Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Need our Representative to Work for All of Us

Tim Walberg just doesn't get it. Almost half of the 7th district voters in the November 2 election did not vote for him. Yet he's once again parroting the Club for Growth talking points that show he favors the big money interests. For example: "I will be signing onto a bill as soon as I can to repeal 'ObamaCare' and restore the Bush tax cuts,"

Here's what I'd say to him:

Mr. Walberg, do some homework between now and January. There are many specific provisions of the health care bill that the majority of Americans want to see preserved. And, by the way, its proper name is the Affordable Care Act and it was passed by the Congress not the President, after much negotiation with Republicans. You haven't changed your plan since the last time you were in Congress. It features expanding the use of health savings accounts and putting a cap on non-economic damages and reducing "frivolous" medical lawsuits.

One big problem with your plan is that most of your constituents can't afford high deductible health savings accounts. Could the fact that those accounts are managed by big financial companies be why they appeal to you and fellow Republicans? And why would you feature making changes in medical malpractice as the key component of your plan for reducing health care costs? Malpractice insurance is a very small piece of the health care cost picture. In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that limiting malpractice liability would reduce total national health care spending by only about one-half of 1 percent. The Affordable Care Act made changes in seven areas that will reduce the cost of health care over time. Yes, changes that would lower malpractice insurance premiums could save some money but there are many, many more important things to address when it comes to making sure all citizens have access to affordable health care.

And about "restoring Bush tax cuts" (or to be more accurate, extending them). According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year. Households earning more than $1 million a year would get nearly $31 billion in tax breaks in 2011, for an average tax cut per household of about $100,000. Mr. Walberg, this will not sit well with voters who are worried about the national debt, some of whom could work for 30 years and not earn $1 million.

You've said you are planning to pickup where you left off before being ousted by Mark Schauer in 2008. Well, things have changed in the past two years. Your plans weren't worth much in 2006 and they're worth even less now.

You've been quoted as saying, "I love meeting with constituents on a level that isn't scripted," and that you'll hold lots of meetings with constituents so you can be open and receptive to the needs of the district. Well, I attended some of those "unscripted" meetings last time around, and all I heard were Club for Growth talking points. We deserve better this time around. We need a representative in Congress who has breadth of knowledge, flexibility in thinking and the ability to compromise. You will have to prove that this time is different, that you have the what it takes to ensure that our district, Michigan and the country are well-served. This is 2010 not 2006.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

That’s one way to send a message…

…but maybe not the only or the best way.

Was it really necessary to “send a message to Washington” by doing the electoral equivalent of tossing a brick through a window?

Come January 2011, as a voter in the 7th Congressional district, I will mourn the loss of Mark Schauer as my Representative. He’s hard working, intelligent, a good listener and acts with integrity to do what’s in the best interest of the district.

The message I want to send to Congressman Schauer is that people with the qualities he has are wanted and needed in government.

Were the message-senders on Election Day thinking about what they would lose by making the choices they did? Did those who didn’t bother to vote understand what the consequences would be? I don’t think so.

The next two years will be the test of whether the kind of brick-tossing message that voters sent brings change that works for all of us, or just gives obstructionists license to continue acting in their own rather than our country's best interest.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Do they care more about winning than about governing?

Our president mourns the current state of politics and urges those who win on November 2 to govern in the best interests of the country. A question that Involved Voters should be asking is: Which candidates are most likely to do that?

Here's a blog post on that topic from Steven Benen of The Washington Monthly:
It's worth reading - especially if one is thinking about sitting out this election.

Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 General Election - You Choose

Are we voting with our heads and hearts - or with our spleens? I question those who would try to "send a message" about their discontent by electing candidates who believe there is no such thing as "good government".

Spleens have very short memories. They forget what "The Republican Team" mentioned in the campaign literature we're getting did the last time it was in office. How the Republicans who ran Michigan until eight years ago set in place policies that helped create the perfect storm when the national economy went into recession during the Bush administration.

We all want to see a return to prosperity at the local, state and national levels. Michigan, thanks in part to the economic diversification that Governor Granholm promoted but no thanks to the Republican-controlled Senate, is beginning to recover. And, we have benefited from the national Recovery Act spending on infrastructure projects and local police, firefighters and teachers.

If we vote with our heads and hearts, we'll select candidates who believe that government has a valuable role to play, who take it seriously and will devote their time and talent to serving the public good.

To keep Michigan moving forward, I urge you to vote for the entire Democratic ticket. Especially for Mark Schauer for Representative for the 7th Congressional district, Rebekah Warren for State Senate for the 18th district, Christine Green to succeed Pam Byrnes as Representative for the State House 52nd district, and Adam Zemke for County Commissioner for Washtenaw County's 1st district.

