The Week Ahead: April 30

Only 190 days until the November mid-term elections. Time to get busy working hard for anti-Trump candidates at all levels, especially locally.

Federal

Last week was full of more head-spinning developments. Here are a few.
  • Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Both President Macron and Chancellor Merkel urged Trump not to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, which he seems determined to do anyway.
  • The Supreme Court appears likely to approve Trump’s revised anti-Muslim travel ban.
  • A bipartisan bill to protect Special Counsel Mueller was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Mike Pompeo was confirmed as Secretary of State, 57-42. Rand Paul (R-KY) paved the way for confirmation when he flip-flopped and decided to support Pompeo after all (after saying he’d do “whatever it takes” to block him). Paul’s flip ensured that Trump had enough Republicans to get his Secretary of State confirmed and didn’t need Democrats. Nevertheless, 6 Democrats (Donnell, Heitkamp, Jones, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson) and 1 Independent (King) voted for confirmation.
  • Scott Pruitt of the EPA was grilled by Congress for his corruption and lavish personal spending, yet does not seem to be in danger of losing his job.
  • Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a report saying there was no evidence that the Trump campaign aided Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, yet soon thereafter it was revealed that the Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials had close ties to the Kremlin.
  • Trump began to distance himself from his lawyer Michael Cohen.
  • Paul Ryan fired the House Chaplin, apparently for praying for poor people.
Congress is out on recess from April 30 through May 6, but when they get back they’ll have a full plate.
  • Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearings to head the CIA will begin May 9. She is a torturer who also tried to cover up the evidence by ensuring videotapes of the torture sessions were destroyed. Call Senators Stabenow and Peters and tell them to publicly oppose Haspel’s nomination.
  • The Senate will hold a vote to protect net neutrality. The FCC voted to roll back net neutrality protections last December, but the Senate will soon vote to undo this attack on the internet. Word is that vote will come in a week or two after the Senate is back from recess. Call our senators and tell them to co-sponsor Senator Markey’s resolution to protect net neutrality!
  • The House will vote on the Farm Bill the week of May 14. The Farm Bill is a $100 billion piece of legislation that must be reauthorized every five years and covers everything from farm subsidies and agricultural programs to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps). No surprise, Republicans passed a partisan bill out of committee that takes away food assistance from people and instead funds unproven, unscalable job training programs that will leave people hungry. The full House will vote on the Farm Bill the week of May 14.

State and Local (Thanks to Shellie Jeffries for much of this information)

  • Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission: a pro-gerrymandering group, “Citizens Protecting the Michigan Constitution”, (CPMC), funded largely by the Michigan Chamber of Congress, is seeking to perpetuate the current partisan districting system that puts politicians and lobbyists in charge of drawing congressional and legislative district lines behind closed doors. CPMC, a professional political litigant, this week filed legal documents in the Court of Appeals and at the Board of State Canvassers trying to keep Voters Not Politicians’ proposal off the ballot. Voters Not Politicians will vigorously fight the CPMC’s efforts to prevent voters from having their say on Election Day.
  • SB897 (Medicaid work requirement) remains in the House Committee on Appropriations and SB425 (online voter registration) is still on second reading in the House. The Grand Rapids Press, April 29, listed the consequences of SB 897, which would impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients: 150,000 people could lose coverage, hospitals would take a financial hit, state taxpayers would pay more, mental illness could thwart some, and some counties could be exempt. Chris Afendoulis (House district 73, running for State Senate 29) is holding coffee hours tomorrow, April 30, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Red Hot Inn, 3175 Leonard St. NE. so you can let him know your thoughts on these bills in person. He can also be reached at (855) 347-8073 or ChrisAfendoulis@house.mi.gov.
  • The U.S. Congress is in recess this week. Justin Amash has not had a town hall since he voted Yes on the corporate tax cut bill in December 2017. Keep an eye for an announcement from his office about a meeting this week (he tends to give only a few days notice) or give him a call asking him to arrange one: (202) 225-3831 or (616) 451-8383, Fax: (202) 225-5144 or emailmi03jaima@mail.house.gov or teamamash@justinamash.com

MEETINGS/TRAINING (Thanks to Linda Kristensen, The HUB Organize, and others for much of this information)

MONDAY – April 30

  • Massive May 1st March/Puente de justice y Resistencia, 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. Rogers Plaza. 972 28th St. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
  • Chris Afendoulis (House district 73, running for State Senate 29) is holding coffee hours tomorrow, April 30, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Red Hot Inn, 3175 Leonard St. NE.

