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Monday, July 17, 2017

Lena Epstein Outraises Establishment Congressman Fred Upton In US Senate Race

Epstein gives an interview with Fox 2 while attending an event for "Michigan Trump Republicans"


By Brandon Hall

(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Small business owner and former Michigan Trump Co-Chair Lena Epstein raised nearly half a million dollars in just 5 weeks towards her campaign to win the Republican nomination for United States Senate.

Epstein says she's ready to take on far-left Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2018.

"We are thrilled with the success we had in only five weeks, and credit it to conservatives across Michigan who want an outsider with business experience to take the fight directly to Debbie Stabenow," Epstein said. 

Epstein, who took in $465,000, even outraised Rep. Fred Upton, who brought in around $350,000.

Upton epitomizes the swamp in Washington DC and is a favorite of establishment Republicans who are pushing for him to run. He frequently defies President Trump and has one of the worst Republican voting records in Congress, consistently voting for liberal policies that leave the conservative base outraged.

The DC swamp salivates over the thought of an "Upton For Senate" campaign the way most guys drool over Upton's niece, model Kate Upton. 

Epstein says she supports "America First" policies, and as a Senator, she will focus on creating jobs for Michiganders. 

"As the next United States Senator from Michigan, I will support America First economic policies that create jobs and grow the American middle class, and will defund sanctuary cities," Epstein said. "My experience in the automotive industry and leading a company with over 200 employees gives me a solid understanding of what it takes to create jobs in Michigan." 


Epstein is currently running against former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young, but someone far more exciting than the former Judge caught the nation's eye recently: musician Kid Rock says he may run for the seat.

Epstein welcomed Kid Rock to the race in a Facebook statement and online ad.

"Hey Kid: Welcome (to) the party! I hope we have the opportunity to campaign across the state together and talk about all the reasons we need to take the fight directly to Debbie Stabenow, defund sanctuary cities, and implement pro-growth America First economic policies," Epstein said. "Let's work all summer long! The more attention we can bring to the need to defeat Debbie Stabenow the better off we will be in November of 2018!"



Epstein has been very visible on the campaign trail since her announcement, including speaking at many events hosted by Michigan Trump Republicans, a grassroots group dedicated to supporting President Trump.

 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Recall Against Spring Lake Village President Joyce Verplank Hatton Will Be Rejected

Joyce Verplank Hatton


By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

A recall hearing regarding Spring Lake Village President Joyce Verplank Hatton will take place Wednesday afternoon, and given the language that was filed, the Ottawa County Election Commission must reject it.

The recall was filed by Spring Lake business owner Michelle Hanks, who, along with her husband, owns Seven Steps Up. 

The OCEC is comprised of Ottawa County Treasurer Brad Slagh, Judge Mark Feyen, and County Clerk Justin Roebuck.

Hanks opposes Hatton's 5 year crusade to disincorporate the village and merge with Spring Lake Township. Hatton says the fact that Village residents have to pay taxes to both entities is unfair.



Recall language is reviewed with two criteria in mind: whether or not the information is clear, and whether or not the information is factual. The Hatton recall fails on both counts.

First, it alleges that Hatton made "inappropriate comments" when she compared the growing police state in Spring Lake and across the country to what happened in Nazi Germany. (Spring Lake Village manager Chris Burns, at the same meeting, escaped scrutiny despite calling some SLV residents "rednecks.")

"Inappropriate" is subjective, it's an opinion, it is neither clear nor factual. That alone is enough to throw the recall out. 

However, the 2nd portion is also problematic. 

The argument that disincorporation poses a "significant cost" to taxpayers is at best another subjective opinion based on selective facts, and at worst, completely incorrect. Disincorporation will save Village residents money, there is no "significant cost." Even if there was a cost, whether or not it's "significant" is a matter of opinion.

Hatton responded to opponents in a recent letter to the Grand Haven Tribune. 

"As anticipated, opponents of Spring Lake Village disincorporation filed a recall petition to remove me from my seat as the village president," Hatton said. "The small group hiding behind the recall includes government employees and contractors who want to keep the taxpayer-funded, cash-guzzling gravy train known as the "Village of Spring Lake" operating for their personal benefit. I need not respond to this group any longer. The right to disincorporate is on the ballot. The voters will respond to them in the Aug. 8 election. If the voters want extra taxes and more government, that is their choice. If the voters want to recall the village president, that is their choice, as well. I'm not contesting a recall."
>>>Read the rest of Hatton's letter below:
"Like the media mavens who told us Hillary Clinton had the national election "in the bag," the Tribune has been playing along with a loud, pro-government minority. Fortunately, neither the Tribune nor the small band who benefit from the village's continued existence will decide the issue.
That is one of the miracles of our democracy. People vote in private, and in silence. And most Americans do not feel the need to tell anyone how they intend to vote, or how they voted.
When the village voters step into the booth on Aug. 8, they will know what to do. With only a month to go until election day, the village and the township are mailing their tax statements. The village tax is substantial. For example, the village wants over a thousand bucks for a modest, ground-floor, two-bedroom, two-bath condo — on top of a full share of township taxes. It isn't hard to imagine how this completely unnecessary double tax impacts the majority of folks trying to raise families in our town."
 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Inman Says Lobbyists Don't Like Calley Part Time Legislature Proposal, Claims Lawmakers Can't Live Off $10k A Month



