Archive for August, 2014

MacMaster Considering Write-in Campaign for 37th State Senate – Gongwer News Service

Rep. Greg MacMaster may run as a write-in candidate for the 37th Senate District after losing an extremely bitter Republican primary fight to Rep. Wayne Schmidt.

Greg MacMaster Senate

Mr. MacMaster, of Kewadin, made the surprising declaration Wednesday not long after the Michigan Public Radio Network reported the two men had shaken hands on the House floor during the first House session since the primary.

“Not sure yet, we’re looking at all opportunities that are out there,” Mr. MacMaster said of his plans. “I’m just looking at all the plates that are being presented in front of me.”

Mr. MacMaster said he has heard from many Republicans who think the “election was stolen from them” by Democrats who crossed over to vote for Mr. Schmidt in the Republican primary.

The election saw Mr. MacMaster cast himself as the more conservative candidate, with extensive tea party support.

The Republican establishment rallied for Mr. Schmidt, and he and outside groups eviscerated Mr. MacMaster for a series of personal controversies, as well as seizing on Mr. MacMaster’s mother endorsing Mr. Schmidt.

Still, Mr. MacMaster said he also is considering supporting Mr. Schmidt.

“That’s even an option too,” he said. “I’m looking at all options right now.”

The deadline for persons wanting to run as a write-in for a legislative seat is 4 p.m. October 24.

A write-in bid would face virtually insurmountable odds, especially without considerable money, and fundraising is not Mr. MacMaster’s strength. Given the stoutly Republican nature of the district – Republicans have won it by an average of 22 percentage points over the Democratic candidate the last three elections – the possibility of Mr. MacMaster siphoning off some Republican votes still would not put Mr. Schmidt’s general election prospects into doubt.

He faces Democrat Phil Bellfy of Sault Ste. Marie, a former professor and U.S. Air Force veteran.

Mr. MacMaster said he is researching the possibilities and would decide what to do in the coming weeks.

Mr. Schmidt declined to comment.


Some Conservatives Vow To Sit Out Gov’s Race; Others Wait To Decide


Isabelle TERRY, of Rockford, is a member of the Republican state committee. And she’s been a dedicated volunteer for GOP causes. But after a bitter race for lieutenant governor between conservatives and the so-called “establishment,” Terry says she won’t vote for Gov. Rick SNYDER on Nov. 4.

And she’s not the only conservative who feels that way.

MIRS interviewed nine conservative activists from across Michigan today, and most of them said they either hadn’t decided whether they would vote for Snyder or they said they definitely would not vote for Snyder.

Some are even leaving the door open to voting for Democratic candidate Mark SCHAUER, a former member of the U.S. House. It’s not because they like Schauer but because they believe pairing Schauer with a Republican-controlled Legislature would lead to gridlock and would halt any progressive policies from advancing.

“I have not decided whether I will cast a vote for a Democrat,” as Terry said today of possibly voting for Schauer. “That would be my first time in my entire life. And I’ve been voting since I was 18.”

But she added, “I don’t think Schauer will be any worse than Snyder.”

Conservatives still voiced frustration with their top-of-the-ticket candidate today — two days after their preferred candidate for lieutenant governor, Wes NAKAGIRI, came up short in his bid to unseat Snyder’s preferred running mate and the current lieutenant governor, Brian CALLEY.

Snyder supporters saw Calley’s win as a major victory for the Governor’s re-election bid. But the campaign to protect Calley has spurned some conservatives, who were already angry with Snyder over his support of Medicaid expansion, Common Core education standards and fee increases to boost transportation funding.

The conservatives wanted to add Nakagiri to the ticket as a way to add a conservative voice. But now that their attempt failed, they have to decide whether to support Snyder and Calley or withhold their support in protest.

“That seems to be the question of the day,” said Deb O’HAGAN, of West Bloomfield, who co-founded the Lakes Area Tea Party.

The conservative base of the party will continue to promote the Republican platform, O’Hagan said, but whether the base supports Snyder in November will depend on the actions the Governor takes between now and then.

In the mean time, the base will get behind more like-minded candidates, O’Hagan, like U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn LAND, Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON and Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE.

O’Hagan said she’s heard the talk of conservatives voting for Schauer or sitting out the gubernatorial race in protest.

“Do I agree with it?” O’Hagan asked. “I think that’s a big risk.”

