New polls, absentee voting, unemployment fund, Lewis Cass. Kara Hope on absentee ballots

July 6, 2020

Michigan Policast for Monday, July 6, 2020

  In this episode:

  • Progress Michigan's latest Lake Effect poll
  • No Reason Absentee Voting/ vote by mail
  • Kara Hope on absentee ballots, signs in the Capitol
  • Face masks and preventable spread of COVID-19
  • Political Notes
  • John James says what?
  • Transcript


Jump to:

Progress Michigan's latest Lake Effect poll

The latest #LakeEffect polling from @ProgressMich and @ppppolls shows strong support for the reforms behind the #DefundThePolice movement To Tweet
The latest #LakeEffect polling from @ProgressMich and @ppppolls shows @GovWhitmer's #COVID19 response still more popular than @RealDonaldTrump's, 57-37% To Tweet
The latest #LakeEffect polling from @ProgressMich and @ppppolls shows little support for @MiGOP @SenMikeShirkey efforts on recall, restricting powers of @GovWhitmer To Tweet
The latest #LakeEffect polling from @ProgressMich and @ppppolls shows strong support for wearing masks in indoor facilities, 68-24% #COVID19 To Tweet


No Reason Absentee Voting / Vote-by-mail



Kara Hope on absentee ballots, signs in the Capitol


We would like to give clerks more time to process the absentee ballots .. To open them and get them ready to go through the tabulator. It doesn't mean counting early. ~@KaraHope67 #VoteByMail #NRAV @statereplove10 To Tweet
Opening envelopes and unfolding ballots is a big job, and many clerks do not have high-speed tabulators either. We can't even prepare for counting until the evening of the election. @KaraHope67 @CityClerkSwope #NRAV To Tweet
Hiring election workers may be a challenge … even though all the clerks I've talked to are taking every precaution to protect people, there's no way to protect you 100% from any kind of contagion. @KaraHope67 #VoteByMailClick To Tweet
Making elections more accessible must be our state’s priority: it is in everyone’s best interest, in line with our constitution and modernizes a cornerstone of our Democracy. #VoteByMail is safe and secure. ~@ChrisGreigMI37 @karahope67 To Tweet

Face masks and preventable spread of COVID-19

We're in a stronger position than many other states that are seeing a major resurgence … but our numbers are not as strong today, as they were a couple of weeks ago. ~@GovWhitmer #COVID19 To Tweet
After 3 months of hard work and sacrifice .. to protect families from this virus, we have seen preventable spread in areas across our state. We can't let our guard down. We can, and we must get this under control now. ~@GovWhitmer To Tweet



Political Notes


The job gains of the past two months have partly resulted from unprecedented levels of government spending, including $1,200 relief checks, more than $500 billion in grants to small businesses, and an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits.

Those payments enabled millions of Americans to cover the rent and other bills. Yet those programs are expiring or tailing off. The additional $600 in unemployment ends July 31. ~Source




John James says what?




This video ^^^ has to be viewed on YouTube




Walt Sorg  00:00

The presenting underwriter of the Michigan Policast is Progress Michigan providing a strong, credible voice that holds public officials and government accountable and assists in the promotion of progressive ideas.


Gretchen Whitmer  00:16

We're in a stronger position than many other states that are seeing a major resurgence. A lot of seats in the country are watching cases grow exponentially and worrying that they're ICUs are filling up. We are not in that position. But our numbers are not as strong today, as they were a couple of weeks ago.


Walt Sorg  00:39

The pandemic is now infecting more than 50,000 Americans every day. Michigan's infection rates still one of the lowest in the nation is edging up even as governor Whitmer moves to reopen the schools. Donald Trump meanwhile focuses on coming to the defense of statues and celebrating his great leadership with super spreader events At Mount Rushmore, and in Washington, DC, this Michigan Policast, we're all about Michigan politics and policy and the national issues impacting our pleasant peninsulas eagerly awaiting the Kanye West campaign. I'm Walt Sorg.


Christine Barry  01:13

I'm Christine Barry. Joe Biden continues to lead the way for what at this point would be a democratic electoral landslide in November, new polling show strong support in Michigan for the agenda of Black Lives Matters. And now the debate includes Michigan's first territorial governor, he who shall not be honored, Lewis Cass.


