The Michigan Supreme Court matters! It’s where the most important cases in the state are decided – cases that affect working families, people injured in automobiles, civil rights, women’s rights, public schools, the environment, and on and on.

That’s why Democrats are supporting two nominees for the state’s highest court that will stand for us – Sam Bagenstos and Megan Kathleen Cavanagh.

Samuel Bagenstos, of Ann Arbor, served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. He has spent his career fighting to change unjust practices that violate people's rights. Sam has gone to court to fight for accountability for the Flint Water Crisis, for the rights of women to equal treatment in the workplace, for the rights of people with disabilities to full participation in their community, and for the fundamental right of all Americans to vote.

Megan Cavanagh is a life-long Michigander who grew up in East Lansing and lives in metro Detroit. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Wayne State University Law School. She has over fifteen years of experience as one of Michigan’s top appellate attorneys and is a shareholder at Garan Lucow Miller P.C. in Detroit.

Remember to flip the ballot over and vote for Bagenstos and Cavanagh for the Michigan Supreme Court!

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


Dems Announce Pla...

Livingston County needs a complete overhaul of its Veterans Services Committee in order to restore trust with taxpayers and deliver the services our county’s veterans deserve and were promised.

“Livingston County taxpayers approved a tax increase to take care of our veterans’ needs and now we find out that new programs are not coming on line, that a committee member did not turn over a donation from the public, and that another committee member is receiving payments approved by the committee he sits on. This good-old-boy network needs to be busted up and replaced with accountability,” said Steve Savela of Hartland Township.

The candidates – Jennifer Garcia of Hartland Township, Steve Savela of Hartland Township, Maureen Martin of Unadilla Township, Alex Hansen of Howell Township, Kasey Helton of Marion Township, and Kristina Drake of Hamburg Township – released a multi—point plan to stop the abuses in the system including:

--A forensic audit covering the entire period that Hansel Keene and Kevin Nagle have been on the board, looking for cases of conflicts of interest or misappropriation of donations, followed by regular audits of that fund that go into more detail than the county’s annual audit.

--A conflict of interest policy barring committee members from receiving payments from the Veterans Relief Fund for services provided to veterans.

--Increased oversight by the county commission, including appointing county commissioners to attend Veterans Services committee meetings on a rotating basis to provide oversight and a regular commission review of all committee spending.

--Replacement of all five committee members and an expansion of the board to seven members with new members appointed after public advertising for applications with an emphasis on attracting younger and women veterans and increasing the diversity of the committee.

--Protection for the Veterans Services staff from retaliation by committee members. Committee staff should be considered county employees rather than be subject to the whims of a volunteer committee. Unfortunately, state law does not allow this to apply to the director, who is appointed by the committee.

--Expanded training for committee members on accountability regarding public funds and soliciting and handling donations.

--A strategic planning process that maps out services that veterans need and a timeline for implementing them along with adoption of a set of bylaws that spell out the duties and obligations of the committee.

“This has been going on right under the nose of our current county commission. This is dereliction of duty and our county commissioners deserve to be fired,” said Drake.

“My opponent prides himself on being a fiscal conservative, but it’s not fiscally conservative to fail to notice that the accounting doesn’t add up.” said Hansen.

Martin said that the one-party system of Livingston County has contributed to the good-old-boy network that has let this system flourish. “Unless we put new faces on the board, county commissioners will continue to look the other way at corruption and misuse of public funds,” she said.

Garcia said she would like to see more transparency around committee spending, with all committee spending listed on its webpage.

Helton said a larger board would prevent cliques from forming that allow conflicts of interest in approval of expenditures. "I attended the most recent board meeting and was bewildered to discover this wasn't even a discussion item on the agenda. If an active police investigation isn't going to rouse them -- what will? The public is demanding answers, and either this board is neglecting its duty or just wants to wait it out until the election is over in hope that more attention won't be drawn to this issue,” she said.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Printed in-house. Labor donated.)


Democrats Urge Ye...

For Immediate Release

Contact: Judy Daubenmier, 734-612-7137

Livingston County Democrats are encouraging voters to vote YES on all three proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"We believe all three proposals represent solid public policy for Michigan. Proposal 1 will restore sanity to our drug policies while Proposals 2 and 3 will reinforce our fragile democracy," said Judy Daubenmier, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party.

The party's executive committee endorsed the proposals last week after hearing from speakers of organizations that put the proposals on the ballot.

Proposal 1 would regulate marijuana like alcohol, allowing adults to possess and use small amounts for recreational use and imposing a 10 percent excise tax plus a 6 percent sales tax on its sale that is expected to raise about $200 million a year.

