Who I’ll Be Voting For Next Week (in Michigan)
President: Barack Obama - I am absolutely unashamed of giving my vote to the incumbent President Obama. Obama came into office in the middle of the most devastating economic crash since the Great Depression. He entered following a Presidency which squandered all the political and economic gains of the Clinton Presidency on global warfare and ludicrous tax breaks for the wealthy. The Obama admin passed the landmark Affordable Care Act despite the most toxic political climate this nation has ever seen. The policies of the Obama admin prevented the US economy from entering economic freefall and, by nearly all measures, the economy is nearly where it was before the economic crash. Most admirably, the Obama administration has remained scandal free. Certainly, there are things that Obama’s administration could have done better (global health, more stimulus, single payer health care, quick closing of Guantanamo, etc.), but I’d say it’s been a pretty successful four years in light of all of the challenges.
If I could put in two votes, my other would most certainly be for Jill Stein,the Green Party candidate.
Senator: Debbie Stabenow – Honestly, I’m lukewarm on Stabenow. She is weak-kneed on environmental regulation, votes with stock dividend, profit-making automakers when it suits her and appears to have only a superficial knowledge of many of the issues. Respectably, she supports comprehensive health reform. The most important factors swaying my vote are 1) I can think of nothing worse than a Republican controlled Senate, 2) Pete Hoekstra is one of the worst candidates the Reps have floated in ages and 3) there’s no palatable 3rd party alternative on the ballot.
House Representative – Kurt Haskell - I will begrudgingly vote for Kurt Haskell. Kurt espouses espouses a watered down libertarian agenda he hopes will appeal to both conservatives and liberals. In the end, though, he can’t really figure out what he is. I do know that he’s no Democrat, despite the party affiliation. Anything is better than the incumbent, Tim Walberg.
For those who live in the 12th (Ann Arbor), Congressional veteran John Dingell has my endorsement.
For the 11th, I enthusiastically endorse Syed Taj.
Michigan State Representative (52nd) – Gretchen Driskell – Gretchen is a great candidate. A six term mayor of nearby Saline, MI, Gretchen cares sincerely for the concerns of her constituency. She has presided over Saline since 1993, a period which has seen rapid economic development in Saline. Gretchen cares about education, seeing quality schools and public services as key in attracting new residents to a community. I’ve personally met Gretchen several times. I will happily vote for her.
Washtenaw County Circuit Court – Carol Kunhke - Carol is also a great candidate. Carol, the adoptive mother of two and long time Washtenaw County Resident stresses the need for courtroom fairness and espouses ideals of social justice and the rights of the underrepresented. Her opponent, who has little experience on the bench at all, is well funded by the Michigan Republican Party. These judicial positions are for life. Though it may seem like a small election, it could have vast long term political repercussions.
University of Michigan Regents – Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder Diggs - I will be voting for both of the student centered, pro-union, Democratic candidates. Corporate centered Republican opponents Robert Steele and Dan Horning have nothing new to offer. Two seats are open this year, don’t forget to pick two! A great rundown of the candidates’ views can be found here.
If interested, please see my previous listing of how I will vote on these, but here’s a brief list:
1: EFM Law: NO
2: Establish right to collective bargaining: YES, YES, YES
3: Require that 25% of Michigan energy come from Michigan: YES
4: Reinstatement of caregivers union: YES
5. Require a 2/3’s majority to increase taxes: NO, NO, NO
6: Require that the construction of an international bridge be subject to a general vote: NO