Progress Michigan http://www.progressmichigan.org Uncompromised progressive politics for Michigan. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:50:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Another Pothole, This Time in Snyder’s Budget http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/another-pothole-time-snyders-budget/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/another-pothole-time-snyders-budget/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:08:57 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37890 It’s that time of year again when Governor Snyder and our legislators start planning the 2016 state budget. They like to tell you how planning the budget is the same as balancing your checkbook at home, but it’s not. Planning the state budget for the year requires dozens of elected officials and economists to work […]

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It’s that time of year again when Governor Snyder and our legislators start planning the 2016 state budget. They like to tell you how planning the budget is the same as balancing your checkbook at home, but it’s not. Planning the state budget for the year requires dozens of elected officials and economists to work together over the course of several months to determine what choices must be made to ensure that they’re meeting the needs of Michigan residents. The budget they create will impact the lives of over nine million people who live in this state, including you.

Unfortunately, over the last several decades, the budgets our elected leaders have crafted have not reflected our priorities. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year talking to local elected officials, teachers, parents, and students about how cuts to the state budget have impacted their communities, and everyone is hurting.

In Utica, lack of revenue from state legislators means that the local government is almost to the point where they can’t provide police and fire protection or maintain the city’s public library. In Dearborn City schools, teachers have to pay out of pocket for basic things like glue, pencils, paper, and cleaning supplies for students. Parents in Grand Rapids have told me how they’ve seen K-12 class sizes in schools across the county nearly double over the years, even as teachers are laid off.

I’ve talked to college professors who have watched as their students were forced to drop out because they couldn’t afford the cost of tuition. I’ll probably be paying off my student loan debt for the next ten years, minimum, and have friends who are in far worse situations than I am. I’m sure you have your own story to tell about what’s happening in your community.

This is the reality for most of us in this state. Most of us, that is, except the wealthy and big businesses. Two-thirds of Michigan businesses don’t pay an income tax at all and residents making over $300,000 per year pay proportionally less in taxes than Michiganders making less than $17,000 per year. That’s because our legislators passed policies that are intentionally designed to ensure that the wealthy and big businesses aren’t required to pay their fair share – an imbalance that keeps most of us living from paycheck to paycheck and prevents us from having enough revenue to fix our roads and fund our schools and communities.

In 2011, Governor Snyder doubled down on this failed “trickle down” theory and gave corporations another $1.8 billion tax cut that was paid for by further cuts to our communities.

It wasn’t always this way. Michigan’s economy was once on the right track. Detroit’s population was once growing. Our elected leaders once recognized that lining the pockets of the super-rich and big businesses aren’t what drives our economy forward, everyday people are. That our taxes pay for public education, public health, public parks, sanitation, police, and all the public services that make our cities livable.

Until our elected officials wake up and realize that depriving students of a good education, stealing money from local communities, and neglecting our transportation infrastructure in order to provide more tax giveaways doesn’t work, then we’ll keep heading straight for a cliff.

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NRA Priorities for Michigan http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/nra-priorities-michigan/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/nra-priorities-michigan/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:49:27 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37885 By Brad O’Neil Just as one unnecessary and dangerous bill is averted another is introduced. Welcome to NRA-controlled Michigan. Earlier this month, Governor Snyder vetoed an NRA (National Rifle Association)-backed bill that would have made it possible for individuals with PPOs (Personal Protection Orders) or as they’re more commonly known, Restraining Orders, to obtain CPLs […]

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By Brad O’Neil

Just as one unnecessary and dangerous bill is averted another is introduced. Welcome to NRA-controlled Michigan.

Earlier this month, Governor Snyder vetoed an NRA (National Rifle Association)-backed bill that would have made it possible for individuals with PPOs (Personal Protection Orders) or as they’re more commonly known, Restraining Orders, to obtain CPLs (concealed pistol licenses).

Citing safety concerns and the risk of exposing victims of domestic abuse and other crimes like stalking to more violence, the Governor did the right thing by listening to progressives and vetoing the bill. However, the exact same bill has now been reintroduced in the new session of the legislature with the PPO language removed.

Scarier than the enormous influence of the gun lobby is how little our legislators seem to understand the bills they introduce on its behalf. Before groups like Progress Michigan made known the danger posed by the original bill, it’s Republican sponsor, Sen. Mike Green, hadn’t even been aware of the language to which we were referring. Even after it was brought to his attention he still refused to admit it’s inherent danger.

The Senator claims the new version of the bill does nothing more than streamline the process for obtaining a CPL by abolishing county gun boards, which currently approve them, and shifting the duty to County Clerks.

From 2003 through 2013, the number of CPLs issued in Michigan rose from over 30,000 to more than 110,000 and the amount of time it takes for an FBI clearance dropped from 11 days to about 2 hours. It would seem to most people that the process is sufficiently streamlined.

So one must wonder, when there are so many important issues that our legislators should be working on why is this bill such a strong priority for the Senator? The answer is simple – because it’s a priority for the NRA.

The NRA spent over $3.3 million in Michigan and lobbied for over 90 bills last year. Not to mention over $85,000 in grants that are awarded to firearm related organizations in Michigan each year. The majority of which have youth programs.

At a time when decisions made by our elected officials have led to a massive budget shortfall and left our roads and bridges crumbling, Michiganders should be offended that their lawmakers are focused on the priorities of corporate interest groups like the NRA instead of focusing on the priorities of their actual constituents.