Among conservative activists today, there was talk of a group of pro-Schauer Republicans forming and of trying to get Snyder to sign some type of contract with the grassroots wing of the party.

Norm HUGHES, a conservative activist from Oakland County, said many conservatives are still very upset after what he called a “brutal” primary that saw “establishment” candidates facing off against Tea Party-backed candidates in numerous races across the state.

Hughes said he hasn’t made up his mind yet on how he’ll vote. While he doesn’t personally dislike Snyder or Calley, Hughes said his decision is about policy.

Will Snyder move further toward a state-base health care exchange? He asked. Will the Legislature and Snyder put in place civil rights protections for the LGBT community? He added.

The question will be how Snyder’s campaign progresses, Hughes said. If Snyder moves to the left for the general election, he may lose votes on the right, Hughes said.

One of the votes he’s already lost is that of conservative David DUDENHOEFER, of Detroit.

Conservatives are “disgusted,” Dudenhoefer said, by Snyder’s support of Common Core, Medicaid expansion and tax increases. The level of frustration is enough to be a problem, Dudenhoefer said.

“If you cannot rally your base behind you, how do you expect to win in the general election,” he said.

On the other side of the state, Mark PETZOLD, of Grand Rapids, president of the River City Tea Party, said he thinks some conservatives will support Snyder while others will sit the race out.

As someone who wants to preserve the right to life, liberty and property, Petzold said he can’t “in good conscience” vote for Snyder. But he won’t vote for Schauer either, he said.

Bill GAVETTE, of the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots, said he’s hasn’t made up his mind.

“I’m waiting to see what the tone of the Legislature is, but especially what is the tone of the Governor,” Gavette said.

Snyder has to give conservatives a reason to support him, Gavette added.

Jason GILLMAN, a conservative blogger on the website, said he thinks it would have been wise for Snyder’s campaign to let Tea Party-types have some input.

“This was essentially the peace offering to the Snyder camp,” Gillman, of Grand Traverse County, said of Nakagiri. “The bottom line is we recognize the limited effect that the lieutenant governor has.”

The conservative base is more solidly behind Land and Johnson, Gillman said.

But while conservatives consider the idea of voting for Schauer, Gillman ruled out the idea for himself, noting Schauer’s past campaign finance violations.

In Ingham County, Joan FABIANO, of Grassroots Michigan, said she made up her mind before this weekend’s convention. She didn’t vote for Snyder in 2010 and won’t in 2014 either.

“They’ll support donate and work for limited-government candidates,” Fabiano said of conservatives. “Since Gov. Snyder has shown that he’s not in that camp, I think a lot of people will not vote for him.”

Fabiano successfully ran for precinct delegate this summer. But she was denied a chance to be a delegate at the state convention. She challenged the fact that some non-elected precinct delegates got the state convention slots, but her challenge was rejected.

Some of the tactics used before the convention have alienated the grassroots, Fabiano said. And Fabiano said she’s been open about the fact that she’s not voting for Snyder.

“I don’t even think I have to encourage people,” she said. “I think a lot of people are already there.”

But Gene CLEM, of the Southwest Michigan Tea Party, saw the situation differently when asked today.

While some of the louder conservatives won’t vote for Snyder, the majority will.

Clem compared it to playing high school football. During the week the players are in competition with one another, like they were at the convention, but on Friday night, the team joins together as a united force.

If Republicans help elect Schauer, Clem said, they risk some progressive Republicans in the Legislature joining with Democrats to advance Schauer’s policies.

Terry doesn’t see it that way.

If former Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM would have been in office the last few years, Terry argued, Republicans would have stuck to the party’s platform and fought Medicaid expansion and Common Core.

Terry said she views a vote for Schauer as a vote for gridlock.

As she said, “I think gridlock is the way to go.”

Michigan police also militarizing with free federal surplus gear – By Christina Hall

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office keeps an MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) vehicle it acquired from the federal government in storage.

Grenade launchers, armored vehicles, automatic rifles and other equipment included

Michigan police departments have armed themselves with grenade launchers, armored vehicles, automatic rifles and other equipment — 128,000 items in all, worth an estimated $43 million — under a federal program that allows police to obtain surplus gear free from the U.S. military.

