Candidates should debate, lest they are robbing Michigan voters (guest column)
By Susan Smith
Detroit Free Press guest writer
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has refused to debate his opponent. / Associated Press file photo
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Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land are vying to fill
the seat that Sen. Carl Levin has held since 1979.
Voters have important choices to make at the polls Nov. 4, when we
decide who will fill two of the most powerful offices in Michigan: the
governor’s office and the U.S. Senate.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder
faces a challenge for the governor’s office from former U.S. Rep. Mark
Schauer, a Democrat. Congressman Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, and
is about the future. We’ll be electing leaders who will make important
policy decisions for years to come. Both Schauer and Peters have offered
to publicly debate their opponents. I respectfully urge Snyder and Land
to take part in this fundamental piece of the election process.
voters deserve to head to the polls armed with the full knowledge of
what each of these individuals will do to keep Michigan moving along.
That’s where debates play a vital role in our democracy.
give voters the opportunity to invite the candidates into their living
rooms. They allow voters to hear from the candidates, in their own
words, where each one stands on the issues that are important to voters
and their families: education, jobs, roads, taxes, the environment.
watching debates, voters get a sense of the people and personalities
who want to represent them. Public debates are the only forums that
allow for that kind of side-by-side comparison.
It would be a
disservice to the democratic process that we hold so dear in America to
deny Michigan voters the opportunity to see Snyder and Schauer face off
in a debate, as well as Peters and Land.
The League of Women
Voters of Michigan is committed to ensuring that voters are
well-educated on the candidates before they head to the polls. This
fall, in countless communities across our state, the League of Women
Voters is sponsoring candidate debates to educate the voters.
that end, the League extended an invitation to the Snyder and Schauer
campaigns, inviting them to a meeting to facilitate debate negotiations.
Schauer’s campaign accepted; it is our hope that Snyder’s campaign
The people who want to represent us, our families
and our best interests as governor of Michigan and as our next U.S.
senator owe it to the voters to give them a chance to make an informed
decision on Election Day.
Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.”
Susan Smith is president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan.
|league offers to host debate negotiations for gubernatorial candidates
LANSING; SEPTEMBER 4, 2014: The League of Women Voters of Michigan today announced its president has extended an offer to the campaigns of Gov. Rick Snyder and Congressman Mark Schauer to convene a meeting with the goal of negotiating a debate schedule.
“I’d like to do what I can to help bring debates between our gubernatorial candidates to Michigan voters so they can make an informed decision on Election Day,” said Susan Smith, President of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “I believe that sitting down at a table together to discuss dates, times, moderators and formats for televised debates will be productive and have a positive outcome that will benefit Michigan voters, as well as Gov. Snyder and Congressman Schauer.”
Smith this week sent a letter to the campaign managers for Snyder and Schauer requesting that the two sides come together for a meeting. The League of Women Voters of Michigan is a nonpartisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government by citizens. That core belief includes ensuring that voters are educated about candidates and issues before heading to the polls on Election Day.
Smith offered three dates and times for a meeting in early September to take place at the League’s office in Lansing. Smith said: “Voters will see a lot of political ads from all sides between now and Election Day. Debates will help voters cut through the rhetoric and get to hear from the candidates in their own words and more fully understand where they stand on important issues. The League is willing to help in any way it can to facilitate debates.”
|ON-LINE VOTER GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE!
The League of Women Voters will produce both an on-line Voter Guide for the November 4th election and a print version which will be distributed state-wide. The availability date will be approximately October 1. Check back soon!
|HOW DID MY LEGISLATOR VOTE?
|Wondering how your state senator or representative voted on key issues in 2013-14? To view results of roll call votes on issues important to the League in the Michigan House of Representatives, click here. To view results in the Michigan State Senate, click here.
| WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY CELEBRATED
On August 26, 2014, we celebrated 94 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the women's right to vote. As we know, the League of Women Voters was formed when the women got the right to vote. The League continues to work to protect our right to vote. Here is a brochure prepared by the National Women's History Project that will test your knowledge about this important milestone. The ratification was a 72 year struggle from 1848 until 1920 and certainly gives a perspective about how long it takes to make change. Women in Michigan have also made great strides since 1920. Attached is a list of all the women who have held political office. ERAmerica of Michigan and NOW hosted events in the Detroit-metro area and other events were held around Michigan. Together we can continue to make a difference!
|51st national league of women voters convention
The 51st National Convention of the League of Women Voters was held on June 6 – 10, 2014, in Dallas, Texas. Michigan was proud to be represented with a 20-member delegation.