Walt Sorg  01:34

We begin though Christine with the numbers First, the monthly Lake Effect poll from our friends at progress Michigan, it shows the state continues to back a progressive agenda. Let's run through the numbers. First of all, defunding the police some interesting questions statewide on whether or not police departments should reform their use of force practices or not the governor's come out in favor of legislation basically that would ban chokehold Among other things, the support's pretty strong 62-29


Christine Barry  02:04

No, I think that's pretty clear. I mean, that's a clear question. When you look at some of these other questions, you can see where there's some confusion and, and indecision coming in because they don't know what things mean,


Walt Sorg  02:17

defunding the police, we talked about that a couple of weeks ago, that is horrible branding for some really good ideas, because it leaves the impression you want to eliminate police departments, when in fact, you want to reshape them, so they're more reflective of what needs to be done.


Christine Barry  02:32

Right. If you look at some of the other results here, do you favorable or unfavorable opinion of the statement defund the police, it's just as we would expect, 62% unfavorable. 20% favorable? I'm not sure what part of that is favorable to them. If that's reflective of the people who know what it means. And then 18% not sure. So that's kind of what you'd expect, at least in the unfavorable that's a strong number 62% because defund the police sounds terrible.


Walt Sorg  03:02

There is support for the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not overwhelming in Michigan 48-39 with 13% undecided, and the issue of reorganizing the funding of police budgets to areas like mental health, health care, housing and job programs that is supported 47-38 with 15% not sure. So again, it's the branding of defund the police, which is really bad. And that's probably the only wedge that Donald Trump's got right now. I know that they're using it and what are their ads, but as for Trump himself, I could see why he wants to change the debate. His approval disapproval, even in Michigan, which is a state he did when he's upside down, he's down eight points 44-52, whereas the governor is plus 13 at 53-40. And if the election were held today, the numbers they came up with in this poll are pretty comparable to every other poll that I've seen recently. It's a six-point lead for Joe Biden and the range for Biden has been about six to 14% depending on The poll and the timing of the poll, but it's been very consistent that joe biden's winning.


Christine Barry  04:04

Yeah, the latest RCP average, which I think the most recent poll on there ended on June 28. This still has him up 7.5. Now, that's the average. But that like you said it's in. It's about the same as what they found here with the 6% up.


Walt Sorg  04:21

EPIC*MRA was, I think 14 points. And that has the reputation of being the most accurate polling in the state of Michigan, and the Senate race. Also, no surprises there, either. Gary Peters up 47-39 in this poll, and again, that is within the range of every poll that we've seen in the last month.


Christine Barry  04:39

Yeah, it is. And you see here again, you have a not sure of 10%. And if you look back at some of the other polls we looked at last week, and last few weeks, really but last week in particular, we had the Restoration PAC poll and you could see those undecideds breaking for Gary Peters. So Gary Peters is in a strong position as been consistent for the last few months?


Walt Sorg  05:02

Yeah, we'll talk a little bit more about that campaign later on in the pod. In terms of handling the COVID-19 situation, the governor outshines the president by 20 points 57-37. And there is strong opposition to two petition drives that are out there. There are a whole bunch of recall petitions on the Gov which are of course all a joke because none of them have a chance of getting the necessary signatures in the 60 days that they have. But the polling shows that people oppose the recall 53-37, which pretty much reflects what you won the election by and then the plan that the legislature is pushing to take away her emergency powers, also opposed by the majority 53 to 36. And that should send a message really to Mike Shirkey, the senate majority leader who's helping lead that drive.


Christine Barry  05:52

I don't think there are any messages that get through to him that 57% that supported her on the Coronavirus about four to five 5% don't know whether they should support the recall


Walt Sorg  06:03

The biggest challenge facing the governor as she continues to lead on this virus issue is masks. And there's a real split the state over mandatory mask now in terms of requiring them for wearing inside public places in buildings, grocery stores, government offices, and places like that it's 68-24 in favor of requiring that which is a good number we consider the 24% oppose it. That's not enough for her community. If you get 24% that are defying the order, you've got a problem there. And even more problematic is a majority oppose the idea of mandatory mapping outdoors 52-34 oppose that with 14% unsure, every public health expert on the planet says that the best way to attack this virus short of having a vaccine is social distancing and universal wearing of masks. They've even gotten to the point in Texas in Florida, where it's being required for crying out loud. Those people were among the The last to do it but even they've kind of figured it out now that their whole states are becoming infected.