A Detroit Free Press review of items transferred from the military since 2006 shows Michigan law enforcement agencies have received 17 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles or MRAPs, built to counter roadside bombs; 1,795 M16 rifles, the U.S. military’s combat weapon of choice; 696 M14 rifles; 530 bayonet and scabbards; 165 utility trucks; 32 12-gauge, riot-type shotguns; nine grenade launchers; and three observation helicopters.

Federal officials won’t say which agencies got equipment, but the inquiry shows it went not just to large counties with high crime, but some of the state’s smallest counties and towns. For instance, Dundee police, who patrol a village of about 4,000 residents, got an MRAP.

Barry County in rural western Michigan, with just under 60,000 residents, got five grenade launchers.

Police say they need military-grade weapons to counter heavily armed drug dealers, mass shooters and terrorists. Armored vehicles can be used against barricaded gunmen, to evacuate citizens in emergencies or to quell riots, while high-powered, automatic rifles keep police from being out-gunned by bad guys.

But the growing militarization of local police is raising alarms across the country. Civil rights advocates, law enforcement experts and politicians from both parties are questioning the proliferation of “warrior cops” — local police arrayed in SWAT team gear and camouflage, using equipment once only seen in combat to patrol the streets of America’s cities, suburbs and small towns.

In last week’s Time magazine, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and a likely candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, decried the Aug. 9 police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which touched off looting and violence there that was met by a show of military force by police.

“The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action,” Rand wrote.

A report released this summer by the American Civil Liberties Union found that police departments nationwide are increasingly using military tactics and weapons for such routine matters as serving search warrants, sometimes with deadly and tragic results. Among incidents cited:

• A 19-month-old Wisconsin boy critically wounded in the face and chest in May when a flashbang grenade, long ago adopted from the military by SWAT teams, landed in his crib at a relative’s home in Georgia. Police were executing a no-knock warrant to search for a relative over a $50 drug sale.

» The 2010 death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, of Detroit, who was struck by a bullet from an officer’s gun as she slept on a couch during a Detroit police raid. Police in SWAT gear used a flashbang grenade in that raid too. They were looking for a murder suspect, who was found in the upper level of the duplex and surrendered without incident.

» A pregnant mother, 26, shot with her 14-month-old son in her arms in 2008 when a SWAT team broke down the door of her rented home in Lima, Ohio, and opened fire. They were looking for her boyfriend on suspicion of drug dealing.

“We found through our investigation the use of paramilitary weapons and tactics causes serious problems for undermining public confidence,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel for the ACLU and the author of the report, which looked at 800 SWAT raids by law enforcement in 20 states and the agencies’ acquisition of military equipment.

“Overly militarized police view people in the community as the enemy,” Dansky said.

Life and death issue

For police, however, it’s an issue of life or death. “If you have to defend yourself in situations, you have to be suited to handle the situations,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “The bad guys have high-capacity rounds. In today’s world, you just never know what you’re gonna be confronted with.”

More than 8,000 agencies participate nationwide in the federal surplus program, according to the Defense Logistics Agency, which oversees the Law Enforcement Support Office (or 1033) program out of its office in Battle Creek. The equipment flowing to Michigan is part of more than $4.3 billion worth of gear that has been transferred to law enforcement agencies nationwide since the program’s inception in 1997.

That same year, law enforcement officials say, there was a change in philosophy and arsenals after a bank robbery shootout in North Hollywood, Calif. Two men with body armor and semiautomatic and automatic rifles and handguns engaged in a 44-minute firefight with outgunned Los Angeles police, who had to borrow semiautomatic rifles and shotguns from a gun store to battle the robbers.

Law enforcement agencies started adding high-powered rifles to their arsenals. Macomb County Sheriff’s Sgt. Phil Abdoo said such rifles are “pretty much a standard issue for police officers now.”

Peter Kraska, professor and chairman of the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, has studied the militarization of police since 1988 and says the police community is divided in the debate.

He said the number of SWAT teams nationwide has dramatically increased since the war on drugs hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Police have been on an “incremental march” in this direction for years, he said, with an acceleration after 9/11.

Other avenues

The 1033 program is just one avenue for agencies to obtain military gear. Others are Homeland Security and Justice Assistance Grants, which have provided billions of dollars for weapons over the last decade.

Homeland Security money bought a new $600,000 armored vehicle that Warren police used Monday to rescue people trapped by flood waters near a Lowe’s on Van Dyke near 13 Mile, Deputy Police Commissioner Louis Galasso said. He said the tank, housed in Warren, is shared by other communities and is used for SWAT deployments, barricaded gunmen and active shooter situations.