TUESDAY – May 1

  • Massive May 1st March/Gran Martha del Puente del 1o. Mayo, 12:00 – 5:00 P.M., 1260 Grandville Ave SW / 739 Van Raalte SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

WEDNESDAY – May 2

  • Black Lives Matter Vigil, 12:15 – 12:45 P.M., Rosa Parks Circle, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Grand Rapids United Progressives Meeting, 6:30 P.M., 1301 Brookview Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
  • Cocktails with Rachel Hood, 7:00 – 8:30 P.M., Terra GR Restaurant, 1429 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

THURSDAY – May 3

  • Kent County Progressive Caucus Meeting, 6:00 – 7:30 P.M., Cheers Restaurant, 3994 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI  49525
  • Progressive Women’s Alliance: Money in Politics—Small Donations, Big Impacts, 5:30 – 7:00 P.M., City Built Brewery, 820 Monroe, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

FRIDAY – May 4

  • 2018 Cesar E. Chavez “5 de Mayo” Celebration, 11:30 A.M. – 1:30 P.M. Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

SATURDAY, May 5

  • Nina Turner Returns: Precinct Delegate Organizer Round-Up, 11:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M., Church of the New Covenant-Baptist of Detroit, 3426 Puritan St., Detroit, MI 48238
  • Kentucky Derby Fundraising Party—David LaGrand, 5:00 – 7:30 P.M., LINC Gallery, 1167 Madison Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
  • Party for the Planet, 10 A.M. – 3:00 P.M., John Ball Park Zoo, 1300 W. Fulton Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Amplify Actions
-Call Rep. Chris Afendoulis (or your local state representative) and urge him/her to oppose SB 897 that would impose work requirements for those with Medicaid.

CURRENT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE (KENT & OTTAWA COUNTIES)
This is the unofficial list of candidate filings as noted by the Secretary of State (as of 4/27/18) and by the Kent County Clerk (as of 4/25/18). Support them! Work for them!

U.S. SENATOR:
• Debbie Stabenow

U.S. HOUSE:
• 2nd District: Huizenga incumbent): Rob Davidson and Nick Schiller
• 3rd District: (Amash incumbent): Cathy Albro and Fred Wooden

GOVERNOR:
• Abdul El-Sayed
• Shri Thanedar
• Gretchen Whitmer

ATTORNEY GENERAL:
• Dana Nessel

SECRETARY OF STATE:
• Jocelyn Benson

MICHIGAN STATE SENATOR:
• 26th District: (open): Garnet Lewis
• 28th District: (MacGregor incumbent): Craig Beach, Gidget Groendyk, and Ryan Jeanette
• 29th District: (open): Winnie Brinks
• 30th District: (open): Jeanette Schipper

MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE:
• 72nd District (open): Ron Draayer
• 73rd District (open): Bill Saxton
• 74th District (open): Meagan Carr
• 75th District: David LaGrand (incumbent)
• 76th District: (open) Rachel Hood
• 77th District: (Brann incumbent): Dana Knight and Robert Van Kirk
• 80th District (Whiteford incumbent): Erik Almquist and Mark Ludwig
• 86th District (Albert incumbent): Lauren Taylor
• 88th District (open): Heidi Zuniga
• 89th District (Lilly incumbent): Jerry Sias
• 90th District: (open): Christopher Banks

KENT COUNTY COMMISSION:
• 1st District: (Vonk incumbent): Deborah Havens
• 2nd District: (Antor incumbent): Jeremiah Anway
• 3rd District: (Morgan incumbent): none
• 4th District: (Jones incumbent): none
• 5th District: (Bolten incumbent): Neville Mark
• 6th District: (Stek incumbent): Pam DeGryse and Ramond King
• 7th District: (Ponstein incumbent): Mike Johnson
• 8th District: (open) none
• 9th District: (Kallman incumbent): Robert Smith
• 10th District: (Brieve incumbent): none
• 11th District (Saalfeld incumbent): August Treu
• 12th District: (open): Keith Courtade, Monica Sparks, Katy Steele Barone, and Scott Urbanowski
• 13th District: Betsy Melton (incumbent)
• 14th District: Carol Hennessy (incumbent)
• 15th District: Jim Talen (incumbent)
• 16th District: Dave Bulkowski (incumbent)
• 17th District: Robert Womak (incumbent)
• 18th District: (Koorndyk incumbent): Stephen Wooden
• 19th District: Phil Skaggs (incumbent)