Christine Barry  07:04

I think there's something to be said for pandemic fatigue on this if people don't want to wear masks because they're just they're just sick of, you know, dealing with it and they haven't been exposed yet or they haven't been sick yet. So they don't see any reason to do it. There's something that there's some kind of disconnect between how they're feeling about it and what they should know based on what experts are saying.


Walt Sorg  07:31

Okay, we will have a link to the full poll in our show notes for your one on one as well. To take a look at those numbers. There is strong support for absentee voting. And the state is really split with a whole lot of undecided when it comes to the issue of shutting down the Enbridge five pipeline as it crosses the Straits of Mackinac.


Christine Barry  07:54

COVID-19 impacts everything about Michigan and the nation. One concern What does it do for voting in November? We're getting more answers this week one came from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.


Walt Sorg  08:07

Yeah, this is a pretty amazing number. The number of people requesting absentee ballots is up by 1 million from 2016. The number of returned applications in 2016 at this point 378,000. This year, the number of returned applications 1,323,000. That is just an amazing number of people are really digging proposal three, and the ability to vote from home. I've got my ballot sitting on the table right now.


Christine Barry  08:37

Yes, it's really exciting, especially for those of us who have been in on the no reason absentee fight for a long time. I mean, we've been talking about this for 15 or 20 years trying to get no reason absentee, or even even things like instant runoff. So the fact that we have no reason absentee now and See numbers like this, I think really validates everything we've done. It's a shame we didn't get it before. And especially with the pandemic. It's important for health reasons. But you know, it was intimidating before when people would tell you if you want to have an absentee ballot, you've got to say that you're going to get one of these conditions applies and people weren't comfortable saying that,


Walt Sorg  09:22

yeah, now we're facing the prospect of a deluge of absentee ballots. And that's a real challenge for local clerks. State law doesn't allow the local courts to start processing absentee ballots until the polls closed at eight o'clock on election day. envelopes have to be open ballots removed and unfolded and then fed into tabulators. That all takes time. And I've talked with the Lansing city clerk, Chris Swope, and in a city the size of Lansing he anticipates about 40,000 ballots, meaning they've got to open 40,000 envelopes on election night, unfold them and stuff them into the machines and not begin any of this until eight o'clock at night., State Representative Kara hope whose district includes parts of Lyons, he is the lead sponsor of a bill that would change the timeline. So that initial preparation work could begin earlier meaning we would get the results earlier. They wouldn't count the ballots early, but they would get them ready to be counted early. I talked with her about her bill, which should be a no brainer, but for some reason, it's become very, very partisan. Representative Hope, what are the concerns about the November election in terms of the vibe of the absentee ballots? What do you want to do about it?


Kara Hope  10:30

Well, a few things. We would like to give clerks more time to probably just process the absentee ballots. And that just means kind of opening them and getting them ready to go through the tabulator. It doesn't mean counting early. I think there's some misinformation out there about that some more time and then more money would be great to help either with equipment or humans or both.


Walt Sorg  10:55

Now, this is something obviously that you've dealt with for a long time, at least indirectly. Your husband's been a township clerk now for it's seemingly forever run off a lot of elections. Your district includes Lansing, the city clerk there says he's expecting 40,000 absentee ballots get He can't even start opening the envelopes until the evening of the election. And that just opening the envelopes and unfolding the ballots is quite a task.


Kara Hope  11:19

It's a big task. It's a big job that takes a lot of personnel hours. And part of the concern is that if we were to have late election results, and that hasn't been a problem so far since prop three, but this is our probably our first big test to see how Michigan clerks are able to kind of cope with the deluge of AV  ballots. So if we were to have late results that could you know, they could create some doubt in people's mind where we've been kind of spoiled in Michigan always getting our results fairly quickly. It's not just for the candidates even though you know as a candidate, I can relate to waiting for election results. It's for the public to have assurance that their votes being counted, everything's on the up and up. And it does not help that we have people in in high positions that are kind of casting doubt on on our election system.


