Michigan politics


Election Day is now just two weeks off. Democrats and Republicans in Michigan and across the country are rallying their bases in a final push to get out the vote. Some voters, though, lean towards other political persuasions. There are a handful of smaller parties out there, like the Green Party and the Libertarians. One such party is blowing the dust off an old 19th century name and re-booting for a 21st century world.

Flickr - Vox Efx

Election day is November 4th, and voters have lots of decisions to make. We have an important state senate race, several local state house races, and there are some important proposals to be decided.


Much of the interest in next month’s mid-term election involves our national politics. There’s interest in whether the GOP will regain a majority in the U.S. Senate and in the hundreds of millions of dollars of outside spending across the country, often by anonymous groups. It may be good to remember the dictum often attributed to former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill:  "All politics is local." So, do voters pay enough attention to local issues? How important are local and regional matters?

"Monday Morning Quarterbacking" around the state involves more than football today. Michigan’s main Gubernatorial candidates squared off in a town hall style debate last night. Republican incumbent Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer appeared before a TV studio audience of undecided voters in Detroit. Viewers in mid-Michigan saw the town hall on WKAR-TV.

Tonight, candidates for three state House and two state Senate districts will meet in Lansing for a candidates’ forum. These public events are fairly routine in the weeks leading up to a big election, but this one puts a twist on the usual format. Current State’s Kevin Lavery reports that the candidates who’ll face this group of questioners will not be getting their vote on November 4. This forum will be run by middle and high school students from grades 7 through 12.

Tim Skubick and colleagues provide analysis of the 2014 Gubernatorial Town Hall Forum with Governor Rick Snyder and Congressman Mark Schauer.

Featuring Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic Congressman Mark Schauer.

Sun. Oct. 12 - 5:56pm WKAR-HD | Featuring Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic Congressman Mark Schauer.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land takes questions from a statewide public radio audience.

WATCH NOW: Gary Peters on Michigan Calling

Oct 7, 2014

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters takes questions from a statewide public radio audience.

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Where in Michigan is Terri Lynn Land? With the November election fast approaching for Michigan’s first open Senate seat in 20 years, many are wondering where the GOP candidate has been. She’s taken heat for not publicizing her campaign schedule, for avoiding the media, and for refusing to debate her Democratic challenger, Congressman Gary Peters.

Flickr - lehooper

With August just about behind us, Current State takes a look back at Michigan’s biggest statewide stories with our monthly reporter roundtable.


An established Michigan environmental organization recently graded the state legislature on its performance in the 2013-2014 session. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters gave legislators an "Incomplete" for Michigan’s environmental score.


Yesterday, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati began hearing arguments involving state bans against same sex marriage. Michigan, whose voters approved such a ban a decade ago, is one of those states.

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Current State's Mark Bashore recaps yesterday's primary election results with Kyle Melinn from MIRS News and Bill Ballenger from the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter.


We are just one week away from the primary election here in Michigan, which means it’s the home stretch for the candidates vying for their party’s nominations to succeed Congressman Mike Rogers in the 8th Congressional District.

Flickr/Tim Lydy

With elections not too far off, there's been the usual back and forth between candidates about debates. Currently, the terms and conditions of political debates in Michigan are mostly left up to the candidates to decide, which often leaves them lacking in substance for voters.  

We explore the idea of an independent statewide debate commission and what affect it might have on Michigan's democratic process with Rick Pluta, Capitol bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

Flickr- Michigan Municipal League

In Flint, city leaders and residents continue to struggle with serious fiscal challenges. Lately, the focus of the debate has been over whether city services or benefits for municipal retirees is more important.

WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Michigan’s 69th House district covers parts of the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, as well as Meridian and Williamston Townships. It’s one of the state’s most culturally diverse political districts and historically, the 69th has leaned Democratic.

WKAR/Kevin Lavery

It’s not uncommon in small political races for several candidates to run together as a slate to fill a number of vacancies. For example, candidates for the local school board sometimes appear together as a unit, in hopes voters will sweep them all into office.

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On August 5th, Michigan voters will head to the polls to select who goes on to represent each party in November’s general election. They’ll also be asked to vote on Proposal 1, which is the first step in what has been a long-fought effort to reform the state’s Personal Property Tax.

Courtesy - peters.house.gov

It’s been four weeks since Democratic Congressman Gary Peters proposed a series of five debates with his opponent in the race for the U.S. Senate from Michigan. He will (likely) face former Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land in November.

Flickr - lehooper

June has come and just about gone. The Governor signed budgets this month, though not for a comprehensive road funding package as many had hoped. Primary candidates traded jabs, and the Detroit Free Press shined an intense light on the state’s charter schools and it has generated a lot of discussion.

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We’re down to fewer than six weeks before primary elections in Michigan. Michigan Public Radio Network Managing Editor Rick Pluta updates Current State on some of the races and other stories.

Flickr - Mark Turnauckas

As Michigan works to recover from the economic downturn and the decline in its manufacturing base, there have been plenty of debates over which policies will set Michigan on a long-term path toward more prosperity.

Flickr Creative Commons / CheshireCat@TO

One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants.

Flickr - lehooper

The Michigan Senate struggled late into the night Wednesday, working on a comprehensive road funding measure.



The Michigan legislature’s summer break begins after business on Thursday. That’s meant an important surge of activity this week to finish a new state budget and to further address one of the state’s biggest issues, road funding.

Current State welcomes Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge to update these and other legislative news, including his measure that would amend Michigan law on strip searches.

Lindemann in radio studio
Stacy Hoxsey / WKAR-MSU

Pat Lindemann has served as the Drain Commissioner of Ingham County for 21 years. He's a Lansing native who’s spent his entire life in the area. As Drain Commissioner, Lindemann’s responsible for the operation of Ingham County storm drains and related issues including lake levels and soil erosion.

Mackinac wrap-up: Land/Peters, Detroit, LGBT rights

May 30, 2014
Flickr- Detroit Regional Chamber

The 2014 Detroit Regional Chamber Conference on Mackinac Island is winding down. The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta has been there for the duration and he provides us with a recap of what has been a fairly eventful conference.