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Gridlock in Lansing tosses road funding decision to taxpayers but Dems get a LOT of what they wanted

Michigan’s legislature is essentially a microcosm of what is happening in Washington, D.C. A small coalition of hard-right tea party types are holding the Republican party hostage, forcing them to cut deals with the Democrats in order to actually, you know, govern. Cast in the role of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger. This gridlock gave Democrats the ability to secure some important elements in the road funding agreement.

The battle to find over a billion dollars in road funding finally came to an end at something like 5:30 a.m. this morning. The final result does a whole lot of things but entirely depends on Michigan taxpayers raising the sales tax from six percent to seven percent.…

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Why the road to fixing our roads is worse than the roads we actually drive and have to endure

Today is December 15, 2014 and that, in itself might mean many things to you. However, for political observers, pundits, analyzers, etc., today marks the final days of the Michigan Legislative agenda for 2014 and will also usher in, in a few very short weeks, a new House and Senate. This is the last week of what is known as Lame Duck, a time when, at least in the last few election cycles, has ushered in laws that have been shocking, partisan, and hurtful even. Lame Duck is NOT a legislative effort required by law. In fact, Lame Duck is not anything but one last chance, especially for those who are term-limited breast beaters, to get in one last dig and attempt to force upon the people of the state of Michigan new laws that they will not have to be held accountable for.…

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Michigan GOP can’t bring itself to give civil rights protections to ALL Michiganders, leave transgender people behind

Back in September, I wrote about how Michigan Republicans, facing massive pressure from across the state – including from the business community they worship with such reverance – started discussing updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include civil rights protections for the LGB community. They had no intention, I had heard at the time, of including protections for “gender identity” which describes transgender Michiganders, however:

I heard last week that Republicans were in discussions about putting forth similar legislation that would have excluded trans people and would have added exemptions based on “sincerely held religious beliefs”. This is pretty surprising considering the intense backlash that they faced when similar restrictions were first included in an anti-bullying bill – dubbed the “License to Bully Bill” – supported by Republicans in 2011.…
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Election 2014: Who do we blame for the results?

Faith is not rational — remember that because we will be coming back to it.

This column has been long delayed for a variety of reasons, which matter not to the essence of what I have to share today. An autopsy of the November 4, 2014 election continues to manifest itself in many publications and television shows the world over. It’s about science and philosophy. It’s about methods and monitoring. It’s about polling and participation. It’s about a lot of things that at this point don’t matter much to me.

The truth is simple: Democrats, Progressives, and even many Independents lost a lot on November 4, 2014.…

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Dean of the House John Dingell to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama

Yesterday, President Obama announced 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. One of the recipients is Dean of the House, Congressman John Dingell. Here is what the official announcement had to say about Congressman Dingell, known affectionately by his staff as “JDD”:

John Dingell is a lifelong public servant, the longest serving Member of Congress in American history, and one of the most influential legislators in history. Having represented Michigan in the House of Representatives since 1955, Mr. Dingell has fought for landmark pieces of legislation over the past six decades, from civil rights legislation in the 1960s, to legislation protecting our environment in the 1970s, to his persistent, determined fight for health care throughout his career, from Medicare to the Affordable Care Act.…
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GUEST POST: Michigan Democrats Get More Votes, Lose Anyway

Below I am crossposting a piece written by Walt Sorg and published at his blog The Michigan Curmudgeon. Walt has held senior positions in all three branches of Michigan state government, serving under Speaker Bobby Crim and Governor Jim Blanchard as well as at the State Bar of Michigan. He began his 48-year tenure in or around Michigan government as a young journalist covering George Romney, Senator Phil Hart and state House Speaker Bill Ryan.

Before we get into Walt’s essay, I wanted to emphasize something he wrote that echoes my feelings with regard the blame game that’s happening in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election.…

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Why I hate one-issue voters and why I am asking you to be one — just this once

According to Dictionary.com, hatred is defined in this way: verb (used without object), hated, hating. To feel intense dislike, or extreme aversion or hostility.

It is my firm belief that as a society we use the word hate too casually. I offer this preamble to my last shot at motivating you to vote, act, and make sure others vote tomorrow, but there is a twist to my message today and I am asking you to stay with me as I work though my rationale behind what I am about to ask of all of you, but it starts with something that I do hate.…

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Guess which Michigan candidates had 6,000+ people rally for them yesterday. HINT: it wasn’t the Republicans.

While Michigan Republican Party chair Bobby Schostak, the man behind “The Worst Campaign Ad That Human Beings Actually Paid for This Year”, tells anyone who will listen that President Obama’s visit to Michigan yesterday is going to harm the election chances of Mark Schauer, Gary Peters, and all of our Democratic candidates, over 6,000 people showed up to see him speak last night and to rally for our candidates. Hundreds of others were turned away. My friend Mary wrote this on my Facebook page:

First time in my life I was more than happy to spend over an hour out in the cold to stand in a very long line only to be turned away with hundreds of other very energized voters.…
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INTERVIEW: Strong Democrat Stacey Dogonski – “Tell me I can’t win, I dare you”

This is the third in our four part series on women running for the State House of Representatives on Tuesday. I am a big proponent of more women being elected at all levels of government and I hope that this series helps to make that more realistic for these women candidates.

Stacey Dogonski is a firebrand and I mean that in the best possible way. Get her talking on any issue or topic and be prepared to be amazed. Her passion, confidence, and desire to embrace change is evident. It’s not just about politics for her. She loves her job of 15 years with a small zoning and planning company and takes obvious pride when talking about her employer and co-workers.…

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INTERVIEW: Democrat Kristy Pagan – This millennial is ready for prime time

This is the second in a four-part series with women who are running for the Michigan State House of Representatives. With your help and votes, they can win and change the face of politics in Michigan. I believe in all of them and I want you to as well.

When I hear names like Rashida Tlaib, Sarah Roberts, Gretchen Driscoll, and Debbie Stabenow, I think strong, independent-minded strategists. Political forces that have led by example and have bucked the system and the political will of mostly men to not only win in the elections game but also provide amazing insight, voice and SOLUTIONS to problems that have plagued us all.…

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