Michigan Political Round-Up

By | 2007-08-16T09:00:00-05:00 August 16th, 2007|News|

Capitol Correspondent

LANSING – Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland) continues to stall the progress of Matt’s Safe School Law. The plan, which passed the State House in March, generally is referred to as the Anti-Bullying Legislation. The current bills protect against specific bullying in public schools based on a variety of classifications, including sexual orientation. The latter has sent Gary Glenn and his American Family Association of Michigan into torrents of letter writing campaigns condemning the legislature for protecting LGBT students. Sen. Kuipers has said in the past he would not support passage of the Anti-Bullying Legislation that included sexual orientation.

FLINT – Dale Weighill, the openly-gay candidate for mayor of Flint, came in fifth out of seven candidates in the Aug. 7 primaries. Weighill, who raised and spent the third-highest amount in the race, was expected to finish third. Current controversial Flint Mayor Don Williamson finished first with 33 percent, followed by challenger Dan Walling with 23 percent. The two men next will face off in a general election in November.

LANSING – The two city council incumbents who supported a comprehensive human rights ordinance in December finished as top vote-getters in their races on Aug. 7. Lansing City Council president Harold Leeman Jr., who represents the First Ward, which includes the eastside of Lansing, will run against Senate fiscal policy analyst Eric Hewitt in the November election.
City councilmember-at-large Carol Wood, who voted for the ordinance, will be one of four vying for two at large seats on the council. Also vying for the seats will be Derek Quinney, an AFL-CIO safety officer who was appointed to complete the remainder of Rep. Joan Bauer’s term following her election to the state House; Department of Human Services Caseworker Gina Nelson; and Burger King employee Willie Fuller.
City councilmember William Matt, who was appointed to fulfill the term of councilmember Randy Williams in the Third Ward of Lansing, handily took first place in his primary, and will face off with A’Lynne Robinson. Robinson is the executive director of community relations for Jackson Public Schools; Matt is a special events coordinator for Michigan State University.

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP – Former state senator and lottery commissioner Gary Peters has announced he will run against Republican Congressman Joe Knollenberg. In his announcement, Peters said that as a U.S. representative, he would fight for sound fiscal policy and for a resolution of the Iraq conflict.
Opposition to Peters’ run already is gelling with Dennis Lennox II, former chair of Young Americans for Freedom at Central Michigan University, who is leading the charge against Peters. Lennox is closely associated with the Southern Poverty Law Center-listed hate group Young Americans for Freedom Michigan State University chapter. Lennox has played host to numerous protest events at the Mount Pleasant campus in which the MSU YAF also participated.
Lennox also came under scrutiny this past spring when the CMU student senate voted to make his YAF chapter a hate group. In addition, he stirred controversy when he posted video alleging members of the Gay-Straight Alliance at CMU had been responsible for a rash of anti chalkings during pride week. The YAF leadership later posted an apology and retracted the claims.
Lennox has formed a CMU student group calls Students Against Gary Peters. He is opposing Peters’ run on the grounds that Peters has accepted the position of Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government. He takes the post this fall, and it lasts three years. Lennox has told various media outlets Peters can’t possibly provide a fair education for students while running as a Democrat.

KALAMAZOO – A Michigan 501c4 organization has announced it is seeking applications for political leadership position for the state of Michigan working with the LGBT community. The position is titled “campaign coordinator” and was posted to SmartBrief.com. The general description reads, “The Campaign Coordinator will organize the new statewide campaign to create a progressive Michigan by advancing LGBTQ and social justice values and issues. The campaign coordinator will lead the campaign’s research and subsequent activities in Michigan.”
Watch for an update on this developing story in the near future.

LOS ANGELES – David Brokaw, publicist for comedian Bill Cosby, told Between the Lines in a phone interview from Los Angeles that Cosby neither knows white supremacist Paul Geller, nor has he been in communication with the racist.
“He (Cosby) doesn’t know him (Geller). He has never spoken with this guy,” said Brokaw, adding that the comedian did not support the goals of the racists who organized the rally.
Geller claimed during a recent speech in Kalamazoo that he had invited Cosby to the “rally against black crime” and that he was “in contact” with Cosby.

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