“Michigan’s policy of prohibiting marijuana has failed and results in more than 24,000 arrests for marijuana possession each year. We believe it’s time to recognize that the harmful effects of marijuana are less than those of legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco,” Daubenmier said.

States that have legalized marijuana have seen the creation of an industry and jobs for growing, processing, testing, and selling marijuana in a highly regulated market, she said. At the same time, public safety is protected by continuing to bar marijuana use for those under 21 and while driving.

Proposal 2 would amend the Michigan Constitution to create a non-partisan process for drawing legislative and congressional district lines every 10 years. Instead of lawmakers or lobbyists drawing their own district lines in secret, a panel of four Democrats, four Republicans, and five of no party would draw the lines in a public process. The result would be voting maps that will not favor one party over another, but put the interests of voters and communities first.

"Michigan has some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation. Without a change, people's votes will continue to matter less and less, undermining participation in our democracy," Daubenmier said.

Proposal 3 would amend the Michigan Constitution by guaranteeing the right to vote a secret ballot and guaranteeing the right to vote straight party. It also would require the Secretary of State to automatically register citizens to vote when they are in a secretary of state office, allow same day voter registration, allow no-reason absentee voting, and require audits of election results.

“Voting is a sacred ritual in a democracy and widespread voter participation is crucial to a functioning democracy. Without these constitutional amendments contained in Proposals 2 and 3, our laws will be less reflective of the will of the people. We encourage voters to say yes to these proposals and strengthen our democracy,” Daubenmier said.


Important Electio...

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6! It’s like Christmas for Democrats so don’t miss it.

Polls will be open that day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. But there are some important deadlines coming up before that time.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m. is the deadline for registering to vote in the November election. You may register at your local city or township clerk.

To check your voter registration status visit the Michigan Secretary of State website at: https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/

Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. is the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail.

If you are qualified to vote absentee, you may obtain a ballot at your clerk’s office and vote in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5.

To vote absentee in Michigan you must be a registered voter and meet one of the following criteria:

Be age 60 years old or older.

Be unable to vote without assistance at the polls.

Expect to be out of town on Election Day.

Be in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.

Be unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.

Be appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


This Fall – Vote ...

Livingston County Democrats have a special message for the Nov. 6 election – This Fall, Vote ‘Em All!

That’s because Republicans have stripped away your right to vote a straight ticket. To vote straight Democratic, you must fill in the box by each name, one by one. This may require more time at the polls and longer lines. To avoid that, consider voting absentee by contacting your local clerk and requesting an absentee ballot.

The 2018 Democratic slate is:

U.S. Senate – Debbie Stabenow

8th District Congress – Elissa Slotkin

Governor/Lt. Gov. – Gretchen Whitmer, Garlin Gilchrist II

Attorney General – Dana Nessel

Secretary of State – Jocelyn Benson

State Board of Education – Judy Pritchett, Tiffany Tilley

University of Michigan Regents – Jordan Acker, Paul Brown

Michigan State Board of Trustees – Brianna Scott, Kelly Tebay

Wayne State University Board of Trustees – Bryan Barnhill, Dr. Anil Kumar

22nd State Senate – Adam Dreher

42nd State House – Mona Shand

47th State House – Colleen Turk

County Commission 2 – Jennifer Garcia, Hartland Township

County Commission 3 – Steve Savela, Hartland Township

County Commission 4 – Maureen Martin, Unadilla Township

County Commission 5 – Alex Hansen, Howell Township

County Commission 6 – Kasey Helton, Marion Township

County Commission 8 – Kristina Drake, Hamburg Township

Cohoctah Township Trustee – Andrew Nowicki

Howell Township Trustee – Judith Minton

Putnam Township Trustee – Jim Robert

Remember to flip the ballot and vote for Michigan Supreme Court Justices in the Non-Partisan Section of the Ballot: Sam Bagenstos and Megan Kathleen Cavanaugh.

Livingston County Democrats also are urging a “Yes” vote on Proposal 1, legalizing the adult use and possession of small amounts of marijuana; Proposal 2, creating a non-partisan panel to redraw congressional and legislative district lines, and Proposal 3, expanding access to voting including making it easier to register and allowing no-reason absentee voting.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


Come Help Us Buil...

