Party on the Peninsulas

The WØRD — “Hope”

From the Chair

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes

Robert Kennedy famously said “Some men see things as they are, and say why. I dream of things that never were, and say why not.” Every era has its challenges, its turmoil and its potential. What gives me hope are the many thousands of people across Michigan who give of themselves, everyday people who are devoted to dream of things that never were, and say “why not?”

As we pause to celebrate the holidays, I think about them and give thanks:

  • The people who stand for local elective public office, jobs that combine endless hours of work, little recognition and low or no pay;
  • The people who become precinct delegates, the grass roots base for true democracy;
  • The thousands who gather petition signatures as a part of our direct democracy;
  • The journalists whose mission is to keep us informed of both the good and not-so-good in government;
  • And for me personally, the fabulous team who are your Michigan Democratic Party. I’m out front as your chair, but it’s our team that makes it work.

It isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying. Dr. King may have said it best:
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

One of the newest victories for us that has been years in the making: a new state law which will provide some protections for victims of domestic violence. We’re joined this week by the sponsor of a package of laws taking deadly weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers, Detroit Senator Stephanie Chang.

Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit)

Opportunity, access, equity, justice and service are the core values driving Senator Stephanie Chang, the first Asian American woman elected to the Michigan legislature. She worked as a community organizer in Detroit for nearly a decade before serving two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives and then as the Democratic Floor Leader for her first term in the Senate. She is currently serving her second term in the Michigan Senate and is the Senate Democratic Policy and Steering Chair.

In the state legislature, she has led on air quality and environmental justice, criminal justice reforms, affordable, safe drinking water, and immigrants’ rights issues. She has passed bipartisan legislation on a range of issues including sexual assault education and prevention, an address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence, the COVID-19 water shutoff moratorium, female genital mutilation, nitrous oxide “whip-its”, reentry services for wrongfully convicted individuals who were exonerated, improving Michigan’s maritime economy, support of community crisis response to mental health emergencies, and establishing Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. She is proud to have helped secure a historic community benefits agreement for Southwest Detroit residents near the Gordie Howe International Bridge and is active in her district advocating for the community’s needs. She cofounded the Asian Pacific American Legislative Caucus in Michigan and served as the chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus in 2017-18.

She served as state director for NextGen Climate Michigan, alumni engagement and evaluation coordinator for the Center for Progressive Leadership in Michigan, deputy director for the Campaign for Justice and as an organizer for Michigan United/One United Michigan. She also worked as a community engagement coordinator for the James and Grace Lee Boggs School and assistant to Grace Lee Boggs, an activist, writer, and speaker. The senator is a co-founder of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote-Michigan and Rising Voices; she also serves on the board of the Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center.

Chang earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degrees in public policy and social work from the University of Michigan. She lives in Detroit with her husband, Sean Gray, and two young daughters.

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The WØRD – “Results”

The do-nothing U.S. House GOP

Video: “One thing. I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing – one – that I can go campaign on and say we did. One.”

From the chair –

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes


There’s no other word to describe the work of our Democratic state legislature and Governor Whitmer in 2023. With the end of the 2023 session, Democrats can take pride in the most productive legislative session in memory. It’s a stunning contrast with the U.S. House of Representatives, where Texas Congressman Chip Roy went to the House floor to angrily concede that they have accomplished just about nothing in 2023.

In Michigan, it’s a different story. The list of highlights is a long one:

  • Reproductive rights with repeal of the law making abortion a crime, and eliminating bureaucratic red-tape enacted to make legal abortions difficult
  • Protecting your rights under the Affordable Care Act in case Republicans in Congress succeed in gutting the law
  • Expanding Michigan’s pioneering Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to recognize the rights of LGBTQ+ people
  • Outlawing conversion therapy
  • Repealing anti-worker laws including the deceptively named Right to Work law
  • Repealing the Snyder-initiated retirement tax
  • Expanding the Earned Income tax credit for lower income working families
  • Voter rights legislation that runs counter to nationwide Republican efforts to suppress voting
  • Record investments in education from pre-K right through higher education
  • Record investments in repairing our long-neglected state highways and water systems
  • Enactment of common-sense gun safety laws including a red flag law and requiring safe gun storage in homes
  • A package of laws promoting clean energy, bills which help protect the planet from climate change and (at the same time) will create thousands of new jobs for Michigan.
  • Enactment of financial disclosure requirements for elected state officials and candidates for those offices

There’s still work to be done. Legislative Democrats and the Governor will continue their efforts in 2024 working on issues ranging from Artificial Intelligence to further improving public education and taking steps to expand Michigan’s economy. 

