Three Things Thursday: July 20, 2023
Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the July 20, 2023 edition of Three Things Thursday! It’s a big day! We just rolled out our new website, so that’s my #1 focus today. Then, I have an update on our work in the U.P. last weekend, and – last, but not at all least – I take time to celebrate the Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the legislature for their ongoing work to protect and defend our democracy. Let’s dive in!
1. A brand new website!
Yesterday, our team was simply over the moon because we were able to launch our revamped Michigan LCV website. This has been an enormous project over the past several months – specifically for our Communications team – and all the creative, detailed work has really paid off!
The project began with a deep dive into our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. We took a hard look at how we embody the organization’s guiding principles and core values throughout our work, and set out to find ways to best present that online. Our team recognized our website as an essential tool in telling our story, and it became very clear that we needed to overhaul our site so it could deliver fully and completely on the ambition of the plan.
We can now proudly say that Michiganlcv.org serves as a one-stop-shop for our members and the broader public. For anyone interested in understanding the pressing environmental and democracy issues facing communities across the state and finding ways to get involved, our website is the place to go.
Indeed, MichiganLCV.org is THE ONLY place to find our state’s decision-makers –from Governor and Attorney General to the legislature, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Secretary of state – check their records on environmental and democracy issues in real time, and take action to hold them accountable. This is now all in one place!
In addition, you can find the latest news, information on pressing issues, and details on what we do, as well as gain a better understanding of who we are, board and staff. There are also a slew of incredible videos that (1) tell the stories of real people in real places all across this beautiful state who are grappling with lead and PFAS, sky rocketing utility bills, and the impacts of increasingly severe weather; and (2) celebrate the leadership and activism that is essential to protecting the place we call home.
I invite you to take a look at MichiganLCV.org and let me know what you think. Your ideas and perspective are really important!
2. Michigan LCV was fully present in Marquette last week!
Michigan LCV’s Advocacy & Outreach (A&O) team was in Marquette late last week for (1) a House Energy Reliability, Resilience and Accountability Task Force hearing as part of the ongoing Dependable Energy Listening Tour spearheaded by the Energy Committee Chairwoman Helena Scott, and (2) for door-to-door canvassing in support of one of our environmental champions in the legislature: Rep. Jenn Hill. I reported on this last week as our team prepared to head north. Now, I can tell you how successful it was!
First, the Task Force hearing was focused on dependable energy for the Upper Peninsula. The U.P.’s main utility company is the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO), and residents rely primarily on propane and natural gas for their power. U.P. residents also pay some of the highest utility costs in the nation. Given this situation, opportunistic companies like Enbridge Energy have been preying upon Yoopers’ fears, fostering disinformation about skyrocketing energy prices in relation to the pending shut down of their dangerous, damaged 69-year old Line 5 pipeline and attempting to squash vision and trust in the transition to clean, renewable energy. As such, Yoopers have been more hesitant than other Michiganders about an evolution in energy provision despite the fact that clean, renewable energy is proven to be more reliable and more affordable than fossil fuels.
Ironically (or maybe not?), smack dab in the middle of the hearing Mother Nature decided to underscore the fragility of the U.P.’s current energy infrastructure with an enormous rainstorm, which caused a power outage that blanketed almost all of Marquette in darkness.
These power outages, like those also hitting the Lower Peninsula, are becoming increasingly common, and pose unique challenges for U.P. communities. The U.P. has a disproportionate number of elderly residents living in remote areas. For folks with health challenges that include reliance on oxygen or medicines that require refrigeration, power outages can be life threatening, especially since cell phones are unreliable and life-saving calls and treatment can take a long time to arrive.
Friday’s hearing and the unpredictable power outage illustrated the dire need to improve utility reliability for all Michiganders, regardless of their zip code. Michigan LCV teammates were there en masse and helped recruit a number of area residents to attend, as well.