And remember, there's a non-partisan section of the ballot where you'll find the judicial races. Alton Davis and Dennis Morris are excellent candidates for the two seats on the Michigan Supreme Court.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Research the Non-Partisan Side of Your Ballot

If you have an absentee ballot in hand, you already know that the 2010 General Election ballot has two sides.

The partisan side is where you'll find both state-wide and excellent local candidates (for example, Mark Shauer for 7th district Congressional Representative, Christine Green for Michigan 52nd district State Representative and Adam Zemke for Washtenaw County 1st district County Commissioner) listed.

The non-partisan side contains the State and County Ballot Proposals and the candidates for judicial positions. Information about the two State-wide ballot proposals can be found at the Michigan League of Women Voters site. Just scroll down to the State Proposals section.

The only contested judicial race is for Michigan Supreme Court Justice. I've done my research and encourage you to vote for Alton Davis and Denise Morris. In my opinion, it's time to replace Bob Young, incumbent appointee from the Engler administration. You can find out about Justice Young's worst decisions here.

If you plan to vote in person, get information about the voting process and your polling place, and view a sample ballot at

We Involved Voters face real choices in the 2010 General Election. Think. Choose. Vote.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Deadline - Monday, October 4

The voter registration deadline here in Michigan is Monday, October 4th. To check your registration information, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, or to find your polling location, go to

You can also register to vote at your county, city, or township Clerk's office, any Secretary of State branch, or one of several state agencies, like the Department of Human Services and the Department of Community Health. It is easy to register, but don't wait until it is too late.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Because Every Election Counts

Every election counts. That's why Involved Voters are making time to meet the candidates, visit their web sites and find out how they stand on the issues.

Ads for candidates range from those that highlight the best of the candidate's record and the values they stand for, to those that use outright falsehoods and emotional button-pushing in an attempt to damage the opponent. Involved Voters are skeptical of ads and fact check them. ( and are two fact-checking sources)

The one and only face-to-face debate by the candidates for governor, Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder, will air on live television statewide at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 10.

Meet two candidates that current State Representative Pam Byrnes is supporting, Christine Green, candidate for State Representative in the 52nd district, and Adam Zemke, candidate for County Commissioner in the 1st district, at a Moving Michigan Forward event, Thursday, October 7, 6-8 PM at the Chelsea Depot.

Spread the word: We have a choice. Every election counts!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Primary Election Day is today, August 3

Polls are open until 8 PM.

Involved Voters exercise their right to vote.

Not sure where to vote? Go to to find out.

Support the candidates of your choice.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Research - antidote to 11th hour, negative robo-calls

Involved voters counter last minute, negative robo-calls with research. Want to know a candidate's platform. Here's an example of one place you can look:

The Detroit Free Press said this about is a nonpartisan, educational Web site designed to facilitate those conversations. The product of a collaboration between Detroit Public Television, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Center for Michigan, the site attempts to redefine voter guides. has published traditional candidate profiles, along with demographic data and statistics on individual districts. What makes unique, however, is providing a common platform for more than 200 candidates in open seat races to address voters directly. Candidates must address four key issues the state faces: what they'd do about the economy and job creation, their views on education, their approach to balance government budgets, and their agenda, if any, for reforming government in Michigan.

By viewing videos, voters have the chance to experience each candidate, hear his or her views, and chat with other voters on the candidate's message and qualifications. In addition, people can post their own videos, expounding their own views of the key issues facing Michigan, and what they, as citizens, think should happen.'s mission also extends to education, offering a curriculum guide and suggested lesson plans, so teachers can take the message of civic responsibility into the classroom and prepare future voters.
Please take the time to inform yourself - and to vote in the Michigan primary, Tuesday, August 3.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

August 3rd Primary - Your Vote Counts!

July will zip by. So, it's not too soon for Involved Voters to take a look at the Michigan Primary ballot. Just go to MIVote and put in your voter information to see a sample ballot.

Mark Schauer is running unopposed in the Primary for a second term as 7th District Representative in Congress. If you're in his district, show your appreciation for all he's done by casting a vote for him in the August 3 Democratic primary. He'll have a battle in the General Election with Republicans pouring in the big money to try to defeat him.

Pam Byrnes, who has lived and worked in Washtenaw County for 35 years, has a wealth of knowledge and skill gained from 3 terms as 52nd District State Representative. She's term-limited as a Representative, but we Washtenaw County residents still have a chance to benefit from her leadership in the areas of jobs and education by voting for her in the Democratic primary race for the State Senate.

Christine Green is an excellent candidate who's not afraid to tell you where she stands on the issues facing Michigan. She's a Democratic candidate for the MI 52 District seat that Pam Byrnes is leaving. Voting for her in the August 3rd Primary is the best move to keep the 52nd's seat in the Democratic column in this fall's General Election and avoid the Republican's brand of "bipartisanship".