Thanks to some local electoral successes – and a do-nothing mentality amongst legislative Republicans – we may be delayed a little. Democrats have temporarily fallen into a 54-54 tie with Republicans in the state House due to the election of Representatives Kevin Stone and Lori Stone as mayors of Westland and Warren. Without Republican support, no bill can pass until those two vacancies are filled. Sadly, Republicans have shown little interest in serious bipartisan discussions on major legislation.

While we await the restoration of our majority, our members will be working individually and in committees on multiple issues. It is their goal to make 2024 as productive as 2023 in moving Michigan forward.

Some of the issues that are part of next year’s agenda:

  • Making prescription drugs more affordable
  • Paid family and medical leave
  • Police accountability
  • Rights for victims of sexual abuse
  • Regulating the use of Artificial Intelligence to deceive voters 
  • Expanding open meetings and open records laws to the Legislature and Governor’s office
  • Improving Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance laws

Democrats in Lansing are laser-focused on making 2024 as productive as 2023 in moving Michigan forward.

To update us on the prospects for 2024 we’re joined by East Lansing Senator Sam Singh.

Senator Singh is the first Indian American elected to the Michigan Senate, where he serves as Majority Floor Leader in his first term in office.

No stranger to Lansing, Singh served three terms as State Representative, from 2013-2018, where he was a passionate champion for K-12 education, environmental protection, and economic development. In his last term, his colleagues selected him to serve as the Democratic Leader.

Over the past 25 years, Singh has made a career of supporting the mid-Michigan area through his work with philanthropy, public service and nonprofit board service. In 1995, at the age of 24, he was elected to the East Lansing City Council where he served three terms, one as Mayor. He has also served as president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, senior consultant for the New Economy Initiative, and CEO of Public Policy Associates.

Singh is a graduate of Michigan State University and lives in East Lansing with his wife, Kerry, and their son, Remy.

In the News This Week

2023 Legislative Report Card: RESULTS!

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The WØRD – “Freedom”

From the chair:

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt laid out this nation’s core principles 83 years ago, in his 1941 State of the Union speech given even as a totalitarian dictator, Adolph Hitler, was assaulting democratic freedoms across Europe.

Too often, we take freedom for granted. But it under assault today by leaders of the Republican Party:

  • Attacking free speech by banning books, calling anyone who speaks out against them Socialists or Marxists or Communists; and re-writing history by banning the teaching of anything that makes them uncomfortable;
  • Attacking freedom of religion by demanding all of us live under their religious beliefs and promoting discrimination against non-Christian faiths;
  • Attacking freedom from want by slashing the social safety net that guarantees basic subsistence: food and shelter, and demanding cuts in Social Security;
  • Attacking freedom from fear by instead stoking fear with claims of crime waves when, in fact, crime has been going down for the last two decades – and claiming without foundation that Democrats want to defund the police when it’s Republicans who call for defunding the FBI … and adding to fear of devastating illness by opposing guaranteed access to healthcare.

Republican leaders demand that government make medical decisions for women over the objections of the women and their doctors.

They fight against free-and-fair elections with outrageous gerrymandering, voter purges targeting minorities and young people, limiting the number of polling places in Democratic-leaning locations, and seizing control of elections so that elections are controlled by gerrymandered legislatures.

Donald Trump has even gone so far as to say publicly that he’d use the Department of Justice and FBI to indict and jail anyone who spoke out against him. That’s what they do in Russia, North Korea, Iran and China. It’s what Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler did to seize and hold onto power in the run-up to World War II.