Michigan LCV Northern Michigan Regional Organizer Taryn Indish gave powerful testimony before the Task Force, highlighting the need for reliable, renewable energy in the U.P.
In addition to the hearing, our team canvassed door-to-door with Rep. Jenn Hill to talk with her constituents about their biggest concerns, as well as to share information on what Rep. Hill is doing in Lansing to build healthy, thriving U.P. communities. Speaker Joe Tate also made the trip to Marquette to highlight Rep. Hill’s work in her home district. The Speaker joined our team just prior to the Task Force hearing and thanked us for our efforts over the past seven weeks out on the doors engaging with House members’ constituents in their home districts.
Speaker Tate also gave introductory remarks at the start of the hearing. He emphasized that the work that Chair Scott and the Task Force are doing is being taken seriously, and that he and his colleagues hear the concerns of Michiganders who have been impacted by increasingly frequent power outages. The Task Force, Tate said, is committed to finding solutions that will improve the affordability and reliability of our energy grid and provide dependable energy for communities across the state.
The Michigan LCV team along with Speaker Joe Tate (far right in the back row) and Rep. Jenn Hill (front and center)!
Speaker Tate speaking with our team!
The 7th week of our summer Champions Program was our largest week yet! Our team knocked over 2,100 doors for Rep Hill, and we have now surpassed 33,000 doors on behalf of our legislative champions, including nearly 5,000 conversations with constituents at the doors!
Rep. Hill speaking to the team!
This is work that no other organization in the state is doing during a non-statewide election year. Enormous thanks to our team of dedicated canvassers, organizers, coordinators and volunteers – we could not do it without you! Check out these kind words from Rep. Mentzer – whose district we were also in last week – below:
If you are interested in participating in some of this work, I invite you to join me tomorrow for some door knocking on behalf of Rep. Jennifer Conlin in the Ann Arbor area. There will be more information in our Weekly Wave newsletter about how you can join the Rep. Conlin canvas and others across the state. You can also check out our brand new Events webpage for a list of all upcoming canvasses and to sign up to join our team on the doors!
3. Whitmer and Nessel: Michigan’s Democracy Defenders
This week, we saw two of Michigan’s incredible leaders stand up for our democracy, and the nation is watching!
On Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a package of bills that will help implement and put into practice the historic expansions and protections of our voting rights passed by Michigan voters last year known as Proposal 2. These bills will help institute new mandatory early voting periods, expand access to absentee ballots and the permanent absentee voter list, protect Michigan voters from harassment or intimidation at the polls and more.
We applaud both Gov. Whitmer for swiftly signing these important bills into law, as well as the legislators in Lansing who wrote, introduced and passed the legislation. These bills will go a long way towards ensuring generations of Michiganders can easily, safely and equitably access the ballot in all of our elections.
Also on Tuesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel made national headlines after she announced felony charges against 16 Michiganders who fraudulently attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by signing a false certificate. The indictment closes a six-month-long investigation by Nessel’s office and results in all 16 individuals being charged with eight felony counts, including forgery and conspiracy to commit election law forgery.
I encourage you to read the New York Times article on the indictment.
Attorney General Nessel has no trouble standing up to injustices across the spectrum. The AG’s actions this week are a tremendous example of her extraordinary leadership. There was no way she was going to sit idly by given the serious threats to our democracy; rather she stepped up and is holding those responsible to account. This is yet another example of why Michigan LCV enthusiastically supported Nessel in her first and second election. (You can check out the AG’s entire record here, with our “How Green is Your Attorney General” accountability tool!)
As always, thank you for your support of our work! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. More next week!
P.S. Senate confirms David Uhlmann
I was a bit off the mark last week when I reported about the U.S. Senate’s Cloture Motion and David Uhlmann. That was NOT the final confirmation vote. But, the good news is that the final confirmation vote happened TODAY! David Uhlmann has been officially confirmed to lead the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. This is tremendous news and long awaited. Congratulations, David!