Walt Sorg  12:14

One of the challenges for a lot of clerks, I don't think it is so much within your own district, but around the state is the lack of high speed tabulators once they have these ballots open and unfolded, they've got to run them through machine one at a time. And if you don't have a high speed tabulator that could take a long time.


Kara Hope  12:30

Yeah, it can take a long time. We are fortunate here. And if I told you, there are there's at least one high speed tabulator I think Lansing has some as well, it's going to add a lot of time to the process for you know, large communities who are dealing with a large number of ballots who don't have those resources at their disposal. And that was that was part of the reason that my colleague and I my my neighbor on the House floor representative Leslie Love from Detroit and I introduced the package that we did back In February, that would give not a lot of money granted not a lot of money, but some money to local jurisdictions to purchase high speed tabulators. And then also to hire more, or election workers, if that's something they need.


Walt Sorg  13:13

Hiring election workers is a real challenge, too, because most of the election workers tend to be seniors. And I can say is one of them who's worked virtually every election for the last 12 years. I'm not really eager to go out to the polls and work expose myself like that. And I would assume a lot of people feel the same way.


Kara Hope  13:30

Well, I think that's a legitimate concern. And even though all the clerks I've talked to her, you know, taking every precaution to protect people, there's no way to protect you 100% from any kind of contagion. And so, you know, there's the added added challenge of getting folks into work on election day. It's gonna be I think it's gonna be hard.


Walt Sorg  13:52

A related subject, sort of at least a democracy issue that you're also getting involved in would allow people to bring signage into the Capitol you have it An interesting situation where you are literally facing people with assault weapons with the gallery. But if they walked in there with a sign that said, I can't breathe or something like that they would have been arrested.


Kara Hope  14:10

Well, yeah, I mean, or at least have their sign taken away. It's kind of disingenuous was the word I used to kind of pretend like signs and and, you know, the stick that you might have your sight on poses a greater threat to the building, which is the first consideration in the current rule to the building or to the people on the building. It's kind of silly to pretend like those are more harmful than an assault rifle, which we'll saw that at the end of April. I don't think that it's right for us as elected officials as leaders to say we value one part of the Bill of Rights over other parts of the Bill of Rights. So people need to be able to freely exercise their first amendment right, just like they're able to freely exercise their second amendment right in our Capitol.


Walt Sorg  14:55

Representative hope. Thank you so much for joining us. Good luck on both of those bills. Hopefully, we We'll have election results for the 2020. Election sometime in 2020.


Kara Hope  15:04

True, yes, I hope so too.  Thanks Walt.


Gretchen Whitmer  15:13

after three months of hard work and real sacrifice, to bend the curve and to protect families from this virus, we have seen preventable spread in areas across our state. We can't let our guard down. We can, and we must get this under control now.


Christine Barry  15:33

The governor announced plans to reopen public schools in the fall but it comes with a big maybe Michigan's numbers are climbing again, not to the crisis levels we're seeing in Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, but enough to carry a big warning. We got a big demonstration of the challenge in East Lansing where the reopening of a popular student bar has led now to more than 160 infections.


Walt Sorg  15:58

I'm hoping that the outbreak at Harper's Brew Pub in East Lansing will serve as a wake up call for those who haven't taken this pandemic seriously. We noted earlier the polling shows that more than two thirds of Michiganders support a mandatory facemask regulation for people inside buildings. But that leaves millions who think mask should be optional. There are now a bunch of Facebook groups set up so people can share information on businesses and their adherence to facemask requirements. The results are very very mixed.