The 1033 program items range from military vehicles, weapons and night vision goggles to everyday supplies such as blankets, boots, defibrillators, and computers. Agencies acquire the items after an approval process, but pay for shipping and maintenance, which can be expensive.

State coordinators are expected to maintain property accountability records to include photos of aircraft, watercraft, weapons and tactical vehicles, said Mimi Schirmacher, a spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency. Local agencies must return items they don’t use.

While the buildup in police weaponry started well before the weapon transfer programs, Kraska said the recent escalation is pulling departments further away from community policing and “that can change the ethos of the department, the culture of the department.”

“Every ‘what if’ scenario that our fearful minds can imagine doesn’t necessarily result in good public policy,” Kraska said.

Being prepared

Many local law enforcement officials say they have to be prepared for every scenario because no call is routine anymore.

“We think this misnomer — ‘we’re being too military’ — is false, given the threats ever present in today’s society,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “These pieces of equipment are something we hope we never have to use … but hope is not a strategy in our world. Sometimes, I think, people don’t understand the reality of today’s world.”

Two years ago, his office used armored vehicles to evacuate residents from a West Bloomfield neighborhood where Officer Patrick O’Rourke was killed during a 20-hour standoff with a barricaded man. The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office sent its armored personnel carrier because it was retrofitted with a battering ram and lift to reach a second story.

Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and a former Livonia police chief, said many agencies have turned to these federal surplus programs because of the downturn in the economy and cuts in revenue-sharing.

“Police have been forced to put all of their revenue toward personnel and it’s almost eliminated capital outlay,” he said, adding that the inexpensive or free federal programs sometimes are the “only option” for police to obtain even basic items.

“Your police department needs to be as well armed as the people they encounter,” Stevenson said.

He said he would not advocate departments obtaining items they don’t need, such as a bazooka.

Since the nation’s first recorded police death in 1791, there have been more than 20,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the U.S. There were 100 killed last year and 72 so far this year, including one in Michigan, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website. On average, over the last decade, there have been 58,261 assaults against law enforcement each year, resulting in 15,658 injuries, according to the website.

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office has a mine-resistant assault vehicle for use in evacuations or in barricaded gunman or active shooter situations. Its main use is “mobile ballistic shield. It has no offensive capability. No weapons, machine guns or laser cannons,” tactical team Lt. Scott Domine said. It’s been used for training, in parades and at community events.

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office has acquired 79 M16 rifles, used by military around the world, and about 14 M14 semiautomatic rifles, through the 1033 program, Abdoo said.

Macomb County Sheriff Sgt. Phil Abdoo shows an M14 rifle acquired through a federal government program at the Macomb County Sheriff's department in Mt. Clemens

Macomb County Sheriff Sgt. Phil Abdoo shows an M14 rifle acquired through a federal government program at the Macomb County Sheriff’s department in Mt. Clemens

He said the M16s, some pre-1972 vintage, came fully automatic from the military but were converted to semi-automatic weapons under a sheriff’s office policy. He said trained road patrol officers and other first responders have the M16s, which are more accurate and can shoot farther than the shotguns they also carry. The more specialized M14s are used by the SWAT team and the honor guard. About half of the M14s, with polished wooden handles and no ammunition, are stored at the sheriff’s office and only used for ceremonies and funerals.

Macomb’s Wickersham said obtaining the M16s from military surplus can save $800 or $900 off the price tag.

In the sheriff’s office armory sits several confiscated weapons, from handguns to an AK47 and a machine gun, which Abdoo said were taken from drug dealers.

Earlier this year, Westland police received a 1991 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, commonly known as a Humvee, through the surplus program. It’s been used a handful of times by SWAT and the narcotics team for raids and can be used for rescues, especially in wooded areas in parks or during inclement weather, Chief Jeff Jedrusik said. He said law enforcement are “facing some of the most dangerous situations anyone will face in their lives. We have to prepare and train for things.”

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office obtained two armored personnel carriers and some patrol rifles through the program. The carriers no longer are used because the special response team has another vehicle, spokesman Dennis Niemiec said.

Wayne County, with almost 1.8 million people, also got an observation helicopter. So did Monroe County, home to only 152,000 or so residents.

