Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the July 28, 2022 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week’s Three Things includes a look at Michigan LCV’s gubernatorial endorsement, our work with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, and bidding farewell to a truly awesome colleague (plus a little on Manchin/Schumer and important news on PFAS)
But, before we dive in… did someone say “Joe Manchin”?! In a shocking turn of events late yesterday, Senators Schumer and Manchin announced a reconciliation deal that is both a compromise and – if it gets across the finish line in a way that truly addresses the problem – the biggest thing our nation will have ever done to address the climate crisis. While details are still being read and understood, our national partners released a press statement, which you can read here. And, Politico ran an article on the deal, with a headline that includes a quote from our national colleague, Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior VP of Government Affairs for LCV:
Holy shit. This deal is coming not a moment too soon.”
We will share more details and analysis in the days to come, along with suggestions related to key senators and representatives who will need to hear from us. While this deal is a very encouraging step forward, it is clear that we need to keep steadily and persistently pushing our elected officials to ensure that is truly addressing the challenges before us and not overburdening already overburdened communities.. and then get it signed into law!
Now, on to Three Things:
1. Michigan LCV endorses Gov. Whitmer for re-election!
On Wednesday, Michigan LCV formally announced our endorsement of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for re-election in 2022! The rollout of our announcement was multi-faceted, including social media collateral, an amazing video, a press release and more. The Michigan LCV board and staff were thrilled to voice enthusiastic support for our incumbent governor, a strong, determined, strategic woman who has led Michigan through four extraordinarily trying, transformative years. You can read Michigan LCV’s statement here.
As a reminder, Michigan LCV only endorses candidates who have demonstrated a deep understanding and commitment to working on issues impacting our land, air, water, health, and democracy, and Gov. Whitmer is a prime example of a candidate who has done just that. A lifelong Michigander, Gov. Whitmer has rolled up her sleeves to protect our Great Lakes, clean up our drinking water, defend our democracy, and protect the health of our communities.
In her first term, Gov. Whitmer has:
- Signed the Building MI Together Plan – historic bipartisan legislation that includes $4.8 billion of investments to clean up and protect our water, overhaul outdated water infrastructure, fund state and local parks, repair roads and bridges, remove lead pipes, expand broadband internet and more.
- Launched the MI Healthy Climate Plan, which aims to make Michigan 100% carbon neutral by 2050, with interim 2030 goals to generate 60% of Michigan’s electricity from reliable, renewable energy sources, build an expansive charging network to support 2 million electric vehicles on the road, and protect 30% of our land and water ( and more).
- Vetoed bills that would have (1) disenfranchised and intimidated voters by imposing unnecessary requirements and (2) prohibited the Secretary of State and local elections officials from continuing to provide absentee mail ballots to voters.
- Worked with governors across the country to protect voting rights and uphold the integrity of elections, and urged businesses and institutions to oppose voter disenfranchisement efforts after the 2020 election.
- Launched the Water Utility Assistance Program, the largest investment in water assistance in Michigan history to help families keep their water on; signed executive orders and the Water Shut Off Protection Act to ensure thousands of families in Michigan had access to clean, safe drinking water during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Whitmer understands that our natural resources are our most valuable assets, and that clean air and water are essential in building healthy communities and a robust economy in the Great Lakes state. For all of these reasons and many more, Michigan LCV is very proud to endorse Gov. Whitmer for re-election in 2022!
2. Our partnership with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent
For the third year in a row, the Michigan LCV Education Fund has partnered with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, offering an internship program for high school and college students over the summer.
Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GTYT) is a citywide summer jobs program that trains and employs young adults between the ages of 14 and 24, plugging young people into jobs and internships that allow them to gain valuable work and professional experience and skills. Since 2020, Michigan LCV has partnered with GDYT to offer an internship program that provides young people experience in the world of environmental/voting rights advocacy and education. The students participating in the program are provided a wide array of internship options and I am proud to say that the Michigan LCV Ed Fund option, which is led by our Democracy For All team, has been one of the most in-demand opportunities for the past several years.
This year, our team has been working with five GDYT interns: Rose Abou Assaly, Maya Farr, Thomas Jenkins, Saniya Crawford, and Janiya Hughes. Ranging from high school seniors to college seniors, the group has gotten a chance to see the inner workings of the Democracy For All team as we work on voter education through our Direct Voter Contact (DVC) and 313/616 Votes campaign.
3. A goodbye to an amazing Michigan LCV teammate
Over the years, Michigan LCV has welcomed an amazing array of teammates into our family. In fact, in just the last few months, we have been joined by several amazing new teammates, including Lee Berry and Shannon Rochon. Today, however, we are bidding farewell to a colleague who has been with us for the past two years, leaving an indelible mark on the organization.
Hallie Fox, our State Government Affairs Coordinator will be leaving us next week and heading off to Harvard Law School.
I first met Hallie in 2019 when she and I were both appointed by the Washtenaw County Commission as members of the newly established Washtenaw Environmental Council. Hallie and I quickly connected, finding common ground in our shared work to support and guide the County forward in a commitment to addressing the climate crisis. In the early months of 2020, Hallie joined the Michigan LCV family as an intern, making an immediate mark with her constant energy and deep interest in the challenges confronting our air, land, water and democracy. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and the Environment from the University of Michigan, as well as lots of experience in the theater world, Hallie’s talents quickly compelled us to invite her to become a full-time staff member.
There are so many things that Hallie did to support and grow our work. Here are two examples:
- Hallie leapt at the opportunity to lead in the rejuvenation and update of Green Gavels, a tool that measures the success (or lack thereof) of the Michigan Supreme Court in protecting our land, air, water and democracy. Working closely with Professor David Uhlmann at the University of Michigan Law School and a team of his talented student, as well as an advisory committee of practicing attorneys, Hallie helped bring Green Gavels up-to-date, drawing back the otherwise dark curtains that tend to shroud decisions coming out of our state’s highest court.
- Hallie became an indispensable teammate of our State Government Affairs Director, Nick Occhipinti, assisting with our legislative Scorecard, our How Green is Your Governor tool and our How Green is Your Attorney General tool. She also was the lead in the development of our candidate questionnaire, and spent hours working in Lansing with members of the legislature, developing trustworthy relationships on behalf of the organization.
We are going to miss Hallie immensely, but we know that what she brought to our team – and what she gained from our team–will never be forgotten. Go get ‘em at Harvard Law, Hallie! This country needs more bold, determined attorneys who will roll up their sleeves to fight for climate and water justice and the protection of voting rights and our democracy!
Until next week, thank you so much for all you do to make this work possible. We really could not do it without you.
P.S. New recommendation from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine on PFAS and blood testing
A report released recently by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine “….recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update its clinical guidance to advise clinicians to offer PFAS blood testing to patients who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure, such as those with occupational exposures or those who live in areas known to be contaminated. If testing reveals PFAS levels associated with an increased risk of adverse effects, patients should receive regular screenings and monitoring for these and other health impacts. Guidance on PFAS Exposure, Testing, and Clinical Follow-Up recommends that the CDC, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and public health departments support clinicians by creating educational materials on PFAS exposure, potential health effects, the limitations of testing, and the benefits and harms of testing.”
This is a huge new development and very important for the health and safety of our communities moving forward.