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Traverse City area State Rep. Larry Inman says he opposes Lt. Governor Brian Calley's proposal to cut legislator pay and enact a part time legislature.

Calley's proposal slashes the pay of Lansing politicians in half, putting it on par with what a teacher would make for the same amount of work.

In an interview with MIRS, Inman says he and other legislators can't afford the pay change and could have difficulty finding other work. 

Apparently $10,000 a month just isn't enough to make ends meet.

"Who is going to run for this office for 90 days and $30,000 when you typically spend $70,000 in a primary and $70,000 in a general election," Inman said. "And then when you come home you have to find a job?"

Perhaps Inman could land a gig finding the truth about Amelia Earhart?

Inman says the Calley plan is opposed by lobbyists trying to influence the government on behalf of their clients.

"There aren't a lot of legislators and lobbyists that are real excited about his initiative," Inman said.

While the proposal isn't popular with politicians and special interests, polling shows it is popular with Michiganders.

One survey shows nearly 70% of those polled back the plan.

More information about Calley's plan can be found at CleanMIGovernment.org

 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Breaking: Kid Rock Launches US Senate Website



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Kid Rock has launched a website teasing a bid for United States Senate.

With taglines like "get in the Senate and try to help someone," as well as "you never met a politician quite like me," Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, may be more serious about a US Senate campaign than previously believed.

Sitting in a chair with a "Made In Detroit" flag in the background, the picture is captioned, "are you scared?"

It could also be a great publicity grabbing move while selling some merchandise. Items for sale include hats, shirts, bumper stickers, and yard signs.

Regardless of his intentions, the new site has got people talking.

The musician confirms in a tweet the site is his and it's real.

"I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if the website is real...The answer is an absolute yes."

He also says "Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future."

Records show the website was registered earlier this year in February.

Current challengers to Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, up for re-election in 2018, currently include business owner Lena Epstein, and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young.

Check out some pictures below:




 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Breaking: Traverse City Won't Become A Sanctuary City For Illegal Immigrants


Andy Marek and others speak out against sanctuary city status during a meeting of the Traverse City Human Rights Commission (Photo by Jason Gillman)


By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Traverse City won't become a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.


That's what the city's Human Rights Commission has decided after months of contentious debate, with most residents opposing the move.

According to 9+10 News:

"The Human Rights Commission of Traverse City says that they will continue to promote diversity and inclusiveness, but the city will not be declared a sanctuary city.
An Ad Hoc Committee was formed to explore designating Traverse City as a sanctuary city.
The organization has been advised by local officials that the city does not appear to be a destination for undocumented immigrants.
The Human Rights Commission says it will continue to support immigration and the rights of all residents, but the city will not become a sanctuary city."
An overflow crowd speaks out against sanctuary city status during a Traverse City HRC meeting (Photo by Jason Gillman)


 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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State Senator Ted Fricano? Rumors Swirl Over West Michigan Pizza Mogul's Candidacy In Race To Replace Meekhof

Ted Fricano rallies the crowd in Holland before Mike Pence hits the stage (Photo by DarKen Photography)


By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

State Senator Arlan Meekhof will be termed out in less than 18 months, and the Republican primary in August 2018 will decide his replacement given the electoral makeup of Ottawa County.

So far, only former State Rep. Joe Haveman has officially declared, but sources tell WMP that State Rep. Roger Victory will be jumping in the race soon. Holland State Rep. (D)aniela Garcia is also expected to join the fight.

Victory is the preferred choice of conservatives among that group, but they'd like to see someone else enter the race. Jon Sorber, CEO of Two Men And A Truck, says he's staying out, but will support conservative candidates behind the scenes.

One name that keeps popping up: Ted Fricano.

Fricano, owner of Fricano Place in Muskegon, is one of the most well known businessman in West Michigan, and Fricano's is considered one of the best pizza joints in the state.

Fricano, a Spring Lake resident, hasn't been shy about his political involvement in the last year and a half.

