments to the banks on federal debt to pay for free national health care for all, including prescription drugs. Takeover the price gouging pharmaceutical industry and put it under public control. Guarantee reproductive rights including safe legal abortion for all women. Fund stem cell research. Eliminate role of greedy insurance companies in the healthcare system. Healthcare is a basic human right!

3. Dismantle the Pentagon war machine, the biggest guzzler of fossil fuels. Oil companies should use their record profits to roll back gas and fuel prices. No utility shut offs. Oil should belong to the people, not the corporations! For a massive jobs program to build fuel efficient mass transit systems in every city that lacks it. Make the corporations and Pentagon clean up and reverse the environmental destruction they have wreaked around the world.

W. Dennis FitzSimons, US Taxpayers

B.S. Electrical Engineering, Lawrence Technological University. Elected VP Freshman, President Sr/Jr. years. Member student council three years. Served on three Governor’s task force committees in Benton Harbor: Family/Parenting, Criminal Justice System, and Police/Community Relations. Spoke weekly to the city commissioners/Mayor four weeks before civil unrest and ten weeks after. Government’s a spiritual gift (1Corinthians 12:28 KJB.) Candidate for Congress 2004. Suggested the Brake Light in the Rear window 7/7/77. (PTL)

1. Eight trillion dollars of debt equals $100,000 for

each of 80 million workers. The other workers are too near minimum wage to pay the debt. Our constitution was written to eliminate flat paper money. Used God’s money of silver/gold. Today use our coins – eliminate paper. Twenty seven hundred years ago Isaiah spoke of the dump dogs that can’t bark in the KJB. Could that be our Federal Reserve System? Not Federal/No Reserve!

2. When the extended family was intact, Grandmother was the herbalist/primary care giver. Today the parents may have three children in three different states. Divide/Conquer. The physicians desk reference (PDR) is 75% about the side effects of drugs, while God’s healing herbs are safe and effective without dangerous side effects. We should immediately train up an army of naturopathy doctors using God’s natural remedies including Colloidal Sliver which cured my Lyme disease.

3. Thirty years ago the energy problem became apparent and government, industry and oil companies did little to solve the problem. Twenty years ago, I drove East on a four lane freeway and there was just as much traffic going West. If the rich lived with the poor they created, then our communities would be more _(?)_ and travel greatly reduced. True brotherhood in America would pay fair livable wages and employ all Citizens!

Leonard Schwartz, Libertarian

Retired professor of law & economics. Born 1945 and raised in Detroit. BA in history and philosophy, U. of Chicago. MA in economics, Johns Hopkins

U. JD, Wayne State U. Law School. See http://www.LeonardSchwartz.us/bio.html for more information.

1. I’m very concerned. Making future generations pay for excessive expenditures by this generation is immoral. To reduce the deficit, we should reduce expenditures, not increase taxes. Democratic & Republican politicians don’t respect you. They think they can spend your money and manage your life better than you can. Libertarians aren’t busybodies. Libertarians don’t want to spend your money or manage your life.

2. (1) End the prohibition of discounts to patients who pay doctors and hospitals directly, rather than use Medicare or insurance. (2) Reduce the cost of health care by ending the expensive war against herbal medicines. Because they can’t patent herbal medicines, drug companies make higher profits on synthetic drugs. The claim that synthetic drugs are safer than herbal medicines is ridiculous. The war is about money, not safety.

3. (1) Reduce the amount of fossil fuels used by government bureaucrats by reducing government expenditures. (2) End tariffs on imported ethanol (made mainly from sugar cane, which grows well in the tropics) and subsidies for domestic ethanol (made mainly from corn). Making ethanol from sugar cane, rather than corn, is more efficient and creates less pollution. We don’t need high taxes, subsidies and burdensome regulations to deal…

United States Representative 2 Year Term – Vote for One (1)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words, “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


Are you concerned about the size of the federal deficit? Explain your answer.


What government measures would you propose to improve access to affordable health care?


The United States uses a great deal of fossil fuel for power generation and transportation. What measures would you support to tackle the ever increasing need for energy?

3rd District

Vernon J. Ehlers, Republican

Ehlers was elected to Congress in December 1993. A former Physics Professor and research physicist, and active in community service, Ehlers served previously in the Michigan House and Senate. Ehlers serves on the Committee on House Administration as Chairman; the Science Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards; the Education and the Workforce Committee; the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress.

1. Yes, I am extremely concerned about the federal deficit. It is unfair to burden our children and grandchildren with a huge national debt. We need to slow the growth of federal spending and reform our entitlement programs, many of which are outdated and inefficient. We have made very large commitments in Social Security and Medicare, and we must be mindful of these huge impending costs as we consider federal spending in the coming years. …

2. I have supported several bills to expand affordable health care. The Medicare Modernization Act provides prescription drug coverage for people with Medicare. Health Savings Accounts allow Americans to contribute to a tax-free account to pay for routine medical needs and to save, tax free, the unspent contributions. Community health centers provide primary health care for the poor without them having to go to the hospital emergency rooms for routine care. In addition, I have voted …

3. I have strongly supported the development of alternative and renewable energy resources, and I have promoted efforts to conserve energy, increase energy efficiency and improve fuel economy so that we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. This includes tax credits for electricity produced through wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas facilities and trash combustion facilities. I also support incentives for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle purchases and tax credits for home energy efficiency improvements. Nuclear…

James R. Rinck, Democrat

After graduating from Calvin College and Illinois Law School, I have been a practicing attorney since 1982. I am currently self-employed. I handle cases involving Social Security, workers compensation and personal injury. In 1993, I was elected to the Grand Rapids Public School Board, where I have served in numerous capacities. I am also a father of two sons and serve as Scoutmaster for their Boy Scout troop.

1. Our current Administration has created massive deficits, which would be compounded by my opponent’s efforts to repeal the Estate Tax, and eliminate billions from tax revenues for the sole benefit of millionaires. Our tax code currently works for corporations instead of everyday citizens. Let’s start on this problem by eliminating earmarks. Finally, a huge portion of the deficit is due to our misguided War in Iraq; let’s cut costs there.

2. Massachusetts’ plan will be in full effect as July 2007. Just as welfare reform was modeled after an individual state’s plan, we may follow Massachusetts’ model for health care reform. We must examine how its plan works and modify it for America. We simply cannot continue to have uninsured Americans. The humane and just response is to insure people up front and limit costs and suffering later.

3. I would support mass transit systems. We have existing rail systems that we should take advantage of, as they are more energy efficient. I also support the development of solar, wind and even safe nuclear energy. We need to place luxury taxes on those who insist on driving vehicles that get less than ten miles per gallon. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil should be a top priority.

Rodger Gurk, Green

Rodger Gurk, 58, married 22 years, 4 children, 2 grandchildren. Graduate of Aquinas College. Clinical Social Worker. Born in Niles, Mi. Last 20 years in Grand Rapids. Green Party Candidate for 3rd District Congress.

1. Yes I am concerned, since 1975 the debt has risen from $542 billion to $8 trillion. The money has to come from somewhere to pay this off. Most likely it will be from Social programs that serve the poor, who do not Vote.

2. Improve access to health care. I support Global Health Care, and will support any legislation already in place, and if elected I will write legislation to start the Global Health Care movement.

3. Energy. I support alternative energy sources that are eco friendly. I would like to see more wind energy, and ethanol as long as the farmers don’t grow so much corn they knock the market out from under themselves. We may have to look at different construction in housing, and public transport.

Jeff A. Steinport, Libertarian

Jeff Steinport is a regional technology director in Grand Rapids for Advantage Sales and Marketing, a nationwide food broker and marketing agency. Jeff has his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ferris State University. Jeff was a member of the Grand Rapids Board of Education from 2001 to 2004, and served as the board’s treasurer, as well as on several committees.

1. Yes. Every year, more debt is added to the burden of trillions of dollars that the American people are responsible for. Not only that, but unfunded future liabilities will cause the deficit and national debt to balloon into the tens of trillions of dollars if nothing is done to correct the situation. Our nation’s financial and economic health is at risk because of the reckless spending habits of the congress and president.

2. Health care must be subject to the same market forces that keep prices low for other essentials. We wouldn’t dream of having the government run farms, housing construction firms, or car manufacturers, but today the government’s regulation and isolation of health care from the market causes prices to be artificially high. Medical savings accounts must be expanded and Americans encouraged to be good consumers so that health care costs are scrutinized and competition is injected.

3. Market forces are very powerful in regulating the cost and consumption of commodity items, such as fossil fuels. As prices go up, the feasibility of alternate fuels and technologies increases. In addition, the profits that oil companies make during boom times finance the exploration and innovation required to explore other methods of crude oil extraction. I also support allowing more clean and safe oil drilling in America and in America’s ocean waters.

State Board of Education – Eight-Year Term – Vote for Two (2)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


What long term evaluation plans should be in place to assess the results arising from the implementation of the new high school graduation requirements?


What new role/roles do you think the state board should undertake or, on the other hand, eliminate from its portfolio?


What measures should be taken to encourage the development of qualified Mathematics and Science teachers and to encourage young students to enter these fields?

Tom McMillin, Republican

Tom McMillin is President of Prevail Academy Charter School Board in Mt. Clemens. Tom graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Economics. He is a CPA and CFO of a property management company. Tom is happily married to Dalila McMillin and he has a wonderful 17 year old daughter, Jessica McMillin. Tom is former Mayor of Auburn Hills and County Commissioner. He is a member of the Charles Wright Museum.