Interested in volunteering? Come help us build the blue wave here in Livingston County by helping us reach out to voters on behalf of our candidates.
We are offering phone-banking opportunities on Tuesdays (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Wednesdays (noon to 2 p.m.), and Thursdays (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and door-to-door canvassing on Mondays (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Wednesdays (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Training and materials are provided.
There are also chances to write letters to the editor or postcards to elected officials, as well as doing data entry, providing snacks for volunteers, or serving as poll challengers on Election Day.
Many types of talents are needed. Please call 810-229-4212 to find out which tasks will suit you!
(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


Livingston Dems t...

Confused about all the proposals that will be on the ballot in November? Then come to Livingston County Democrats’ next meeting to learn about them.

Mark Brewer, former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party and now an attorney with Goodman Acker Law Firm of Southfield, will discuss two of the proposals that Republican lawmakers removed from the ballot. Brewer will explain how the “adopt and amend” strategy affects the proposals on raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing earned sick leave for Michigan workers. He also will discuss the party’s prospects for regaining control of the Michigan House and Senate and how that would affect the legislative agenda of Gretchen Whitmer, the party’s gubernatorial nominee.

The meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Community Unitarian Universalists-Brighton, 3333 S. Old 23, Brighton. Note that this is a change from the regular Thursday meeting night.

Speakers also will discuss Proposal 1, the proposal to treat marijuana like alcohol by legalizing the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana; Proposal 2, the anti-gerrymandering proposal, and Proposal 3, the proposal to make voting easier in Michigan by expanding the right to vote an absentee ballot and make other changes.

The party’s regular business meeting will follow. For more information, call 810-229-4212 or livcodems@gmail.com.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


Dems: County Chea...

More than two years after voters approved a millage to pay for more services for veterans, much of the money remains unspent and few programs promised during the millage campaign have been started, County records show.

In one case, a County official suggested veterans call Uber for rides to medical appointments instead of having the county buy a new van and hire another driver to provide the service that was promised during the millage campaign.

The millage authorized in August 2016 brought in $1,035,190 during 2017 for Livingston County Veterans’ Services, but the agency spent only $430,792 that year, just 41.5 percent of what taxpayers shelled out. This year the millage brought in $1,018,000, but the agency plans to spend less than $501,000 this year, based on budget reports dated Sept. 10.

“Clearly, the county has failed to live up to the promises made to veterans when they asked voters to approve the millage,” said Judy Daubenmier, party chair.

“Backers of the millage promised they would spend the money on more services for veterans – more benefit counselors, more mental health services, more outreach – but none of that has materialized.

“County Commissioners have failed to oversee implementation of the millage, and have allowed the Veterans Services Committee, whose members they appoint, to stymie attempts to implement more programs.

“Veterans deserve to receive the services that we taxpayers thought we were paying for, but right now the County is cheating them. Democrats will see to it that veterans get the services they deserve – and that we are paying for – by immediately replacing the members of the current veterans committee. Democratic county commissioners would not be asleep at the switch in overseeing the agency like the current commissioners clearly are.”

Daubenmier said one Veterans Committee member actually misled county commissioners about the balance in the Veterans Services’ account. At the Sept. 4 County Commission meeting, Veterans’ Committee Chair Hansel Keene told County Commissioners that the agency will have a balance of just $80,000 at the end of the year when in fact it is projected to be more like $1 million. County Commissioners should have known that the $80,000 figure was inaccurate since the commission has not approved any new programs.

Information on the Veterans’ Services website shows that during the campaign for the millage, supporters, including Keene, promised it would pay to:

-- “Increase the number of Benefit Counselors from 3 full time counselors to 4 full time counselors.

-- “Increase the number of Drivers from 1 part time staff to 2 part time staff.

-- “Provide funding for the addition of a Court Coordinator for the Veterans Treatment Court.

-- “Substantially increase outreach to Livingston County Veterans including education of what benefits are available and helping veterans access benefits earned by their service.

-- “Provide funding for the creation and assistance of mental health services.

-- “Update IT infrastructure.

-- “Assist veterans with job placement and resume services.

-- “Expand transportation services with the potential purchase of an additional van.”

The van and a part-time driver have been added, but overall the agency has actually reduced staff and the Veterans’ Services Committee has resisted implementing the other programs. For example, in April, staff proposed spending $37,000 to expand mental health services for veterans through a contract with Livingston County Community Mental Health, according to the Committee’s minutes. As of early September, it still had not been implemented and committee members were asking that bids be taken from private providers who wouldn’t provide the 24-hour service available through CMH.

In May the Veterans Services Committee denied a staff request to replace two counselors who left. The motion failed on a 2-3 vote. The counselors would have made staff available for late hours and weekend events. The committee agreed to replace only one of the two counselors who left.

