politics

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The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue visited Michigan Thursday. His first stop was for a breakfast at Grand Rapids’ Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery meeting with local farmers. This where Perdue rolled out the agency’s new interactive website designed to assist American farmers.

“If any of us have ever gone to a governmental website looking for information it’s kind of like hunting for Easter eggs. You know, they’re kind of hidden many times. We want this to be very evident.”

After serving 8 years as Grand Rapids City Manager, Friday marks Greg Sundstrom's last day of public service. Last August, Sundstrom penned an official letter to Mayor Rosalynn Bliss saying he would not seek a new contract after his current one expired on December 31st.  Sundstrom’s 8 years of service makes him the City’s third-longest serving City Manager.

He says seeing Grand Rapids through the recession is what he is most proud of during his tenure.

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Tuesday, January 23rd at 9PM WGVU Public Television and FRONTLINE present Exodus: The Journey Continues. This is a close-up and personal look at global migration and European refugee crisis. WGVU spoke with the film’s director.

“Now when they arrive they’re met and put into refugee camps that look a hell of a lot like prison camps.”

James Bluemel is director of FRONTLINE’s Exodus: The Journey Continues.

Michigan voters will elect a new governor this year. As a lead up to the Republican primary the parties candidates are planning town hall forums. The first is planned for next week in Grand Rapids.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, state Senator Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines will take questions from voters next week in Grand Rapids.

It’s the first in a series of town hall forums planned for January and February.

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The Civil War came to an end more than 150 years ago. Today, communities are debating the preservation or removal of Civil War monuments.

Christy S. Coleman is CEO of the American Civil War Museum. As a guest of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and its Division of Inclusion and Equity, Coleman presented “How Shall We Remember?”

“Around this conversation, this debate, about confederate statuary in particular, part of the challenge is that we have to unpack when they’re put up and why?”

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State budget director Al Pscholka is resigning next month and will be replaced by Gov. Rick Snyder's strategy director John Walsh.

The Republican governor announced the change Friday, effective Feb. 28.

Pscholka, a former lawmaker who became budget director a year ago, says he wants to pursue unspecified opportunities in southwest Michigan to spend more time with his family. He will stay on to help finalize and release the next proposed budget in February.

Walsh will be the fourth budget director for Snyder, who has less than a year left in office.

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The majority of Michigan voters say fixing the state’s infrastructure is the number one problem lawmakers need to address. That is the finding in a recent poll conducted in December.

Fix MI State is a campaign organized by the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association. It asked Lansing-based Epic-MRA to survey 600 registered Michigan voters asking what they think is the top problem facing the state?

Republican gubernatorial candidates Brian Calley and Patrick Colbeck plan to participate in a series of town hall forums where voters can ask questions.

Details on dates, locations and formats have yet to be worked out, but Calley - the lieutenant governor - said Monday he's envisioning one event per week for six weeks over January and February.

Colbeck, a state senator, says GOP candidate Dr. Jim Hines will also participate.

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A federal judge says some Michigan lawmakers must sit for interviews about a law that bans straight-party voting. The questions will be limited to what they might have said about their motives to people outside their offices.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub says communications between lawmakers and their staff are protected.

The depositions are part of a lawsuit. Straight-party voting means making a single mark on a ballot to pick candidates of one party.

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The Legislature officially returns next week, and a top priority in Lansing will likely be the state’s tax code.

The new federal tax law caused a stir in Michigan. That’s because it could mean residents will lose some state exemptions and have to pay higher state taxes.

Governor Snyder wants to make sure the federal law doesn’t hurt the wallets of Michiganders.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has been working on the issue. He says it doesn’t require a major fix, but it will have to be approved by the Legislature.

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