Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the September 16, 2021 edition of Three Things Thursday! It’s hard to believe it’s already the middle of September! Time is moving fast, but the Michigan LCV team is moving faster, working on a number of priorities that are of paramount importance to the health and well-being of Michiganders.
This week’s edition of Three Things includes a look at our climate change storytelling collection; redistricting + voting rights and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; and the Michigan LCV team’s most recent “Champion Summer of Action” canvassing walk in Birmingham.
Before jumping in, I want to highlight one of my colleagues, Hudson Villenueve, and the important work he has been doing to build support for President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and meaningful climate action. On Monday evening, Hudson participated in a virtual panel, along with For Our Future Michigan, Sierra Club, and Congressman Andy Levin. The focus was the PRO Act and the connection between clean energy jobs and truly “building back better” as we tackle the climate crisis. Hudson did bang-up job representing the Michigan LCV team, eloquently stressing the opportunities before as we tackle this enormous existential crisis. You can watch a recording of Monday’s panel here.
1. Stories of Michiganders & the urgent need for climate action
With Congress set to vote as soon as next week on the Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill — critical legislation that will help us tackle our broken and failing infrastructure and take action to address climate change — the Michigan LCV team has been an essential piece of the puzzle right here in Michigan in ensuring the package gets across the finish line.
After the Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, representing the largest federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure in more than a decade, our team’s focus has been on the US House of Representatives to ensure this bill moves to the President’s desk.
An essential part of our work has been the collection of stories about Michiganders from all across our beautiful state. These stories provide a personal look at the impact climate change is having on peoples’ lives and send a critically important message to members of Congress: the time is now to Build Back Better! For example, I invite you to check out…
- Bob Sutherland’s story here.
- Missy Stults’ BRAND NEW story here.
- Sylvia Orduño’s story here.
- Bali Kumar’s story here.
- Jim MacInnes’ story here.
- Tom Baird’s BRAND NEW video story here.
If you haven’t made your voice heard already, I encourage you to use our one-step advocacy tool to send your lawmakers a message, telling them to make sure this climate/infrastructure legislation is passed and we take full advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity before us to address the most pressing issue of our time.
2. Michigan’s redistricting process, election protection/integrity and the importance of a strong Secretary of State
All eyes are on Michigan’s redistricting process, which will determine our state House, state Senate and Congressional districts for the next decade. Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is responsible for this work, with support provided by the Secretary of State, which was clearly outlined in the constitutional amendment adopted (by over 61% of voters) via Proposal 2 in 2018.
As you know, our Democracy for All team has been hard at work throughout 2021 tracking the work of the Commission, involving voters in the process, and collaborating with allies (like Voters Not Politicians, All Voting is Local, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP and Promote the Vote). This work necessitates close communication with the office of the Secretary of State, as well, so we’ve been able to see firsthand the thorough and even-handed approach brought to this important commission on behalf of Secretary Jocelyn Benson and her team.
In addition to the redistricting process, the Secretary of State is critical to voter protection and the integrity of our elections. The people of Michigan were incredibly fortunate to have Jocelyn Benson in this position during the 2020 election, which was executed almost seamlessly in the midst of a global pandemic with massive turnout: more than 5.5 million people voted — the most ever and the highest percentage of voting-age residents to cast a ballot in 60 years. And, she and her team stood strong in the aftermath of the election as our elections were challenged by The Big Lie.
For all those reasons, Michigan LCV PAC was proud to support a recent event in support of Secretary Benson’s re-election.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaking at Monday’s event.
I attended Monday’s event, which was hosted in the gardens of a lovely Ann Arbor home on an exquisite late summer evening, in the company of a number of Michigan LCV board members and friends. In addition to answering questions about the appalling ongoing attempts to undermine our voting rights, Secretary Benson spoke with deep understanding and determination about the job she currently holds and the responsibility she has to protect the very essence of our democracy. She knows more than most secretaries of state having literally researched and written about the position in her book entitled State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, which was published in 2010.
If you are interested in supporting Secretary Benson in her re-election, I would invite you to do so via the Michigan LCV PAC in addition to any support you provide to the Secretary directly.
3. A Champion Walk in Birmingham
On Monday, ten Michigan LCV team members were in Birmingham for another one of our “Champion Summer of Action” canvassing efforts for elected officials who have been working hard to protect our land, air, water, and public health.
Monday’s walk was for State Representative Mari Manoogian who represents the Birmingham neighborhoods we canvassed and who has consistently stepped up to the plate on issues related to clean drinking water and public health. State Senator Mallory McMorrow joined us for the kick-off, which was terrific as she, too, is one of our legislative champions.
Michigan LCV teammates (from left to right) Bob Allison, Ethan Petzold, Reese Shasteen, Bentley Johnson, Vicki Speer, Tim Cohn, Mark Payne, Brooke Harris, Zach Simón, and Nina Wimberley sporting our snazzy t-shirts with State Senator Mallory McMarrow and State Rep. Mari Manoogian
Our team had a fantastic morning at the doors, talking to constituents about the issues that matter most to them and their community. Many of the conversations revolved around the need for more resilient infrastructure and the need to address the increasing number of power outages. While Birmingham has not been hit with the same level of devastating floods that communities in Detroit and Dearborn experienced earlier this summer, many of the neighborhoods we were in have dealt with power outages that have stretched on for several days at a time, if not longer.
As the summer winds to a close, we will be assessing this first “Champion Summer of Action”, taking the good and leaving the bad as we prepare for our next phase of this critically important door-to-door work. You can’t truly “work on behalf of the people of Michigan” unless you meet them where they are, and right now during COVID that means at their homes. The Michigan LCV team is proud to be one of the only organizations out doing doors (safely!) in strong partnership with our champions.
As always, thank you for all you do to support our work. Until next week….