politics

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is endorsing Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in her run for governor. Duggan backed Whitmer as she opened a campaign office in Detroit on Wednesday.

Democratic candidates typically need solid voter turnout in the city to do well in statewide elections. Duggan credits Whitmer, of East Lansing, for helping to expand Medicaid coverage to 660,000 adults and backing a bill to create a public lighting authority in Detroit. He also cites her advocacy for public schools in her 14-year legislative career.

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State legislators have stalled an attempt to repeal a statute that regulates vehicular transportation of marijuana. T

he Michigan Senate voted 19-16 Tuesday against the House bill Tuesday. It would annul a law that classifies vehicle transportation or possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor, unless it's enclosed in a case in the trunk or - if there's no trunk - in a case not readily accessible from the vehicle's interior.

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Michigan exports several billion dollars in automotive and agriculture goods to Canada and Mexico each year. With the United States renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with its neighbors, non-profit regional development organization, The Right Place, along with the Van Andel Global Trade Center invited area business leaders to meet privately with the Canadian Consul General for an update on negotiations.

In an effort to funnel more skilled labor into the Michigan workforce pipeline, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced her New Skills for New Jobs Agenda. The announcement follows a statewide ‘listening tour’ Stabenow made with business owners and labor leaders who Stabenow said all lemented not having enough skilled labor to fill job vacancies. 

In response, part of the New Skills For New Jobs Agenda includes promoting existing business skilled trade union partnerships and reaching out to students. 

Courtesy office of Mayor Bliss

During her 3rd State of the City Address last week Grand Rapids mayor Rosalynn Bliss turned her attention to public safety. In the aftermath of what she called “critical incidents involving youth” and the profiling minority motorists, the mayor is seeking solutions for improving relations between the Grand Rapids Police Department and the diverse communities it serves.

"We must be a community of trust, safety, fairness, respect and security for all.”

Courtesy RGA

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer has forced her campaign manager to resign after learning he engaged in past "inappropriate behavior" in the workplace. Keenan Pontoni joined Whitmer's campaign in August, replacing a previous campaign manager.

In a statement Thursday, Whitmer says she received a credible report Wednesday that a number of years ago, Pontoni had "engaged in inappropriate behavior with people in the workplace and for that reason I have asked for and received his resignation effective immediately." P

Courtesy office of Mayor Bliss

City of Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss delivered her 3rd State of the City Address last night at Clearwater Place. During her speech, Bliss spoke of nurturing a vibrant and diverse community engaged in developing talent. There was also a focus on improving public safety community relations, and a pressing need for more affordable housing.

“The affordable housing crisis has been one of the most complex and challenging issues we have faced,” Bliss said.

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Groups wanting to expand access to voting and boost Michigan's renewable energy requirement have seen the form of their ballot initiatives approved by the state elections board.

Promote the Vote wants to amend the state constitution to allow no-reason absentee voting, let people register to vote closer to Election Day and automatically register citizens when they do business at the secretary of state's office.

Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan is proposing to raise the renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2030. It's now 15 percent by the end of 2021.

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Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking to boost base funding for most of Michigan's public schools by the largest dollar amount in more than 15 years. Snyder on Wednesday will ask lawmakers for a $240 per-pupil increase for school districts that get the minimum grant - a 3.1 percent boost for more than 75 percent of traditional schools and all charters. Higher-funded schools would get $120 more, a 1.4 percent increase.

Snyder also is proposing to shift $325 million in general funds to road repairs, more than double what's called for under law.

Patrick Center / 546

As Congress works on its 2018 Farm Bill one consideration is making food assistance recipients work. Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited Grand Rapids’ Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery meeting with local farmers. This is where Perdue was asked about what could be in store for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Perdue made it clear the Trump administration and a Republican Congress won’t eliminate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, rather there’s a need for the nutrition program to, as Pedue put it, work for Americans.

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