Christine Barry  16:27

Okay, time for some political notes. Number one democrats versus the president. The unemployment rate dropped to a still staggering 11.1 last month, President Trump took a victory lap and Democrats were quick to call him out on his cheerleading.  In Michigan congressional candidates Jon Hoadley and Hillary Sholton put the numbers into perspective,


Jon Hoadley  16:50

the story to economic recovery isn't as simple as it seems, when we watch as nearly 600,000 Americans move from being temporarily unemployed to expecting To be permanently unemployed, it really shows that the economic recovery poses some grave risks in the long term. When we see congressional Republicans continually choose to not act on investing in small businesses in our state and local governments and the types of projects that would actually help regular Americans, it begs the question, Who are they working for in Washington DC,


Walt Sorg  17:23

given the the the budget bill that was put through this week, the supplemental? Are you going to be able to avoid any state layoffs for this fiscal year? And how quickly will they have to start the next fiscal year,


Jon Hoadley  17:32

we should be able to balance the books for the 20 fiscal year, but that's going to be about it. You know, there is not a lot of money left in the couch cushions right there is, you know, it's taking a withdrawal from the rainy day fund and it uses up all the remaining money on the balance sheets.


Hillary Scholten  17:50

These numbers are reported by humans talking to humans and right now people don't know if they're unemployed. There's a lot of uncertainty Because of the nature the the novel nature of this virus, folks say, you know, yes, I'm employed as a as a stadium worker as a, you know, as a waitress in a restaurant. I don't know if I will have that job back eventually. Or when While we certainly applaud the the numbers going in the right direction. We need to look at that, in the context of those were pre-spike numbers. And the fact that, you know, there there could be this dangerous under-reporting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics themselves identified,


Walt Sorg  18:35

and they were joined by Joe Biden, whose campaign via zoom now as a 12 point lead nationally over Donald Trump.


Joe Biden  18:43

We're still in the deep deep job hole because Donald Trump has so badly bungled the response to Coronavirus, and now has basically given up on responding at all, you know, million more Americans would would still have a job. If Donald Trump had done his job. Many of the jobs that have now come back should never have been lost in the first place. And for everyone whose job hasn't come back, for everyone who doesn't own stock, who can't get the sweetheart loan through connections, does this feel like a victory?


Christine Barry  19:15

One of the many impacts of the massive unemployment. Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Fund is running low. The fund fell below 2.5 billion. And the reason that number is significant Walt,  is that the state law mandates an increase in unemployment contributions from employers in the next calendar year when the funds fall below that balance. So all employers will have their own unemployment insurance tax increased from a cap of 9000 to 9500 per employer, and all employers are affected. It's doesn't matter what size you are.


Walt Sorg  19:50

The state is paid out now $14 billion dollars in benefits to more than 2.1 million people in the state of Michigan but a lot of that's going to come to an end at the end. This month unless Congress does something the federal supplement the $600 a week goes away at the end of July and that could be the second huge crash of the economy. If nothing is done by Congress, all of a sudden you're gonna have a lot of people get have a lot of foreclosures, a lot of evictions, people losing their homes, people unable to pay for their groceries that have been relying on this money. Some of the republicans are arguing that the $600 a week supplement is a disincentive for people to go back to work. I would say not having jobs available is a bigger disincentive of people going back to work right now. The problem is demand. Employers aren't going to hire people to service their customers if there are no customers. It's as simple as that and where the big there have been the biggest drops have been in areas where there have been huge losses of business talking the travel and entertainment business. The airlines are trying to recover but having a terrible time the hotels are doing horribly. And surely the restaurant industry has been decimated the local paper here. Lansing State Journal runs a regular article on restaurants that have gone out of business since the pandemic began. It is a very, very difficult situation and for the standpoint of Trump's reelection, they're going to have to do something or this economy is going to come crashing down in August, late August, or September as people simply run out of resources for even the basics of life.