1. Great care must be taken whenever the State interferes with local control and mandates what local districts must teach. Assessing the “success” of the newly imposed high school graduation standards should be done, not only by measuring any increased success of college-bound students, but also by measuring the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of teachers and parents these new requirements have created.

2. Since parents and local teachers know what is best for their children/students, the authority of a state body, like the State Board of Education, should be limited. The State Board of Education should have the additional role of ensuring independent measurements of a district’s or school’s ability to advance below-grade level students to at or above grade level, as well as various parental satisfaction metrics. It should also ensure good parental choice in education.

3. Basic free market mechanisms should be allowed to take care of any lack of supply of specialized teachers. If a lack of supply of good Math and Science teachers exists, then the salary for those teachers should be allowed to increase, which would increase the interest of students to enter those fields. Additionally, some good teachers who are not specialized in these fields would naturally be interested in gaining that expertise for more pay.

Eileen Weiser, Republican

BA (MSU) & MM (U of M), piano performance. Held a variety of positions – from renovating a polluted scrapyard into a nonprofit center, to representing our country with my small son and husband, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia (2001-2004). Served in many professional, philanthropic, civic and political roles that have provided knowledge and experience for this Board. Current Board member for The Nation’s Report Card (NAEP), working on national and state assessment.

1. Assessments are important long-range evaluation tools. Two exist: Michigan’s junior-year ACT and 12th grade NAEP, anticipated to evaluate preparedness for post-secondary education and employment without remediation. State law requires a subjective school evaluation – Education YES! – which now contains provisions for legislative oversight and intervention if needed. SBE will monitor implementation and results closely. Achieve, Inc. (Michigan’s HS reform advisor) works with many states, including Indiana, which is implementing a similar new curriculum successfully.

2. With limited staff, SBE concentrates on constitutional duties. One critical role is supervision of college and university teacher preparation programs. K-12 standards are increasingly rigorous. We must evaluate whether new teachers have matching content knowledge, and whether teaching methodologies prepare them for today’s students. Half of the best new teachers leave teaching within five years; we have to start this evaluation quickly. We must also finish both science and social studies content expectations.

3. Higher K-12 rigor should help more students earn college mathematics or science degrees. Students taking Algebra 1 in 8th grade can take enough high school mathematics for college entrance without remediation, which nearly halves graduation rates. We must improve transition for math and science professionals wanting to become teachers. Michigan should consider incentives for underserved subjects or teacher scarcity areas such as college loan forgiveness, merit pay and bonuses that work well in other states.

Reginald Turner, Democrat

State Board of Education Member Reginald Turner is an executive committee member in the Clark Hill law firm. He previously served on the Detroit Board of Education. Turner has volunteered in Michigan schools for many years. For ten years Turner and Dennis Archer Co-Chaired the Medical-Educational-Legal-Law Enforcement Program, an anti-drug and violence-prevention initiative, reaching over 5,000 children each year. Turner is a leader in many civic organizations, including the United Way.

1. We should assess the results of our more rigorous graduation requirements by tracking Michigan Merit Examination results, by measuring the nature and quality of achievement of students in post-secondary work, and by correlating such data regarding individuals, local school districts, intermediate districts and statewide, for purposes of support and accountability.

2. The State Board should play a greater role in partnership with intermediate school districts to drive constructive changes in the way we deliver services. We should hold ourselves accountable for ensuring that all of our children have opportunities to reach their potential. We should also develop mechanisms to provide more support and oversight to children in diverse educational environments, and particularly in our schools that have achievement challenges.

3. We can increase the development of highly qualified math and science teachers through rigorous K-12 curriculum standards and improved career counseling at K-12 and post-secondary levels to encourage promising students to consider teaching math and science. We also need better coordination with teacher preparation institutions on curriculum, and more financial incentives such as college and graduate school scholarships and loan forgiveness programs.

Casandra E. Ulbrich, Democrat

Casandra Ulbrich is a Senior Director of Development at WSU and a small business owner. She serves on the Boards for the U-M Club of Greater Detroit & Walter Reuther Library. Casandra is the Past President of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Michigan. Casandra earned an AA from St. Clair County CC, a BA from the U-M (Ann Arbor), and a MA from WSU. She is currently completing a PhD, also from WSU.

1. The Michigan Merit Curriculum is designed to ensure that students have the skills necessary to compete in the global economy. As such, benchmarks should be developed. Long-term evaluation plans should include quantifiable data related to the number of students who enter some form of post-secondary education, as well as college completion rates. In addition, the Michigan Merit Exam should provide data on high school achievement in critical areas.

2. It’s essential that the State Board of Education continue to place a high emphasis on preparing students for post secondary education. The Board must continue to outline high standards for all Michigan students. In addition, studies have shown that parental involvement is directly related to student achievement and school improvement. The State Board of Education should lead and support efforts to increase parental and community involvement in local schools, and create partnerships with stakeholders.

3. We need to look at best practices. For example, allow college students majoring in math and science to intern at local schools during their freshman or sophomore years, to experience a career in education. In addition, encourage those in the twilight of their professional careers, or seeking a second career, to consider the educational field. Teachers should be given the tools necessary to engage students through innovative methods.

Kevin A. Carey, Green

I am a graduate of Wayne State University, with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Member of Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice and Workers World Party. Former substitute teacher with Detroit Board of Education and Detroit Federation of Teachers. Active in civil rights, anti-war and union work for 30 years.

1. The State of Michigan should eliminate MEAP testing for students. Create much smaller class sizes and give time to teachers to give personal attention to the progress of all students. Develop the abilities of all students.

2. Immediate end to unequal funding for school districts throughout Michigan by bringing all districts up to the highest level in the state. Special funds for poorest urban and rural school districts that have

special burdens. Require preschool programs and after school programs in every school district. Give students art, music and sports programs for all around development.

3. Increase pay for all public school teachers to attract and keep the most qualified personnel. Demand money from the military budget that is draining away from Michigan be used to improve school buildings, provide computers, books and supplies. Special scholarships to math and science students.

Jacob Woods, Green

Did not respond in time for publication.

George A. Emerson, US Taxpayers

Did not respond in time for publication.

Gail M. Graeser, US Taxpayers

Declined to participate.

Erwin J. Haas, Libertarian

Born in Buffalo NY, 1942, Michigan Resident since 1972. US Army, flight surgeon in Vietnam and Fort Dix, NJ. BA Canisius College, Bio-chem, minors in Philosophy and Classical languages. MD, State University of Buffalo, MBA, GVSU. Practiced medicine as an Infectious Diseases Consultant in Grand Rapids. Married to K. Kitzsteiner MD. 3 Kids, all graduated from City High in Grand Rapids, all successful graduates of various colleges.

1. The State of Michigan’s board of education must assure the tax payers that their dollars are spent giving graduates tools to advance their own educations. Graduates must have excellent skills of reading, writing and facility in doing simple mathematics. The student can use these skills to learn anything that they need to pursue their own happiness, be it founding a business, becoming a scholar, or achieving religious ecstasy.

2. The state has no role in uncalculating good citizenship, moral or other religious values, or in crime prevention, or racial integration, or in preparation for a careers, or as day care centers for kids while the parents work, etc. These current, rather muddled goals of the public schools are either chimerical, or too subject to ideology to be invoked in justifying public expenditures.

3. I would encourage unrestricted charter schools, and a voucher system that would follow the student, even paying for home schooling. This would allow the kind of highly individualized learning that a liberal society will need in a post industrial, multicultural and global economy. Students will gravitate to areas like science if there be a market for those skills. Please visit my website. http://www.erwinhaas.lpwm.org for further details.

Ernest A. Whiteside, Libertarian

Did not respond in time for publication.

Debra Hayden, Natural Law

Did not respond in time for publication.

University of Michigan Regents – Eight-Year Term – Vote for Two (2)

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question. If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.


What role should this university play in the economic development of the state of Michigan?


What is the most important issue facing this public university today and what is your position on that issue?


Given the current economic climate, what measures will you support to maintain the quality of this university’s education?

David Brandon, Republican

1999 – present: Chairman, CEO Domino’s Pizza, recognized world leader in pizza delivery. 1979 – 1999: Chairman, President and CEO of Valassis. Under his stewardship, Valassis recognized as “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” 1974 – 1979: Graduates from the School of Education at UM, joins Procter & Gamble Company. Native of South Lyon, MI; recruited by Coach Bo Schembechler; full football scholarship to UM. 1998: Elected to the UM Board of Regents.

1. Technology transfer is a very important way to leverage the strengths of the university to meet the needs of our state. The university is a significant source of human resource capital, product innovations, and breakthroughs in research and development that benefit the State of Michigan today and for years to come.

2. Combined answer for 2-3: Our most important issue is how we can effectively invest in the quality of the education experience while dealing with the significant budget pressures impacting higher education today. Rapidly inflating faculty salaries and operating expenses, exacerbated by continuing reductions in state funding put significant pressure on financial management of the university. The university’s resourcefulness in successfully completing capital campaigns, securing funding through research and grant proposals, and prudently managing expenses

3. while continuing to fulfill the institution’s educational mission, without diminishing quality, will be critical to our future. We need to do a better job of convincing state legislators of the importance of the university’s operating role the university plays in state and the significant, quantifiable return the state receives for every dollar it invests in higher education. At the same time, securing more resources through fundraising and cost management is also critical to the equation.

