Southwest Michigan Today: Tuesday July 9, 2019

Jul 9, 2019

Kalamazoo City Hall - file photo
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Governor Whitmer complains about the slow pace of completing the state budget. A one-time candidate for Congress in Southwest Michigan will run for Kalamazoo Mayor. Congressman Justin Amash formally resigns from the House Republican Caucus and the House Oversight Committee. 

(MPRN) Governor Whitmer says she’s frustrated by foot-dragging in finalizing the state budget. The state’s fiscal year doesn’t begin until October first. But she says schools and local governments have budget years that began last week. The Legislature’s Republican leaders say they won’t be pushed into spending decisions by the Democratic governor, who has also called for more spending on roads. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield say they will present their plans soon.

(MPRN) Governor Whitmer says Michigan has encouraged students to seek four-year college degrees at the expense of encouraging careers in skilled trades. The governor toured a Detroit community college yesterday to make her point. She says less than half of high school graduates in Michigan seek advanced schooling. And she says that means many lost opportunities, even during good economic times. Whitmer unveiled a program to promote interest in job training at community colleges and trade schools.

A Western Michigan University Professor says he is running for mayor of Kalamazoo. David Benac announced his campaign for mayor on Facebook. Last year, he ran for the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s sixth Congressional District. Current Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell is not running for re-election this year. City Commissioner David Anderson has launched a campaign for mayor. Patrese Griffin, who was recently appointed to a vacancy on the city commission, has announced that she is running for one of three city commission seats up for election this fall. The mayor serves a two year term. City Commissioners serve for four years.

(MPRN) People elected to tribal offices are exempt from a portion of the constitution that involves who can run for state and local offices. The Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion Monday. The Michigan constitution says that if a person is convicted of a felony involving dishonesty or fraud, and that stems from their position in state, local, or federal government, then that person can’t run for another elective office in Michigan. The court said in its opinion that tribes do not count as “local governments.” Fred Paquin was on the board of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians governing body. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Paquin argued that he could still run for city council. He said that was because he was a member of a tribe, which doesn’t fall under the categories in the constitution. The court agreed with Paquin saying that to call a tribe a local government would, “reach for a strained interpretation of that term.”

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash has formally resigned from the House Republican Caucus and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Last week Amash announced in an op-ed in the Washington Post that he is leaving the Republican Party. He plans to run for re-election next year as an independent in the House district that includes Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. Amash sent a letter to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney Monday. The Congressman also posed the letter on Twitter. Amash said his resignation from the Republican House caucus was due to the reasons spelled out in his Washington Post op-ed, and he’s leaving the Oversight and Reform Committee because of House rules.

In baseball, Kalamazoo jumped out to a 7-0 lead and went on to an 8-3 win at Rockford Monday night. The Growlers have won six straight and will begin a two game series at Green Bay Tuesday night.

Battle Creek took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning, but Lakeshore scored the rest of the game’s runs and defeated the Bombers Monday night 12-3. Battle Creek will begin a two game series at Kokomo Tuesday night.