Christine Barry  21:21

It is very important for the federal government at this point to play a more proactive role in really get out and help businesses and workers and state governments recover, recover. And unfortunately, we have an idiot in the white house so


Walt Sorg  21:35

You know what he's protecting statues right now and fanning the flames of a culture war with the speeches he gave over the weekend at the two pandemic festivals that he sponsored a Mount Rushmore and in Washington DC, and it's interesting, he's trying to create an issue or make it all about China. Every interview you see with the white house over the virus, they point to Wuhan and the Chinese and it's all the fault of the Chinese The fact remains, if you look at the statistics around the world, the United States has done the worst job of any country in the world with the exception of Brazil, in handling the pandemic, Europe's doing fine. Europe has virtually wiped it out because they had strong centralized leadership in the the countries of the European Union. And their infection rates are very, very low. You actually had more infections last week in the state of Arizona, than you had in the entire European Union. And the rate of infection is about 300 times higher in Arizona right now than it is in all of Europe. One of the issues as I mentioned, the Trump republicans are trying to use as charging democrats with being too friendly with China. I don't know if it's gonna work, but it's one of the few things they think they've got. This mind you is coming from the same Donald Trump who has begged China's president to help his campaign in Michigan Gary Peters has been running ads for weeks, touting how he has been tough on China. Now Michigan, Democrats are pushing back on this opponent Judge James, and James very direct ties to China. And when it comes to Judge James ties with China, what does this campaign have to say about it?


John James Revealed  23:10

republican politician john James got his marching orders from Mitch McConnell and Washington republicans talk tough on China, even if you're making money off them. China has been taking advantage of our economy for decades. That's how john James talks like a politician, but there are things he doesn't want Michigan to know. JOHN James is president of a multi million dollar international shipping conglomerate. annual revenue is over 100 million and the record shows john James profits off his relationship with China. Analysis of shipping records reveals hundreds of China shipments this year alone, James's company appears to have imported six containers from China. shipping container after shipping container after shipping container All going to or from China. All of them photographed and his company's lot and he acts like China is the problem. But it's not just that john James is covering up the evidence. He deleted a campaign video that showed Chinese flags in his warehouse. Another deleted video revealed his company does business with China and a closed door republican fundraiser. He said the same thing. So you see, there's the john James the talks. China has been taking advantage of our economy for decades. And then there's his record profiting off his business with China. That may work for john James, but it doesn't work from Michigan.


Christine Barry  24:41

Well, my favorite ad of the week is a very simple ad from the anti Trump republicans of the Lincoln project goes after Trump in a way that will really get under his skin. They call him a coward.


The Lincoln Project  24:54

My name is Dan Barker. I'm a 2001 United States Naval Academy graduate. I'm an ex navy seal. currently an emergency room physician and the founder of veterans for responsible leadership. months ago, Donald Trump learned that the Russians were paying bounties for dead American soldiers in Afghanistan, he chose to do nothing about it. Any commander in chief with a spine would be stomping the living shit out of some Russians right now, diplomatically, economically, or if necessary with the sort of asymmetric warfare they're using to send our kids home and bodybags. Mr. Trump, you're either a coward who can't stand up to an ex KGB goon, or you're complicit, which is it. Donald Trump is unfit to be our commander in chief, and that's worse than useless. I'm a pro life gun owning combat veteran, and I can see Trump for what he is a coward. We need to send this draft Dodger back to his golf courses. The lives of our troops depend on it.  The Lincoln project is responsible for the content of this advertising.


Walt Sorg  25:54

That's powerful, really powerful. The members of Congress are finally getting briefed on This whole Russia thing. Michigan's freshman congressman Elissa Slotkin continues to make ways nationally. The former CIA intelligence officer and assistant defense secretary was one of a handful of members of Congress who were briefed on the latest Russia scandal. The reports of the Russians offered a bounty for the killing of US troops in Afghanistan. Trump claims it's all a hoax, even though everybody in his administration basically confirms that it happened. multiple media reports said the information was included months ago, in the top secret presidential daily briefing, slack and used to actually provide the PDB to President George W. Bush and Barack Obama and she's got questions about the current president and his PDB.


Elissa Slotkin  26:42

I think the biggest thing that I came away from the briefing scratching my head about the senior staff of the White House did not feel the need to at least let the president know and say you know what, sir, we just want to flag this for you. Because between May or March 30 and June 3, the President had at least four phone calls with President Putin, just staffing those phone calls helping him prep, thinking about potentially inviting them back into the G7. It's just I had to ask repeatedly just why was it that you never thought it made sense to just flag this for him? We're talking about the protection of US forces. We're talking about the most important role for you as the commander in chief.