He hosted a "Platform and Politics" meeting in conjunction with the Michigan Conservative Coalition last June to allow community members to discuss what they believe the Republican Party's platform should entail. 

He organized a rally later that summer to spotlight the need to improve Muskegon after comments he made at a Muskegon City Commission meeting went "viral."

Fricano was also an Ottawa County Co-Chair last fall for the Trump campaign.

When Vice President Mike Pence held a rally in Holland just days before the election, Fricano riled up the crowd with his speech during the pre-program.

Fricano was unavailable for comment, but the West Michigan pizza mogul has many encouraging him to run.

 "I don't know what Ted will do, but I'd love to see him get in the race," said Diane Schindlbeck, founder of West Michigan Republicans. 

"Ted is exactly the type of person we need in Lansing, Schindlbeck said. "He's a successful businessman,  a strong conservative who unapologetically supported Donald Trump from the beginning, and he is one of the most caring, hardest working people you would ever meet. He would be a leader for the people of Ottawa County and a champion for grassroots Republicans who feel left behind by the Lansing status quo."

A conservative outsider from the private sector is appealing to many Ottawa County Republican primary voters-Fricano entering the race would be HUGE. 

Given his name ID, grassroots support, fundraising ability, and earned media potential, he would be an instant front-runner despite his lack of political connections and experience in government.

2018 is shaping up to be a hell of a year, stay tuned!

 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Leonard Hosts Grassroots Appreciation Lunch As Attorney General Speculation Heats Up

Dennis Marburger, left with Tom and Jenell Leonard, and Paul Taros, right


By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

It's one of Lansing's worst kept secrets: Speaker Tom Leonard is widely expected to seek the Republican nomination for Attorney General in 2018.

Leonard is in an excellent position to win the nomination, arguably the most conservative Speaker of the House in modern Michigan political history, a feat that makes him very popular with the Precinct Delegates who will decide the race.

 His rumored competition? State Senator Tanya Schuitmaker... (Look for a lot more on this race in the coming months.)

Leonard is keeping a busy schedule, and is regularly seen at GOP events across the state.His wife Jenell and daughter Hannah are often by his side, and they are quite a hit with people in attendance.

The Leonard family didn't have to go far on Saturday though, hosting a grassroots appreciation lunch at their home in DeWitt Township. The Speaker's mother in law even did the cooking.

>>>Check out some photos (by Mike Farage unless noted) from the event below:


Leonard, right, with Jeff and Brenda Jones


MIGOP Coalitions Chair Kevin Tatulyan with CJ Galdes

Jennifer Oram with Tom and Jenell Leonard, and Dan Pero


Leonard with RNC Committeewoman Kathy Berden

From left: Kevin Tatulyan, Kathy Berden, Robert Donovic, Matthew Hauser, State Rep. Gary Glenn

Photo by Kaylee Mead

Amanda Bernes with State Rep. Lee Chatfield

Thayronne X, with Jeff Jones (Photo by Brenda Jones)

Mike Farage, with Hannah Leonard

 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Governor Snyder Will Sign Teacher Pension Reform If Speaker Leonard Passes Controversial "Good Jobs" Bill, Sources Say

Leonard, left, Snyder, right

By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Governer Rick Snyder will sign a bill reforming the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System, but only if House Speaker Tom Leonard allows a controversial proposal many call corporate welfare to come up for a vote.

That's what the Michigan Association of School Boards claims in a recent video, they say the Governor is playing hardball with Leonard in order to pass the "Good Jobs" bill, legislation giving tax breaks to companies who create jobs supporters argue wouldn't exist otherwise. 

Its estimated price tag? $250 million.

Sources tell WMP One Tough Nerd has snagged the support of at least 12 Democrats in order to pass the bill, which already went through the Senate. Snyder hit a roadblock when Leonard decided to keep the legislation from coming up for a vote.

Snyder defended the proposal in a recent Detroit News op/ed.

"The package of bills provides meaningful incentives to employers who create over 250 new jobs and are paying 125 percent or more of the regional average wage, as well as to employers who create over 500 jobs and are paying 100 percent or more of average regional wages," Snyder said.

Snyder also says he understands why critics are skeptical.

"I understand some skepticism toward incentives; prior incentive tools did not have enough accountability measures and the costs ballooned," Snyder said. "But the overall positive impact of bringing in large-scale projects cannot be understated: more supplier jobs, more spinoff jobs, more tax dollars, more tourism, more kids in schools, more families living in our great state. The package of bills has received bipartisan support in the Michigan Senate, bipartisan support in the Michigan House Tax Policy committee, and huge statewide support from businesses, unions and economic developers who are out trying to bring jobs here every day."