Democrats stand by FDR’s Four Freedoms. Republicans do not. That fact is mirrored by the record of our Governor and Legislature this year, a year in which dozens of bills have been signed into law advancing the Four Freedoms, many strongly opposed by Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

As Coretta Scott King has told us, “Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.

We must never take our freedom for granted, or we will lose it.

Joining the podcast this week is Representative Helena Scott, chair of the state House Committee on Energy, Communications, and Technology.

Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit)

Rep. Scott is a former organizer and longtime labor and social justice community activist. She was appointed to serve on the House Democrats’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Planning Committee and the House Committee on Committees. Scott graduated from Marygrove College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science.

As the lead organizer for Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice, she spearheaded a petition drive to gather over 5,000 signatures for the One Fair Wage ballot proposal initiative. More recently, she served on the Steering Committee to Protect and Defend One Fair Wage. Her sister-in-law, former Detroit City Council Pro Temp Brenda Scott, fostered her passion for service.

Scott’s commitment to the community led her to volunteer and serve on many boards and organizations. Formerly, she was an executive board member for the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Detroit League of Women Voters, and vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus. Currently, Scott is a vice chair of the 14th Congressional District and was recently elected to serve as the vice chair of the Detroit Caucus. Additionally, she serves as the chair of the bicameral Legislative Care Caucus and the historian of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. Before joining the Legislature, Scott worked in the airline industry for over 20 years as a sales and service instructor. She also worked for her predecessor, former Rep. LaTanya Garrett, as her community liaison.

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The WØRD – “Scandals”

Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) has been the lead in the state Senate’s drive to enact much-needed financial disclosure requirements for elected officials.

From the Chair

Nothing undermines trust in our democracy more than scandals, and it seems as if the number of scandals have been increasing.

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes

At the federal level, revelations about millions in gifts, luxury vacations and private jet service for Justice Clarence Thomas … along with high-paying jobs for his wife … have accelerated calls for a Supreme Court code of ethics. In Congress, Senator Bob Menendez and Representative George Santos continue to serve despite multiple serious federal indictments, many of the charges about illegally obtaining hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. And right now we have former President Trump on trial for financial fraud in the hundreds-of-millions of dollars.

In Michigan, one former Republican House Speaker has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. Another former Republican Speaker and two former Senate Republican leaders are under investigation for their use of money from dark-money political funds.

It’s said that sunshine is the best disinfectant. Last year the voters of Michigan agreed. By your vote you said “enough is enough” and enacted a constitutional amendment demanding some critical sunshine: financial disclosures from elected officials. It’s something Democrats have long advocated. Now, with Democrats in the majority, it is happening. Bills long stymied when Republicans were in the majority are now moving through both chambers. We’re joined on the podcast by the Senate’s lead sponsor of financial disclosure legislation, Southfield Senator Jeremy Moss.

Senator Moss is the President Pro Tempore of the Michigan Senate, where he is also serving his second term. Always looking to build relationships across the aisle, Moss has successfully had legislation signed into law to reduce unfair employment barriers for people with past criminal records, help homeowners make home improvements by lowering property taxes, allow public-private partnerships to rebuild crumbling bridges, and to create more pathways for students who dropped out of high school so they can complete their degree.

Moss holds the distinction of having been the youngest-ever elected official on the Southfield City Council (2011) and has not let up on public service since. After City Council, he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, serving as the Democratic Caucus Whip, and then became the Assistant Democratic Leader in his first term in the Michigan Senate.

Moss earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University, where he participated in multiple student-led humanitarian aid missions nationally and across the globe. He lives in Southfield.

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The WØRD – “Danger”

Rep. Jasper Martus (D-Flushing) is one of the lead sponsors of legislation addressing the needs of Michigan workers in the transition to a green economy.

From the Chair:


Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes

There’s an old saying “beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” After 3 weeks of chaos, Republicans in the U.S. House lined up 100-percent behind an unknown Louisiana back-bencher, Michael Johnson, as Speaker. Republicans unanimously elected the affable Johnson only after Donald Trump instructed Republicans to oppose the member they nominated hours earlier, Minnesota’s Tom Emmer. Emmer’s sin: he publicly recognized that Joe Biden was elected in a fair and honest election. To Trump, that’s all he needs to hear to attack someone.