Susan Brown, Republican

U of M graduate, 1963 (BA). Served on the U of M President’s Advisory Board; Serving currently on the Boards of the U of M Museum of Art and Ford School of Public Policy. Lifetime member of the Alumni Association. Served as Trustee of Kalamazoo College; founder and President of the Kalamazoo Historic Conservancy for the Preservation of Art; member of the Kalamazoo College Women’s Council, Junior League, First Presbyterian Church; owns interior design company.

1. A positive future for U of M depends upon developing a knowledge-based economy. U of M is the engine behind the states economy and has the ability to become a leader in technology transfer; the spinning off university sponsored research into viable businesses which create jobs. Today U of M is a $4.8 billion enterprise and the 3rd largest employer in the state with 40,000 people on its payroll. Its success and viability is crucial to…

2. The most important issues facing U of M are financial: rising costs, tuition and state support. U of M must hold the line on tuition by better management of finances. U of M cannot rely on the fluctuation of the state support. If the huge increases in tuition (30 – 40% over the last 5 years) continue, U of M might effectively price out the very students it is trying to attract. A Regent represents the taxpayers…

3. In order to maintain the quality of U of M’s education they must look for alternative sources of revenue. Along with the successful transfer of technology in which the University can claim an ownership interest, the partnerships and programming at the satellite campuses, renewing and solidifying relationships with alumni and supporters and proper stewardship from the board, U of M has a bright future.

Julia Donovan Darlow, Democrat

Actively involved in social, economic and educational issues as a lawyer and community leader for 35 years, I practiced international business law in Detroit until 2004 and now represent nonprofit organizations. Offices have included President, Michigan State Bar (first woman); Chair, Michigan Supreme Court Gender Bias Task Force; State Officers’ Compensation Commissioner; Trustee, Marygrove College; Executive Committee, Detroit Medical Center; Chair, Hutzel Women’s Hospital; and founding Trustee, Michigan Women’s Foundation. (BA, Vassar College; JD, WSU)

1. The University should play a vigorous economic development role: to pursue needed research in economically relevant fields such as life sciences; to expand its technology transfer to the business and nonprofit sectors; to increase its interaction with leaders in business and industry; and, together with other public universities, to implement the Cherry Commission recommendations. It should prepare students for entrepreneurial roles, for success in a knowledge-based economy and for team-based problem solving.

2. The most important issue is accessibility to the University for students regardless of economic status and background. Accessibility includes affirmative action and affordability. I strongly support affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity and diversity and oppose Proposal 2. I believe urgent attention must be given to lowering the costs of education for lower and middle income students through tuition controls and financial aid.

3. The extraordinary quality of the University’s education must rest on a solid financial foundation. I will support its capital campaign and other fundraising programs, technology transfer programs and other potential new revenue sources and its vital health care system, which has a positive operating margin. I will demand intense, continuing scrutiny of administrative and operating costs. The top priorities must remain the education of students and the preservation of academic excellence.

Kathy White, Democrat

Education: Princeton University, BSE, Electrical Engineering; University of Washington School of Law, JD; George Washington University Law School, LLM; Ann Arbor Public Schools. Work: Law Professor, WSU; registered patent attorney; White House Fellow, Fulbright Senior Scholar-Germany; Vice President Fulbright Association, Judicial Law Clerk, Randall Rader, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit; Intellectual Property Counsel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Captain, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), active duty; Major(P) JAG, reservist; UM Regent.

1. As Michigan transforms from a traditional manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based economy, the University of Michigan must be a leader in the state’s economic development. Because the level of knowledge and skill required to compete globally is increasing, higher education is central to this transformation. Higher education must become more flexible to address the changing demands of the global economy, as well as increasing the engagement in public/private partnerships to further its goals.

2. Because of the increased costs of higher education, the most important issue facing the University of Michigan is accessibility. As the relative amount of state funding declines, it is imperative that the University of Michigan increase financial aid commensurate with any tuition increases for in-state residents. For students who cannot afford four-years of University of Michigan tuition, transfer opportunities should be increased. Investing in greater outreach to community colleges should be a central priority.

3. In times of limited state funding, it is paramount that the high quality of education at the University of Michigan is maintained and enhanced. The university must build bridges between education, science, industry and government to create the synergy needed to sustain and improve the quality of higher education. The University of Michigan is well positioned to translate knowledge to solve problems of general public interest so that many societal needs can be met.

Edward Morin, Green

Teacher, writer, and 40-year Michigan resident, Edward Morin has a B.A from Maryknoll College, an M.A. from U. of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University, (Chicago). He taught 30 years in 3 colleges and 5 universities, including the University of Michigan. He also worked 19 years as, research, contract proposal, and technical writer and as executive writer at Blue Cross of Michigan, General Motors, and Unisys. He is married and has 4 grown children.

1. By teaching students how to think, the U of M strengthens their job performance and mobility. World class instruction and exposure to state-of-the-art technologies prepare them for a changing world. University research attracts government and corporate funding, which encourages job growth and start-up companies. Cultural benefits of vibrant University communities make them attractive places to live in or visit. Links to scholarship and research throughout the U.S. and the world make Michigan a cosmopolitan place.

2. Students from families without high income and substantial health insurance find campus life more difficult than those with these advantages. UM must extend efforts to foster a “student friendly” environment beyond staff administered seminars and building programs. To restructure campus culture, enlist faculty involvement in remediation. Require sensitivity training of students. Increase counseling opportunities through Student Health Service. End early admission procedures, which favor applicants from affluent families and prestige prep schools.

3. 1) Increase faculty participation in governance. For example, enfranchise the untenured health care clinicians connected to the Medical School by allowing them into the Faculty Senate. 2) Improve fiscal transparency through a legally mandated and overdue (by 22 years) State Audit of research and academic performance. 3) Review support that the University gives to advanced weapons and surveillance technology through its research and investments.

Karen Adams, US Taxpayers

Did not respond in time for publication.

James Lewis Hudler, Libertarian

Born in Jackson, Michigan in 1952. A.S. degree received from Jackson Community College in 1972. BS from U of M received in 1974. I completed graduate school work at U

Transcript of 3rd Granholm and DeVos Debate

On Monday, Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm and Republican Dick DeVos held the third and final debate in the Michigan gubernatorial race.

Chuck Stokes (CS): Good evening and welcome to this final live debate between Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic incumbent, and Dick DeVos, the Republican challenger. To the candidates, thank you very much for coming this evening. I know you’ve been crisscrossing the state, but welcome back to Detroit – better known these days as – what, audience? Tiger Town. Yeah.

Jennifer M. Granholm (JMG): Whoo hoo!

CS: Joining us for this debate are WZZM TV in Grand Rapids, WJRT in Flint, WLNS in Lansing, WWTV and WWUP TV in northern Michigan. This debate is also being simulcast on the Internet, and a network of radio stations from Marquette to Monroe.

The format for this debate is as follows: the candidate receiving the initial question will have a two minute response, the opposing candidate will have a one minute rebuttal, and if criticized, the original candidate gets an additional 30 seconds to respond. At the end of the debate, the candidates will have two minutes each for closing statements. Now, the middle lights means that you have 15 seconds left to respond, obviously the red light – like the streets – means it’s time to stop.

Joining me to question the candidates are two of Michigan’s best anchors: Steven Clark and Diana Lewis of Action News. Later in this broadcast, you will hear from the audience – undecided voters putting questions to our candidates – Governor Granholm and Mr. DeVos. All right? Let’s begin. Diana Lewis, your question, to Governor Granholm.

Diana Lewis (DL): Governor Granholm: From Michigan’s economy, unemployment, downsizing, and insurance concerns, the people of this state are facing some serious financial issues. In response to comments we’ve received here at Broadcast House, if you were only allowed to enact one piece of legislation, what would you do in order to affect the greatest possible change in this state?

JMG: Thank you, thank you to Channel 7 and particularly to the folks who came in today and if I had one piece of legislation to adopt I would adopt our 21st Century Jobs Fund. This is a $2 billion fund to invest in diversifying Michigan’s economy. We know that we are very tied to the automotive industry. We know we’ve got to enlarge our economy. And so this fund is more than any other state – and it is using tobacco settlement money – and it invests in four areas: the sciences, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, and advanced manufacturing. The first round of funding, which first occurred about a month ago, we awarded and got 61 companies to come to Michigan, grow in Michigan, and most importantly, hire people in Michigan in those areas of our economy, so I know we’ll be talking about more about that as we go forward this evening.

But before I go any further, I want to take a moment to address one concern right off the bat to my opponent. In this past week, my opponent Mr. Devos – and even yet this evening – has used the names and the images of school aged children who are deceased These images – he has used to create an unfounded political attack on me. Using these images to further his own political ambitions. Mr. Devos, if you have a beef with me, bring it on. I can take it. Use my name. But let’s leave the names of deceased children out of it. I hope we can talk about the future of the state of Michigan tonight, but if you’re determined to pick a fight, I hope you’ll pick on somebody your own size.

And I would ask and challenge you this evening not to use – either this evening or in the future in commercials – the images of dead children.

CS: Time, Governor. Mr. DeVos, your rebuttal?

Dick DeVos (DD): Well, thank you very much and thank you all…it’s good to be with you and, uh, I appreciate the opportunity. I believe the question was what would I adopt as legislation – I would adopt my economic plan. I would adopt the economic plan that I put forth that offers 134 specific ideas beginning with trade offices around the world – going from the one we have now to 10. I would adopt a plan where the Governor would take responsibility for economic development – I would adopt a plan that would transform our tax structures to stop punishing our employers and to stop doing the things we do to stop job creation.