A full-time court coordinator for the Veterans’ Treatment Court was finally approved on Sept. 4 by the County Commission – but that was over the objections of committee members – including Keene and Bruce Hundley.

The other members of the committee are Jim Wallace, Kevin Nagle, and Joe Riker, community liaison for 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop.

Committee members also resisted expanding transportation services for veterans, as promised in the campaign for the millage. Minutes of the Nov.16, 2017, meeting say that instead of providing more transportation services for veterans, Keene suggested that the office encourage veterans to use other means of transportation such as LETS, the VA Shuttle, and Uber. “Hansel Keene made light of expanding medical services being offered in Livingston County that may be utilized by some Veterans in the future,” the minutes said.

Uber service was not available in the county at the time of the meeting.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Printed in-house. Labor donated.)


Progress Michigan...

The head of an organization devoted to holding government accountable will speak to Livingston County Democrats this month about the shady record of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, will speak at the July 26 meeting of Livingston County Democrats. Progress Michigan, based in Lansing, tries to hold public officials and government accountable by investigating the actions of government officials and publicizing the results, while also promoting progressive ideas.

Michigan’s attorney general has been under Progress Michigan’s microscope because he has used his state email for private business and put campaign workers on the state payroll while he runs for governor.

Scott has served as chief staffer for state Reps. Alma Wheeler Smith and Jeff Irwin. He also served as state director for Enroll America, a national non-profit that spread the word about how to obtain health care through the Affordable Care Act.

He will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at the meeting at the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton, 3333 S. Old 23. Light refreshments will be served. The party's regular business meeting will follow.

Please note this is a new meeting location.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza, Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


Democrats: Use Id...

The six Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commissioner have proposed a plan to fix county roads using millions of dollars that the Republican administration has left sitting idle for years.

The candidates are calling for the county to use at least $10 million from the huge surplus sitting idle in its delinquent tax revolving fund to pay for road improvements throughout the county to begin fixing roads right now.

“Enough is enough. Our roads have been left to crumble while the county has just been sitting on money that could be used to fix them, make us safer on the road, and give people jobs. We have the money, but our county commission lacks the vision and the will to make road funding a priority. When elected in November, we will see to it that this money is put to work for our community,” said Democratic candidate Kasey Helton of Marion Township.

The County’s delinquent tax revolving fund had $42.7 million in unrestricted funds as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the latest financial report delivered to the county board. Investing $10 million would still leave a large amount of available cash to make pension contributions and for emergencies without jeopardizing the county’s financial position.

Michigan law gives responsibility for maintaining local roads to county government, but for too long the County Commission has kicked the can down to the townships. Many townships, including Hamburg, Green Oak, Hartland, and Howell, have had to ask their voters to approve millages to pay for road improvements. In other cases, property owners have had to form special assessment districts to tax themselves to fix the roads.

It’s not just the County Commissioners that refuse to act. Republicans in Lansing have offered only band-aid solutions for the multi-billion-dollar problem of fixing Michigan’s infrastructure.

“We have had years of failed Republican leadership on roads here in Livingston County. We can do better for our community, and we will,” Helton said while announcing the plan on behalf of the Democratic candidates at an event Tuesday night in Howell.

While the commissioners have been bragging about having the State’s lowest tax rate, they have overlooked the obvious solution of using idle county funds. Their lack of vision has left Livingston County with the worst roads in the seven-county region of southeast Michigan, according to the latest figures from the Transportation Asset Management Council data on the state website, Michgan.gov.

With 50.5 percent of county roads rated as being in “poor’ condition, Livingston County is worse than Wayne (35.1 percent); Oakland (48.2 percent), Macomb (42.6 percent), Washtenaw (37.5 percent), Monroe (32.9 percent), and St. Clair (48 percent).

The County’s percentage of “poor” roads is nearly 10 points higher than the 42.3 percent for the region as a whole. And it’s actually getting worse and worse. In 2008-09, the data showed 35.44 percent of Livingston County lane-miles as being in poor condition. In 2012-13, the percent poor had dropped slightly to 33.05. But in the last five years, it has shot up by more than 18 points to more than half (50.45 percent).

The County Commission’s decade of neglect means that County residents have been driving on dangerous roads, dodging potholes, and paying for front-end alignments, wheel hubs, and tie rod ends when, all along, there was money available to start addressing the problem. Furthermore, letting road repairs go means it costs more to fix roads in the long run. According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, once a road is rated in poor condition it must be completely replaced rather than repaired.

