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Wednesday, April 21,2010

Virg Watch

by Neal McNamara
This week, the fight continued between Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and House Speaker Andy Dillon, plus Bernero sent out another press release requesting that other politicians take action on some things.

According to the Detroit Free Press, gubernatorial hopefuls Bernero, Dillon and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Ypsilanti, each spoke for 30 minutes (a question and answer session included) on Sunday morning to a crowd of about 80 at the state Democratic Party’s gubernatorial forum in Detroit’s Cobo Hall. However, the three candidates each spoke at separate times.

Bernero said that Dillon failed in leading the state out of a lousy economy and budget situation, though the Freep noted, “Dillon was not in the room.” Bernero, the Freep reported, also touted his budgeting decisions in Lansing (though, at least twice, Lansing’s budgets have gone out of balance after being enacted), and continued to hammer on Wall Street-types. Dillon, according to the Detroit News, did not respond to Bernero.

After the forum, Bernero made an appearance at the UAW Local 174 in Romulus.

On Tuesday, Bernero’s campaign issued a press release “calling on” Gov. Jennifer Granholm to investigate the “state’s dealings” with Goldman Sachs in light of a Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charge. He also asked that the state’s money be deposited into Michigan-based banks and credit unions. Bernero also “called for immediate action” by Attorney General Mike Cox to investigate whether any “Wall Street bank operations” violated state laws and thus may need to be prosecuted.

Also, look out on Saturday, because it’s been declared “Virg Bernero Petition Day.” According to Bernero’s campaign, volunteers will be out at public places around the state aiming to collect 1,000 signatures. The campaign said it is near its goal of collecting 30,000 signatures statewide, and has done so in nearly all of the state’s 83 counties.

Last Friday, the Michigan State University Democrats endorsed Bernero. In a statement, the group’s leader, Mitchell Rivard wrote in part, “Concerning higher education, he is a strong advocate on behalf of students across the state and knows the difficulties students face regarding the rising costs of tuition.”

Finally, if you’re in the Shiawassee County area on Friday evening, Bernero will be speaking at the county Democratic Party’s “pasta and politics” fundraiser. In addition, state Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer and Smith are scheduled to attend.

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