My plan will get results – contrary to the results we’ve seen or the lack of results we’ve seen over the last four years. And the Governor talked about 61 grants…Governor, let’s be honest about it, 27 of those grants have gone to universities, only 18 have gone to commercialization…so only 18 have gone to making products and bringing products to market, the rest are really just research grants, so I think it’s fair that you should call it a research project, not a jobs project.

CS: Time.

JMG: This is…

CS: Governor, do you have a rebuttal?

JMG: Yeah, I sure do, because this initiative will create jobs in areas that will not be outsourced. My opponent is somebody who has contributed to the problems in Michigan by supporting these free trade agreements and personally lobbying for them. What this initiative would do is create jobs for our children and our grandchildren that will not be outsourced. Yes, some go to universities to commercialize their ideas – put a good business plan to them, and to make sure that take root and grow in Michigan for our kids.

CS: Thank you very much. Next question, Steven Clark to Mr. DeVos.

Steven Clark (SC): Mr. DeVos, the Governor – throughout this campaign – has leveled much of the blame of Michigan’s problems on the Bush Administration. Last week, the Michigan Democrats began running an ad that morphs you into Mr. Bush. It’s a two-part question for you. First, is the characterization accurate, and second, the Democrats clearly intend the ad as an insult. Are you insulted?

DD: (Pauses)…To be compared to any President of the United States should never be an insult and, uh, so I certainly, uh, don’t accept that. The unfortunate news for the Governor and for those on the Democrat party who put this ad together is that the Governor’s not running against George Bush…the Governor is running against me. And the Governor is running against what is happening in the rest of the country. The rest of the country is doing whha…great. Five million new jobs have been created around the rest of the country. Five million new jobs, and yet in Michigan, we’re 85,000 jobs down. When this Governor took office, our unemployment rate was roughly equal to the national average…now, the unemployment rate is up 50 percent – well above the national average.

We’ve seen for the first time in Michigan, average incomes dip below the national average. We’ve continued to see underperformance as though somehow – I mean, the Governor continues to try and blame Washington as those somehow it’s Washington’s fault for what’s happening in Michigan when 49 other states are doing great. 49 other states are moving forward. 49 other states are adding jobs. And yet, Michigan is the only one lagging behind. It seems to me it’s time that the Governor accepts responsibility…accepts responsibility for being the Governor. Accepts responsibility for the environment here that is driving jobs away…for the lack of leadership that has not allowed for us to progress. For the kind of environment here that has punished job creation only to send our jobs to other places. Yes, there has been outsourcing in Michigan, Governor. 85,000 jobs have been outsourced. That under your administration – have been outsourced to other states – to other places. We can and must do better in Michigan.

CS: Governor Granholm, is there a rebuttal?

JMG: You’re darn tootin’ jobs have been outsourced. They’ve been outsourced because of these free trade agreements and a Bush Administration that is not standing up for our automotive sector. My opponent has been one of George Bush’s biggest financial backers and personally lobbied for the passage of these free trade agreements that have so devastated Michigan’s economy. My opponent says that we’re the only state in the country that is losing jobs. We are the only state in the country that is the automotive capital of the world. It is not rocket science as to why Michigan is uniquely challenged. When Ford and GM and Daimler Chrysler are challenged, we are challenged. When their suppliers are challenged, we are challenged. The automotive footprint in Michigan is enormous. When I got here to this job, 240,000 jobs had been lost by my predecessor, again because of this restructuring. It wasn’t his fault, again, Governors don’t negotiate trade agreements. Governors don’t force trade agreements. Governors don’t design vehicles. What we can do is set in motion an economic plan that is second to none, and that’s what I’ve done.

CS: Mr. DeVos?

DD: Certainly, 49 other states all operate under the same trade agreements. Every one. As a member of the United States, we operate under the same trade agreements, Governor, as the rest of the states. And they’ve been adding jobs. The job creation in America has been going very, very well. And yet in Michigan, somehow, we’re going backwards. The Governor is responsible. The Governor’s responsible for setting an atmosphere that creates jobs…that brings investment to this state and moves us forward.

CS: Thank you, Mr. DeVos. Mr. DeVos and Governor Granholm, we have received tons and tons of questions, almost too heavy for me to lift, I haven’t been working out that well. But if I could summarize this, and I’ll begin with you, Governor, I would summarize it this way: there are a number of citizens who voted for your four years ago who are reluctant to do so again because they believe you let them down and did not to all that you said you would do.

Conversely, many of them also believe that Mr. DeVos is trying to buy his way into the Governorship, and as one viewer, Adam Bonarick of Dearborn said, I don’t trust his motives. In the time that you have tonight, how will you convince voters to vote for you and give you four more years?

JMG: Thank you. I want to let the voters know, because they may not have heard of all of the pieces of this economic plan…nobody knows better than I do that we have to reshape Michigan for the future and so that’s why you need to know I’ve got short term goals, medium term and long-term strategies that will move Michigan forward. In the short term, I signed into law 84 tax cuts, including a $600 million tax cut for manufacturers to try to make us as competitive as we possibly can. We know that taxes aren’t the only reason why jobs are going to Mexico or China because, of course, job providers can pay 50 cents an hour in other countries. But we will do what we can do in Michigan. We have revolutionized workforce training…we’ve got more victims of this global economy that any other state in the country at the moment. People who’ve seen their jobs go on a slowboat to China or on the Internet to India, or on a fast track to Mexico. So we’ve put people in short term training programs in partnership with community colleges to train them for vacancies that exist…there are 92,000 vacancies in Michigan today – largely in areas that require certification.

Third, we are speeding up building projects all across this state – I’m sorry about the orange barrels…every barrel is a job. We’re taking 10 years worth of building projects and pulling them all into the next three construction seasons – putting 40,000 people to work. The 21st Century jobs fund that I described – as I said – is the biggest in the nation investing and diversifying an economy …it will create tens of thousands of jobs that will not be outsourced. And we are also upping our standards with respect to education. We can ensure now that we have set in motion and the Legislature signed into law – we are considered to have among the top three states in the nation for what we expect of our high school graduates – our goal is to double the number of college graduates. It is critical that you know this plan has been set in motion – there’s a health care piece, too. It’s also critical to realize how we got here. And we got here because of the challenges in this global economy. Challenges that were contributed to by my opponent.

CS: Mr. DeVos, can you answer Mr. Bonarick’s question? Are you trying to buy your way into the Governorship?

DD: Well, to suggest that, I think, is to suggest that the people of Michigan can be bought, which as a citizen of Michigan I would find insulting. The people of Michigan that I talk to are pretty darn independent. And uh, they want to hear from the candidates and they want to see who has a plan to get it done. And more importantly, they want to see results. And that’s the problem…that’s the problem that we have in this election…if the results had been there, I’m sure we’d be encouraging the re-election of this Governor. But there have not been results. We hear more about plans. We hear more about what’s going to happen the next four years and yet in the current four years, this sounds like, this sounds like the first election. And yet, four years have gone by and we have gone backward. And the country has gone forward. It is just unacceptable. Now, someone wants to talk about motives, uh, this is, uh, challenging time. Talk about motives. When, uh, when the Governor, uh, has some difficulty uh, some say, will, uh, say anything and do anything to win an election, according to the Detroit News.

CS: All right, Governor Granholm.

15:00 JG: Our auto economy has been 100 years in the making. It is true that you can’t flip a switch and transform it over night. Diversification takes a lot of work and a lot of effort. But, believe me, this economic plan that we have set in motion, we’ve planted these seeds, we’ve got a lot of work to do. But, even today, there was a study that was released that talked about the growth in our non-automotive sectors- in automation alley. Last week there was another study that said 55,000 jobs have been created in the non-automotive area- in areas that will diversify our economy- and enlarge our economy. That’s the good news for us. We know we’ve got work to do, but we’ve got a plan to be able to do it with.

15: 38 Chuck: Thank you Governor. Dianna Louis, your question to Governor Granholm.

15:40 DL: Mr. DeVos? Mr. DeVos, if you are elected Governor, of this State, do you think it’s time for Michigan to follow the lead of California, Florida, New York, Ontatio, Ireland and many other places in banning smoking in all bars, restaurants, and public places for the health of the citizens?

16:10 DD: We certainly want healthy…we want a healthy environment and a healthy community. But, no, I don’t support that initiative. I believe that the citizens of Michigan would like to be able to choose. Increasingly, citizens of Michigan are choosing smoke-free environments. And I think that’s a good thing. And I believe that that is going to ultimately result in a smoke-free community. Many communities themselves are..are going smoke-free- and again, that is their decision. But we’re seeing, right now, people making choices, making free choices, and that will lead us, I believe, ultimately, to a smoke free environment. Michigan is struggling in health. We have..uh…healthcare issues in this state, to be sure. And…uh…we have got to make some real progress on those areas. And…uh…certainly ..uh…I think the people of Michigan are moving forward in the direction of personal responsibility for that.

17:03 Chuck: Governor Granholm?