“That amounts to neglect of duty. It’s time to end the decade of neglect,” Helton said.

The candidates said they would work with the Livingston County Road Commission to devise a program of spending the money, with a portion reserved for the Road Commission’s priorities and a portion used for a matching program with local governments, both townships and cities. The Road Commission’s budget for this year is $36.8 million.

Money in the delinquent tax revolving fund comes from interest and penalties for late property taxes. Other counties, such as Wayne, have used these funds to supplement their general fund. Recently, Macomb County officials proposed using its delinquent tax revolving fund for roads as well.

The Democratic candidates for County Commission are: Jennifer Garcia of Hartland Township, District 2; Steve Savela of Tyrone Township, District 3; Maureen Martin of Unadilla Township, District 4; Alex Hansen of Howell Township, District 5; Kasey Helton of Marion Township, District 6, and Kristina Drake of Hamburg Township, District 8.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Labor donbated.)


Neighbors Don’t L...

Neighbors don’t let neighbors skip voting – especially when the survival of the middle class is at stake.

That’s the heart of Livingston County Democrats’ Neighbor to Neighbor Program that we are kicking off with training programs in June.

In non-presidential election years, tens of thousands of Michigan Democrats don’t vote. The problem is getting worse, not better, and it’s why we haven’t won the governor’s office and have lost the U.S. House.

Our Neighbor-to-Neighbor program tackles this problem by asking precinct delegates and other volunteers to send special letters to a carefully selected list of voters in their area who voted in the 2016 election but not in the 2014 election.

The party will provide a list of names and address, copies of the letter, envelopes, and stamps (if desired). Similar appeals have worked in other areas to greatly increase turnout among this group of Democrats.

Please help us reach these voters in a personal way. Sign up for a training either on Saturday, June 23, at 10 a.m., or Tuesday, June 26, at 7 p.m. Both will be at party headquarters, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton. Each training is limited to 40 people. Email your name and address to livcodems@gmail.com and indicate which training you will attend.

Signing up ahead of time is important so that we may carefully select a list of voters for you to contact.

The training is designed for precinct delegates and those running for precinct delegate in August, but other volunteers are welcome.

When Democrats vote, Democrats win. Let’s make sure Democrats in Livingston County vote!

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)


Hamburg Township ...

A woman who tackled the problem of the lack of late-night transportation for Livingston County is running for a seat on the Livingston County Commission.

Kristina Drake, of Hamburg Township, says she is running for a second time because she still believes that District 8 deserves a more active and progressive representation on the county board.

“The way the county board does business hasn’t changed. This county is still far behind surrounding areas in technology, addiction programs, corrections, and environmental protections.” Kristina said. “We only in the last couple years have had the technology to accept credit cards at the clerk’s office.”

Last summer, Kristina went on a mission to bring Lyft, a popular rideshare program, to Livingston County as an option for those needing a ride home late at night. “There was a lot of talk about the increased DUI arrests in this county without anyone trying to create a solution, so I decided to find one,” she said.

Other very real problems also have been left to residents to solve with fundraisers and special assessments so that the same commissioners every year can brag about the lowest tax rate in the state, Kristina said. Homeowners in Hamburg Township have had to band together and tax themselves through a special assessment to fix a road in terrible disrepair. When the opioid epidemic reached this county, it was the families, teachers, and peers who were proactive amidst their grief and struggled to create a plan of action.

County inaction often costs money in the long run, she said, pointing to the new jail.

“Our county tried to arrest our way out of an addiction epidemic until the jail holding cells were full enough for a photo op.” she said. “Suddenly in a county rated one of the safest in the state, it made sense to invest $17 million dollars in a jail expansion. That decision never went to a vote, despite the financial ramifications. Expenses have gone up for the jail, we have seen a pay freeze on county employees and the local correctional officers have now been tasked with securing rented federal inmates.”

Kristina also spent the last year volunteering with the Michigan Democratic Party’s Project 83, canvassing neighborhoods in the county to listen to voters about what issues are important to them.

Kristina is the only Democrat running to represent District 8, which includes most of Hamburg Township and the western edge of Green Oak Township.

Kristina has lived in Hamburg Township for nearly 20 years. She has an associate’s degree in corrections and has earned the Correctional Officer Certification from the State of Michigan. She is currently attending Eastern Michigan University studying criminal justice and political science. She has two children who are both graduates of Pinckney Community Schools

To find out more about Kristina’s campaign, visit her website www.kristina2018.com or contact her at kristinadrake2018@gmail.com.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.)


