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Wednesday, July 21,2010

Virg Watch

Green support

by Andy Balaskovitz
The big news out of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero’s camp this week is endorsements by three of the state’s leading environmental groups. He also unveiled “Greening Michigan’s Future,” a five-point plan addressing the state’s environmental concerns.

The state chapters of the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action joined the Michigan League of Conservation Voters in endorsing Bernero Tuesday. Each year, the League of Conservation Voters issues a scorecard of each state legislator’s voting record on pro-environmental bills. Since Bernero serves as mayor in a city office, he is not included in the scorecard.

His opponent Andy Dillon scored a 76 percent this year. Scores are based on the number of yes votes compared to the number of no votes or non-votes (which count as no). Dillon voted pro-environmental on 14 of the 18 bills in 2009-2010 and was absent for the other four votes. For the 2007-2008 scorecard, Dillon received 100 percent and a 50 percent in 2005-2006.

The League also endorsed Rick Snyder of the Republicans, its first-ever endorsement in a Republican gubernatorial contest.

The five-point plan includes a commitment to green energy, protecting water resources, strengthening the “outdoor economy,” remediating environmental hazards and pursuing smart growth policies.

These latest endorsements come after a press conference Monday in Lansing, at which Bernero accepted support from state LGBT-rights groups, including Equality Michigan Action Network, Lansing Association for Human Rights and the Michigan Democratic Party LGBTA Caucus.

A new poll published Tuesday by the Detroit News shows Bernero gaining ground on opponent Andy Dillon, trailing now by 9.2 percentage points. Experts are saying never mind these numbers and focus on the 39.5 percent of undecided Democratic voters. They say Bernero can make a serious charge against Dillon should he capitalize on these undecided voters.

On Friday, Bernero was in Muskegon hoping to ramp up union support from the west side of the state, an area neither Democratic candidate holds much prominence.
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