A highlight of the Convention was the announcement of the Strenghening Democracy Award won by Kalamazoo Area League. This award is given to one League in the country that best activates their grassroots network to promote change. In the fall of 2012, the Kalamazoo League conducted a Young Adult Voter Education Project, which targeted students in grades 11-12 throughout the area. The program included presentations by the League about the voting process, exposure to voter education resources such as VOTE411, and the opportunity to register to vote. Over 800 students participated in a mock election where some students were trained as poll workers. We are proud of all of the members of the Kalamazoo League for their work to expose students to the election process.
|EQUAL PAY DAY: APRIL 29
The League of Women Voters was well represented at the April 29th Michigan Equal Pay Day Coalition event at the Capitol Rotunda. The following message was distributed by State Senator Rebekah Warren (on April 30th), who was present at the Rotunda and addressed the attendees.
"I was pleased to speak to an impressive gathering of advocates at the Capitol yesterday to urge action on bills to require equal pay for equal work in our state. Too many of us are working harder just to keep up and one of the most effective ways to help our state's families get ahead is to make sure women earn equal pay for equal work. Outdated workplace policies are holding Michigan women and their families back and that has to change--because it holds all of us back."
In Michigan today:
- Women experience an 18% wage gap within one year of gradutaing from college compared to male college graduates. A college educated woman working full time earns more than a half million dollars less than her male peers do over the course of a lifetime.
- 60% of minimum wage workers are women. Working full time, a Michigan woman making minimum wage earns more than $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.
- Michigan is 45th in the U.S. for gender wage gap ranking among states. Only jobs in North Dakota, Louisiana, Utah, Indiana and Wyoming pay women less than jobs in Michigan.
With the majority of women in Michigan representing the primary or significant earner for their house- hold, ending gender wage discrimination is critical for the economic security of our families and our state.
|WAYS TO IMPROVE ELECTIONS
|On January 22, 2014, the President's Commission on Election Administration released its report on ways to improve elections at the local and state level. The 10-member national committee was bi-partisan and included Chris Thomas, Director of Elections at Michigan's Secretary of State. The report emphasizes that no one should wait more than 30 minutes in line in order to vote. It includes many recommendations. Go to www.supportthevoter.gov for a copy of the report and the complete list of recommendations.
|AFFORDABLE CARE ACT and healthY michigan enrollment
Information about the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare"), including enrollment information, can be found at www.healthcare.gov. This is a place for individuals who do not have health care can find out what policies are available for them to purchase. There are also individuals in local communities known as navigators to help answer questions.
The State of Michigan will begin accepting applications for the Healthy Michigan Plan on April 1, 2014. Michigan residents can enroll at any time online, by phone, or in person. The Healthy Michigan Plan provides health care coverage for individuals who:
- Are age 19-64 years
- Have income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level under the Modified Adjusted Gross Income methodology
- Do not qualify for or are not enrolled in Medicare
- Do not qualify for or are not enrolled in other Medicaid programs
- Are not pregnant at the time of application
- Are residents of the State of Michigan
Click here for more information and to enroll
As stated on the LWVUS website, “The League supports quality, affordable health care for all US residents. We should all have access to a basic level of care, including disease prevention, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute long-term care, mental health care and health promotion and education.”
|SUPREME COURT ERASES PROTECTIONS IN VOTING RIGHTS ACT
June 26, 2013, Washington, D.C. - “Today is a sad day in America: Through its decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “Only strong action from Congress can fix this huge mistake by the Court.” Read MacNamara's entire statement here.
|education reform in michigan
Education has long been an important issue to League members. We have both national and state positions on Education. The Governor has announced plans to significantly reform education in Michigan.
Click here to view the League's coverage of education reform in Michigan since April, 2011, when Governor Snyder announced that he planned to reform education in Michigan and move to a “performance-based funding plan” from the current “seat count” funding.
LWVMI will be following any proposed legislation closely and will keep members informed via this website and social media.
|the michigan voter
Click here to view older issues of the Michigan Voter.