Garcia Joins List...

A teacher and mother who says the values of community, cooperation, and compassion will guide her campaign has announced she is running for Livingston County Commissioner in District 2.

Jennifer Garcia has filed nominating papers for the seat covering Oceola and Deerfield Townships, plus the southwest corner of Hartland Township.

As commissioner, Jennifer said she would work to make sure the county budget matches the priorities of the community, and she said she would cooperate with constituents to make that happen.

“Transparency and inclusion are important if the County Commission is to make sound decisions that benefit all constituents,” she said, noting the dire consequences in Flint when community voices were ignored during the water crisis.

Right now, she said, women in the community are underrepresented on the board, with just two on the nine-member board.

One priority for her community, she said, is better roads and safer walking and bike paths, with crosswalks. In some areas of the district, she said, it’s hard to walk or bicycle safely to schools, recreational areas, and stores. Young families are looking for more walkable communities so that children can learn independence and responsibility by traveling safely to where they want to go without having to use a car, she said.

Jennifer said other aspects of the district’s health and safety need to be addressed with compassion, specifically the area’s opioid abuse problem. She believes the county should join a lawsuit against several large drug manufacturers to recover the cost of dealing with opioid addiction.

“While I believe in legal consequences for breaking the law, for those who abuse drugs, have mental issues and domestic problems there is a better way. First and foremost is the health and safety of the community. The best way to accomplish this is to support the existing treatment courts in Livingston County,” she said, noting such courts solve underlying problems of those with addictions and result in fewer repeat offenders.

“As County Commissioner I will support treatment programs, advocate for grant funding from the State and provide additional support, new ideas and resources to expand on their success,” she said.

Jennifer lives in Hartland Township with her husband Frank and their three children. She teaches in Ann Arbor public schools and is a member of the Ann Arbor Education Association and the Michigan Education Association. Besides her 11 years as a teacher, Jennifer also was in sports medicine for five years.

As a union member herself who grew up in a union household, she said she will fight to make sure the county pays fair wages to its employees. “I firmly believe that high-quality jobs and the right to collective bargaining are the foundations of America’s middle class,” she said.
People wishing more information on Garcia’s campaign may follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferGarciaforLCC/.
(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.)


Hartland Veteran ...

Pledging to bring more open communication between voters and the Livingston County Commission, a Hartland Navy veteran has declared his candidacy for a seat on the board.

Steven J. Savela is running in District 3, which covers all of Tyrone Township and all but the southwest corner of Hartland Township. A service advisor at Convenience Auto in Ann Arbor, Steve is married and lives in the village of Hartland.

“We love our community. There are so many good things going on with gracious and welcoming people. I’m proud to say I live here. But there are many issues that remain unaddressed by our current county commission. I want to take those issues on because we deserve better from our leadership,” he said.

Steve says one of his top priorities will be fixing the county’s infrastructure. Michigan’s rural roads are rated the 18th worst in the nation and its bridges are rated the 15th worst, according to the Detroit News. And in Livingston County, a 2016-2017 report from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments says 50.5 percent of the county’s major roads are in “poor” condition.

Steve says he also will attend board meetings faithfully, noting that the incumbent has a poor attendance record that means the district is unrepresented on important votes.

Steve promised to hold town hall meetings in four locations throughout the district twice a year to which all residents would be invited. He also promised to set up an open forum on social media, giving those who can’t make the meetings a voice, too. And he said he would publish a mailing address so that constituents could reach out to him directly with their concerns that he could follow up on.

Steve has lived in Livingston County for 15 years, has one grown daughter and two grandchildren. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1982 and 1986, rising to the rank of 3rd Class Petty Officer aboard the USS Independence and USS Forrestal. He saw action in Grenada, Beirut, the Persian Gulf and twice in Libya.

After his time in the service in attended Jones College in Jacksonville, Fla., majoring in business management with a minor in broadcasting, and later attended Jackson Community College for a tool and die apprenticeship.

For more information on Steve’s campaign, email him at steve.savela@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/StevenJSavela/.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.)


Alex Hansen Annou...

A young Howell Township resident has jumped into the race for the Democratic nomination for 5th District Livingston County Commissioner.

Alex Hansen filed papers with the county clerk on March 7, 2018 in preparation for the November 2018 election.

“It's time to bring moral and compassionate progressive policies to Livingston County that are in line with the needs of the 21st century,” Alex stated. “As our county’s deteriorating infrastructure continues to disadvantage our residents, our board of commissioners continue to point fingers at other branches of government and shift blame. We deserve results.”

