Michigan residents to Lansing: We don’t trust you to do the basics

public trust

People across the state told The Center for Michigan they have fundamental doubts about the government’s ability to deliver on education, public health, campaign transparency and other critical functions

Measuring Public Trust

Percentage with “low” or “very low” trust in state government's...

Oversight of Michigan's K-12 and higher education: 80%

Ability to protect public health: 80%

Ability to protect the environment: 75%

Services for low-income residents: 76%

Ability to foster economic growth: 68%


Urgent mandate for improvement

Percentage who say it's “crucial” or “important” to improve state government's...

Oversight of Michigan's K-12 and public higher education: 90%

Ability to protect public health: 96%

Ability to protect the environment: 92%

Services for low-income residents: 88%

Ability to foster economic growth: 93%

*Opinions expressed in a series of community conversations with nearly 2,700 people

Whether it's education, public health or the influence of money in politics, a Center for Michigan report released today reveals a shocking lack of trust by Michigan residents in state government.

“State government is not living up to public expectations. The public does not trust state government to deliver on many of its key missions,” the report finds.

“Across the board, the public sees urgent need to improve the state government services that taxpayers fund.”

That conclusion is borne out in polls and a series of community conversations held with roughly 4,650 residents across the state in 2016, the sixth in the Center's annual public engagement campaigns, the largest conducted in Michigan. The nonprofit Center for Michigan is devoted to increasing public understanding and involvement in state policy issues. In addition to its public engagement and advocacy efforts, the Center is home to Bridge Magazine, which conducts independent nonprofit journalism across the state.    

Download a copy of the report 

In 125 community conversations with about 2,650 people conducted from March through December in 2016, a strong majority reported “low” or “very low” level of trust in state government's handling of K-12 and higher education, services for low-income residents, and in the state’s ability to foster economic growth, protect public health or the environment.

“It doesn't matter who we get elected to represent us, because they're not there to represent us. I find it mind boggling to try to answer these questions in a calm way. It’s not possible because there’s too much sorrow and pain and expense in how we’re operating the state.” - Community Conversation participant

Nearly 90 percent of those who participated in the conversations said they did not trust Michigan's much-criticized campaign finance system (an opinion echoed by nearly 80 percent in polling). And 81 percent said they had “low” or “very low” trust in the controversial emergency manager law (65 percent in polls). 

MORE COVERAGE: Michiganders say emergency managers wield too much power

MORE COVERAGE: Phil’s column: Residents are losing hope for a better Michigan

There was also a strong consensus to fix these critical issues, with 90 percent declaring it is “crucial” or “important” for the state to improve education, public health, environmental protection and economic growth.

While the participants also expressed concern about Michigan's political term limits and how the state draws legislative districts, there was disagreement in the polls and community conversations on how to fix the system.

It's worth noting these public sentiments were collected as public awareness and outrage over the Flint water crisis was still unfolding, which likely amplified doubts about government. Thousands of children in Flint were poisoned by high lead levels in 2014 and 2015 after the city – while under state emergency management – switched to the Flint River as a water source without proper corrosion treatment, causing lead to leach from lead service lines into the impoverished city’s drinking water.

“It’s very difficult to have trust in a government that has, over a long period of time, declined to respond to its citizens. You know, there was no trust prior to this, but the Flint situation has literally destroyed our faith,” one resident in the community conversations said.

“It doesn't matter who we get elected to represent us, because they're not there to represent us. I find it mind boggling to try to answer these questions in a calm way. It’s not possible because there’s too much sorrow and pain and expense in how we’re operating the state.”

Peter Pratt, president of Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based public policy organization that conducted polling for the report, said its findings could be a troubling signal of voters’ faith and participation in basic democratic functions. PSC conducted a statewide poll in June 2016 of 2,000 residents on the broader issue of trust in government and a second poll in November 2016 of 800 residents on policing in Michigan.

“I think this is pretty significant,” Pratt said of the report’s overall findings.

“I'm trying to figure out if this level of distrust continues or worsens, how are we going to have democratic government? I worry that as people get disengaged or so frustrated with government, that they don't see the value in voting.

“I think extremism has a better chance to flourish when people aren't engaged enough to think about these issues.”

Craig Mauger

Craig Mauger of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network counted at least $6 million in “dark money” in Michigan's 2016 campaign season.

Dark money corrupts  

And so it is with campaign finance, where the report found acute skepticism over how campaigns are run in Michigan, including laws that allow some money to flow to campaigns without voters knowing where it came from.

In community conversations, 86 percent had “low” or “very low” trust of money in politics, while 78 percent held those views in a Center for Michigan poll of 2,000 residents conducted in June.

“Where are these representatives getting their money?” one participant asked. “I won't vote for them if I don't know where their money is coming from. Every candidate should wear signs like race car drivers and we would know where the money is coming from.”

“Where are these representatives getting their money? I won't vote for them if I don't know where their money is coming from. Every candidate should wear signs like race car drivers and we would know where the money is coming from.” ‒ Community Conversation participant

Nearly 60 percent in the community conversations called for greater transparency in donor reporting requirements.

A February report by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network might explain some of this cynicism,  as it counted at least $6 million in “dark money” in the state's 2016 election season. Those are funds from groups whose donors don't have to be revealed under Michigan campaign laws, which let them spend money in campaigns without being identified as long as their ads don’t expressly tell people which candidate to vote for or against.

Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, said dark money seeps into races from the Michigan Supreme Court all the way down to township board and even precinct delegate races.

“That's especially true in judicial elections,” Mauger said. “We don't know when the people funding the dark money have cases before the judges or could have cases before the judges. There is absolutely no way to know where that money is coming from.”

The report by Mauger’s group found that dark money funded a $1.7 million statewide TV ad campaign in the Michigan Supreme Court race that told viewers to “vote for life” on election day. The ads benefited two members of the state’s high court, David Viviano and Joan Larsen – both of whom were elected. Viviano was nominated by the Republican Party and Larsen was appointed to the bench in 2015 by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Data published by the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York-based nonpartisan public policy and law institute, found Michigan had the most expensive and least transparent state supreme court races in the nation in three consecutive election cycles – 2010, 2012 and 2014.

More broadly, Michigan ranked dead last among the 50 states in 2015 in government transparency and accountability laws, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington D.C.-based nonpartisan investigative news organization. The ranking was based on a gamut of ethical factors, including lobbying disclosure, political financing, legislative accountability and more.

In conducting this engagement campaign, the Center for Michigan traveled to every geographic corner of Michigan for its community conversations, with demographics of participants roughly matching the state in race and income level. In both the community conversations and accompanying telephone poll – also balanced for race and income – participants were asked 23 questions about public trust in state government to gauge their strength of sentiment on key issues.

The Center found that the general public’s trust in education was no better than for campaign finance.

Eighty percent of residents in community conversations and 65 percent in polls had “low” or “very low” trust in state government's oversight of K-12 schools and higher education. Fully 90 percent in conversations and polls thought it “crucial” or “important” to improve state oversight of education.

Overall, the push for improvement in public education emerged as the highest priority among all state government services measured, with more than a third calling it their top concern.

One participant commented: “As a parent of school-aged children, I think that as much as I would love to see the state do the right thing by our children, when you’re a parent it’s tough, because if the schools are broken now, what do you do? That’s why parents take their kids to charter schools. My daughter is going to high school in Massachusetts this upcoming year, because I needed alternatives to the education she was getting.” (Massachusetts is considered the gold standard for public education in the U.S.).

What's at stake for Michigan is underlined in a recent report by the Michigan 21st Century Education Commission, tasked with proposing long-term, sustainable reforms to the state's troubled education system.

A recent study by the Brookings Institution ranked Michigan dead last among the 50 states in school improvement from 2003 to 2015. Michigan was the only state ranked by the study in the bottom 10 in four measures of fourth and eighth grade academic growth over that period.

And a 2016 report by Education Trust-Midwest, a Royal Oak-based nonprofit education advocacy organization, found that too many high school graduates were entering college unprepared. According to its report, 27 percent of college students in Michigan were enrolled in remedial course work, including 43 percent of low-income students and 55 percent of African American students.

“The urgency could not be greater. While it is difficult to face, the data are clear: Michigan's children are falling behind,” the state education commission report stated.

It proposed a series of major reforms, including more funding for at-risk students, universal access to community college and to quality preschool for 4-year-olds, as well as the possible abolition of the State Board of Education.

Clearly, the Center for Michigan report reflects a similar urgency from state residents for the state to act decisively on education. Whether the Legislature is prepared to do so remains to be seen.

With regard to services for low-income residents, such as food assistance, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit, again there was broad consensus that more has to be done. Overall, nearly 90 percent of those in community conversations consider improvement of services for low-income residents “important” or “crucial.”