17:05 JG: This..uh…this…I very much support smoke free environments…and if a bill like that arrived at my desk, I would sign it. But I also think this is a moment to speak about our health plan for the state of Michigan as well. I have proposed a universal access to affordable healthcare plan, it’s called Michigan First! I’m in the final stages of negotiating with the federal government to be able to do bit of what they did in Massachusetts, if any of you saw that. They are providing universal access to affordable healthcare there. In partnership with the federal government, we’re going to do the same thing. For those who are at 300% of poverty and below…200% of poverty and below! We’re going to provide a no-frills benefit package that is subsidized by both the state and the federal government. For those who are above 200% of poverty, we’d offer the same benefit on a sliding scale, depending on income. This would all be administered by the private sector. The state would be a connector- connecting people to these plans. It’s very exciting. we want to show the nation how we can lead the way in providing health care because we need it. We are, as a nation, one of the only nations in the country that does not provide some assistance to business with respect to health care. We put the full burden on the business community and it makes us uncompetitive. Our automobiles now have sixteen hundred per vehicle embedded in those kind of costs. Now my opponent, I would challenge him to tell us what his his health care plan is cuz previously he has said that his health care plan is get a job.

CS: Time. Mr. DeVos?

DD: The governor has talked about a health care plan and after four years, there still is no plan, there still is no legislation, there still is no results, and in fact, fifty-three-thousand less people in Michigan have health care than when this governor took office—fifty-three-thousand less, not more. Once again, we’re going backwards. Once again, Michigan is not leading in the nation, Michigan is trailing in the nation.

DD: And once again, the Governor is promising what is going to happen in 4 years. But..uh…we haven’t seen results in the 4 years that have passed already. We can do better. We need results Governor.

Mod: Steven, your question to Governor Granholm.

Chuck: Governor, you and your opponent continue to debate the relative merits and evils of the single business tax. The…the truth of the matter is that it’s gone. And you do seem to agree, both of you, on the need to be replace at least a portion of that money. Keeping in mind that at 6%, Michigan sales tax is among lowest in the region, would you consider raising it to 7 or 8% or consider a tax on services?

JG: No, I would not. In fact, what I would like to see is a restructuring of the single business tax. And I have put a proposal on the table that replaces it- restructuring it as a business tax. I don’t want to shift business taxes to citizens, which is what raising the sales tax would do. But I would I would like to see is make sure that we do replace it. Right now today the revenue that we take in from the SBT is the lowest its ever been and that tax has been around for 30 years. It’s just structured in a poor way. But what I’ve proposed is to lower the rate to flatten the base to make it more profit sensitive, less sensitive to the full value of the business, compensate, simplify it, simplify it, simplify it. My replacement is called the Jobs Replacement Act, you can see it online. But make no mistake about would suggest that taxes are the reason potentially why businesses have chosen to leave Michigan. In the last debate I talked about a business called Electrolux in the first debate. And that company we offered it 0 taxes in order for it to stay. And it made refrigerators, and it decided to go to Mexico where it could pay a $1.57 because they could and it was much bigger profit than they’d be able to make even if they got zero taxes. So in this global economy its not taxes alone that make the difference. Now my opponent has suggested several things, I’m not sure exactly where he is today, but with respect to the SBT, I believe he says he wants to replace half of it. That means a billion dollars would be cut out of state government. And then he said last week that he would also replace a second tax on business on equipment which is another almost $2 billion, another $1.7 billion. And then he sid he wanted to replace almost all of it. I’m not exactly sure where he is, but if you leave a billion dollar hole in state government it will hurt citizens. It will hurt public safety, it will hurt public education, it will hurt the things we value like our quality of life. And health care for vulnerable citizens.

Mod: Alright we need to get to a quick break. When we get out of that break, we will pick up with Mr. DeVos.

DD: If the SBT doesn’t go away as this Governor has proposed replacing SBT with – guess what—SBT. What I’ve proposed is that we replace SBT with a gross receipts tax or a corporate profit tax. 45 states in the union have a corporate profit tax. They know what that is. Companies know how to deal with that. They can deal with that uncertainty. I’ve also said that we need to replace revenue for personal property tax and SBT. We’ve got to move this state forward with a tax structure that’s going to be pro-tax, pro-jobs, pro-Michigan workers. Not the other way around. This Governor vetoed eliminating the SBT, I’m the one who’s a bit confused about this reality. Michigan has a lot of work to do. Reforming our tax code is one of the things we must do. We cannot sit by and allow our jobs to go elsewhere because our Governor has not chosen to show leadership. Four years, said right four years ago, said SBT needs to go. Nothing’s happened.

Mod: Alright, thank you Mr. DeVos. Governor Granholm you get a thirty second response.

JMG: My opponent has says businesses should pay their fair share. But when he was CEO of Amway he incorporated his subsidiaries in Bermuda to avoid paying US taxes. That is certainly not paying his fair share. It is skirting, it is taking advantage of the Bermuda loop hole to avoid paying his fair share of American taxes which hurt the things that we value.

DD: Governor, you’re doing it again. You know that’s not true, and you’re doing it again. That’s disappointing.

Mod: We’ll build time in if you want to respond a little bit. We’re going to try to keep with the ? and you can always weave that in to your 2 minutes that you have.

We’re now halfway though our debate and it’s time to get to our audience questions. Seated among us are approximately 30 undecided voters from very diverse backgrounds. They’ve come prepared with a wide range of questions. These undecided voters have been screened and selected by independent pollster Tim Kisga. We also got significant help locating some of our audience members through our partnership with the Inforum, formally known as the Women’s Economic Club. This is the voter’s opportunity to speak directly to the candidates. The ground rules are the same and candidates we ask that you stay behind your podiums to answer the questions uh just to make sure because we have a little bit of a mic problem with Mr. DeVos

JG: I see, OK.

CS: and we don’t want, to make sure everyone can hear exactly what his answer is. OK, Steven Clark?

SC: OK, I’ll begin, is this uh a question for the Governor I believe from Christine Seacaw of Chesterfield Township if you could please uh stand up and uh ask your question loudly and clearly.

CS: OK, Hi. My husband and I we are both…

SC: I’m sorry, this is for Mr. DeVos I wanted to clarify.

CS: OK. My husband and I we are both lifelong Michigan residents. We’re the parents of three children and we’re long-time business owners in the community. Um financially our business is having its worst year ever. We are also watching our school systems struggle financially and we’ve become terrified of what the future holds for our family to stay in the state of Michigan. I would like both candidates to try to convince my family why we should stay. Thank you.

DD: Thank you Christine, thanks for being here. I hope your family does stay, but I certainly understand as a business person, one business person to another, I certainly understand the challenges that you’re facing here in Michigan and for uh you and uh for your children, a family business. I grew up in a family business too so uh so I appreciate too also how important that is to a family, but as as business owners uh the important thing to note is that change is possible and if we can keep going uh keep on going the way we’ve been going with a with a governor whose never worked in a business, who has never had to sign the front-side of a paycheck, whose never had to make a significant personal investment decision, whose never had to to do the kinds of things that you and I have had to do in the day to day conduct of our business uh the-the that governor, if that that governor is going to have to try to transform an economy in this state—I think you start off behind and that’s that’s why we have seen there’s there’s no results. Uh the governor does not have the experience to understand what it takes and that’s why we need to change. That’s why we need new leadership. If there’s ever a time in Michigan’s history when we needed a business person in the governor’s office; now is that time. Now’s the time to deal with the business issues that we’re facing, the jobs issues we’re facing, the family businesses that are struggling, transforming taxes, making it easier for you to do business, one-stop shopping with state government, a state government that works for you, not against you, regulations that are simple, clear and easy to understand so you know what you have to do to stay in the rules. That’s the kind of government that a DeVos administration is going to bring—one that understands the reality of job creation because when we do that, what happens? You you expand your business. You grow your business here and your small business just like my bus-my family business, which was small too, becomes a big business, becomes bigger and bigger and begins to add and expand and contribute to our communities. The truth is, if we don’t change, revenues are going down. Right now, in this state, we’ve seen tax revenues go down. We must change to be able to continue the way of life we love for those of us who have grown up here in Michigan.

CS: Thank you Mr. DeVos, Governor?

JG: It’s Christine? Christine, and what kind of business does your husband or you and your husband run?…(Mic delay)I’m sorry.

CS: It’s OK. It’s a plumbing company.

JG: A plumbing company alright and you’ve got three kids that are what ranges?

CS: We have one eight grade and two in high school.

JG: OK so I’m married to someone that’s a small business owners and I’ve got three kids—two in high school, one a little bit younger and um are you from here originally, are you from Michigan originally?

CS: Yeah.

JG: Alright. So you know how magical this state is, you know how phenomenal this state is and you know that we are tied to the automotive industry. We are going through a restructuring right now, but we’re gonna be OK. We have set this economic plan in motion to truly transform the future of Michigan. I wanna make sure that your kids have jobs when they graduate and that my kids have jobs when they graduate in areas that will create jobs that won’t be outsourced. That’s why we’re speeding up all these infostructure projects and building projects to be able to provide work to those who are in the trades. But it’s also why we want to make sure that we diversify this economy…

CS: Time.

JG: and up our standards for schools too. I’m sorry.

CS: That’s time.

JG: Thanks.

CS: Thank you very much. Mr. DeVos do you have a response at all?

DD: Well Christine you know, once again, four years, it’s gotten worse hasn’t it? You just said that yours was the worst year in your business’ history.

CS: Yeah.

DD: We’ve gotta do better. We can do better. It’s time for a change. Michigan has so much possibility, so much potential. We need you here, we want you here, we’ll keep you here.

CS: Thank you Mr DeVos. Diana, your question, from your audience member, to the governor.