Adam Zemke is a Democratic candidate for County Commissioner - 1st District. Developing the local economy, increasing government efficiency and preserving essential services are the main points of his platform. He's a good choice for Involved Voters living in Washtenaw County's 1st District

And remember to look for the Democratic Precinct Delegate slate. Delegates serve as your local connection to the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.

Please be sure to request an absentee ballot from your city or township clerk if you plan to be away on vacation August 3 or are eligible for one for another reason.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Last Minute Help with Your 1040

Remember the Recovery Act? Here's a way to make sure you don't miss the tax breaks that were included in it. Go to the Recovery Act Tax Saving Tool at

Friday, March 26, 2010

What the Passage of the Health Care Bills Means for Us

Here's the information that Involved Voters need to set the record straight on Health Care.

From 7th District Congressman Mark Schauer

"What does health insurance reform actually mean for me?"

  • This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.
  • This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.
  • This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they need.
  • This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.
  • In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of patients over the next five years.
  • This year, we'll also establish an independent commission to advise on how best to build the health care workforce and increase the number of nurses, doctors and other professionals to meet our country's needs. Going forward, we will provide $1.5 billion in funding to support the next generation of doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners -- on top of a $500 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Health insurance reform will also curb some of the worst insurance industry practices and strengthen consumer protections:

  • This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.
  • This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.
  • Beginning this fiscal year, this bill provides funding to states to help establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals in the process of filing complaints or appeals against insurance companies.
  • Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don't meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.
  • Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.

Reform immediately begins to lower health care costs for American families and small businesses:

  • This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable.
  • This year, new private plans will be required to provide free preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.
  • This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.

This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the 'donut hole.'

If you already knew all of this, congratulations on being exceptionally well-informed. If this is not at all like what you've been hearing from "The Party of NO," perhaps you've been the victim of a misinformation campaign. Whatever the case, now you know. So, please share the good news!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Three Cheers for Mark Schauer - and Us!

Our 7th District Congressman, Mark Schauer, continued his excellent work on behalf of constituents and the State of Michigan by voting for health care reform last night. (Please see my previous posts and for information about how the legislation will benefit us.)

This was a gutsy vote on Schauer's part. He's already been targeted by big-money, special interests who want to replace him with someone who will dance to their tune.

We are lucky to have a Representative who works as hard and has as much integrity as Mark Schauer. So, it's up to us Involved Voters to make sure Mark gets re-elected.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Isn't it about time?!

A year's worth of discussing, ideas, formulating legislation and debating; two health care reform bills, one passed by the House and one passed by the Senate with 60 out of 100 votes - more than a simple majority. Now it's time to wrap things up and give all of us who have been waiting (not always patiently) what we want.

Here's what the "reconciliation process", otherwise known as a majority vote on the budget-related elements of health care reform with debate but without filibustering, will deliver for us:

Hold Insurance Companies Accountable:
  • Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all new plans;
  • Prohibit rescissions of health insurance policies in all individual plans;
  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
  • Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs;
  • Establish a process for the annual review of unreasonable increases in premiums, requiring State insurance commissioners to work with the HHS Secretary and States.

Protect Consumers:

  • Provide grants to States to support health insurance consumer assistance and ombudsman programs to help consumers;
  • Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
  • Require all insurance plans to use uniform coverage documents so consumers can make easy comparisons when shopping for health insurance;
  • Establish an internet portal to assist Americans in identifying coverage options;
  • Prohibit insurers from discriminating in favor of highly compensated employees by charging them lower premiums.

Ensure Affordable Choices and Quality Care:

  • Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
  • Create a temporary re-insurance program for early retirees;
  • Require new plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
  • Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
  • Facilitate administrative simplification to lower health system costs.
The Republican's in Congress want to trash all these gains and start over! After a year of working to get this far! As an Involved Voter, ask yourself: Who are they working for?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Republican Support for Congressman Mark Schauer

Is Republican talking points crafter and Wall Street consultant Frank Luntz losing it?

He used a photo of our Democratic Congressman (7th District) Mark Schauer and his wife, Christine, who are small business owners in a memo on how to kill Wall Street reform by making it seem like it would hurt small business owners. (Luntz's specialty is calling things by names that grab people by the emotions and short circuit their reasoning ability - for example "death taxes" for the estate taxes that the very rich pay.)

Here's a link to the story on YouTube.

I think Luntz' goof is good for Mark. Lots of Republicans in the 7th admire how hard he works for people in the district and what a contrast his grasp of the issues is to his GOP predecessor's regurgitation of empty talking points. Schauer is a keeper. But, expect lots of Club for Growth and other big bucks to be flowing in to try to defeat him.

Let's let them know they can't buy Involve Voters' votes!