By Shea Howell
Special to the Michigan Citizen
We are facing a critical election season. Television, radio and print ads have bombarded voters with misinformation and outright distortions. Opponents to collective bargaining have invoked fears of child molesters and drunken teachers. Supporters of stopping a second bridge between the United States and Canada warn of millions of misspent dollars and those who would slow down a move to increase clean energy call for the sanctity of the constitution and loss of jobs.
In all this confusion, progressive voters should welcome the recently published Michigan Progressive Voter Guide, put out by a combination of LGBT groups, women’s groups, labor and environmental groups. Print versions are available and it is easily downloaded.
The online version is simple to use. People just have put in their zip code and a detailed list of endorsements will be displayed here:www.mivoter guide.com.
There is also a smartphone application at www.mivoter guide.com/mobile.html
The guide offers the following advice on the six crucial state propositions.
Proposal Number 1: Emergency Manager Legislation. Vote “No.”
This would expand the powers of emergency managers and the ability of the governor to appoint them. After a hard-fought effort to get this question before the people, this proposal gives citizens the opportunity to reject the efforts of the governor and the state legislature to strip local elected officials of the powers invested in them by the people.
Proposal Number 2: Protect our Jobs, Collective Bargaining. Vote “Yes”
This proposal ensures that collective bargaining is protected as a right for public and private workers. At a time when right-wing legislatures around the country are attacking unions, this is an important effort to protect basic rights.
Proposal Number 3: Renewable Energy Amendment. Vote “Yes.”
This mandates that 25 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable resources by the year 2025. It also mandates that residents’ rates are not to increase more than 1 percent. The utility companies have been slow to act on renewable energy in Michigan. Several states already have versions of this legislation.
Proposal Number 4: Home Health Care. Vote “Yes.”
This proposal allows home health care providers to have limited collective bargaining rights.
Proposal Number 5: Taxation Amendment. Vote “No.”
This proposal would require that any increase in state taxes be approved by a two-thirds majority in the legislature or by a statewide vote. It is another effort by right-wing, no tax forces to diminish support for needed public services.
Proposal Number 6: Michigan International Bridge Initiative. Vote “No.”
This would require voters to approve the construction of a new bridge between the United States and Canada. It is nothing more than a stalling tactic backed by those who benefit from the current privately owned bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
Along with the proposals, voters will decide on the makeup of the Michigan Supreme Court. Typically, people running for Supreme Court positions get fewer votes than other candidates. In part this is because many people think if they vote a partisan ballot they are including those running for the court. This is not true. Supreme Court seats are non- partisan and must be voted on individually.
Right-wing activist judges currently dominate the court. We have an opportunity to restore openness and balance this year by voting for Connie Marie Kelley and Bridget Mary McCormack for the eight-year term and for Shelia Johnson for the two-year term. As one of my friends says, “Turn your ballot to the back and vote for Kelley, Johnson, and McCormack.”
The effects of the right-wing Republican domination of our state government are evident everywhere. Today, 55 percent of African Americans are not able to vote in meaningful local elections. Decades of efforts to achieve safe and responsible working conditions are threatened and Michigan’s precious public resources are in danger of being privatized or sold off to the highest bidder. This election is an opportunity to take a more human and responsible direction for our state.
Contact Shea Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org