Walt Sorg  27:22

A side political notes Slotkin's reelection campaign reports raising a whopping $1.4 million in the second quarter, leaving her with $4.7 million cash on hand in her campaign account. There are four republicans running in the district for the right to run against her in the general between them they raise $600,000


Christine Barry  27:43

finally for the week, the debate over monuments to traitors and proponents of slavery. It began with statues of Confederate generals. Now it spread to among others. Michigan's territorial governor Lewis Cass Cass was Secretary of War who led Andrew Jackson's vicious campaigns against Native Americans and he was also a supporter of slavery even believed to have owned a slave. Now down in the US Capitol there's a Statuary Hall with two statues representing each state. Michigan's two honorees, Gerald Ford and Lewis Cass should Cass be replaced.


Walt Sorg  28:19

A lot of Michigan is named in honor of Lewis Cass. There's Cass County Cassopolis, Cass City, Cass Lake,  Detroit's Cass Tech High School, but in Lansing there's no longer a Lewis Cass state office building. Governor Whitmer renamed the building which is two blocks from the Capitol in honor of the authors of Michigan Civil Rights Act representative Daisy Elliott, and Mel Larsen.


Gretchen Whitmer  28:42

This change marks the first time in Michigan history that a state building is named after an African American woman. The names we elevate, express our values to the workers who enter those halls every day and to the public. Who those workers serve. No one can deny the important role that Lewis Cass played in Michigan and the nation's early history, but the names we elevate express our values. Lewis Cass on the slave defended a system that would permit the expansion of slavery and implemented a policy that forcibly removed native communities from their tribal lands. Today's order is a small, but meaningful step forward.


Walt Sorg  29:23

Really like this. I was staff director of the state house when the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act was enacted a zillion years ago, and I had the chance to work with representatives Larson and Elliott on the bill. Mel Larsen and I have been friends for nearly 50 years. It was a great honor and a great joy to congratulate him last week on the singular honor. He's been very humble about it so far, but it's pretty unique, especially for somebody who's still alive to be honored in this way. Normally, you have to die before you get a building.


Christine Barry  29:51

Sure. Sure. Well, I was really pleased with how the governor put it as well recognizing that Lewis Cass did have contributions but also saw that it was time to elevate someone else. So I, I really appreciated that. You think the Cass statue should be replaced in the Capitol?


Walt Sorg  30:09

and they absolutely should be replaced. There's been an interesting debate I saw on Facebook, some of it facetious. Some of its serious about who it should be one person that I saw recommended Sojourner Truth, which would make a lot of sense. Others suggested Rosa Parks, but she's already got a statue in the capitol elsewhere, in honor of her work for the civil rights movement. I suggested during this discussion online that maybe they should take down both the Ford and Cass statues and replace them with the two greatest men in Michigan history. Tom Izzo and Bo Schembechler?


Christine Barry  30:44

Well, I think well, as long as we are going to have two white men in the hall then it should be, we should add Bill Milliken next to Gerald Ford, though Milliken actually represents Michigan in a really great way longest serving governor, totally a role model for public  service, right? He put his own principles before party he he supported Gary Peters also supported Rick Snyder, because he felt that they're the best people for the job which he was wrong about Snyder, but still, you know, he's not perfect, supported Equal Rights Amendment affirmative action and, you know, a tremendous advocate for our Great Lakes and just everything. I just loved Bill Milliken.


Walt Sorg  31:23

Yeah, he's on my list of my very short list of political heroes, that would be a very good choice, actually.


Christine Barry  31:29

Well, that is a wrap for this week's Michigan podcast. For more information on today's subjects head on over to our website, will cite all of our sources, their links, tweets, photos, maybe some dope rhymes. I've been writing some dope rhymes.


Walt Sorg  31:45

Dope rhymes?  I'm hoping that we'll have some links for some Kanye for president swag too.


Christine Barry  31:51

stop it.  We can hope at least.  As always, your comments are welcome, email us at or reach out through the Michigan Policast page on Facebook or on the Twitter machine, and thanks so much for joining us. We'll be back in a week. The President



The President does read and he also consumes intelligence verbally. This president I'll tell you is the most informed person on planet earth when it comes to the threats that we face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *