Archive for June, 2014

Select Business Subsidies, Endorsements Are Differences In 37th District Senate GOP Primary

State Representatives Wayne Schmidt and

Greg MacMaster face off

By JACK SPENCER | June 26, 2014

Rep. Schmidt (L); Rep. MacMaster (R)

As a former radio and TV meteorologist in the region, Rep. Greg MacMaster, R-Kewadin, held the edge in name recognition when this year’s 37th District State Senate GOP primary race started.

His opponent, however, Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, has garnered a boatload of endorsements, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Grand Traverse County GOP Executive Board, Michigan Retailers Association, Michigan Restaurant Association, Michigan Doctors PAC, Advance Michigan, and the Great Lakes Education Project.

But Rep. Schmidt insists that does not make him the “establishment” candidate.

“No, I’m the candidate that gets things done,” Rep. Schmidt said. “I believe it is better to work with people to find solutions, as opposed to just tossing things out like my opponent has with his road funding plan, which would raid the Natural Resources Trust Fund. In my first two years as a representative, the Republicans were the minority party in the House. I was one of those who helped us win back the majority.

“The organizations and people in Lansing who support me do so because of the people and businesses in Northern Michigan who support me,” he added. “It starts up here. When you see the support I have in Lansing it’s really the people of this district who are speaking.”

Rep. MacMaster doesn’t see it that way.

“There’s no doubt about it, this race is Lansing versus the people of Northern Michigan,” Rep. MacMaster said. “My opponent is receiving strong support from Lansing because of the way he votes. I feel the support I’m receiving in the district is very positive and solid. I think that’s because people know I’ll represent them — not Lansing.”

The 37th District is comprised of all or parts of Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties in the Eastern Upper Peninsula and all or parts of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Grand Traverse counties in the Lower Peninsula. The Senate seat is currently held by Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, who chose not to run for re-election.

Rep MacMaster was the only House member who switched his vote on Medicaid expansion last summer. He voted “yes” in June, the first time the measure was before the House, but “no” when a second vote was taken after Labor Day. Rep Schmidt voted “yes” on Medicaid expansion both times.

Michigan Capitol Confidential posed two questions to the candidates aimed at bringing out what kind of senator each would be if elected.

Q: Both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt began their legislative careers by bucking the leaders of their own caucuses. In recent years, Republican lawmakers in Michigan have virtually ceased attempting to use procedural maneuvers. For instance, offering amendments and trying to force votes to be taken on them to promote alternatives that might be preferred by a majority of their colleagues.

Presuming you win the election, would you occasionally go beyond simply voting “no” and publicly attempt to stop passage of legislation you strongly oppose?

Rep. Schmidt:

Yes and I have done that when the needs of Northern Michigan were at stake.  When it came to the Detroit pension settlement I spoke out against it early on.  So my answer to this question is “yes”, but I think it is something that has to be used sparingly and I think it tends to happen most often on a geographical basis.

But my history has been to work with people in the Capitol on policies that are good, not only for those in my constituency, but for those across the state.  I’m about solving problems.  You can’t usually get all that you want, but getting three-quarters of a sandwich is better than getting no sandwich at all, because it allows you to survive.

Rep. MacMaster:

Yes, and I’ve done that. You really can’t do it procedurally because the administration won’t allow it. But I spoke out against the Medicaid expansion the second time around, and on the gas tax issue I offered an alternative to it, which would include repealing the [state’s] prevailing wage law. On the Detroit bailout I didn’t just vote against it, I spoke out loudly and clearly against doing it.

Q: The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), which is known as the state’s corporate welfare arm, gets about $300 million in annual funding while having the reputation of lacking transparency. Even legislators have complained about not receiving information they’ve requested from the MEDC.

As a lawmaker would you seek information from the MEDC to test its transparency? If you thought the results were unsatisfactory, would you say so publicly? What other actions, if any, would you take?

Rep. MacMaster:

My answer is yes. Not only would I do that in the future but I have spoken out publicly about the lack of transparency at MEDC. In fact, I was quoted in a CapCon story not long ago talking about the need for more transparency from MEDC and against the high salaries at MEDC.

Rep. Schmidt:

When I was chair of the [House] Commerce Committee we worked to reform the MEDC. So I understand the problems and frustrations. We streamlined it a lot so it would be clean and more transparent. Yes, there are still problems as people adjust to the changes. But I think we’ve made great strides and you’ll see the improvement as time goes on.

It would be easy to just throw up our hands and say we’re not going to do this (have agencies like MEDC) anymore. But I’m not in favor of doing that as long as we have to compete for jobs with other states that do such as North Carolina, Texas and Ohio.

Editor’s note: Michigan Capitol Confidential will be reporting and writing about key primary races leading up to the election on Aug. 5. The series of stories are designed to provide readers with some insight into candidates who have said they support free market issues. The stories are not endorsements and readers are encouraged to give every candidate a serious look before the election. 


ACRP Meeting Minutes for May 19, 2014

7:34 p.m.  Meeting called to order by Chairman – Randy Bishop, Prayer by Marv Rubingh, Pledge of Allegiance

Introduction of officers: Welcome 1st time visitors.

Secretary’s Report – Priscilla Miller: NDAA calls for indefinite detention of American Citizens, without trial, if ‘suspected’ of being a terrorist by Obama.  Benishek voted for the bill. On May 1st Supreme Court refused to hear case. Only recourse is state nullification.

Randy Bishop: Suggests contacting Sheriff Bean, to see if he would comply with NDAA.

Motion to approve April 21st. ACRP Meeting Minutes by Jim Gurr,  2nd Jim Argo. Approved without objection.

Treasurer’s Report – Vice Chair: Laura Bogdan: Corporate Account: $x,xxx.xx  State Account: $xx,xxx.xx

Randy Bishop: Motion for Betsy Argo to be elected Treasurer. 2nd by Brad Brown.  Motion passed unanimously.

Chairman Randy Bishop’s Report: Sharon Wise, State Committee Co-Chair said, “the best Pizza & Politics ever!” Possibility of holding State Committee Meetings in Antrim County, on a rotating basis.  Will be considered at their next meeting.   Shanty Creek made $xx,xxx.xx in rooms, $x,xxx.xx at their bar.

Review of 67 Precinct Delegates who filed to be on the August 5th primary ballot. Need 21 more to file as write in candidates, with township clerks, get three people to vote for them.  Having all  88 delegate openings filled, would attract attention statewide. Delegates will play important role in ‘crucial election of Terri Lynn Land. Delegate list will be posted on ACRP web site.

2nd Annual ACRP Fun Day Saturday, July, 19th. ‘A-Ga – Ming Golf Resort’  BBQ Dinner $25. with golf $75. Chairman Brad Brown. Lt. Gov. Calley, Sec. of State Ruth Johnson, Congressman Dan Benishek and his primary challenger Alan Arcand, will attend. Candidates from the 105th House District race have been invited.

Marv Rubingh: Lee Chatfield, running in 107th. will be at his dairy farm in Ellsworth, on Friday, May 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Maryanne:  Triston is having a fundraiser at Shooks Family Farm, on Sunday, May 25 from 1- 3:00 p.m.

Fundraiser June 7th. at Friske’s Farm Market, for Triston Cole and Greg MacMaster. 1:p.m.

Tom Stillings: Has tickets for Bill Schuette’s BBQ, at Howard Walker’s house June 17th. 5:30 -7:30  only $50. for entire family and friends.

Jim Nothoff and Carol Perrin: To prevent any conflict of interest, invite all candidates to share events on web site.  Randy, will send e-mail blast to membership, inviting candidates to share their events with ACRP and  c.c. e-mail to include all candidates. Contact Randy at

Antrim County Commission Chairman: Mike Crawford from Dist. 6: Addressed issues facing the county: Serious challenges in coming years. Budget is most serious problem. Will regain our Revenue Sharing in 2017, “ Has governor’s word on that. It’s huge for this county.” Also VP of MAC ‘Workman’s Comp Loss Fund, self insured, saves county lots of money. Biggest challenge is Economic Development. Also spoke about Glacial Hills, and the Dura plume. He feels DEQ is responsible for clean up. Not even in the top ten of the DEQ risk list. “State let Dura walk away, left one and a half million dollars, to do something, but the state is out of money.”

Randy Bishop: The DEQ has the money, to force Att. General Bill Schutte, to appeal judges decision favoring pig farmer, Mark Baker’s case. DEQ answers to Gov. Thinks it’s time for a talk with Snyder.

Discussion on holding County Commission meetings in the evenings, so more people could attend.

County Commissioner Ed Boettcher: Dist #4.  Spoke about Glacial Hills bike trail, Fiber optic network, consolidate eight 911 call centers in 11 counties, will cost half as much, Michigan Economic Development Corp. Pure Michigan, and reaching out to industry. Individual in audience observed; people are leaving the state, no industry, only service jobs available.

Laura Bogdan; Who solicits jobs to MI? Answer: MEDC and Pure Michigan. Wants to see rail system return.

County Commissioner Christian Marcus; spoke about utilizing technology: Looking forward to going fully electronic. Urged people to get involved, go to meetings, run for office. Transportation in county evolving, elderly depend on it.

Introduction of candidates running for Antrim County Commission: Dawn LaVanway, Marv Rhubingh, Brenda Ricksgers


9:15 Motion to adjourn; Brad Brown: 2nd Jim Gurr

I AM a Republican,…However…!!! By Tom Stillings

Tom StillingsI am a Republican. Make no mistake about it. However, in light of Eric Cantor’s primary defeat yesterday, the party, both national and here in Michigan needs to sit up and take note.

Much like the story that Ronald Reagan often told about leaving the Democrat Party to become a Republican, my position and observations leave me at odds with the party on several issues.

That being said, there is no way that I will switch to being a Dem.

I get the feeling that I am far from alone in my observation that I have never left the party, but that the party is far too often “leaving me” (Thanks for that terminology goes to Ronaldus Magnus).  It is my hope that there are enough kindred spirits out there who will help apply pressure to put the party back on course to save the republic that we, the public, have obviously chosen to devalue over the last several decades.