Jarret Skorup of the Mackinac Center is one of those critics. He blasted the proposal in recent testimony during  a committee hearing:

"Transparent? As we sit here, the MEDC is paying out more than $600 million for past tax credits and will not say who the money is going to or what the money is being used for. The agency is not compliant with reporting requirements on its current programs, but lawmakers are being asked to provide blanket authority to spend $250 million for bureaucrats to select winners and losers. Help small business? These bills are for large firms. Not picking winners and losers? Some companies get breaks, others are on the hook for the cost.
Testifying here today, I feel like I’m in the movie “Groundhog Day.” Michigan has gone the tax credit and subsidy route – in the 1990s under Gov. Engler and in the 2000s under Gov. Granholm. Bill packages promising “good jobs” were passed with wide, bipartisan support. But reviews of those programs showed negative economic results, particularly for the Michigan Economic Growth Authority package, in which fewer than 3 percent of projects met their projections and fewer than 20 percent of promised jobs were created...
For a decade, Michigan was a national leader in what we consider bad economic policy – raising taxes broadly while giving breaks to specific companies or industries. When Republicans took over the House and governorship, it wisely moved away from that. While we still offer subsidy programs, the amount of corporate welfare and tax credits has greatly declined. In those years, Michigan has been a national leader in jobs and income. Let’s not go back to repeating the mistakes of the past."

Reforming MPSERS, which carries $29 billion in unfunded liability, is a priority for Leonard.

According to the Detroit Free Press, changes would include:

"All new teachers and school employees hired after Feb. 1, 2018, would be placed into a defined-contribution retirement plan. The plan would have the school district pay 4% of the employee’s salary into a 401(k) plan. The employee could also contribute, and the state would match up to 3% of the employee’s contribution. The current 401(k) plan that about 20% of new school employees are enrolled in has a 3% employer match. The employees in the current 401(k) plan would begin getting the better benefits on Oct. 1."

It's a difficult test for the Speaker, who must balance reforming the nearly $30 billion retirement system with the optics of passing a $250 million handout to corporations. 

Whatever he decides can be spun, but regardless, he will piss some people off.

Stay tuned!
 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Lansing Establishment NIGHTMARE: "Trump Republican" Matt Maddock Announces State Representative Campaign

Maddock, left, with President Trump


By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

It's a thought that leaves the Lansing establishment trembling: State Representative Matt Maddock.


After the 2018 primary, Oakland County voters in the 44th State House District could make Lansing's nightmare a reality.

Maddock announced Friday he will seek the State House seat currently occupied by State Rep. Jim Runestead. 

Runestead, by far one of the best legislators in either chamber, is running for the State Senate seat currently occupied by Mike Kowall. Kowall is term limited and running for his next government paycheck, Secretary of State. Maddock challenged Kowall in the 2014 primary and nearly beat him, an impressive feat for anyone, especially a political newcomer.

Maddock's running as a "Trump Republican," a good tagline considering the President did very well in that area, crushing Hillary by a double digit margin.

Through the Michigan Conservative Coalition, of which Maddock is a prominent leader, as well as the Donald Trump Presidential campaign, Maddock has beefed up his understanding of the political process a lot in recent years, and with lessons learned, he's ready to crash the Lansing swamp's party, living large off the backs of taxpayers at every turn.

Maddock is immensely popular with the grassroots and is seeing support flow in from conservatives all across the state. 

A fervent door knocker armed with statewide supporters, as well as a big league volunteer army in the 44th, Maddock will be hard to beat, despite the Lansing establishment's best efforts to smear him and lie about him repeatedly, which assuredly, they will do.

According to a press release:


"Maddock credits much of his conservative principles to being a small business owner and seeing first hand many unnecessary barriers to job creation.  He and (wife) Meshawn have owned A-1 Bail Bonds of Michigan for decades and it is the largest such business in Michigan. Maddock’s campaign will center on the Michigan economy, education, corporate “welfare”, roads, and the cost of government.   He supports a part time legislature in Michigan and endorses the Republican National Platform."
Maddock says he's sick of Republicans acting like liberals. 

"Over the last few years, I've knocked on over 10,000 doors and personally spoke with thousands and thousands of voters,” Maddock said.  “By far, their biggest complaint was that elected Republicans often behave and vote just like Democrats!”
Maddock says he is running to "Make Michigan Great Again."

“I am committed to our great Republican values and will work to create a clear contrast between any Democrat nominee for this seat," Maddock said. "I will do everything that I can to create that contrast.  When elected I will work to pass policies to make Michigan irresistible to manufacturing and all industries again. We want to Make Michigan Great Again so we can watch our children and grandchildren prosper right here in Michigan."
Look for a lot more on this race throughout the campaign, including Maddock's controversial opponent.

>>>View Matt's website HERE


 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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