Johnson has a charming, low-key demeanor. But his political views are anything but. He’s a radical right extremist – anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ and even openly anti-democracy. Based on his political record, the soft-spoken Michael Johnson poses a threat to our democratic system of government. 

“MAGA Mike” Johnson still doesn’t admit that Joe Biden won the 2020 election which Johnson has repeatedly said was stolen. He openly promotes the same lies that led to 3 Trump attorneys pleading guilty to election fraud-related charges. Johnson led efforts in the U.S. House to have the Supreme Court overturn Biden’s decisive victory in Michigan and three other states. When that failed, he joined the majority of House Republicans in voting against certifying Biden’s victory. On the day of Johnson’s elevation to the most powerful position in Congress, his Republican colleagues booed a reporter who asked about Johnson’s leadership is trying to overturn the election. They even told the reporter to shut up. They are totally under the thumb of the man accused of 91 different crimes in four courts.

What could it mean for democracy? Consider this scenario:

It’s January 6, 2025. After still another close election, Joe Biden prevails again in the electoral college vote. But the House of Representatives, operating under instructions from Donald Trump and implemented by Michael Johnson, votes to reject the results from one or more swing states, denying Biden the electoral college majority. Without any candidate getting 270 electoral votes, the President is then chosen by the House with each state getting one vote. That means Wyoming’s one Congressman’s vote is equal to the combined votes of the 53 from California or the 13 from Michigan. 

Under that scenario, despite losing the popular vote for a third time, Donald Trump would reinstalled in the White House…possibly as a convicted criminal.

Far fetched? It shouldn’t even be a possibility, but with all Republicans in the House operating under orders from Donald Trump, and Michael Johnson as Speaker, it could happen.

So what do we do? We start by holding Michigan’s 6 Republican members accountable for endorsing an election denier as their leader. With that vote, none of them is worthy of the honor of representing our state. And we need to retake the majority in the House so that Hakeem Jeffries is Speaker of the House on January 6, 2025. We do that by increasing our majority in the Michigan delegation (and also holding Debbie Stabenow’s seat in the Senate). The mission is clear.

In Michigan, legislative Democrats are working on issues that impact families across our pleasant peninsulas. One increasingly discussed issue is the impact of fighting climate change on jobs and our economy. Change can be frightening. The transition of our major industry from internal combustion engines to EVs is happening. That decision has been made by the manufacturers. What does it mean for their employees and other industries that could be impacted by clean energy initiatives?

According to Bridge Michigan, nearly 20 percent of the jobs in our state are tied to auto manufacturing. Even more jobs are connected to electric power generation. Both are undergoing major transitions: autos from gas-powered to electric, power generation from coal and natural gas to renewables.

The Legislature is considering bills that would establish an economic transition office focused on helping workers and communities facing job losses related to those transitions. We’re joined on the podcast by a lead sponsor of the bills, Flushing state Representative Jasper Martus.

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The WØRD – “Contrasts”

House Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton Township) is one of the main sponsors of legislation requiring the use of A.I. for political ads to be disclosed.

From the Chair:

MDP Chair Lavora Barnes


As the world watched, President Biden flew into a war zone to provide leadership in protecting Israel from the terrorism of Hamas, and working to prevent that war from growing. At the same time, Republicans in Washington continue to embarrass themselves and the nation as they can’t even elect a Speaker of the House, paralyzing Congress for more than two weeks – making it unable to do anything in support of America’s allies in Israel and Ukraine.

In Lansing, Governor Whitmer and legislative Democrats continued the work of governing. Just this week, the Governor signed into law Democratic bills guaranteeing Michigan citizens their rights under the Affordable Care Act, and another bill creating a first-in-the-nation guarantee of clean, healthy water for every school child. The state House approved legislation reforming our juvenile justice system. The state Senate passed bills expanding reproductive healthcare rights. 

