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Wednesday, October 15,2014

One debate isn’t enough

Voters deserve better in the governor’s race

by Mickey Hirten
Early last week it looked like Gov. Rick Snyder was pulling away from Democratic challenger Mark Schauer. A live phone poll of 600 likely voters commissioned by the Detroit News and WDIV-TV, taken Oct. 2- 4, showed Snyder with an 8-point lead over Schauer, 45-to-37 with 15 percent of voters undecided. The poll had a 4 percent margin of error.
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Wednesday, October 8,2014

Predictable differences

Walberg and Byrnes far apart in 7th District congressional race

by Mickey Hirten
When looking at campaign financing, it is often the political action committees that define the candidate. The Koch brothersī PAC contributions to Republican Rep. Tim Walberg signal arch conservative; money from the Sierra Club to his 7th District Democratic challenger, Pam Byrnes, reflect her liberal politics.
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Wednesday, October 1,2014

Schauer pledges to reverse cuts

Record reflects core Dem principles; Can he fire up the base, independents?

by Mickey Hirten
Although heīs been a congressman and long-serving Michigan legislator, Mark Schauerīs political record hasnīt really surfaced as an issue in his bid to unseat Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyderīs record, as befits an incumbent, frames the campaign so far. Voters know what they get with Snyder; Schauer is more of an unknown, which is good, and bad.
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Wednesday, September 24,2014

Second time around

Snyder finding tougher sledding as the incumbent

by Mickey Hirten
There are elections where voters seem confused, perhaps ambivalent, about candidates and their performance and positions on issues. Not so this year, certainly not for Gov. Rick Snyder. That he and the Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, are essentially tied two months before the election suggests that voters have paid attention during Snyderīs first term. At this point in his first run for office, Snyder was ahead of Democratic Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero by 20 points in most polls. This time, itīs not so easy.
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Wednesday, September 17,2014

Anti-incumbent mood

by Mickey Hirten
On Saturday, The New York Times captured voter sentiment in Michigan with this telling headline: “A Rebound Takes Root in Michigan, but Voters’ Gloom is Hard to Shake.” If this was news to the newspaperīs readers, it isnīt to candidates for governor, Congress and other statewide offices here in Michigan.
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Wednesday, September 10,2014

Small money first; big money coming

by Mickey Hirten
We know that big money in many forms shapes our government. Politicians may claim that the interests of large contributors, accompanied by the checks they write, donīt influence their agendas and votes. But something has distorted our political system, and big money certainly is one of the corrosive factors.
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Military arms local police

Surplus equipment includes bomb robots, an airplane and lots of guns

by Mickey Hirten
With troubles in Syria and Iraq, rebels in Lybia, Russia invading Ukraine, itīs little wonder that we in Lansing and communities nearby are uneasy. Today itīs ISIS attacking Jawawla; tomorrow, could it be Mason or Grand Ledge or Charlotte?
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Wednesday, August 20,2014

Rewind the rollout?

LEAP calls Red Cedar Hyatt announcement premature

by Mickey Hirten
Developers of the $200 million-plus Red Cedar Renaissance project are negotiating with Hyatt International for a fullservice hotel fronting Michigan Avenue. But there are enough outstanding questions about financing for the development and the quality of the project that the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, which along with the city is negotiating the project, is calling the announcement premature.
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Wednesday, August 20,2014

Cool off at Cooley

by Mickey Hirten
While law schools enrollments throughout the country are off significantly, the decline has been devastating for Lansingīs Cooley law school. An analysis published in February by The National Jurist magazine quantified the collapse when it reported: “Eighteen law schools saw enrollment drop by more than 30 percent, led by University of La Verne (down 66.2 percent) and Thomas M. Cooley Law School (down 40.6 percent). Cooley Law School, with five campuses in Michigan and Florida, dropped from 3,931 students in 2010-2011 to 2,334 students in 2013-2014, the single largest drop in raw numbers.”
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Wednesday, August 6,2014

Gannett split

For newspapers like the Lansing State Journal this divorce makes sense

by Mickey Hirten
Gannett Co. Inc. on Tuesday succumbed to the pressure to offload its newspapers, including the Lansing State Journal, USA TODAY, the Detroit Free Press and others. For LSJ customers — readers and advertisers — the divorce suggests two paths.
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