Detroit declines

The Detroit Police Department hasn’t used the federal surplus program because it has purchased many of the items that other agencies have obtained for free, such as a helicopter, armored personnel carriers and weapons, Sgt. Michael Woody said. For security reasons, he declined to say how many items the department has.

Abdoo said an item such as a grenade launcher might raise eyebrows, but has a specific purpose — shooting smoke, tear gas and non-lethal munitions for crowd control.

National attention

The images last week coming out of Ferguson, Mo., where residents were met by a police force that looked more like an occupying army — dressed in full combat gear, riding in armored vehicles, firing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets — have ramped up the call nationwide to end the militarization of police and all or part of the 1033 program.

By Saturday afternoon, more than 25,000 people had signed an online petition at  seeking to stop the program.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, said he plans to introduce legislation to put limitations on the transfer of certain kinds of military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, including tactical vehicles and armored vehicles.

The legislation also would include assault weapons and aircraft and would require the Department of Defense to account for all the military-grade equipment that has been transferred in an annual report to Congress to help track any weapons that are lost, stolen or sold, according to Johnson’s office.

“I plan to introduce legislation to do something before America’s main streets militarize further. We not only lack serious oversight and accountability, but we need some parameters put in place for what is appropriate. Before another small town’s police force gets a $700,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can’t maintain or manage, we need to press pause and revisit the merits of a militarized America,” Johnson said.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Friday that Congress established the military surplus program “out of real concern that local law enforcement agencies were literally outgunned by drug criminals.

“We intended this equipment to keep police officers and their communities safe from heavily armed drug gangs and terrorist incidents. Before the defense authorization bill comes to the Senate floor, we will review this program to determine if equipment provided by the Defense Department is being used as intended,” Levin said.

In its report, the ACLU urged the federal government to rein in incentives for police to militarize. It also wants government to track the use of military equipment in police hands and is recommending state legislatures and municipalities develop criteria for SWAT raids that limit their deployment to the emergencies for which they were intended, such as an active shooter situation.

Sofia Rahman, a legal fellow with ACLU of Michigan, said the post-9/11 national security state has allowed law enforcement to engage in security measures that are more harmful to the public, such as surveillance devices that gather data from cellphones.

With officers wearing “outfits worn overseas or in combat operations to carry out ordinary law enforcement activities, it’s a blurring of the line of what they’re allowed to do under the Fourth Amendment.”

Abdoo said he understands the concerns but said a lack of leadership is what allows a department to run out of control.

Findings and recommendations

Findings and recommendations

Among the ACLU findings on policing in the U.S.:

» Policing, particularly through paramilitary teams, has become excessively militarized, mainly through federal programs that create incentives for state and local police to use unnecessarily aggressive weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield.

» Militarization of police has occurred with almost no public oversight.

» SWAT teams often are deployed, unnecessarily and aggressively, to execute search warrants in low-level drug investigations more than hostage or barricade situations.

» Use of paramilitary weapons and tactics primarily impacted people of color. When such tactics were used in drug searches, the primary targets were people of color. When used in hostage or barricade scenarios, they were white.

» SWAT deployments often unnecessarily entailed the use of violent tactics and equipment, such as armored personnel carriers, and increased the risk of bodily harm and property damage.

Among its recommendations:

» Laws encouraging the restrained and appropriate use of SWAT and other tactical teams and requiring transparency and oversight of SWAT teams.

» Internal departmental policies on when to deploy SWAT teams.

» Local or county agencies responsible for ensuring police are not excessively militarized, such as a civilian review board.

» Defense department imposing reasonable limitations on the number of weapons and vehicles law enforcement agencies can receive under the military surplus program.


Christina Hall is a reporter for the Detroit Free Press.


ACRP Meeting Minutes for July 21, 2014 – Finalized Slate for State Convention

ACRP Meeting Minutes for July 21, Forest Home Twp. Hall

7:38 p.m. Meeting called to order by Chairman Randy Bishop: Prayer by Jim Gurr, Pledge. Introduction of officers:

Treasurer’s Report: Laura Bogdan –  $xx,xxx.xx – Corporate Acct., $xx,xxx.xx –  State Acct.   We netted $1,656.00 profit from Golf Outing. Some expenditures remain, final accounting will follow.