Peter Pratt

Public Sector Consultants President Peter Pratt: “If this level of distrust continues or worsens, how are we going to have democratic government?”

Politics bad, fixing it hard   

Michigan's system of political term limits got a failing grade, with three-fourths those in community conversations and 54 percent of poll respondents expressing “low” or “very low” trust in the ability of the term-limit process to produce effective leaders. In place since the 1990s, it limits legislators to three two-year terms in the state House and two four-year terms in the state Senate.

Critics say it's built a revolving door of inexperienced legislators, as lawmakers are forced out of office just as they are beginning to develop expertise in the issues and how the system works, while enhancing the power of entrenched lobbyists and special interest groups to steer policy proposals.

“The term 'career politicians' has negative undertones, and we do need experienced leaders in office,” one respondent said. “We need people that can come in and learn and influence, but we keep cycling them out due to term limits and not giving them a chance to learn the job and build relationships.

However, the Center’s report found divided opinion on what to do about term limits.

Two thirds of community conversation participants wanted to lengthen or eliminate term limits. But 69 percent of poll respondents wanted to leave term limits alone or make term limits even more restrictive.

A similar divide between in-person conversations and polling emerged about how and whether to change the way the state draws its legislative districts. Redistricting is done every 10 years after the Census, a power now ceded to the Legislature for both state and federal seats. In effect, the controlling party can shape district boundaries to exert maximize political advantage, a perk that has largely benefitted Republicans, who dominate both chambers in Lansing.

Former Michigan Democratic Party chairman and attorney Mark Brewer said he plans to sue state officials over a redistricting process that he alleges has allowed the GOP to consolidate power while minimizing Democratic representation.

On another front, a grassroots organization called Voters Not Politicians hopes to  place a 2018 constitutional amendment before Michigan voters that would ban politicians from drawing their own districts. The goal is to put redistricting in the hands of a nonpartisan commission.

Eighty-four percent in community conversations and 68 percent in polls said they had “low” or “very low” trust that redistricting produces fair representation. But they couldn't agree on how to fix the problem. In response, 57 percent in community conversations favored reforming how legislative districts are drawn – with just 30 percent of poll respondents agreeing.

Kent County resident Katie Fahey, an organizer of Voters Not Politicians, said one of the movement's key challenges is educating voters why this issue matters.

“When they hear the word gerrymandering, a lot of  people don't know what that means,” Fahey said. “There are a lot of campaigns for get-out-the-vote. But there's not a lot of public education on how your districts may be manipulated to make your vote count differently than in other parts of the state.

“We see that as a driving force to raise awareness so we can change things before the next Census.”

Trust in cops  

In separate polling of 800 residents across Michigan, the Center found varying levels of trust in law enforcement, an issue that became part of a national conversation in 2016 because of controversial police shootings of unarmed minorities in recent years.

More than three-fourths of those overall in a statewide poll expressed “high” or “very high” trust in law enforcement, with 35 percent expressing “very high” trust. But that trust fell off significantly among African Americans, with just 16 percent expressing “very high” trust in law enforcement.

While 49 percent of state residents overall strongly agreed police methods need to improve in local communities, that jumped to 77 percent among African Americans.

There was broad support overall for more diversity training for police, equipping officers with body cameras and training in community policing.

“These results suggest there may be opportunity for effective community and statewide dialogue about these issues,” the report stated.

About The Author

Ted Roelofs

Ted Roelofs is a Bridge contributor based in Grand Rapids. He can be reached here.

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David Waymire
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:05am

The loss of trust is palpable for a good reason. Lansing's solution to every problem since about 1999 has been to cut taxes and reduce regulation. Since 2000, the average person in our state has seen his or her quality of life reduced in almost every way. Our schools are measurably worse compared to the rest of the nation. Our roads and infrastructure have been allowed to deteriorate to a place where repairs will be far more expensive than if we had raised taxes in a timely fashion to meet maintenance. College tuition has increased because state support for higher ed has $12,590 in 2000 (in 2016 dollars) to a current $7,686. Our cities are flailing in large part due to revenue sharing cuts and restrictions on taxes imposed by Lansing. Given these obvious failures, what is the solution proposed by lawmakers in charge? More tax cuts and a further reduction in public goods needed to create opportunities for citizens. Key metric: In 2000, before these tax cuts started, our per capita income was $66 below the national average. We've cut taxes by 25 percent (as a percent of income) since then. Today, per capita income is $5,232 below the national average. If states are the laboratories of democracy, Michigan is showing what it's like to follow failed experiment after failed experiment, to the detriment of its people. Who continue to vote for those who impose these failed policies on the state.

