Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the 2021 Thanksgiving edition of Three Things Thursday! There are so many things to be thankful for this year, including good health, family, and friends, but today my gratitude in its fullest form goes to the tireless work of the Michigan LCV staff. As the entire team takes a very well-deserved break, I want to celebrate and give thanks to the work that they have done over the last (almost) 11 months, in the midst of a global pandemic and a challenging political/cultural climate.
Their work is selfless, in so many ways, and driven by a collective embrace of the Michigan LCV mission and vision, the latter of which they had a hand in defining this year, alongside the Board of Directors.
Our recently adopted 20 year vision focuses on reversing the legacy of toxic pollution, which has had devastating impacts on human health and our climate, so that we can provide every Michigander access to the cleanest air and land, and safest, most affordable water in the nation. Our team believes we can and will do this by codifying permanent protections for Michigan’s air, land, and water AND establishing an unassailable political and cultural consensus on the importance of clean air, land and water, and the right to vote.
Here are just three examples of how this team’s work over the past many months is firmly grounded in that vision:
1. The Michigan LCV Team has helped elect champions for our land, air, and water
With teammates Ethan Petzold, Bob Allison, Londell Thomas and Nick Dodge in the lead, Michigan LCV was instrumental in helping a number of municipal candidates to victory this year. Abdullah Hammoud was most notable. A former Michigan LCV board member, an elected state Representative and a man with a degree in public health, I’m so proud to say that Abdullah was elected on November 2nd to serve as the first Arab-American Muslim mayor of Dearborn.
Between the work we did in a coordinated fashion with the Hammoud campaign, which included door-to-door canvasses and phone banks, and an independent expenditure campaign we executed (which means NO coordination) that included direct mail, door-to-door canvassing, and targeted digital ads, the Michigan LCV family of organizations played an absolutely essential role in getting Abdullah across the finish line.
Abdullah Hammoud giving his victory speech. Photo courtesy of the Detroit Free Press.
Now, with Michigan LCV board member Salah Ali on Mayor-elect Hammoud’s transition team, and Michigan LCV’s close friend Marianne Udow-Phillips leading the overall transition, we know that the new Dearborn mayor is well on his way to becoming the most environmental and sustainability-focused leader in the city’s history.
2. Detailed tracking of –and consistent engagement with– the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission
Mark Payne, who is a key member of our Democracy for All team, has been keeping meticulous track of the redistricting process and the newly formed Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) over the past many months.
Without Mark’s detailed attention to the Commission, and important weekly updates to staff, we never would not have had the extensive knowledge and insight that allowed us to then educate and engage our members all across that state, successfully recruiting many to provide public comments at the hearings. (Here’s a great video our talented videographer, Samantha Schubert, made featuring Mark as he provided testimony. The video serves as a great example and step-by-step guide for others.) Given the immense importance of the redistricting process, our team rolled up our collective sleeves and we have been doing all we can to ensure the Commission adopts fair, representative districts for Michigan communities over the next decade.
Our awesome team at one of the Commission public hearings in Detroit!
3. Deep work in key Congressional districts to ensure the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Act
Michigan LCV’s recently-created federal government affairs team has been integral to our participation in a strong, diverse coalition, helping to build support and make it clear to Michigan’s Congressional delegation the critical need to get both these important pieces of legislation across the finish line.
Here’s Hallie Fox and Bentley Johnson delivering “Thank You” cards to the offices of Congresswomen Slotkin and Stevens
Bentley Johnson and Hudson Villeneuve are the two members of our energy-packed federal government affairs team. Over the past many months they kept our entire team in the loop, helped organize rallies and events with coalition partners, and made sure our Congressional delegation knew — day-after-day — that we were standing strongly behind them every step of the way.
Supplemented by our entire Advocacy and Outreach team (Kaitlin, Kim, Natalie, Emily, Abby, and Shannon), along with broadcast TV ads, digital ads and a team of canvassers at the doors and in public places, Bentley and Hudson led — and are still leading — the charge, ensuring that lawmakers, the media and voters all understand that these important legislative packages will help overhaul our aging, dangerous infrastructure and invest in the fight against climate change.
Supporting this work have been an array of teammates like Kiff Hamp, who authors our Washington Weekly (this week featuring the Presidential pardon of the turkeys), and our videographer, Samantha Schubert, who pulls together super impactful videos like this one, which is entitled, It’s time to Build Back Better NOW!
Those are just three examples and I haven’t even made mention of the entire team!
I hope you can see why my heart is full on this Thanksgiving day, as challenging as the world we live in may be. As I sign off, please know I am also tremendously grateful for all of you who have made this work possible. Thank you so very much. I wish you a very happy, safe and healthy Thanksgiving…a day that I will be spending filled with gratitude.
P.S. If you missed our big annual virtual gala last week, it was an enormous success. Not only did we honor an outstanding array of Michiganders, but I have been told many times, by many people, that the event inspired hope at a time when hope is desperately needed. That’s high praise. I am sharing a short recap video here, which captures some of the evening.