Secretary’s Report: Priscilla Miller – Report on ACRP Fun Day.  article and photos sent to both papers. Special thanks to Brad and Joan Brown, for all of their efforts in making the event a success. Next year’s Fun Day will be on the 3rd Saturday of July – July 18th, 2015.

Maryanne Jorgensen has signs for all candidates at her EXIT Real Estate Office in Elk Rapids.

Motion to approve June 16th Minutes by Jim Gurr, 2nd. Tom Sommerfeldt.  Motion passed

Chairman’s Report: Randy Bishop: – With two conventions in August, no regular ACRP meeting will be held on the 18th.  On Thursday, Aug. 14th. a brief meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. prior to County Convention which will begin at 7: 00 p.m.

Nominating Committee Meeting was held on Sunday, July 13th:  All committee members present.  With 65 delegate positions already on the ballot,  plus possible  21 write ins, in the interest of time and expediting the county convention, it was decided per State Committee Rules, to introduce a slate of delegates to attend the Republican State Convention (in Novi, on Saturday, Aug. 23rd. starting at 10:00 a.m) will be submitted to the Precinct Delegates at our County Convention,  Thursday,  August 14th at 7:00 pm. for their approval.  Candidates running for Lt. Gov. Attorney General, Secretary of State and Regents for U of M, MSU, Wayne State, and Michigan State Supreme Court, will be voted on to determine who will appear on the November ballot.

Special consideration for inclusion in the slate, was given to ACRP members ‘actively’ involved in the party.  Paid membership, attendance at meetings, volunteering for events, and knowledge of the candidates to be voted on at the State Convention, was taken into account;

Proposed Voting delegates:  1. Randy Bishop, 2. Jim Nothoff, 3. Christian Marcus, 4. Tom Stillings, 5. Laura Bogdan, 6. Jim Gurr, 7. Jimmy Argo

Proposed Alternate delegates: 1. Mary Ann Jorgensen, 2. Kim MacMaster, 3. Betsy Argo, 4. Priscilla Miller, 5. Mike Bertram, 6. Jeffrey Ottgen, 7.

Comments: Tom Sommerfeldt:  Will slate be voted on person by person?  Randy: Rules say a vote on the slate can be taken and it will be done.

Ed Boetcher opposed slate:  Opportunity to motivate a lot of people and get involved in the democratic process.

Tom Sommerfeldt: As an alternative, can a slate be recommended, then a vote on individual members?

Randy: Rules state; Slate selected by the “Nominating Committee” will be voted on first. If the vote fails, then we will go to remove and replace of each individual until the slate passes. If that doesn’t work, it would go to open nominations.

Jim Gurr: Suggested delegates be able to introduce themselves and explain why they prefer to be on the slate.

Richard Hoadley: Concern for new delegates understanding the process of nominating committee selecting the slate.

Randy: Will educate newcomers on the criteria used for selection of slate. Discussion ensued regarding pros and cons of a slate.

Mike Bertram: Motioned: To accept the final recommended slate. Everyone on the slate will introduce themselves to all delegates present at convention, give a one minute bio., tell why they want to go to the State Convention. 2nd. Jim Gurr. Mike Bertram: Amended his Motion to include: Prior to the final slate being voted on, there will be an opportunity for discussion, which may allow for potential replacement by anyone else wanting to be considered, then vote will be taken. 2nd by Gurr. Motion Passed

Discussion on August 5th. Primary Election.

Saturday August 9th. 12 to 2 P.M. Delegate Training Session  with Soda and ice Cream. Will have county maps for each delegate. Need people to write Letters to the Editors. This will be a very important election. Michigan will be targeted in November election to take out Snyder, reverse Right to Work, defeat Terry Lynn Land and flip the House.

Announcements on upcoming candidate forums.

Triston Cole: Urged Great Lakes Energy users to cast ballots for directors.

R.K. Barton: Question on Prop 1. Discussion followed.