Rose
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 3:05pm

Very well put. I have friends who think of moving back to Michigan every so often. When they ask me what I think, I tell them not do it as this state is in a rapid decline and it is not getting better. I really wish I had a different answer for them.

Allan Blackburn
Thu, 03/23/2017 - 10:02am

Rinse, cycle and repeat in Washington as well.
I cannot comprehend that the Trump won along with Republican rule to do the same to us on a national level.
We've already seen what the healthcare, great; "Repeal & Replace" debacle will do for the middle class and poor, giving a huge tax cut to the already rich.
And this is before he pushes his tax proposals which will be another giant give away to the ones who need it the least.
I hang around a bunch of Republican friends and many of them are retired, living on pensions, bashing unions and wanting pension reform, living on Social Security and clamoring for entitlement reforms. The key is that they want reform as long as it doesn't touch what they are receiving.
One of these days we may realize that we are all in this together and much of the propaganda about welfare queens is just that. Welfare reform cut cash assistance drastically during Clinton's second term. The primary bit of welfare for low income families is food stamps and there are many heartless souls who think we are paying too much though our taxes have fallen to record lows in the last couple of decades. Making America Great Again might include some serious infrastructure improvements, creating decent wage paying jobs, stimulating demand as many people are working in a service based economy and living payday to payday. They cannot afford much in the way of purchases so it's awfully hard to climb out of their rut in life.
Income inequality has to be one of the biggest debacles of our generation yet, we keep sending people to represent us who don't represent us. They represent the anarchists who wish to destroy any level of government except that which benefits them at the expense of us.
I've got mine. I hope you get yours too but not at the expense of any of mine. Sad.
My father supported a family of five working at McDonald-Douglas. He had insurance for us all; dental and medical and retired with a pension. The Walmart economy means you are employed part-time with no idea of what your schedule looks like week to week, no benefits, working multiple jobs and being called a moocher because your employer pays such a low wage that you still qualify for some form of government assistance. Now that we see what our great healthcare plan will be we cannot take care of those Medicaid recipients because we have to give away more to the rich. Wonder why people are angry and not trusting of our politicians.

Matt
Thu, 03/23/2017 - 7:13pm

Yet at the same time, income tax revenues have become more and more concentrated onto the top earners, "the Rich" and with EITC the lower end of the income spectrum has been paying less and less. What's your explanation?

Michaelpat
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:09am

Seems to go right along with this mornings New York Times OP Ed regarding our newly elected President....
"He lies the way no American politician has lied before."

Michaelpat
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:13am

Seems to go along with this mornings New York Times OP ED regarding our newly elected President......
"He lies the way no American politician has lied before."

Kevin Grand
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:17am

I see that the tired canard of "fixing" term limits has come up (again).

How well has that worked in Washington DC?

But what really piqued my curiosity was this statement:

"However, the Center’s report found divided opinion on what to do about term limits.

Two thirds of community conversation participants wanted to lengthen or eliminate term limits. But 69 percent of poll respondents wanted to leave term limits alone or make term limits even more restrictive."

So, 66% of respondents want elected officials to have longer terms and 69% want them to have even shorter terms??? 

135% of respondents?

Just out of curiosity, we're these the same people who crunched the numbers for the Detroit Bailout?

Amber DeLind
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 2:48pm

Hi Kevin, thanks for your question! I'm the Center for Michigan's public engagement director. We asked for feedback from Michigan residents in two ways: in-person Community Conversations and in phone polls. As you'll see in the quote from your comment, the majority of the responses of Community Conversation participants supported longer term limits, whereas the majority of phone poll participants support shorter term limits. This is why our public engagement report does not highlight this as a key finding, as there was not consensus between these two means of collecting public input. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me at adelind@thecenterformichigan.net.

Michigan Observer
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 5:34pm

Ms. Delind completely missed Kevin Grand's point; there is a vast discrepancy between the responses of the Community Conversation participants and those of the telephone poll. Doesn't that indicate a serious structural flaw in the Community Conversations and/or the telephone poll? How much confidence can we place in either one?

Matt
Thu, 03/23/2017 - 7:21pm

It's even worse than that MO. Given the small percentage of the public that even knows the name of their state rep or Senator, what does their opinion on something like term limits even mean???