Republicans, meanwhile, held a news conference in support of the aging and environmentally dangerous Enbridge 5 pipeline … amazingly on the same day another oil pipeline ruptured spilling thousands of gallons of oil in Branch County.

While Michigan Democrats were passing reproductive rights laws, a Republican would-be U.S. Senator was working to hide his anti-reproductive rights record. The non-profit online publication “The Gander” exposed Mike Rogers record of supporting a complete ban of abortions, even in the case of rape or incest – a position he’s now trying to hide. There’s a link to the exposé on our website.

While Michigan Democrats were enacting legislation to protect and expand voter rights, 5 Michigan Republicans in Congress were voting to elect as their Speaker a leader of the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. And the other Republican, John James, waited until every other Representative had voted before casting a totally symbolic vote against Trump ally Jim Jordan. 

Jordan, by the way, has never had a bill signed into law during his 16 years in Congress. None. Zip. Nadda. He’s been a disrupter, a constant guest on Fox News and a fast-talking attack dog in committee hearings. He’s never shown an interest in actually legislating.

Bottom line: one political party governs. The other major party shows it is incapable of governing.

Also this week, a state House committee approved a three-bill package regulating the use of Artificial Intelligence in political campaigns. It used to be the “seeing and hearing was believing.” With deep fakes so easy to create, that’s no longer true. The state House Elections Committee has approved a three-bill package aimed at preventing deception of voters through the use of deep-fake audios and videos. We talked with one of the sponsors of the bipartisan package, House Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri of Canton Township.

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The WØRD – “Violence”

This week’s guest: House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash on Democratic efforts to promote job-creating energy conservation programs.

From the chair

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes

Violence is infecting our political system both directly and indirectly.

Last week in Lansing, one of our party’s local volunteer leaders was gunned down while canvassing on behalf of a city council candidate. The shooting was not motivated by politics. 

Ted Lawson, secretary of the Ingham County Democratic Party, was the victim of a holdup attempt in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. He was allegedly shot by a 15-year-old who had asked him for money.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help defray funeral expenses for murdered Ingham County Democratic Party officer Ted Lawson

It wasn’t directly political. But this random act of deadly violence wouldn’t have happened if Ted hadn’t been out there knocking on doors. This growing street violence is something that weighs on the minds of every volunteer knocking on doors. It amplifies the recommendation that when you canvass, you do it in teams of 2 or more … just to add a layer of safety.

As tragic as this senseless murder if, even more frightening is the open advocacy of violence by some political leaders. In a time when political leaders should be speaking out against using violence in politics, some are actually encouraging it. Donald Trump regularly speaks in praise about violence, topped by his open praise for the January 6 rioters. But that certainly wasn’t the first time. He’s done it often – there are links below to Trump’s history of advocating violence.

We’ve had more than our share of violence and intimidation attempts in Michigan. Among them: the April 2020 armed invasion of the Capitol; the plot to kidnap and murder Governor Whitmer; the gun-toting protesters outside Jocelyn Benson’s home after the election; the angry mob outside the TCF Center when the 2020 ballots were being counted; the countless death threats against public officials at all across Michigan (including Attorney General Nessel). Sadly, the examples are endless.

We need to begin with all political leaders, Democrats and Republicans, forcefully and repeatedly speaking out against violence and against those advocating violence. There’s no room for politicians who talk about “2nd amendment solutions” to political disagreements, and certainly no room for a candidate for President openly encouraging people at his rallies to physically attack protesters, or hint that they physically assault the news media.

It has to stop. 

There is some good news from our elected Democrats this week. While DC Republicans play out their leadership soap opera that’s paralyzed Congress, Michigan Democrats are focused on a future that combines clean energy and good-paying jobs. Joining the podcast this week is state House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash who is sponsoring a package of bills that are good for the planet, and good for Michigan workers.

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GOP Crime Watch

The WØRD – “Paralysis”

Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids) talks about the chaos in the U.S. House, and her efforts to craft a bipartisan immigration reform bill.

From the Chair

MDP Chair Lavora Barnes


That’s exactly what Republicans have given us in Congress. With the Matt Gaetz fringe wing of the party firing Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the House of Representatives can’t do anything until it elects a new speaker. There’s no consensus on his replacement, the talk of installing accused felon Donald Trump into the job is pretty much a fantasy, and the federal government faces another shutdown deadline in about 40 days. Republicans are once again demonstrating they are unable to govern.

We got more great news this week about jobs. We have record-low unemployment for the 20th consecutive month, wages are growing, and inflation is coming down. Under President Biden’s leadership more than 13.9 million jobs have been created. That’s the biggest two-year job creation number of any President in history. 

There’s also more Democrat-led action at both the federal and state levels to reduce the price you pay for healthcare. At the federal level, the manufacturers of 10 expensive medications have agreed to negotiate with the federal government for lower prices for Medicare recipients. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, called the decision by the companies “another major step in President Biden’s fight to lower health care costs for seniors and families.”

In Michigan, the state Senate has approved (on a party-line vote) legislation creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board which would focus on the prices you pay for your prescriptions.

We’re joined on the podcast by U.S. Congresswoman Hillary Scholten. Representative Scholten is part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of centrist House members focused on finding bipartisan solutions to the nation’s challenges. An attorney with two decades’ experience in immigration law, Rep. Scholten is at the center of finding answers to one of those challenges: Immigration Reform.

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The WØRD – “Chaos”

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint): McCarthy, MAGAs and Chaos

The interview with Rep. Kildee was recorded before the weekend’s last-minute Democratic-led passage of the 45-day continuing budget resolution.

From the Chair

MDP Chair Lavora Barnes

“Chaos”. No other word can better describe Republicans in both Michigan and Washington D.C. and what they have brought to the American people.

In Washington, we got a temporary 45-day reprieve from chaos as Democrats led the way to passing a short-term federal spending authorization. 90 House Republicans voted to shut down much of the government. And the reprieve from chaos there could end any day.

For all practical purposes, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has turned over control of the House to a handful of extremists led by Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene. They may well add to the chaos by voting Speaker Kevin McCarthy out for the sin of finally agreeing to a bipartisan compromise.

The threatened MAGA Republican shutdown would have had a huge impact that hurts every American:

  • slashing funds for schools with low-income students,
  • gutting law enforcement,
  • raising housing costs,
  • eliminating critical job training and workforce development programs;
  • sending home food safety and drug safety workers, endangering our health.

The MAGA-Republican shutdown would have had devastating consequences for our communities, economy, and national security:

  • Armed service members not getting their paychecks,
  • Travelers facing likely airport delays with air traffic controllers and TSA agents working without pay,
  • FBI agents going unpaid – a welcome opening for both foreign and home-grown terrorists.

Ironically, the same Republicans yelling loudest about border security voted to take paychecks away from border control officers.

The MAGA extremists wanted to inflict pain on families as well:

  • WIC nutrition assistance delayed for nearly 7 million women and children,
  • Daycare disrupted, and
  • Interruptions in Head Start and Meals on Wheels.

Rather than working for a bipartisan budget compromise, those same MAGA extremists are instead devoting their energies to a fact-free impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Even their political allies at Fox News call the Impeachment Inquiry a waste of time. The first witnesses for the GOP gaggle openly stated, under oath, that there was no evidence against President Biden warranting the idea of impeachment.

In Michigan, the MAGA Republicans held what amounted to a rally of election deniers and conspiracy promoters billed as a “leadership conference” – a bit of a misnomer since hardly any elected Republican leaders showed up for the event. Normally the Mackinac Island conference features multiple presidential candidates. This year, only extremist Vivek Ramashwamy appeared, speaking to a half-empty room. Just 2 of the state’s 6 GOP congressmen were in attendance; neither of the party’s state legislative leaders could be bothered to attend.

Party chair Kristina Karamo told attendees that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a fraud and a hoax: man was created in his present form by God, but that leftists cling to evolutionary theory because when children are taught that one part of the Bible is false, they are more inclined to also question its other teachings.

Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press reported that frequent themes at nearly all the sessions were attacks on scientific elitism and globalism, criticism of electric vehicles as reliant on technology linked to the Chinese Communist Party, and the need to enhance border security and adhere to Christian principles and the Constitution as envisioned by the nation’s founders. There was even a workshop on “Globalism in Chile”.

One so-called headline speaker was defeated Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake who, like Karamo, still refuses to concede that she lost in 2022 (claiming election fraud). Lake continues to spout evidence-free claims of ongoing fraud as she prepares to run for the U.S. Senate in Arizona.

While the GOP wallows in chaos with its pointless investigations, tanking of the American economy and leaderless leadership events, Democrats are getting the job done.

Even with the smallest of possible majorities in both our state House and Senate, Democrats and the Whitmer administration have compiled a record-smashing set of successes for the people of Michigan in advancing education, voter rights, reproductive healthcare rights and gun safety. Under the leadership of Speaker Joe Tate and Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, Democrats are united for progress. There is no chaos in Lansing, just results.

In Washington, the Biden/Harris administration and a one-vote Senate Democratic majority continue to craft bipartisan solutions to some of the nation’s most urgent challenges: creating jobs, combating climate change and restoring America’s stature in the world.

Today’s Republicans stand for chaos, undermining democracy, and against working people. Democrats stand on the side of workers, we fight to protect our democracy, and we work FOR the American people.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support workers, while Trump just talks (via YouTube)

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The WØRD – “Reckless”

This week’s guest: State House Elections Chair Penelope Tsernoglou on expanding automatic voter registration in Michigan, and outlawing firearms at election precincts.

From the Chair


No other word can better describe Republicans in Congress. It’s likely that much of the federal government will shut down because a handful of extremists led by Marjorie Taylor Green and Matt Gaetz have decided that America can do without the government while they make a point about … something. In the Senate, one Senator is abusing the rules to personally wreck our military’s leadership structure, single-handedly stopping the promotion of hundreds of senior officers. His demand: that women in the military be denied full access to healthcare.

Add to that demands from some right-wingers that the FBI be abolished – and the Attorney General impeached –  because they are doing their job and prosecuting the criminal who stumbled his way into the presidency 6-and-a-half years ago. Donald Trump has ordered his minions in Congress to “…defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots.”

Instead of working on the many challenges facing our country, they devote their time to attacks on Hunter Biden, a private citizen whose father is President … while ignoring the billions collected by Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law as a direct result of things they did as senior White House advisers.

And then there’s the impeachment inquiry into President Biden, driven not by any facts of “high crimes and misdemeanors” … but motivated by revenge for the two bipartisan impeachments of Trump.

No wonder Senator Mitt Romney – the Republican son of a former Republican Michigan Governor – said “a very large portion of my party really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”

All of this is why we need to work tirelessly to stop the radical Republicans by taking them out at the ballot box. Two of our congressional districts are rated among the closest in the nation: the 7th district, now represented by Elissa Slotkin, is ranked the most vulnerable Democratic seat in the nation. And the 10th district, where right-wing extremist John James won by a handful of votes, is one of the Republican-held seats considered among the most likely to flip.

Add to that protecting Senator Debbie Stabenow’s seat. After a spirited primary we will have a high quality candidate to battle whatever right-wing extremist emerges from the Republican field.

At the top of the ticket, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris need Michigan to protect the world from the danger of a return of Donald Trump.

Make no mistake: it’s going to be close in all those races, as well as in the battle to protect and expand our majorities in the Michigan Legislature. Each of us needs to make a commitment to devote the next 12 months to helping save America from the reckless, dangerous and anti-democracy Republican extremists.


The passage of voting rights ballot proposals in 2018 and last year were just the beginning of making it easier for Michigan citizens to be a part of our democratic system. With Democrats now leading the state, individual rights are being expanded. On this week’s podcast we get an update from state House Elections Committee chair Penelope Tsernoglou on bills to protect the safety of election workers, and also expand options for automatic voter registration.

“These Guys” want the government to make reproductive healthcare decisions for women – YouTube

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Michigan Republicans in Disarray