DL:: Thank you. We have Rolla Dahur, of the University of MIchigan Dearborn. An undecided voter with a question for Governor Jennifer Granholm.

RD: My question is that experts universally agree that the best way to fix our economy is to invest in the educational system. While this looks good on paper, college students are paying incrteasingly high tuition every year, outpricing many potential students out of an education. This is partly due to a decrease in state funding. As governor, what do you plan to do about that in the next forut years?

JMG: Rolla, there is no doubt that we have to invest in our higher education sustem, make sure that we don’t see thses continued increades in tution. Our goal–we set a goal of doubling the number of College graduates over the next ten years. Because (and when I say college I mean either a university of a two year community college or a technical or vocatuional certification.) So I’ver asked the legislature to pass a $4000 scholarship for every single child in this state of Michigan. Every child. Regardless of whether they pass a standardized test or not. Because right now kids only get the Merit scholarship if they pass a standardized test. We want to essentially be the first state in the nation to pay for “K” through fourteen. Now, $4000 may not get you two years at U of M, but it is a significant step toward helping you out. And in fact it pays for the equivalent of two years of a community college. We got it through the senate, I’m expectign we are going to get it through the house. It’s also why we’e increased the standards for what we expect of our high school graduates, to furterh this effort of doubling the college graduates, of helping paents ot be able to afford sending kids to college. Now when I got in this chair, I inherited–you might remember this if anybody was payin’ attention–i inherited a $4 billion budget defecit from my predecessor, cumulatively. I’ve had to cut more out of state government than any governor in the history of Michigan. I’ve had to resolve more defecits than any governor ifn the history of Michigan. So it has been a tough four years in terms of trying to preserve the things that we value… and still keep college affordable, making sure that we have healthc care or our citizens.

There is no doubt about it: that if a tax scheme like the the one my opponent is suggesting goes through, where you cut another billion dollars out of state government, you’ll not only see tuition increase, but you will see people being let out of prison, you will see people being cut out of health care and you will see public education class sizes increase.

CS: Mister DeVos?

DD: Governor, you know that’s not the case, and you continue to perpetuate it. What I’ve talked about is getting jobs going in Michigan, so that when you get out of the University of Michgan Deaborn, you’re gonna have a job here in Michigan. And an opportunity. And that’s what we have to have. And the Governor hasn’t… you talk about tuition going up–you know how much it’s gone up actually? In the four years it’s up fifty percent. It’s going through the roof. And this Governor has talked abot it but done nothing about it. In fact, the Governor, for four year, four straight years, has tried to cut the Michigan Tuition Grant program to allow low-income students to be able to go to college. And this Governor’s tried to cut that program–4 years. That’s not back at the beginning, this is just this year. And so the governor is talking a good game once again–but the truth is, tuitions are too high, our kids are not getting the access to the colleges and universities they deserve, they need support and they need a Governor who’s not only gonna support education–which I will do–but also provide a job at the end.

CS: Governor, have you tried to cut that tuition grant program?

JMG: I’ve tried to roll all the scholarship programs into one, and increase, up the ante, put the Merit Scholarship on steroids by increasing it from $2500 to $4000 for every child in the state of Michigan. So it’s actually an increase, for all children, because it’s not contingent on whether they pass a standardized test. But I would like to know from my opponent how he expects he’s gonna cut another billion dollars from the state government and still increase the investment in higher education or increase the investment in making sure we…

CS: Time…. Alright. Steven Clark?

SC: Mr. Devos, I’d like to introduce you to Brian Berriger of Northville. Brian?

BB: Hi. To both candidates: the Canadian trash issue, as everyone knows, has gotten to such an extreme, and candidly, boggles my mind how it’s become an issue for us. Other states and other countries dumping their trash inside of our borders. My question is this: Yes or No, if elected, will you make it a top priority to eliminate Canadian trash and other states from dumping their trash within our borders and also if yes, in what period of time approximately, will you make it a priority to do so? Thank you.

DD: Thanks for asking.The answer is yes. Absolutely. And we’ve got to stop this practice of arbitrarily being forced to take trash that we don’t want and we certainly don’t need here in Michigan. We need to get a handle on this and we need to go to Washington to get something done. The Governor has actually run ads talking about how effective I’ve been in Washington getting things done for the people in Michigan. So I’m going to go to Washington and talk with Mike Rogers who’s actually been a leader on this particular issue to keep trash out and to allow us to protect our state and to be able to take what we want to take, and not what we don’t want to take. We need leadership in Washington, we need leadership in this state to get it done. There’s one way you can do it and that is to penalize Michigan citizens in the process and that is what I won’t do. I’m not going to penalize Michigan citizens by raising all of our prices and raising our costs of business here for all of our citizens for trash disposal in order to deal with this. There’s a way we can do it. We go to Washington, we get it done. We work with the legislature here in Michigan to make it happen. And we can protect our state. We must.

Mod: Mr. DeVos, the question was very specific in terms of a timetable. Is there a time limit that you want to put on that?

DD: Well, putting a time limit on Washington, Chuck, is pretty hard to do, but it will be a top priority to get it done. And we’ll put it right at the top of the pile.

Mod: Very good. Governor?

JG: He’s right that it has to be done in Washington. There’s something called the interstate commerce clause in the constitution. But there are things we can do inside of Michigan which I have proposed and supported in the legislature. One is to ban the expansion of new landfills becase if you build it they will come. But my opponent’s party refuses to put a pan on new landfills. I’ve also said let us raise the fees that it costs to dump into these landfills because if you raise the fees, it becomes less attractive. Right now we are among the cheapest places in the nation to do that. Once again what my opponent was just saying that he would be not in favor of doing that. If you want a disincentive to have others come in and make Michigan the dumping ground of North America, then let’s make a disincentive for it. Let’s raise the fees and put that toward recycling. Because recycling is an important way to reduce the amount of trash in our state as well. But I have a feeling he says he’s going to get it done? Mike Rogers hasn’t gotten it done. Debbie Stabenow got something done. She got an agreement with Canada to stop the municipal waste coming over.

Mod: Mr. DeVos?

DD: In four years this Governor hasn’t gotten it done either. We’ve got to do better. The Governor talks about recycling? Recycling is down in Michigan under this Governor’s leadership under this governor’s watch. In fact as we’re talking about keeping trash out, what the governor’s saying—what she’s really saying—is penalize the people of Michigan. Charge everyone in Michigan more in order to get this done. Substantially more. I don’t think that’s the answer. And I’m determined to work with Washington to find it, to protect Michigan and to get it done without penalizing the citizens of Michigan.

Mod: Alright, we have an e-mail question that I want to go to and right after that then we’ll go to Diana Lewis with her question, too.

Governor Granholm we’ve talked a little bit about higher education funding what we have not talked about is K-12. On the ballot will be proposal 5, legislation to establish mandatory school funding. There were several emails dealing this issue in one way or another. I’ll give you an example. Dave Pedros from Wyandotte, says its obvious that K12 public schools is in serious trouble and he wants to know what you’re going to do to solve the problem that retirement and health care insurance from organizations such as the MEA far exceed new revenue coming in. Amber Whitt of Grand Rapids wants to know whether or not addressing property tax as the primary revenue for that course of funding is going to continue or if you’re going to come up with something better. Governor Granholm that question is for you.

JMG: As we were saying before, there’s no doubt about it that education is going to be the way—one of the important ways—that we’re going to transform our future. We have to invest in the stuff between our ears. We have to invest in our human capital if we’re really to transform as a state. We are as a state unfortunately in the bottom third of states with respect to the numner of adults in our population that have had the priveledge of being able to get a college degree and if you look at the states that have the most robust economies, they’re the states with the most well-educated workforces. So this is why this year and last year the amount of money that we are investing in K-12 is at record levels. It’s record funding, this year and last year. In fact, because of that we have invested more in after-school tutoring in math and science because we want to make sure those middle-schoolers are prepared to take on the new high school standards that require them to take three years of math and four years of science. It’s why we’ve invested for an early childhood education as well, because education, of course, is a lifelong learning experience. There is no doubt that we can do more to make sure that we save as much as we can. And one of the ways I think will be helpful in saving will reduce the premiums for everybody in terms of health care is by my Michigan First health care initiative. Which would, because you are insuring those who are uninsured, and right now you’re subsidizing, if you have insurance you’re paying for those who are uninsured, because it’s not like they don’t get sick, but that would lower the premiums for everyone. There are other creative ways to make sure we reduce costs at the local level, but the bottom line is we don’t want to see a disinvestment in public education. And again, I would ask my opponent to address how he is going to possibly balance this budget, increase funding for higher education or any of the other things he says he wants to increase spending on, including K thru 12, when he’s cut another billion dollars from the budget. This is not Washington D.C. Two plus two in Lansing still equals four. We cannot print money. You have to balance the budget.

Stokes: Time. Mr. DeVos?

DD: It’s a grea-, it’s a great question and I didn’t hear the governor speak at all about Proposal 5. I thought that was part of the, the question in there that Proposal 5 was a part of that, a part of that… I have a position in opposition, I think it’s bad legislation. Well intended goal, but bad legislation. I know that was part of the question as well.

CS: That was part of the question. And when you respond, I’ll try to get the governor’s response on that answer.

