|By City Pulse|
This story was corrected on Oct. 28.
In 2008, the Lansing area joined the rest of country in demanding change.
Take a step away from the theatrical screaming
This is progress. This is something all of us should be proud of. This is absolutely not the time to turn back.
"Get rid of the politician." Its a popular theme this year, but interestingly, voters are always willing to keep their local politician. He or she is doing a good job. Its always someone elses politician thats the problem.
Well, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is our hometown politician and, quite frankly, hes a darn good one. Remember downtown Lansing before he took office just five years ago. Sometimes its underappreciated how broke city government is, and Bernero was able to balance the budget without raising taxes or decimating our adequate police force.
Bernero has exhibited a take-charge personality that well suits his position as public executive. Hes a populist when we need a passionate advocate. Hes a visionary when we need a clear path to success. And he’s showing an increasing sense of diplomacy.
He understands the need for business and development but can work with organized labor. Maybe more important, he understands the job of governor. As a former legislator, he understands that a $1.5 billion hit to the budget cant be made up with some hocus-pocus boardroom lingo like "value for money budgeting."
Bernero is also pro-choice and OK with gay marriage.
We commend Republicans for at least picking a relatively moderate voice as its nominee. This state could do a lot worse than Rick Snyder, whose willingness to bring people together is a refreshing change from the empty political rhetoric we heard from Mike Cox or Pete Hoekstra.
But we think Snyder underestimates the challenges of getting 20 votes in the Senate and 56 votes in the House to advance his agenda. It will take longer than he expects to become comfortable behind the wheel of state government.
Bernero has the experience we need now.
Secretary of State - Jocelyn Benson
The Democrats finally have a candidate whose genuine excitement for the job is contagious.
Benson isnt on the ticket because she fits a demographic category. She wasnt reluctantly pulled out of the air days before the convention by organized labor. She isnt a flunky of the gubernatorial nominee.
She is pledging to keep the convenience of her voters and customers as a top priority without sacrificing integrity.
Republican Ruth Johnsons willingness to throw transgendered individuals under the bus at her partys state convention on the driver license gender identification issue is disturbing and raises questions about whether she will manipulate the office to advance a backward ideology.
Attorney General - David Leyton
Theres having experience and having the right experience. The Republican option on the ballot has no shortage of government experience, but our states attorney general should have some courtroom experience and some background in running a team of attorneys.
Leyton, the Genesee County (Flint area) prosecutor, has made sure justice is served in his struggling community with limited resources. Unlike his opponent, hes not hung-up on the limited law enforcement aspect of the job.
Hes willing to go to bat to protect our environment and our public health without getting hung up in meaningless political gestures like Attorney General Mike Coxs frivolous attempt to repeal Obamas critical health care reform.
Leyton may not have voted for the medical marijuana ballot proposal, but at least he didnt run the campaign against it. Hes acknowledged that the public has spoken and is willing to embrace the new law, not try to undo it.
U.S. Congress, 8th District - Lance Enderle
We appreciate Rep. Mike Rogers public accessibility and personable demeanor, but hes way too conservative. Rogers stood in the way of change by voting no on health care reform and the economic stimulus package.
Enderle willingly picked up the progressive banner after former Democratic nominee Kande Ngalamulumes ridiculous hokey-pokey dance. Hes put his heart into the race and should rewarded for his efforts.
U.S. Congress, 7th District - Mark Schauer
The most important vote an Eaton County citizen can make this year is one for Schauer. The hard-working Democrat brought federal stimulus money to mid- Michigan, unlike his opponent, former U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, whose shallow super-conservative ideology led him to vote against projects for his own district during his one two-year term.
Schauer didnt hide behind political expediency when Obama needed tough votes in Washington. Hes not pandering to "birthers" through insulting demands that the president present his birth certificate to prove hes U.S. born.
The socially aloof Walberg is so off the reservation with his views, its amazing Republicans re-nominated him.
State Legislature - Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (23rd Senate District), Rep. Joan Bauer (68th House District), Rep. Mark Meadows (69th House District), Rep. Barb Byrum (67th House District)
Ingham County is spoiled by its Capitol delegation. Whitmer may be in line to be the Senate Democrats next leader. Bauer is a hard-working, likeable, even-tempered, rational legislator.
Meadows is serious about finding real cost-cutting reforms in state government. Byrum is a middle-of-the-road voice who gives any tax or fee increase a thorough critique.
With redistricting a first item of business for the next Legislature, a Democratic majority in the House prevents Republican from gerrymandering new political districts. Retaining Bauer, Meadows and Byrum may be Ingham Countys biggest vote in 2010.
State Board of Education - Elizabeth Bauer and Lupe Ramos- Montigny
The Democratic-run board has kept student performance its top priority. Its also had the foresight to keep forward-thinking state Superintendent Mike Flanagan on the job these last several years.
University of Michigan Board of Regents - Paul Brown and Greg Stephens
Republican Andrea Fischer Newman is old pals with John Engler. Republican Andrew Richner was a conservative yes-man as a state representative. Enough said.
Michigan State University Board of Trustees - Colleen McNamara and Dennis DennoMcNamara is sympathetic
to organized labor without being its tool. Shes been an independent
voice on the board who encouraged Lou Anna Simon to prosper as
president. Denno, like McNamara, supports domestic partner benefits and
brings up a good question: Why does MSU need two lobbying firms on the
Governors of Wayne State University - Ed Bruley and Brenda Moon
Democrats have kept this board going in the right direction.
Ingham County Commission - Democrats In Districts 1-12, 14 and 15; Republicans In District 13 and 16
Michigan Supreme Court - Alton Thomas Davis, Denise Langford Morris
30th District Circuit Court - Clinton Canady III
55th District Court – Donald Allen Jr.
Proposal 1 - Constitutional Convention - Yes
Proposal 2 - Felons As Elected Officials - No
Millages - Yes all around