As a banker with over 10 years of experience, Hansen understands the importance of a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility. He recognizes that success can only be achieved when all stakeholders are heard and their concerns are addressed.

Alex promised to work tirelessly to improve county roads, increase public transportation, and look for ways to expand affordable housing.

Alex manages a branch location for Community Financial Credit Union. He serves on the Howell Township Zoning Board of Appeals and is president of the Amber Oaks Homeowners Association.

He grew up in Mattawan near Kalamazoo and graduated from public schools there. While in high school, he earned an Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America and was active in 4-H, where his project was showing chickens.

Alex received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Northern Michigan University in 2007 and will receive a Master of Business Administration degree from Davenport University in April.

His wife, Marie Arao-Hansen, attended Brighton High School as an exchange student and now is a teacher in South Lyon Community Schools. They have been married for four and a half years and are expecting their first child in May.

Anyone wishing more information about Hansen’s campaign may reach out to him at contact@HANSEN2018.com or by visiting his campaign website at http://www.hansen2018.com.

Hansen is the only Democrat to announce for the 5th District, which includes the city of Howell and the townships of Howell and Cohoctah.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Labor donated.)


Kasey Helton to b...

Former Pinckney journalist, community activist, and roller derby skater Kasey Helton is gearing up for a chance to win a seat on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

Helton, 40, has filed papers with the Livingston County Clerk’s office for the Democratic nomination for a seat on the Livingston County Commission representing District, covering all of Marion Township, the Village of Pinckney, Putnam Township Precincts 2, 3, and 4, and Hamburg Township Precinct 3.

“Livingston County is a growing, vibrant community of individuals and families from a blend of socio-economic backgrounds, and we don’t have a county board that reflects that,” says Helton, citing that women make up only 22 percent of the board in a county that is 49.9 percent women, according to 2016 US Census data.

“The commissioners are either comfortably retired or don’t commute to work in a county in which most adult residents drive to jobs in other counties. All you have to do is look at the poor state of the county roads the rest of us drive to work on every day to see that the commission’s funding priorities reflect a clear disconnect with the needs of the community at large; I want to change that.”

Helton, a Democrat, was a reporter for the Livingston Daily Press & Argus in the early 2000s, covering the Village of Pinckney, Pinckney Community Schools, as well as Hamburg and Putnam Townships and local police. Today, she owns a home in Marion Township with her husband, Jim, a member of United Steelworkers Local 1900. Helton works for Michigan Medicine as an inpatient unit clerk for the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at CS Mott Hospital in Ann Arbor.

“As a reporter, I discovered in talking to people day after day along the M-36 corridor that their experiences seemed a lot like mine, and basically we all want the same things -- great schools, safe roads, a safe environment, safe communities overall,” Helton said. “Later, as I became a commuter and my dad, who is a widower, retired in Marion Township and went on Social Security, I experienced these challenges for myself and my family firsthand.”

Those challenges and experience have helped Helton develop a solid platform to run on and win, she said: More investment in affordable senior housing and related resources for Livingston’s burgeoning senior population, restored funding for public services like the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA) to pre-recession levels, more funding for Livingston Community Mental Health, which helps serve the county’s growing opioid-addicted population, a more robust investment in job-creating partnerships with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County and its affiliate, Ann Arbor SPARK -- and of course, fixing roads.

Helton cited the latest 2016-17 Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) road assessment published in the Detroit Free Press that found 50.5 percent of Livingston’s major roadways in “poor” condition.

Instead of taking responsibility for county roads, Helton says the board has shifted the tax burden onto the townships in the form of special road millages so that the all-Republican board of commissioners can continue to claim the lowest county tax rate in the state.

“Places like Howell and Hamburg Townships are compelled to do the heavy lifting with increased taxes, or watch the roads crumble, ” Helton said.

“These are county-owned roads,” she emphasized. “It’s a setup that goes back for years now, and the result is that most of our county roads are rated poorly. It’s a failed strategy -- the data shows that -- and it needs to be reexamined.”

Helton revealed she and several other county commission candidates working on an innovative plan to invest more in Livingston County’s road system as well as to address the other ‘weaknesses’ identified in the county’s own Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for 2014-2018.

To find out more about Helton’s campaign, visit her website at www.kaseyhelton.com or contact her at kasey4dist6@gmail.com.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.)


Journalist and co...

