Capital Catch-Up, August 6, 2021
MI Dems Lobby “For the People” on Capitol Hill
Over 150 lawmakers from 30 different states gathered on the steps of Capitol Hill this week to advocate for the For the People Act, a landmark voting rights bill that would end political gerrymandering, shine more light on “dark money” campaign donations, and require Presidents and Vice Presidents to disclose their federal income tax returns.
Michigan State Reps. Donna Lasinski (D – Scio Twp.), Mari Manoogian (D – Birmingham), Matt Koleszar (D – Plymouth), Rachel Hood (D – Grand Rapids), Laurie Pohutsky (D – Novi), and State Sen. Adam Hollier (D – Detroit) were all in attendance for the gathering, which was held near the U.S. Capitol that featured notable federal advocates of the For the People Act, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D – Minnesota), Cory Booker (D – New Jersey), and Raphael Warnock (D – Georgia).
At the rally, Rep. Lasinski, who also serves as the House Democratic Leader, delivered a powerful speech in which she reflected on the events of April 30, 2020, when armed demonstrators stormed the Michigan State Capitol to protest COVID-19 lockdowns, and connected the events of that day to the January 6th insurrection, and other efforts from Republicans across the country to invalidate and discredit the 2020 election.
“Michigan was the dress rehearsal for the attack on our US Capitol,” Lasinski stated, “but no political intimidation, no domestic terrorists, are going to stop us from doing our job, and our jobs right now are to protect our freedom to vote.”
MLCV Endorsed Abdullah Hammoud Wins Dearborn Mayoral Primary, Faces Gary Woronchak in November General Election
This Tuesday, former Michigan LCV board member and current State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D – Dearborn) resoundingly won Dearborn’s mayoral primary, receiving a little over 42% of the total votes cast in the seven way race. Longtime political veteran, Gary Woronchak, who once held the same state house seat as Rep. Hammoud and is a former member of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, came in second, receiving just over 18% of the vote. The two men are set to face off in this November’s general election.
“Tonight’s results showed that Dearborn residents are demanding change from City Hall,” Rep. Hammoud said in response to Tuesday’s outcome. “I’m honored and humbled with today’s victory, and I will work just as hard to earn everyone’s vote in the general election this November.”
Michigan LCV was proud to endorse and turn out for Rep. Hammoud throughout his primary race. Together, Michigan LCV volunteers, board members, and staff were able to knock 1,217 doors and make 1,272 phone calls in support of Hammoud, who is running on a platform that centers improved water infrastructure, emergency response to frequent flooding, and climate resiliency.
Opponents of Proposed Gas Powered Plant in Grand Haven Win in Board of Light and Power Elections
Opponents of a proposed gas-powered energy plant on Grand Haven’s Harbor Island notched a big win in the city’s Board of Power and Light primary election this Tuesday. Of the five candidates who appeared on the ballot, four candidates — Andy Cawthon, Andrea Hendrick, Geri McCaleb and Michael J. Westbrook — advanced to the general election where the top two will be elected to serve six-year terms. Several of the vote-getters are opposed to the construction of the plant or are calling for a delay while EGLE studies the contamination on site.
Plans for the gas-powered peaking plant, which would operate only sporadically, have drawn criticism from both fiscal conservatives for being economically wasteful and environmentalists who are opposed to developing a fossil-fuel burning plant on Harbor Island, where heavy metals and other chemical contamination has been detected. Notably, PFAS was discovered by the Board of Power and Light last month on the plant’s proposed site.
“Harbor Island is less than a mile away from one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, and the source of the water we drink,” commented Andrea Hendrick, Tuesday’s first place candidate. “Whether I’m elected, or just acting as a concerned mother of four, I am committed to making the remediation issues on Harbor Island a success. The health and safety of the public and my children transcend politics. However, if I’m elected, this will be an important concern as a BLP trustee.
Reps. Douglas Wozniak and Mark Huizenga Win Highly Competitive GOP Primaries for State Senate Races
Two special state legislative primary elections were held on Tuesday to replace state Senators Peter Lucido (R – Shelby Township), who resigned last December after being elected to serve as Macomb County Prosecutor, and Peter MacGregor (R – Rockford), who resigned after winning his election as Kent County Treasurer.
In the Macomb county-based primary, Rep. Douglas Wozniak (R – Shelby Township) won the seven candidate race with 35.7% of the vote, while current House Floor Leader Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R – Chesterfield Township) finished second with 29.5%. Former Macomb County sheriff candidate Terence Mekoski ended with 20.8% of the vote.
Throughout the campaign, the issue which dominated the race was the 2020 Presidential election results. Last fall, Rep. Wozniak signed onto a motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let the GOP-led Michigan legislature decide the partisan makeup of the states’ electors rather than the popular vote. Additionally, both Rep. Wozniak and Mr. Mekoski publicly supported a second audit of absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election. Ironically, it was absentee ballots in Shelby Township that put Rep. Wozniak over the finish line.
An even closer election happened on Tuesday in the Kent County-based senate Republican primary race. State Rep. Mark Huizinga (R – Walker) defeated his opponents, Algoma Township Supervisor Kevin Green and state Rep. Tommy Brann (R – Wyoming) by only 174 votes, one of the closest margins of victory in recent Michigan history.
“We all knew it was going to be a close race,” Rep. Huizenga said after he was announced the winner. “It’s my name, my reputation and the hard work that we’ve done as a team. Ultimately, it was the AVs that made a difference.”