DD: Thank you. The K-12 system is, is clearly suffering and struggling, and again, this Governor talks a good game. But this is the first governor in 20 years to cut K-12 spending. This gov- this governor, er, higher education, this governor’s higher education budget is less now, than it was when the governor took office. So I hear the conversation, I-I hear the talk about, about how important education is, and I couldn’t agree more as someone who’s been involved in education in this state for the last 15 years. I couldn’t agree more. But, uh, but our dropout rate is up, our school performance is down, and our funding, uh, it continues to be a problem because this economy’s not growing.

CS: Thank you Mr. DeVos. Governor, you have 30 seconds. Could you please talk about the proposal.

JG: You bet. I oppose Proposal 5. I agree with the intent. But here’s something that my opponent has again failed to address. He was the, uh, leader and funder of the voucher movement in Michigan which was resoundingly defeated. If you follow the voucher movement you take money away from public schools, invested in private schools, in religious schools. In fact, he says now, he’ll say again tonight I bet, that the voucher issue is dead. Well why then is he right now, investing in the voucher movement in seven other states? In fact after the voucher movement was defeated he came back to Michigan –

CS: Time.

JG: -he came back and gave a speech to the Heritage Foundation, said he would bring it back to Michigan.

CS: Thank you very much. Maybe later on we’ll touch on this voucher thing . It goes back and forth a lot. Diana Lewis, your question for Mr. DeVos.

DL: Kristie Barrett of Birmingham, has a question on foreign automakers for Republican challenger Dick DeVos.

KB: In recent years, southern states have been quite successful in luring foreign automakers for manufacturing jobs. Part of the reason involves lower, uh, wages. Do you think the state’s union environment precludes us from attracting more manufacturing businesses, and if so, what can be done about it?

DD: Thank you Kristie. We have struggled, to attract automobile manufacturing, in fact, all the plants that have been built, none of them, with one exception over the last number of years, has been built in Michigan. They’ve all gone elsewhere. And unli-, uh, contrary to the common perception, the real reasons aren’t about, uh, they really aren’t about the issues of uh, of compensation. Uh, the workers in these plants, in many of these plants are making very comparable and very good wages. The differences have to do with the work environment, uh, the differences have to do with state policy. In Michigan we have a thing called personal property tax. What we do in Michigan, is if you buy equipment, you buy manufacturing equipment that you use to manufacture products…In Michigan, we say to you as a company, “Well, if you buy that, then every year we’re going to tax you on it.” So basically, we’re going to punish you for investing in the state. No other state in our region has personal property tax on manufacturing equipment. And so, it’s an addition to environment, that continues to discourage through taxes and other policies discourage people from coming here, manufacturing automobiles here. We’ve gotta make Michigan the place they wanna go to. We’ve gotta make Michigan the place where they want to invest, and be a part of this future. We need, we need to demonstrate that we can work together, union and management, in a brand new way, in order to send a clear message, Michigan is ready to go. This is the best place in the world to build automobiles. We’ve done it before, we know this business better than anybody. And we gotta get back in that business. It’s gonna require real change from somebody who really understands what real manufacturing is all about. That’s my background, that’s my experience, in that world. And so, I’m ready, I’d be ready to go out there to work with automobile companies and say Michigan, it’s time for us, it’s our turn now. Let’s get it done.

CS: Thank you Mr. DeVos. Governor?

JG: Yes. Um, in fact, I was just at a ribbon-cutting this week for an engine facility called the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, which is a partnership between Mitsubishi, Daimler-Chrysler, and Hyundai. All building an engine factory, in fact, it’s the second engine factory that they’re building in Dundee, MI. And here’s the new shift, the new mindset, it that this factory, it’s a UAW factory, but in that UAW contract there’s only one job classification. The motto in the plant is that everyone can do anything anywhere anytime. Labor is only 3% of the cost of the plant, in fact, they’re not hiring anybody who doesn’t have college. That’s the new manufacturing. My- the personal property tax is a disincentive, my proposal reduces it by 35% and the Manufacturers Association of Michigan came and testified in favor of my tax proposal because it was such, such an advantage to manufacturers to stay here, grow here, and thrive here.

CS: Thank you, governor. Mr. DeVos, your rebuttal.

DD: The governor – the governor talked about 35% reduction in the personal property tax, Michigan Manufacturers did support because they thought that’s the best they could get. We can do better. We have to do better. 35% isn’t going to get it done when other states don’t have it at all. And so, once again, half measures, half steps, are going to get us half a solution and we see Michigan going backwards as a result. That is the challenge. We have had some small successes, but 85,000 jobs have left. We can talk, we can fe-focus on, uh, uh, the few successes, but we have to look at the picture in total.

CS: Time. Steven Clark.

SC: I’m not sure what you can do for this gentleman, but he can certainly help your golf swing. He’s a golf pro from Grosse Pointe. Mr. Lindsey Mason III.

LM3: How ya doin’, Governor? I would like to know, what do you plan on doing to revitalize the City of Detroit.

JG: Thank you for asking that question. I, uh, in my state of the state address this year, I in fact said that nothing should come between Detroit and Michigan but a comma. Period. And there is no doubt that the state of Michigan cannot thrive unless we have a vibrant City of Detroit. Unless there’s a great partnership between the mayor of the city and the governor of Michigan. Mayor Kilpatrick and I talked about having a relationship like Governor Milliken and Coleman Young used to have. And that’s very very important, but the state’s gotta be a partner, in Detroit’s economic success as well. Part of the 21st Century Jobs grant, for example, went to Wayne State University and around Tech Town and Next Energy to create the next kind of economy for the City of Detroit. But investing in job training efforts for those who are currently unemployed, investing in their opportunity, we have a whole pilot going on right now in the City of Detroit that trains people, and retrains them for vacancies that exist not just requiring them to get a job without training, to get them trained for vacancies that exist. We have, in fact, our Michigan State Housing Development Authority has invested $500 million in Detroit over the past 3 years to create 5,000 apartments, or uh, homes for lower-income or working families, because housing has gotta be an important aspect of quality of life. I got from the Legislature a $50 million save, rescue for the Detroit Medical Center because health care is an important part of our quality of life. I’m organizing an insurance pool to reduce the cost of homeowners and car insurance in the City of Detroit. We have a partnership with Auto Owners Insurance to reduce the cost by 10% of the bat, another 10% if you’re over 50 years old. The bottom line is as governor of Michigan, we cannot have a divided state. We are one Michigan, we are all in this together, all of our cities have to thrive if we’re to attract that workforce and those job providers, that will help to make our economy grow.

CS: Mr. DeVos, your one-minute response?

DD: Education. We’ve got to get our education systems right in the city of Detroit, ultimately, for our kids. The governor stood by, while par- while fam-, while, while administrators and teachers argued in the classrooms and our kids had to sit in the street. That’s not going to get us—that’s not going to move us forward. This Governor cut revenue sharing—has cut revenue sharing consistently for the city of Detroit and putting great pressure on this great city. Detroit must come back. I’ve said that the renassiance of Michigan will not be complete until the renassiance of this city and I mean that absolutely. That’s why we have to move forward on mass transit. The Governor’s made no progress- promises, but no progress. Once again lots of promises, not progress in mass transit. We need job creation. Slow, medium sized businesses in particular. They don’t get grants. They just need an environment where they can grow their business. They just need access to capital. I know all about that. I’ve been there. We need to get those businesses going and get those jobs started for our city and our community. And we’ve got to get after the crime issue, we’ve got to get after the crime issue. Safety is a huge problem. We need a safe community.

Mod: Governor, your thirty second response.

JMG: You bet. Mr. DeVos, I would ask you right here and now to support a reinstatement of the inheritance tax for those top most wealthy 800 families in the state so that that funding can go to hire police and fire firefighters and those who are engaged in public safety. It would hire 1600 law enforcement officers across the state. Now I know you’re one of those top 800 families who have nationally lobbied to repeal the inheritance tax. Let’s have Michigan join—

Mod: Time.

JMG: –25 other states in providing public safety through the inheritance tax.

Mod: Alright, thank you very much. Diana Lewis, your question goes to Mr. DeVos, in the interest of preserving the 2 minute closing statements that we guaranteed to you would get, we need for your responses to be 30 seconds, please.

DL: Pam of West Bloomfield joins us right now with a question for Mr. DeVos. Pam?

Pam: Please name one thing you would change about Michigan’s public transportation.

DD: I would change Southeast Michigan because we have too many disconnects right now. It makes it too difficult to move around southeast Michigan. We need all cities working together—cities and counties working together—so that you can move seamlessly from city and county, county and city. That’s critical.

Mod: Governor?

JMG: I would have a public transportation system in SE Michigan in particular but all over the state if they so chose. The Legislature sent me a bill earlier this year that allowed every other community to organize for mass transit except for the city of Detroit. I vetoed that and sent it back to the Legislature and said let all of our communities organize, and they did. Now the city of Detroit can organize for mass transit, I hope that it’s an efficient, clean light rail system.

Mod: Very well. We’ve gotta go right to the closing statements unfortunately in order to get to the two minutes which I think is very very important to you. Mr. DeVos you go first according to the agreement you had when you all tossed a coin several weeks ago.

DD: Thank you very much Chuck. We all continue to hear the Governor misstate the facts to the people of Michigan. It’s unfortunate that the people of Michigan aren’t getting the straight story. This Governor has left the people of Michigan down. This Governor has not protected our jobs. 85,000 jobs are gone. Our unemployment rate has gone over 15 percent above the national average. This Governor has not protected our streets. 1300 less police officers on the streets in MI today. 2600 felons on parole and this administration doesn’t even know where they are. They’re unaccounted for. Crime is up. Burglary, assault, all up. This Governor has not protected our kids. Our drop out rate is up, school performance is down and tuition as we talked about earlier is through the roof. This is unacceptable. This governor has failed the people of Michigan on every count. This Governor has failed to protect Michigan and yet is asking Michigan to protect her job. The good news is Michigan has a choice. I helped turn around a company and led it to success. I helped turn around a city and made it a success. And I’m ready to help turn around Michigan. I am going to be my own economic development director. A business person getting out and getting the job done. We’ll open 10 trade offices around the world to help sell Michigan made products to the world. We can do it. I’ve done it all my career. We’re going to move money into the classroom for our kids. We’re 49th in administration—too much money in administration, not enough in the classroom. We have got to change that. And I’ll put 500 more officers, uniformed police officers, on the streets. We have got to make this community safe and we’ve got to move forward. Michigan’s a great state with great potential. We must change. I’m ready to go to work, and I ask for your vote.

Mod: Thank you, Mr. DeVos. Governor, your closing statement?

JMG: Thank you. There are tremendous, large contrasts in this race. Large contrasts. I’m somebody who has fought for you, for all citizens. He’s somebody who has stood on the other side of the things I’ve fought for. I’ve fought to create jobs here and diversify our economy here in Michigan—he’s eliminated 1400 jobs in Michigan when he was CEO of Amway. I’ve fought the policies of outsourcing and unfair trade of George Bush. He’s George Bush—one of George Bush’s biggest backers and has supported those unfair trade practices that have hurt us. I went to Asia to bring home 22 companies, 1000 jobs and $200 million in investment—he went to Asia and invested $200 million and created thousands of jobs there. I am somebody who strongly believes women should have the right to choose—my opponent strongly believes that that right should be—that she should be criminalized—a criminal if she chose that right even in the case of rape or incest. I support embryonic stem cell research, he opposes it. I support public education, he led the voucher movement to take money away from public education. I’m somebody who believes in health care for all. His health care plan is get a job. I am somebody who believes—I will not gut public safety in order to fund business tax cuts. He corporated his subsidaries in Bermuda to avoid business taxes. There are vast differences, but I’m going to fight for you and for opportunity for all. We may not have all gotten here in the same boat, but we’re in rocky seas, and we’re all in the same boat now. My opponent is an expert yachtsman, and I believe that his philosophy is each man for himself. But I am the captain of this ship of state and I will bring us all into port. My philosophy is: all hands on deck. I ask for your vote on November 7.

Mod: thank you Governor, thank you Mr. DeVos. Thank you both for coming. Thank you panel, thank you audience, give yourself a round of applause. Thank you at home, don’t forget to vote on November the 7th. Good night.

Dick DeVos for Governor Advertising Spending Reaches $10 Million

The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos has spent $10 million dollars on television advertising spending through July 28 in markets across the state of Michigan.

The Dick DeVos for Governor campaign committee has spent more than $10 million dollars on television advertising through July 28 according to a review completed by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN). Spending by the DeVos for governor campaign has increased dramatically this month, going from an average of less than $250,000 per week in May to more than $650,000 per week in July. The amount of money spent by the DeVos campaign on advertising has already exceeded the previous state record of $4.3 million spent by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger in 1998. Democrats have spent some $2.1 million on “issue advertising” in response, although they are not legally required to disclose information about who is paying for those advertisements. A breakdown of spending thus far:

Dick DeVos for Governor television spending through July 28, 2006

Detroit: $4,249,355

Grand Rapids / Kalamazoo: $1,878,780

Lansing: $1,125,041

Flint / Tri-Cities: $850,715

Northern Lower Peninsula: $743,180

Western Upper Peninsula: $247,810

Cable: $922,096

Total: $10,016,977

MI Democratic State Central Committee television “issue ads” through July 19, 2006

Detroit: $699,955

Grand Rapids / Kalamazoo: $346,280

Lansing: $263,300

Flint / Tri-Cities: $173,950

Northern Lower Peninsula: $151,640

Western Upper Peninsula: $57,285

Cable: $456,048

Total: $2,148,458

The numbers released by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network only tally the cost of airtime and do not include the money spent producing the advertisements. Broadcasting corporations in Michigan are making considerable money from the ad sales this election (and have done so historically), thereby raising questions about their responsibility to serve the public interest by providing substantive election coverage. However, while broadcast corporations are making money by selling airtime on publicly owned airwaves to the candidates, the election coverage has been dismal at best .

DeVos Spending More on Television Advertising in Michigan Gubernatorial Race than any Previous Candidate

Republican Dick DeVos’ Michigan gubernatorial campaign has broken the record for the most television advertising spending in a gubernatorial race in the state according to data released this month by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. The $5.4 million spent by DeVos thus far is equal to what presidential candidate George W. Bush spent in the state by this point in the 2004 election.

Republican candidate for governor Dick DeVos has spent more money on television advertising than any previous candidate for governor in Michigan according to the non-partisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network. The Dick DeVos for Governor campaign committee has already spent $5.4 million on television advertising, despite the fact that the traditional campaign season does not begin for three months. Already, the DeVos and Granholm campaigns have raised and spent more money than any gubernatorial campaign committees in Michigan’s history according to MCFN Executive Director Rich Robinson. In the 2004 presidential election, candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry had spent $5.4 million and $3.9 million on television advertisements in the state. The Grand Rapids market—where DeVos is well known—has been the second most targeted area for advertisements. The data was collected by the MCFN in a review of the public files of 28 commercial broadcasters in the state and Comcast’s central office. While the numbers accurately reflect the amount DeVos has spent on purchasing airtime, they do not track the amount that he has spent on actually producing the advertisements.

The advertisements run thus far by the DeVos campaign, according to information compiled by the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy’s Election Watch 2006 effort have featured minimal details and a host of unsubstantiated claims. Viewers hear ads that claim DeVos is a “job-maker,” that he “turned around” Amway/Alticor, and that he was instrumental in the revival of downtown. However great these claims may be, little information has been given in the advertisements to prove that he is a “job maker,” to explain how he “turned around” Amway/Alticor in light of the layoff of 1,300 workers in Michigan in 2000, or his role in construction projects funded in part by his father, Richard DeVos. Other advertisements run by DeVos have made claims that he wants to make Michigan friendlier to businesses by doing things such as eliminating the Small Business Tax, although no details are given about how he plans to achieve any of these goals. Unfortunately, according to election coverage in the local media that has also been monitored by GRIID, neither the broadcast media nor the print media have provided the type of coverage necessary to fully understand the positions of either Dick DeVos or governor Jennifer Granholm.

Spending totals for Dick DeVos for Governor through June 1, 2006:

Detroit: $2,355,080

Grand Rapids / Kalamazoo: $960,995

Lansing: $643,681

Flint / Tri-Cities: $453,745

Northern Lower Peninsula: $415,586

Western Upper Peninsula: $142,455

Cable: $428,195

While polling data should always be viewed with a healthy amount of suspicion, the most recent polling data places DeVos and Granholm in a “statistical dead heat.”

Michigan Needs a Raise Campaign holds Press Conference

On Monday, the Michigan Needs a Raise Campaign held a press conference in Grand Rapids to keep the minimum wage issue “out in the public” as organizers and volunteers work to attain enough signatures to place a measure raising the state’s minimum wage to $6.85 on the November 2006 ballot.

On Monday, February 13, the Michigan Needs a Raise Campaign held a press conference at the Kent Ionia Labor Council to “keep the issue out in the public.” This statewide campaign to raise the minimum wage in Michigan was kicked-off in Grand Rapids on December 10 by a coalition of groups and individuals, but this press conference looked more like a Democratic Party function. Denise Cadreau, Political Director of the AFL-CIO, welcomed people to the Press Conference and then quickly turned it over to Rep. Mark Schauer (D – Battle Creek), who said “Our commitment to strengthening Michigan’s economy must include a commitment to raise Michigan’s minimum wage.”

The next speaker was Rev. Robert Dean, who recently announced his candidacy for the seat that will be vacated in the State House by Jerry Kooiman due to term limits. After Dean spoke, state Senate candidate David LaGrande, a lawyer and owner of the Wealthy Street Bakery, spoke. Everything that Dean and LaGrande addressed was focused on getting more Democrats in the legislature so that proposals to raise the minimum wage could be passed by elected officials and not taken before the public. Joining the press conference late were two women with ACORN, a grassroots organization that is a partner in this statewide initiative. One of the women who spoke was a real minimum wage worker, single mother who spoke more passionately about the need to raise the minimum wage.

Then the floor was open to questions. A WOOD radio reporter asked if it seemed fair to give high school students a $6.85 wage being that they are just teenagers? The Channel 8 reporter said that she had talked to businesses and most of them were opposed to the wage increase saying that it would force business owners to raise prices. Then an unidentified reporter stated that the increase to $6.85 was still inadequate, to which the campaign people responded “that it would go up as inflation rose.” This reporter asked if agricultural workers were included in the wage raise and if not, why not. People stumbled to respond and then a woman with ACORN said it did include agricultural/migrant workers, only to later tell me that they were not after she conferred with the organization by phone. Agricultural workers have always been excluded from the federal minimum wage policies, but that does not prevent individual states from including those workers. In many ways, it seems that the approach that the campaign is taking is missing out on larger organizing opportunities with working people even though many of the people who are collecting signatures to put it on the ballot are approaching it from a more grassroots perspective.