Last night I attended my first ever Democratic Party meeting! I know, exciting, right?!
Okay, so it wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but it was extremely interesting! I learned so much, got involved, and met a few candidates.
So what did I learn? I learned that Republican Jim Stamas ran unopposed for his State Senate seat in his last election, and that this year Joe Weir is opposing him. I don’t know a lot about Joe yet, but I plan to! I could see that he seems like the kind of person you want in politics: intelligent (he was a scientist at Dow), involved (he’s been part of the Midland County Democrats behind the scenes for years), and unassuming and relatable. I don’t think Joe’s in this for power or fame. He truly wants to serve the people.
I also learned a bit about those elected (or appointed) to the school boards of public universities in Michigan. First, there are three schools where the board members (called governors, trustees, and regents at different schools) are elected by the people: University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. In order for them to achieve this goal, they have to commit to running, campaign for a primary, attend the Michigan Democratic Convention (this year it’s in Lansing at the Breslin Center), collect 550+ signatures from attendees (who must be registered Democrats), and then be voted on by the attending registered Democrats. The two with the most votes (and the appropriate amount of signatures) are placed on the ballot in the general election. Attendees can sign as many petitions as they want, but can only vote for two. It’s no small feat for these people to get involved and commit themselves to running!
As to appointed board members, which is the case for a number of public universities in Michigan, those are appointed by the governor. So you can see why it’s very, very important to have a Democratic governor. They have the opportunity to influence in a lot of ways, not least our public universities.
And I’m sad to say I knew very little about the Michigan Supreme Court, but thanks to Sam Bagenstos who is running for the MSC, I am now a little more educated. I saw on Twitter yesterday that the MSC was hearing a case about gerrymandering in Michigan, trying to put it in the hands of voters to create an independent commission to determine districts in the state. It is lead by Voters Not Politicians. It’s depressing I haven’t heard of this before because I would definitely have gotten involved, but it’s now awaiting a decision.
Sam shed a little more light on that subject for all of us attending the meeting, but also talked about himself (he has an impressive resume including being a civil rights lawyer, working under Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Eric Holder). He also talked a bit about the what the ballot looks like for Supreme Court candidates and why voting a straight Democratic ticket isn’t enough! Supreme Court candidates are listed under Non-Partisan positions, so even if you vote straight Democrat, you still have to select MSC picks on your own. And since party affiliation isn’t listed on the ballot, you need to do your research ahead of time! This year Sam Bagenstos and Megan Cavanagh are the Democrat-supported candidates for two positions on the Michigan Supreme Court! (And this is a Cavanagh we actually want in a judge’s seat!) So be sure to select Bagenstos and Cavanagh on your ballot.
I also texted Abby the Address-bot for more addresses for Postcards to Voters. I asked for 20 this time, which is a few more than usual, but I’m in the mood to contribute. I’ll be writing postcards for Danny O’Connor who is running for Congress in a special election in Ohio! And I mentioned Postcards to Voters to the head of the Democratic Party meeting I attended and I think she might look into for their candidates.
So that’s all for today, but I’m excited I have more work to do by sharing information on social media and helping to get others prepared to vote. A suggestion at the meeting was to personally ask Democrat friends to be sure to vote in the primary and the general election and that’s also something I will definitely be doing!