John Saari
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:24am

Gov should not be allowed to go into debt. Look at MDOT and others. Gov should not be able to exempt itself from transparency common sense. Look at governors office. Gov should not over regulate. Look at DNR and it's 1 Tablespoon is too much erosion control laws. Gov should not promulgate rules without public approval. Gov should not build without a plan of support and maintenance. Gov should strive to reduce itself instead of blindly growing. Return the power to the people. Think Communities.

Mary Fox
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:22am

On tablespoon of some toxins could kill a city. That's just plan ignorance.

Michigan Observer
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 5:20pm

Mr. Saari said "Look at DNR and it's 1 Tablespoon is too much erosion control laws." If you read it carefully, you will see that he referred to "erosion" and not "toxins".

David Waymire
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:06pm

John, you should spend some time with the documents available from the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies. There you will see that the number of state and local government employees have been slashed dramatically since 2000. You see that state government spending increased at 19 percent while Michigan's personal income grew at 43 percent. You want less government? You have it. Fewer police and fire fighters. More bad roads. Smart folks opting out of becoming teachers because the pay doesn't match up with private sector pay. State parks deteriorating. You should be the happiest person here!

Linda Bengston
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 10:00am

I participated in a community conversation. I felt stunned that so many share my disillusionment with and distrust of Michigan government. Thank you for providing the opportunity for thoughtful, helpful, insightful discussion.

Jesse
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 10:42am

My trust in gov't is nil also. My representative and senator only communicate photo opportunities with me. Their real activities are never revealed in relation to anything important. They go to Lansing and there after are only involved in breakfast or lunch with ruling elite party types and I'm treated like a leper. I'm treated like a mushroom that is fed BS and kept in the dark. We have a Governor who only seems interested in gaining more power and money to spend on bridges to nowhere. None are interested in truly solving gov't over reach and over taxation. Voters reject a tax and then the legislature and governor pass it anyway. So voters ask: Why vote at all if the tax is going to be ignored and passed anyway? Have any of our legislators ever seen a tax that they didn't like? Has any agency that has failed to meet its stated objective ever been dissolved or dismantled? Has any tax ever been actually used for its stated or intended purpose?

chuck gehrke
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:53am

These findings are a clear and resounding call for all of us to take a very serious and thoughtful look at what we believe is our role in contributing to the success of our state. There is a fundamental question we need to ask our selves, what is/are my responsibilities, as a citizen, to help assure the well being, in its broadest concept, of my fellow citizens? It has become fashionable to view government like a business and expect decisions to be based on business principals. Being fiscally responsible and spending public monies wisely and prudently is important but the return on the expenditure of public money may not always be economic. Government has an entirely different role and function than a business, and the skills that make a business successful are not necessarily the skills that make a government successful An improved quality of life for people or an improved public safety net may be the desired return with a minimal or no measurable economic return. For a variety of reasons, improved schools in one areas will cost more than another but to improve the education of the students in the more expensive area we should spend the extra money. At one time the public school system in Michigan was one of the best in the nation, now all of a sudden it can't do the job. I doubt that, rather various special interest groups brought their influence to bear so "they got theirs" at the expense of others and now we have an education mess. We demean and discount teachers in as many ways as we can think of and then wonder why the best students don't chose education as a profession. We are in need of a massive highway and infrastructure building effort in Michigan but to do it
will take lots of dollars. Yet our legislators look for ways to cut taxes and/or shift the tax burden to those less able to pay. When it comes to government you get what you are willing to pay for and support. Our current product is a reflection of where we place our priorities and until these priorities change things will not get better.

Jim Hendricks
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:48pm

A major problem is the total lack of Lansing news outside of metro areas. How many of us have any idea of what pieces of legislation are moving through the House or Senate or what the implications are? How many of us will take the time to dig out the information? On top of that how many of us would take the time to inform ourselves even if we had a robust press. Much easier to side with our "team" and throw darts at other side. I am not optimistic about future despite Herculean efforts on part of Bridge.

Jack
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 1:48pm

The two party system is broken beyond repair and we need an additional party but not at the fringe of the right or the left. It needs to be centrist party for moderates. Doesn't need to be become the dominant party - but control enough seats so the major parties would be forced to come back toward the center to form a coalition in order to govern. Most of us have been disenfranchised by both parties.
Not likely to happen - unfortunately - but "The CENTER for Michigan" might not be a bad place to start from.

Richard McLellan
Tue, 03/21/2017 - 6:18pm

Is the 2,000 sample a valid reflection of Michigan citizens? Or is it a self selected subgroup of people in the State that have strong opinions on policy?

duane
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 12:04am

Are we/Michigan truly in a crisis or it’s just what people are saying?

