After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]


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Home-grown star

By |2006-10-12T09:00:00-04:00October 12th, 2006|News|

By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
BIRMINGHAM – Voters who are tired of “Toilet Joe” Knollenberg just might be ready to try a Democrat this election year.
At least, that’s what Nancy Skinner – environmentalist, former talk show host and fair-minded candidate for the 9th Congressional district – hopes.
Current polls seem to support those hopes.
A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll taken on Sept. 26 and 27, for example, shows 49 percent of respondents saying that, if the election were held that day, they would vote for a Democrat over a Republican – up 8 points in two weeks. And an Aug. 23 poll taken for the Skinner campaign showed 43 percent of Knollenberg’s constituents giving him a negative rating.
According to Skinner, Knollenberg’s greatest weakness is “That he voted with Bush 98 percent of the time. He’s such a follower, and we need leadership now.”
Skinner is well-versed in the needs of the Oakland County communities she’d like to represent. A Royal Oak native, Skinner graduated from the University of Michigan and worked on the renovation of the Fox Theatre before changing her focus to address rebuilding in the wake of massive flooding of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Most recently, she has been a morning host on WDTW, a progressive radio station in metro Detroit.
“We’re hurting,” Skinner said of her district. “This district is getting crushed right now. We’re leading foreclosures – they’re up 90 percent. You just have to drive up any street to see the For Sale signs in Birmingham, and other very affluent areas. It’s not just rank and file workers – it’s management, it’s everybody.”
As for Knollenberg, Skinner said, “What has he done – what has he really led on?” According to Skinner, when her campaign asked constituents their opinion of Knollenberg, many remember him most for “the toilet thing” – Knollenberg’s effort to repeal regulations mandating low-flow toilets.
LGBT voters may also remember Knollenberg for his support of state-level initiatives to ban marriage rights for same-sex couples and his support for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays in the military. Skinner takes the opposite tack on both issues, saying that marriage rights should be guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has “failed miserably.”
Not only is it wrong, it’s ineffectual,” said Skinner of the policy. “We need every American that’s willing to put themselves in harm’s way to be able to do so.”
While Knollenberg claims to be “pro-family,” Skinner said that Knollenberg’s support for George W. Bush’s tax cuts proves he is not.
“They’ve [the cuts] cost almost three trillion dollars, and so they’ve driven a big hole in our budget deficit – that’s not pro-family. [Our children] will be strangled with that debt for generations,” Skinner said.
“When they are cutting Meals on Wheels, literally, to pay for this, how can that be pro-family,?” she added.
One way that Skinner would like to help 9th District families is by supporting the auto industry with funds that are currently being used to subsidize the oil industry.
“My solution is to take the $6 billion in subsidies they give the oil companies and redirect that here to help the auto industry make this transition right now, and start producing more fuel cells and hydrogen vehicles,” to help them return to profitability and save jobs, said Skinner.
“We can actually start leading the world if we leapfrog technology,” said Skinner. “It would be good for our economy, it would help us, [and] it would be critical to national security.”
Skinner’s campaign success and the negative poll numbers might explain “The Skinner Files,” a page on Knollenberg’s Web site dedicated to attacking Skinner. Among other things, the page claims that Skinner has only lived in the area for two years – ignoring her long history in the district.
“I call it trash, this is trash – no quotes, no sources, no links,” Skinner said of the attacks, “just throwing words out. “It’s the same old game that they’ve been playing … I think the voters this time around realize that we need leadership, and I hope and pray they don’t fall for that kind of negative attack.”
Skinner said that the election, and her race in particular, are both essential to kick the special interests out of Washington and to provide a check on the power of George W. Bush.
We have to win elections and take action immediately; take this country back from special interests, the oil companies that are absolutely deciding our debates and the big pharmacy groups – all these guys have their Congress essentially bought and paid for,” Skinner said.
In addition, “We have to retake the House of Representatives in 39 days or we will have two years with George Bush when he won’t have anything to worry about – elections, or anything else to impede him,” she said, calling the result should the Democrats lose “disastrous.”
“I’m just looking at this election as do or die for so many important issues,” she said.
“Joe Knollenberg has been a colossal letdown to his district,” said Sean Kosofsky, a spokesman for Triangle Pride PAC. “Skinner’s a fantastic, fantastic candidate for office.”
To learn more, visit the Nancy Skinner for Congress Web site at or call (248) 723-9623.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.