9:15 p.m. Tom Sommerfeldt: motion to Adjourn; 2nd. Jim Argo

Due to Antrim County Clerk amending the August 5th, 2014 election results for the Antrim Republican Party Precincts Delegates and notifying the County Chairman as of August 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm,…the Nominating Committee held their final meeting at 7:00 pm, August 13, 2014 and unanimously voted to submit the following slate of Precinct Delegates to be “Voting Delegates” and  “Alternate Delegates” to be elected at our County Convention, 7:00 pm, Thursday, August 14, 2014  (Nominating Committee’s report is hereby submitted prior to County Convention);

“Voting Delegates”;  Randy Bishop, Jarris Rubingh, Christian Marcus, Tom Stillings, Jeffrey Ottgen, Jim Gurr, Jimmy Argo

“Alternate Delegates”;  Maryanne Jorgenson, Kim MacMaster, Betsy Argo, Priscilla Miller, Rebekah Rubingh, April Parkey, Gerald Averill  


The late posting of this information was due to only some of the elected Precinct Delegates receiving their legal notices from the Antrim County Clerk as late as 4:00 pm, Thursday, August 14th, 2014.

MacMaster’s Youngest Says Her Father ‘Is A Good Man’,…a little too late!!!

Greg MacMaster Senate

Personally devastated by the events of the last few weeks, the youngest daughter of Rep. Greg MACMASTER (R-Kewadin) is speaking out in support of her father and against her grandmother and sister for making a public spectacle over some old family grudges.

Ashley MacMASTER told MIRS today that her father is a “good man” and that for her grandmother, Michelle MacMASTER, and sister, Kristin BRZEZINSKI, to turn their backs on Greg MacMaster in such a public way was an “embarrassment” to the family. Brzezinski is the third of Greg’s four children.

Rep. MacMaster was the frontrunner in the 37th Senate District Republican primary until the negative attacks on MacMaster’s family situation caught hold in the media. MIRS first reported that the candidate’s mother actively sought a yard sign for her son’s opponent, Rep. Wayne SCHMIDT (See “MacMaster’s Mother Supports Schmidt In 37th,” 7/21/14).

MIRS later spoke with Brzezinski, who said she felt her father had abandoned her, her mother and her siblings years ago. Brzezinski said she felt her father didn’t have the moral standing to serve in elected office and threatened to leave the state if he were elected to a higher office.

The news was gobbled up in local media and covered by FOX News nationally, among other outlets. This information, and other personal attacks, were used by third-party groups supporting Schmidt in advertisements. MacMaster’s lead collapsed and Schmidt won the Tuesday primary, 56 to 44 percent.

After MIRS tried to get ahold of Kristin MacMaster for weeks, the youngest daughter of the House member called Thursday and said she felt bad she didn’t speak out sooner in an effort to help her dad. But she said she was so embarrassed and ashamed she couldn’t bring herself to talk publicly.

“What Michelle did to her own son . . . I pretty much had to hide for a week,” she said. “I was too embarrassed to admit that, ‘Yes, I have a grandmother who is that cold and harsh.'”

The truth, she said, is that Rep. MacMaster did not “abandon the family.” There was a divorce, which is not uncommon in today’s society, and it put him in a tough place for a while afterward.

“He doesn’t abandon people at all,” she said. “For me, I had cancer and he helped me fight with the doctors to make sure I was cancer-free . . . When it comes to the public, when it comes to everybody, he doesn’t abandon anybody.”

Ashley MacMaster said there are divisions in the family, which she said also isn’t unusual. As for their motivations in speaking out, she said her grandmother is a “cold and harsh” individual who rebuffed attempts for a relationship with her, and her sister holds “grudges” and “wants revenge.”

Ashley MacMaster said she couldn’t vote for MacMaster because she lives in Leelanau County, which is in the 35th Senate District, not the 37th Senate District, but she would have voted for her father if she lived in the district.


I agree 100% with my fellow County Chairman,…Steve Willis – Clinton County Republican Party!!!

Enough is Enough . . .

It’s time to talk about the “Elephant in the room” — so to speak!

Let’s shed some light on what’s going on behind the scenes to stack the state convention with Brian Calley delegates.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Steve Willis and I have been the current Chairman of the Clinton County Republican Party (CCRP) for the last 4 years, but active in the party for the last 6 years.

Whenever I speak to individuals or groups I introduce myself as a “Christian” first, a “Conservative” second, and a “Republican” last — because I have no other choice.

I am a “TRUE CONSERVATIVE” in all ways.

A pro-life, anti-abortion, traditional marriage, states rights, rule of law, constitutional conservative, pro gun, secure border conservative.

Unlike many other previous county chairs I DID NOT, AND I DO NOT, hold any aspirations for higher office. The reason I spend 40 to 60 hours per week on CCRP business is strictly altruistic. I do not receive any payment for my time and efforts and actually have spent a significant amount of money on “party business” over the last 6 years.