Mr. Schostak and the rest of our party leadership, along with too many of our elected officials need to take a lesson from the defeat of Eric Cantor. Real conservatism is a growing phenomenon.  People are tired of the same old promises, accompanied by actions that belie them.  People are tired of incompetence in office, whether it be legislative or executive, state or federal.

We as a party should stand for the concept of quality as opposed to quantity. We as a party should be about the business of supporting candidates who understand the benefit of doing less, but doing so with a certainty that we are that we are doing the right thing, not just “doing something”.

I’ll have more to say about specific issues over the next few days. I’ll welcome all criticism.

Tom Stillings is an Antrim County resident, former candidate for the U.S. Congress from the 1st Congressional District and can be reached via email at;

Why Team Obama Was Blindsided by the Bergdahl Backlash!!!

By Ralph Peters

“The president and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class.”


Congratulations, Mr. President! And identical congrats to your sorcerer’s apprentice, National Security Adviser Susan Rice. By trying to sell him as an American hero, you’ve turned a deserter already despised by soldiers in the know into quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military.

I have never witnessed such outrage from our troops.

Exhibit A: Ms. Rice. In one of the most tone-deaf statements in White House history (we’re making a lot of history here), the national-security adviser, on a Sunday talk show, described Bergdahl as having served “with honor and distinction.” Those serving in uniform and those of us who served previously were already stirred up, but that jaw-dropper drove us into jihad mode.

But pity Ms. Rice. Like the president she serves, she’s a victim of her class. Nobody in the inner circle of Team Obama has served in uniform. It shows. That bit about serving with “honor and distinction” is the sort of perfunctory catch-phrase politicians briefly don as electoral armor. (“At this point in your speech, ma’am, devote one sentence to how much you honor the troops.”)

I actually believe that Ms. Rice was kind of sincere, in her spectacularly oblivious way. In the best Manchurian Candidate manner, she said what she had been programmed to say by her political culture, then she was blindsided by the firestorm she ignited by scratching two flinty words together. At least she didn’t blame Bergdahl’s desertion on a video.

The president, too, appears stunned. He has so little understanding of (or interest in) the values and traditions of our troops that he and his advisers really believed that those in uniform would erupt into public joy at the news of Bergdahl’s release — as D.C. frat kids did when Osama bin Laden’s death was trumpeted.

Both President Obama and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class. They have no idea of how great a sin desertion in the face of the enemy is to those in our military. The only worse sin is to side actively with the enemy and kill your brothers in arms. This is not sleeping in on Monday morning and ducking Gender Studies 101.

But compassion, please! The president and all the president’s men and women are not alone. Our media elite — where it’s a rare bird who bothered to serve in uniform — instantly became experts on military justice. Of earnest mien and blithe assumption, one talking head after another announced that “we always try to rescue our troops, even deserters.”

Uh, no. “Save the deserter” is a recent battle cry of the politically indoctrinated brass. For much of our history, wedid make some efforts to track down deserters in wartime. Then we shot or hanged them. Or, if we were in good spirits, we merely used a branding iron to burn a large D into their cheeks or foreheads. Even as we grew more enlightened, desertion brought serious time in a military prison. At hard labor.

This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don’t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle — the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain’t a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say “outrageous insult to our vets” in Pashto?

Nor, during the recent VA scandal, had the president troubled himself to host the families of survivors of those vets who died awaiting care. No, the warmest attention our president has ever paid to a “military family” was to Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl.

(I will refrain from criticism of the bumptious attempts to cool the flames of this political conflagration by Secretary Hagel: I never pick on the weak.)

What is to be done? Behind the outrage triggered by Team Obama’s combination of cynicism and obliviousness (Bergdahl was so ill we had to set those terrorists free immediately, without notifying Congress, but now he’s chugging power shakes in a military hospital . . . and all this just happened to come at the peak of the VA scandal . . . ), military members don’t really want to lynch Bergdahl. But they want justice.

Our military leaders need to rediscover their moral courage and honor our traditions, our regulations, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. We need a fresh, unprejudiced 15-6 investigation (the military equivalent of a grand jury). We already know, as the military has known since the first 24 hours after Bergdahl abandoned his post, that sufficient evidence exists for a court-martial, but it’s important to do this by the numbers.

It’s hard to believe that the resulting court-martial would not find Bergdahl guilty of desertion (although there will be heavy White House pressure to reduce the charge to Absent Without Leave, or AWOL, status, a lesser offense). If he is convicted, I for one do not want him to go to prison. I’m sure he has paid and paid for betraying his comrades, quite possibly suffering brutal sexual violence. But if he is found guilty, he needs to be formally reduced to the rank of private, stripped of all privileges and entitlements (the taxpayer should not pay for a deserter’s lifelong health care — Bergdahl’s book and film deals can cover that), and he should be given the appropriate prison sentence, which would then be commuted by the president. Thereafter, let Mr. Bergdahl go home and live with himself.

As for President Obama, how about just one word of thanks to the families of those fallen soldiers you sent out to find Bowe Bergdahl?

— Fox News Strategic Analyst Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and former enlisted man.

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