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INTERVIEW: Judge Deborah Thomas for Supreme Court – “If the people we’ve helped reach back to help me, we can win this”

If I had to use only one word to describe Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas, it would be “fearless”. Judge Thomas, one of three people nominated by the Michigan Democratic Party for the Michigan Supreme Court (on the non-partisan section of the ballot), has never let adversity stand in the way of achieving her goals. Despite losing her father at the age of ten and contracting polio as a toddler, she has been a fierce warrior for the communities where she has served.

When Judge Thomas speaks about her candidacy, she uses the phrase “Vote Justice First”. The phrase has two meanings.…

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INTERVIEW: Erika Geiss – The beginning of a new political dynasty

This is the first in a series of conversations I had with four women who are running for the Michigan State House of Representatives. Not only is it important to me that we elect more women to government at ALL levels, it’s also important that you know them better as well. This is the first in that series.

There are political dynasty families and there are political dynasty families. Of course the Kennedys come to mind, and the Clintons. The Rockefellers as well as the, um, Bush family. But what about the Geiss family? Not sure about that one? Let me help you.…

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INTERVIEW: Democratic candidate for state Senate Shari Pollesch – “I believe we can win this thing”

I have liked Shari Pollesch from the first moment I met her. She is engaging, funny, and whip smart. When I learned that she was running for Senate against the ultra-conservative Joe Hune, however, I was dubious that she would stand a chance. However, Pollesch insisted that she did have a chance and was unshakeable in that belief.

One of the reasons for this is that the 22nd state Senate district had its borders radically changed during the most recent redistricting. Instead of stopping at the historically conservative Livingston County’s southern border with Washtenaw County, the 22nd District now includes a wide swath of Western Washtenaw County:

That fact, combined with the more Democratic leaning character of Western Washtenaw might be enough to give Pollesch and edge.…

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INTERVIEW: Veronique Liem for Washtenaw Circuit Court – “I’m running based on what I can do to help our community.”

There are two judicial races on the ballot this year in Washtenaw County. One is for Probate Court. You can read my interview with Tracy Van den Bergh who is running in that race HERE. The other is for the Circuit Court.

Veronique Liem is one of the people running for the Circuit Court seat. Her progressive values and concern for victims of domestic assault as well as children in family law cases have earned her my personal endorsement. As I wrote in my endorsement statement, “As a community organizer in Washtenaw County and someone who follows progressive issues closely, I am committed to supporting candidates who represent my views.…

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INTERVIEW: Tracy Van den Bergh for Probate Judge – “Too often the voice of the vulnerable isn’t heard in our courts”

The race for Probate Judge in Washtenaw County has been hard fought and gotten a fair amount of attention locally. What many people are unaware of is the intense amount of politics that has played into this race. Having spoken with numerous people who are knowledgeable about the Probate Court, I’ve come to understand that two of the conservative judges on the court have worked very hard to see that their pick for the position, Julia Owdziej, was awarded an appointment to the seat just last spring, giving her the advantage of being labeled the incumbent.

Judge Nancy Wheeler (nee Francis), who held the Probate Court judge position that is being voted on had been out on medical leave several times.…

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INTERVIEW: Democratic State House candidate David Haener is a man for the people, and he means ALL of the people

With just 10 days until the election, most candidates are run down, tired, exhausted and fatigued. Yes, I realize they all have the same meaning, but as a former candidate, I can attest to the myriad of physical and emotional strains a candidate morphs into day after day, especially this close to the election and the end of this journey and with great hope that you will be on the winning end of the next journey.

For David Haener, Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 23rd House District (Gibraltar, Trenton, Woodhaven and the townships of Brownstown, Grosse Isle and Huron), a seat currently held by Republican Pat Sommerville, on a Thursday evening at 10 PM he should be all kinds of tired, but he is not.…

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INTERVIEW: Bobby McKenzie has the juice to turn a Red district Blue with your help

For Democratic candidate for the United States Congress in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, Bobby McKenzie, life these days is filled with events, rallies, door knocking and money raising, something that is true for most candidates. What is setting Bobby McKenzie apart from most other campaigns is that he is running against a multi-millionaire by the name of David Trott, also known as “The Foreclosure King” for his law firm’s foreclosing on more than 80,000 homes in the state of Michigan in one year alone, profiting multimillions of dollars off the suffering of mostly middle class friends and neighbors.

Trott & Trott, the firm in question, represented banks that had mortgagees who ended up months behind in their payments because of the economic downturn, people who then tried to modify their loans to make their home payments more affordable and to remove them from the threat of foreclosure.…

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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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