Journalist and community leader Mona Shand announces run for 42nd House seat
Mona Shand, an award-winning journalist and writer who has covered local and statewide politics for years, has announced her candidacy for the 42nd District seat in the Michigan House.
Mona, the only Democrat to announce for the seat, enters the race because of a desire to serve the community in a new capacity and a profound frustration with the status quo in Lansing.
“Our state is on a path that is not sustainable,” she said. “Enough with the in-fighting and partisan nonsense that has become the norm for our Legislature. The only way we’re ever going to fix our roads, uplift our schools, and protect our children and our Pure Michigan way of life is by committing to working together in a bipartisan, creative fashion.”
A former teacher, Mona made a career move to journalism in 2003, working at WLNS-TV 6 in Lansing, Fox 2 Detroit, and WHMI 93.5 FM in Howell. For the past several years, she has been the Michigan producer and correspondent with Public News Service, an independent news agency covering policy and public interest issues across the state.
“As a journalist, I’ve devoted myself to making public policy understandable, and to holding our elected leaders accountable for their decisions,” she said. “Time and time again, I’ve seen good legislation addressing important issues go nowhere because our current politicians won’t look beyond party lines or special interests. Meanwhile, bills declaring our official state nickname to be Michiganders make it through. Our political process has become dysfunctional, and it needs to change.”
Mona grew up in the metro Detroit area and graduated from local public schools. She received a bachelor’s degree in French and International Studies from Northwestern University, and a master’s degree in Foreign Language Education from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
She and her husband, Mark, an automotive engineer, have lived in Genoa Township since 2007, and they have three children, ages 10, 8, and 6.
Her many community involvements include membership on the board of directors of LACASA, the county’s advocacy organization for victims and survivors of interpersonal violence. She is also the marketing coordinator for the Livingston County Community Alliance, which is dedicated to reducing and preventing youth substance abuse.
The 42nd District covers the townships of Brighton, Green Oak, Genoa, Hamburg, and Putnam, plus the city of Brighton and the village of Pinckney.
More information on her campaign is available at www.monashand.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/monashandforstaterep, and on Twitter @Mona4StateRep.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.)


Colleen Turk Anno...

Colleen Turk, the founder of a group to unite Livingston County residents, has announced that she is running for the Democratic nomination for the 47th House seat in Livingston County.

Colleen Turk filed papers with the county clerk recently in preparation for the November 2018 election.

“We’re facing complex issues that can’t be solved with the same old one-sided ideas,” Turk stated. “And people are tired of feeling hatred from all sides of the spectrum. Michigan needs candidates whose problem solving can be equally innovative and inclusive.”

The most critical issues facing the Livingston county area, Turk said, are how money is allotted for public schools and affordable, high-quality health care.

“Legislators in Lansing just passed legislation to give millage money to for-profit charter schools and denied common-sense checks and balances that were introduced, like compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. So now we’re sharing public money with for-profit corporations that have no responsibility to answer the public’s questions at a time when Michigan student achievement is nationally ranked in the bottom third of the country,” she said.

“When it comes to health care, we can’t make citizens wait for the mess at the federal level to be corrected. We need to be actively researching initiatives that can be undertaken by our state in small-scale pilot programs with an eye for expanding beyond that. Senior citizens and young families need realistic solutions right now.”

Turk grew up in Cohoctah and attended Howell public schools throughout her childhood. She is a 1999 graduate of Howell High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and German from the University of Michigan in 2003. Last year she earned a Master of Nonprofit Administration from Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Her studies included program design and evaluation, employment and tax law, accounting, and finance.

Turk is an IT professional with experience in project management, academia, and health care (where are you employed?). She is the founder of Citizens for Unity, a community group focused on facilitating discussions, learning different perspectives, and building consensus on actions needed to change our community for the better. Turk also was instrumental in launching the youngest chapter of First Robotics in Howell Schools – the First LEGO League Jr.

Her husband, James Turk, also attended Howell public schools and now leads building maintenance at Pepsi Bottling Group in Howell. They have been married 11 years, have two children, and moved back to Livingston county in 2016 after residing in Buchanan, Michigan for seven years. They now live in Marion Township.

Anyone wishing more information about Turk’s campaign may contact her at VoteTurk@gmail.com, follow her campaign on Facebook at Vote for Colleen Turk (https://www.facebook.com/VoteforColleenTurk/), or view her website at colleenturk.com
Turk is the first Democrat to file for the 47th House District, which includes the townships of Cohoctah, Conway, Deerfield, Handy, Hartland, Howell, Iosco, Marion, Oceola, Tyrone and Unadilla, plus the city of Howell and the village of Fowlerville.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Printed in-house. Labor donated.)