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A roundup of recent Michigan newspaper editorials

March 4, 2019

Detroit News. February 27, 2019

Weiser served the GOP well

For eight years, Republicans held complete control of the government in Michigan, a state that has significantly more Democratic voters and overwhelmingly supported that party’s presidential candidates during the same period.

Give much of the credit to Ron Weiser.

The just retired chairman of the state Republican Party put together a slate of candidates, a campaign strategy and a fundraising machine that paved the way for a series of Republican victories.

In 2010, Weiser led the state party to perhaps its biggest triumph, turning a sizeable Democratic majority in the state House into an equally significant Republican majority. And this was before redistricting gave the GOP an edge in the make-up of legislative districts.

After that election, Weiser effectively managed the tension between tea party and establishment Republicans, holding the party together.

During his two tenures as chairman — 2009 to 2011 and 2017 to 2019 — Michigan Republicans were never short of the money they needed to win Legislative and state Supreme Court races.

The Ann Arbor developer, who ranks as one of the richest people in the state, also helped fill the coffers of former President George W. Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and other national candidates. He’s served as the national Republican Party’s finance chair.

Weiser wasn’t just involved in politics; he was focused on policy as well. He orchestrated the passage of Michigan’s Right to Work Law, which gives workers the choice of whether to join a union and has improved Michigan’s competitiveness for jobs and investment.

In 2016, Weiser ran for office himself, winning a seat on the University of Michigan Board of Regents, a body he now chairs, and on which he is the lone Republican.

Over the past decade, few individuals have had as much influence on Michigan’s political landscapes as Ron Weiser.

The 73-year-old Weiser, who told last weekend’s state GOP convention that he is being treated for cancer, pledges to remain active in Republican politics both at the state and national level. He’s currently raising money for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

That’s good news for Republicans. Ron Weiser’s counsel and his fundraising prowess would be hard to replace.


The Mining Journal. February 26, 2019

Whitmer won’t appear on national ballot in 2020

As the 2020 presidential race heats up and declared candidates start looking around for viable running mates, some experts are predicting that the Democratic Party ticket will include a woman. After all, record numbers of women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 and it appears the female electorate is engaged like never before.

All of that said, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn’t going to be involved, at least as a candidate.

“I am less than 60 days on the job, and my sole focus is ensuring that we pass a budget that fixes the damn roads and closes the skills gap in Michigan,” Whitmer stated for a Detroit News story on the matter. “I am not interested in being on a national ticket at this juncture.”

That’s not to say she isn’t going to keep a close eye on the races; in fact, she plans to invite individual candidates to Michigan to pitch themselves. And yes, she may endorse one of the tickets as the races develop.

But that, apparently, is going to be it. And we view that as good news. She was just elected and has a lot of work to do here, like fixing the roads.


Traverse City Record-Eagle. March 1, 2019

Drivers: move over and slow down, please

Michigan’s new “Emergency Vehicle Caution Law” — also known as the “Move Over Law” — took effect this month. Drivers now must slow to 10 mph below the posted speed limit when passing any stopped emergency vehicle: ambulances, police cruisers, fire trucks or wreckers.

Anyone who doesn’t already do that is flirting with disaster.

The new law is intended to convince drivers that saving a few seconds of drive time isn’t worth risking a $400 fine and two points on their license, not to mention perhaps avoiding injuring or killing someone. Most drivers automatically slow down when they see flashing lights, because life already may be hanging in the balance.

The new law is more specific in speeds and penalties than the older law it replaces.

The new measure requires drivers to merge left, when possible, to allow an empty lane beside the emergency vehicle.

It’s a shame that an updated law is required to convince some people to navigate with care past emergency scenes.

A flashing light always screams “caution!” Every driver automatically should slow and give the scene wide berth.

A wrecker or police cruiser with lights flashing means there are probably emergency workers near or in traffic lanes.

A fire truck with lights flashing means there’s a rescue in progress, or the danger of fire on the roadway. An ambulance with lights flashing means injured victims may be on the scene, along with rescuers working to save them.

The last thing anyone needs in those situations is a carelessly driven car zooming past at full speed.

The Traverse City area has seen too many road tragedies in recent years. Changing a flat tire shouldn’t be a life-threatening experience. Riding a bike or walking along a country road should be safe. Working as part of a highway construction crew shouldn’t endanger your life. There’s no excuse for slamming into a fire truck at the scene of a traffic crash.

Anytime something big and something small are in close proximity, danger exists for the small. That’s particularly true when the small is a human body and the large is a two-ton chunk of metal.

Pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and trucks can co-exist on our roads. Everyone just needs to behave responsibly. Walkers and bikers need to obey rules of the road, and they need to choose routes wisely. Drivers need to use care whenever pedestrians or bikers are on the scene. And they need to slow down when emergency workers and emergency vehicles are at work. It’s the law.

Drivers need to obey all Michigan traffic regulations, including the new Emergency Vehicle Caution Law. They also need to obey the laws of common sense.

Road conditions vary. Slowing to 10 mph below the posted limit may not be enough when roads are slippery or visibility is poor.

Slow down in the snow — especially around emergency vehicles.