Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the April 7, 2022 edition of Three Things Thursday!
Before diving into this week’s Three Things, I want to take a moment to celebrate the US Senate confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justice Jackson is our country’s first African American woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
As a US Supreme Court nominee, Judge Jackson exhibited incredible resilience and courage, sitting through hours of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings plagued by personal attacks and unfounded accusations about her legal record. As President Biden understood when deciding upon a nominee, Justice Jackson is extraordinarily qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, which was validated by the 53 / 47 vote today in the Senate.
Justice Jackson’s confirmation is particularly important for legal decisions on an array of environmental issues. As we have seen, our environmental laws are only as strong as the judges, justices, and courts that enforce them. Justice Jackson now steps into a critical role in upholding important environmental justice legislation, enforcing climate and conservation laws, and holding corporate polluters accountable. As communities of color are disproportionately experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis and are the targets of voter suppression legislation, Justice Jackson’s presence on the Supreme Court is integral to the Court making legal decisions with the best interest of those communities in mind.
At a time when so much of the news is bad news, I encourage you to take a moment to celebrate. Call a friend, hug your loved ones, lift a glass to hope, change and a vision of true justice in our nation.
Now, let’s turn to the Three Things. We have (more) exciting news to share this week: our first rounds of legislative endorsements, the release of Michigan’s new environmental justice screening tool, and the addition of a great new teammate.
1. Michigan LCV’s first round of 2022 endorsements
This is a big election year in Michigan, with the three women at the top of the ballot – the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General – all up for re-election, and with our newly redistricted state House and Senate districts creating more swing seats than we’ve seen in decades.
As the April filing deadline approaches, the Michigan LCV team is keeping a close eye on the new candidates emerging, analyzing our opportunities for change to ensure we have a 2023-24 legislature that is committed to tackling our water challenges and the climate crisis, and standing strong to protect voting rights and our democracy.
I’m proud to say that today we unveiled our first of three rounds of endorsements for the 2022 election cycle. This first round features 27 State House and State Senate candidates from across Michigan, all individuals with extraordinarily strong track records on our issues.
At Michigan LCV our endorsements aren’t just simple “paper” endorsements; we roll out a full suite of benefits to each candidate. In addition to doing localized media releases, our Communications team created awesome, customized toolkits for EVERY endorsee, which include a :30 second candidate-tailored video, a separate GIF, and static images for both Instagram/FB and Twitter. Here is a sample of the individualized video ads featuring Michigan LCV’s former board member, Rep. Sarah Anthony of Lansing:
Check out the full video here.
Here is a regional breakdown of our first round endorsees.
- Christine Morse (HD 40)
- Julie Rogers (HD 41)
- Rachel Hood (HD 81)
- Sean McCann (SD 19)
- Winnie Brinks (SD 29)
- David LaGrand (SD 30)
- Julie Brixie (HD 73)
- Kara Hope (HD 74)
- Sarah Anthony (SD 21)
- Sam Singh (SD 28)
Southeast Michigan/Metro Detroit:
- Regina Weiss (HD 6)
- Helena Scott (HD 7)
- Abraham Aiyash (HD 9)
- Joe Tate (HD 10)
- Lori Stone (HD 13)
- Laurie Pohutsky (HD 17)
- Kelly Breen (HD 21)
- Matt Koleszar (HD 22)
- Jason Morgan (HD 23)
- Ranjeev Puri (HD 24)
- Felicia Brabec (HD 33)
- Erika Geiss (SD 1)
- Sylvia Santana (SD 2)
- Stephanie Chang (SD 3)
- Padma Kuppa (SD 9)
- Rosemary Bayer (SD 13)
- Jeff Irwin (SD 15)
As you know, helping elect environmental champions to office is a key pillar of Michigan LCV’s work. Our team spends a lot of time evaluating and reviewing candidates, which includes their viability and record on important priorities relating to our land, air, water, climate, public health and democracy. For candidates without a track record in office, our candidate questionnaire is especially important, providing us with a sense of a candidate’s values, priorities and commitments. Our robust process ensures that we endorse candidates who not only talk-the-talk, but will walk-the-walk once elected.
Finally, we issued a press statement today announcing the rollout of our first round of endorsements, which you can read here. I encourage you to check out our 2022 endorsements webpage for more information on each of our endorsed candidates and how you can take action to help the Michigan LCV elect environmental champions to office in 2022.
2. The importance of working for environmental justice
As the climate crisis accelerates, communities are being impacted all across our state, some more than others. Communities of color and low-income communities bear the brunt of climate change. In Michigan, residents who live in the 48217 zip code in Southeast Detroit – the most polluted zip code in the state – experience disproportionately high levels of air and water pollution and deal with infrastructure that has not seen investments or improvements in decades. As you may remember, Southwest Detroit was hit hard last summer when severe flooding left entire neighborhoods submerged in murky, dirty water.
Last month, the State of Michigan released an app that can be used as an environmental justice screening tool to see how communities stack up against others in terms of pollution.
As you may remember, one of the early moves on the part of the Whitmer Administration was the establishment of the Michigan Advisory Council for Environmental Justice (MAC EJ). This new tool is one of the key outcomes that have emerged as a result of this important new Council.
Michigan LCV is proud to have one of our board members, Keith Cooley, serving as a member of the MAC EJ. Keith’s work on environmental justice throughout his career is an invaluable addition to the group’s work, and his insights have undoubtedly helped inform decisions and outcomes like this one.
While a screening tool like this is a solid step in the right direction, now it’s got to be put to good use. And, a whole lot more has got to be done to ensure environmental justice for all Michigan communities. Screening for air and water pollution is a great start, but the implementation of meaningful solutions – like denying permits that would add additional pollution to already overburdened communities, the replacement of lead pipes, and investments in renewable energy that will move us away from fossil fuels and coal-fired power plants – is what will collectively make a real difference for Michigan communities experiencing the disproportionate impacts of pollution and climate change.
The good news is that the release of this new environmental justice screen tool is just one of many big changes being made in Lansing. As I reported last week, the passage and signing of Senate Bill 565 – now known as the Building Michigan Together Plan–means major investment in water infrastructure. And, with the pending release of the Whitmer administration’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, Michigan is gaining the resources and tools necessary to make much-needed changes in communities all across the state, with deep emphasis on those that need them most.
3. New Michigan LCV team member spotlight: Shannon Ervin
The Michigan LCV hiring process continues as our team looks for talented, dedicated individuals to fill a number of key roles within the organization. This week I am excited to welcome Shannon Ervin to the Michigan LCV family!
Shannon joins our team as our new Southeast Michigan Organizer working with the Advocacy & Outreach (A&O) team. Shannon has a deep passion for all the issues we work on, but especially water. She earned a degree in Freshwater Science and Sustainability at Western Michigan University where, in addition to her studies, Shannon served as a student leader, rallying classmates and faculty to hold the powers-that-be accountable for preserving and protecting our environment. Shannon’s involvement on campus fueled her interest in the power and importance of unified voices and compelled her to become more involved in politics.
Before joining the Michigan LCV team, Shannon worked in a variety of environmentally-focused positions across the country, doing things such as removing invasive species and monitoring water quality in Michigan, New Mexico, and New York. We are thrilled to have Shannon join our Michigan LCV family, and are excited about the expertise and passion she brings to the table.
Welcome to the team, Shannon!
For those of you in Michigan, remember: “April showers bring May flowers”. And celebrate the sun when it does periodically peek out. Until next week, thank you for all you do to make our work possible…