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INTERVIEW: Betsy Coffia – “I’m just incredibly proud of how much this campaign has been so people-powered”

This past Saturday afternoon, Betsy Coffia and a car full of her staff members drove all the way from Traverse City to Ann Arbor for a fundraising shindig super-activist Rochelle Noel and I and a bunch of other folks held for her 104th state House district campaign. The host committee consisted of the two of us, Anne Savage, Tony Trupiano, Rep. Jeff Irwin, education activists Steven Norton and Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, and Rep. Ellen Cogen-Lipton.

The event was very well attended and the speeches by the host committee members were truly inspiring, having been inspired by such a terrific candidate.

But the star of the show gave one of the more powerful speeches I’ve seen this election cycle.…

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INTERVIEW: MDP Chair Lon Johnson – “The days of the Democratic Party playing defense in the state of Michigan are over!”

Following the 2012 presidential election, for the first time in many years, there was a real race for the leadership of the Michigan Democratic Party. Mark Brewer had been at the helm for 18 years and, though challenged by others over that period of time, no one had done so successfully. However, in 2013, Lon Johnson, a former Congressional candidate, campaign manager, and fundraiser took over the MDP after Brewer gracefully stepped aside during the statewide convention after a vigorous race.

During that race, I interviewed both Chair candidates. With Johnson a relative unknown by most Michigan Democrats, my interview with him was of particular interest to many who planned to vote at the spring convention.…

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INTERVIEW: Democrat Paul Clements challenges Fred Upton in MI-06: “Our democracy is not working for the people”

I’ve been writing about the race in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District quite a bit lately. Two things have this race stirring up interest. The first is that Professor Paul Clements, the Democrat who is challenging Fred Upton for this seat, has been running a race that’s far more competitive than any previous Democrat has run. He’s raised more money and he has had more ads on television. In nearly every way he’s running an unprecedented Democratic campaign in MI-06.

The second reason is that the citizen-funded MaydayPAC selected this race as one of its priorities and has committed to spending $1.5 million to defeat Upton, a Republican that receives an astonishing amount of money from special interest groups to whom he is beholden.…

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INTERVIEW: Debbie Dingell – “It’s important that people know that I will work hard for them, I will be their fighter”

As an organizer and volunteer in Washtenaw County, I am blessed with the friendship of Dean of the House, Congressman John Dingell and soon-to-be 12th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Through that friendship, I have to come to realize a couple of things about Ms. Dingell and both have to do with a deeply committed love. The first is that “the Lovely Deborah”, as Congressman Dingell almost always calls her, is deeply committed to her husband. It’s a rare event, at least in our area, where, in addition to Congressional staffers, you don’t see Debbie Dingell there, as well. In addition to attending to her husband’s needs, she works the room as his surrogate, reestablishing friendships, asking questions, always seeking input.…

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INTERVIEW: 8th District candidate Eric Schertzing – “For me, public service is an opportunity to improve folks’ lives”

In late March, seven-term incumbent Mike Rogers decided at the last minute not to run for reelection in Michigan’s 8th District with runs from Ingham County east through Livingston County all the way to Oakland County. It was a jerk move because, when he announced his decision to cash in and become a conservative radio host on Cumulus Radio, there were only 3 weeks left before the filing deadline.

Rogers ended up endorsing Mike Rogers with an epic endorsement that still leaves me with tears of mirth in my eyes:


I’m here supporting Mike Bishop because I think he will not embarrass this district.
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INTERVIEW: Democratic candidate for Attorney General Mark Totten – “I will be the ‘People’s Lawyer'”

We’ve covered the Attorney General race in Michigan fairly extensively here at Eclectablog. In addition to reporting on the candidacy of Democrat Mark Totten, a former prosecutor for the Department of Justice and law professor at Michigan State University, I have written extensively about the extremism of our current AG, Republican Bill Schuette. As I have demonstrated quite vividly before, Bill Schuette is Michigan’s version of Virginia’s outrageous left-wing extremist former AG Ken Cuccinelli.

Schuette’s currently trying to convince voters that Totten has put no criminals behind bars as an attorney, a lie betrayed by the facts, as you will see in this interview.…

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INTERVIEW: AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler – Has the “American Dream” become the “Impossible Dream”?

The American Dream, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American, or, a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

I might suggest that, based on generational differences, the definition of the American Dream might be different from generation to generation. Clearly, though, at least in the world I live in, one has to wonder if it’s time to redefine what the American Dream is. I’m not suggesting that the ideas set forth at dictionary.com are necessarily wrong. At the same time, however, I am concerned that the way it’s defined doesn’t exactly fit into today’s model of what our communities are, what we seek for them to be, and more importantly, how we get there.…

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INTERVIEW: Bobby McKenzie – “Trott is a guy who has made foreclosing & evicting people as efficient as possible”

The election to replace Kerry Bentovolio in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, one of the most absurdly gerrymandered districts in our state, has been one of the most interesting races in the state this election cycle. Multi-millionaire “Foreclosure King” David Trott massively outspent Bentivolio to win the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, Bobby McKenzie, a former Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Counterterrorism in the U.S. Department of State, beat two other candidates to face off against Trott.

I sat down with McKenzie late last week to discuss his campaign and the man he’s running against. Despite Trott having spent millions of his own dollars, money earned at the misery of others, the race is a statistical dead heat.…

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INTERVIEW: Lizz Winstead on standing up for women, from V to Shining V

A conversation with the co-founder of Lady Parts Justice on feminism, grassroots activism and using humor to drive serious change.

Lizz Winstead is a woman with a mission. If you’re lucky enough to talk with her one-on-one, there’s no missing her fiery determination. She’s serious about changing the landscape of reproductive laws across the country that hold women back — and she’s doing it in a hilarious, super-fun way.

That, in a nutshell, is Lady Parts Justice and the first annual V to Shining V Paloooza happening across the country on September 27. For a primer,
check out my previous post
.…

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INTERVIEW: Rep. Dan Kildee on gamesmanship in Congress and leveling the playing field

Why the current Congress isn’t working for the people — and how Democrats can change that.

Do you miss “Schoolhouse Rock”? Me, too. And there’s no question that many members of the current U.S. House of Representatives, particularly Republicans, could benefit from a re-run, a refresher course on how legislating is actually supposed to work.

During the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) participated on a panel with Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41). The title was “A Fresh Perspective: Lessons From a Crazy Congress” and the three representatives shared their take on why Congress is so dysfunctional right now — and what Democrats are doing to drive positive change.…

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