I am writing this because I am thoroughly disgusted with the actions of monied interests and special interest groups when it comes to the precinct delegate elections that will be taking place on August 5 around the state. 

This week the Michigan Advocacy Trust sent another mailing out around the state to inform the voters as to who they should be voting for in the August 5 primary. In a previous mass mailing these people were defined as the “TRUE CONSERVATIVES” in their precincts. This latest mailing is just another confirmation that these are the chosen ones. They need to be elected to make Clinton County better, implying that the other people on the ballot with them are in some way inferior or deficient.

As far as the names that appear on the ballot for Watertown Township that are the “Chosen Ones”, they are not and have not for the most part been active in the county party in recent years or ever.

It seems ironic an Ingham County political action group would have intimate knowledge related to a Clinton County rural precinct to be able to make such assertions.  Additionally why is the Michigan Advocacy Fund involved in contested precinct delegate races all over the state?

As I stated last week in my blog on the CCRP website, who are these people who have determined that these precinct delegate candidates are the ones who should be voted for on August 5?

From the mailer that was sent to me today, that has been arriving in mail boxes this week (this mailer can be seen at the top of the CCRP home page’s website) I know three of the people who are listed as the “Annointed candidates” that they are asking the voters to vote for. I can’t judge how conservative they are and I wonder how the Michigan Advocacy Trust can know that either.

Well – truth be known – I think I do know. 

For the last 6 months or more there has been a concerted effort on the part of the Michigan Freedom Fund (A Dick DeVos funded group), Lieutenant Governor Calley, the State Republican Party, the Michigan Advocacy Trust, Representative Tom Leonard and his wife Jenell (who works for Calley), and who knows who else, that have been capturing data on who they think will vote for Brian Calley at the state convention in August.

All I know is that for this election cycle Clinton County has seen a significant increase in the number of precinct delegate candidates running. As a result in six of the county’s 33 precincts the delegate seats are contested for the first time.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the AGENDA of these special interests.

They will say the Governor should be able to pick his running mate.

They will say if Calley doesn’t win it will embarrass the Governor and the Republican Party.

The truth is, the Republican Party should already be embarrassed by their underhanded tactics and actions.

The bottom line is that Republican Party rules allow for someone else to run for the Lieutenant Governor’s position at the convention even though the state party has tried to circumvent the process several times in the last year.

If the state party makes a rule they should live by it! If they want to change the process for the next election cycle do it then — not in mid stream.

I ask, is Brian Calley’s selection as the Governor’s running mate all we have to worry about at this convention and as a party?  Should this issue be consuming all of the time and resources it has by all of these groups and individuals? Wouldn’t we be better served by letting the “people speak” at the convention without stacking the deck ahead of time?

It certainly seems like we have gone down a bad road where the “ends justify the means” – I thought we were the party of principals not to be lumped in with the democrats!

Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the destruction of our country and electing responsible people to office in Lansing and Washington?

The state Republican Party wants to be inclusive and have a “Big Tent”! But that means they want the votes of the undesirables who don’t agree with everything they do but no participation in the party structure or decision making process.

As far as the Lieutenant Governor’s selection is concerned the people who are working so hard to get Calley reelected need to let the process take its course without rigging the delegate elections from groups and interests external to the county.

I have no dog in the fight. I believe in honesty and transparency — of which I see neither!

You wonder why people get disgusted with the political process — what’s transpiring right now is the reason.

All I know is I can go to be bed at night knowing I have done all I can to make our state and country better. Over the last four years I have been vilified and accused of destroying the county party because of stands I have taken on issues that are contrary to the Governor’s agenda.

I have been attacked by lobbyists and asked to not take a position representing the county party that oppose the Governor’s agenda. 

In those instances I have not spoken for myself alone but with approval of the CCRP’s executive committee. If any of the 80% of the precinct delegates who ran and were elected ever came to a county meeting they would know that.

I don’t believe the county party should be a rubber stamp for any and/or all republican politicians!

If proposed legislation, regardless of who it comes from is wrong we have an obligation to oppose it, not just go along to get along.

I ask that you consider my comments and go into the ballot booth with an open mind and do what is right!

If we want to succeed we all need to accept each other’s differences and have a common focus that will make us victorious this November. 

We can’t afford to squander this opportunity.

God Bless America!

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