If people continue to return those in their districts to office is the distrust of those they don’t know because they have no way of judging? Is the loss of confidence in government/programs because we rely on what others say? How can we fairly assess government if we only hear about failures? If we never hear about success why should we believe the government can do anything right, why would we ‘trust’ government? Who is our source for assessing government, is their focus on failure ignoring success, how do we trust them?
Should we have a similar trust survey of the news media? What if it as low as the government survey, whose crisis would that be?

Bridge has created an excellent platform for reporters and readers alike. Bridge has drawn in thoughtful readers that offer a diversity of ideas about the articles posted on Bridge. I wonder if Bridge considers using their platform to draw out the thinking of readers on the issue of turning this lack of ‘trust’ in government into confidence and support of government programs, people, and elected officials. I would like to hear readers’ thoughts on how to move the community trust.
A simple structure conversation could be a first step in turning the tide of ‘distrust’ into an engaged community of success.

If each program included a detail description of its purpose with specifics of results it must deliver to be successful, if each program regularly reported performance metrics so we could see program effectiveness, I would be more confident in the capacity of government. If there were a set of specific criteria for assessing candidates we all could use, I would be more confident in the candidates selected.
I wonder if campaign spending is part of the crisis or is it simply a myth promoted for denigrating our system and winning candidates. I wonder if people are influenced by campaign ads.

I am one that trusts the honesty of government people, I lack confidence that they are focused on the effective results.

Matt
Thu, 03/23/2017 - 9:56pm

Why not attach a sunset provision on every program with the hope that if it doesn't deliver the desired results it wouldn't be renewed afterward?

duane
Fri, 03/24/2017 - 2:42pm

Matt,

I like that idea. It could be triggered by performance results and a maximum time to achieve the expected results.

TheThighShelf
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 12:18pm

It's not like our distrust came first. You can't have the worst record of hiding the facts in the whole country, poison a city, drag your feet on a fix, and falsely accuse ten of thousands of citizens of fraud, and then start from "we don't trust you." We start with, "YOU aren't trustworthy."

Oh! and even today, Snyder appointed a judge (Blount) who just lost an election 4 months ago! Constituents didn't want him and Snyder doesn't care about voters in the slightest.

DaveW
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 6:41pm

Term limits...keep, or discard? I think, since MOST people have no idea who their representative is.....disallow the term "RE-ELECT" from the politicians ads. Do NOT allow any ad that has not been vetted for the truth to be aired. Do NOT allow ANY spending for campaigns until the payers of those ads are identified, by name. DO NOT ALLOW ANONYMOUS DONORS, PERIOD! Those people STILL have the Freedom of Speech....they just have to face the CONSEQUENCES of using it.....just like other donors.

duane
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 9:35pm

Why do you think people listen to the campaign ads?
Do you think the campaign ads a significant source of information candidate, if not what ones are?
I think people want to make informed choices and since there is no list of criteria voters might use to assess candidates that creates a vacuum of information that sucks in the campaign ads.

I don't listen to the ads, but without means/set of criteria voters can use when hearing the ads I wonder what alternative they have to make their assessments.

Matt Korolden
Fri, 03/24/2017 - 8:04am
John saari
Sun, 03/26/2017 - 6:16am

We need a big transfer of government. The Feds to give to the State, the State to give up all they can to the Cities, Counties, Villages, Townships, Think. COMMUNITY

Scott
Sun, 03/26/2017 - 8:59am

Politics is in a sad state in this state. I don't believe our representatives listen to us. I have talked with many Republicans over the last several years. And, instead of listening to to me as a constituent, they tell me what and how I should think. This isn't a democracy; it's an oligarchy. They tell me they are going to change Michigan. But what I hear them saying is that they want to destroy public education, health care, and basic services to Michiganders. They are beholden to the corporate and financial interests that fund their campaigns.

duane
Sun, 03/26/2017 - 5:11pm

Your experience is much like mine only my District is Democrat. It seems all of the Representatives from my District over the years have felt they there was/is a Party personal and that is what gets them elected so they are only willing to adhere to the image/stereotype.

J.R.
Thu, 04/27/2017 - 2:14pm

If they don't like government, why do they keep voting republican?

William Clark
Thu, 06/08/2017 - 9:48am

No wonder Michigan's legislature is rated as the "least transparent" in the nation. Time to clean house and embarrass the pants off these villains on their way out.