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Bill Schuette Joins the Cast of Michigan ‘Corporate Puppets’ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/bill-schuette-joins-cast-michigan-corporate-puppets/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/bill-schuette-joins-cast-michigan-corporate-puppets/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:30:14 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37883 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from Progress Michigan January 27, 2014 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Bill Schuette Joins the Cast of Michigan ‘Corporate Puppets’ Puppet Snyder is joined by Puppet Schuette for a rap about the direction they’re taking Michigan  LANSING — Today, Progress Michigan released the second video of their “Corporate Puppet” series. The latest video introduces a […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from Progress Michigan

January 27, 2014

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Bill Schuette Joins the Cast of Michigan ‘Corporate Puppets’

Puppet Snyder is joined by Puppet Schuette for a rap about the direction they’re taking Michigan 

LANSING — Today, Progress Michigan released the second video of their “Corporate Puppet” series. The latest video introduces a new character — Corporate Puppet Bill Schuette — who joins Puppet Rick Snyder for a duet.

The video opens with a “CEO” pleased with Puppet Snyder’s State of the State address, who then reveals he has another corporate puppet in his pocket, Attorney General Bill Schuette.

What follows is some chitchat between the two puppets before they break into a rap about how they as a duo are taking the state to the “far-right”:

(Singing to the tune of “It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock)

Snyder: (rapping)

“I won the election now

And my base will sure run this town

I’m not yet nationally known

But I’m known to be a corporate drone”

Schuette: (rapping)

“‘Cause we get crazy and outrageous

Stay away from me cause I’m a crusadah”

Together: (singing)

“‘Cause it takes two to make state turn right

Soon the middle class will be outta sight”

“The right-wing duo of Attorney General Bill Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder has taken its toll on Michigan families,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Whether it’s their embarrassing fight against marriage equality or protecting dangerous pharmaceutical companies, Snyder and Schuette have proven that their loyalties lie with a far-right agenda and not Michigan families.”

The video can be found on Progress Michigan’s Youtube page.

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This Week in Progress http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/week-progress-36/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/week-progress-36/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:26:42 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37874 This week we heard about the State of the State and the State of the Union. This week in PM Blogging: Corporate Puppets You may recall what we did last year with the State of the State. We introduced you to the Fake Rick Snyder. This year, we set out to show Michiganders where Gov. Snyder’s […]

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This week we heard about the State of the State and the State of the Union.

This week in PM Blogging:

Corporate Puppets

You may recall what we did last year with the State of the State. We introduced you to the Fake Rick Snyder. This year, we set out to show Michiganders where Gov. Snyder’s loyalties truly lie: with his corporate puppet masters.

The Contract of Contradictions

You thought conservatives in our legislature over the last four years were bad? Well, say hello to two of your newly elected State House representatives, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.

TWIP Clips:

The State of the State

Predictably, Gov. Snyder once again whitewashed his right-wing record that values corporate profits over people during his fifth State of the State address. However, Gov. Snyder introduced us to an interesting metaphor: “The River of Opportunity.” We believe Snyder’s polices have left Michiganders “up shit creek without a paddle.”

This week, we decided to have some fun with Snyder’s new mantra and created some great memes that have been blowing up on social media.

jaws-01

 

Snyder snorkeling2

The State of the Union

After listening to Gov. Snyder drone on for an hour about his failed ideas and policies that only benefit the wealthy and well-connected, we had the opportunity to hear from President Barack Obama.

The contrast between the two executive officer holders was stark, as we pointed out.

President Obama hit on some key progressive issues that we definitely support: paid sick days, free community college, and raising the minimum wage. It was refreshing to hear about policies that actually help people — rather than Snyder’s tired old policies of trickle down economics.

Oh, and of course there was this:

Progressive Reads:

Editorial: Workers deserve paid sick, parental leave

Susan Demas: How will Gov. Rick Snyder deal with Michigan’s business-tax-cut-fueled budget deficit?

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Engage Michigan: Social Justice Organizer http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/engage-michigan-social-justice-organizer/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/engage-michigan-social-justice-organizer/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37871 Engage Michigan JOB ANNOUNCEMENT Social Justice Organizer Application Deadline:  February 20, 2015 or until the ideal candidate is identified. Engage Michigan is organizing for progressive change. We are hiring a Social Justice Organizer to help make that happen. This position will be housed in our Detroit office. Position Overview: As the Engage Michigan Social Justice […]

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Engage Michigan

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

Social Justice Organizer

Application Deadline:  February 20, 2015 or until the ideal candidate is identified.

Engage Michigan is organizing for progressive change. We are hiring a Social Justice Organizer to help make that happen. This position will be housed in our Detroit office.

Position Overview: As the Engage Michigan Social Justice Organizer, you will be responsible for helping cultivate relationships to drive media and online campaigns while assisting the Social Justice Communications Coordinator in building communications capacity for our partners in Michigan’s social justice and civic engagement community. This includes seeking out and coordinating with allies, designing the strategy and tactics, and then assisting with the implementation of all aspects of issue-based campaigns including: racial justice and minority rights; juvenile justice and prison reforms; immigration reform; community benefits agreements and other community-based economic development initiatives; and expanding voter opportunities in traditionally marginalized voter populations.

You will assist the Communications Coordinator with writing press releases, press advisories, talking points, opinion pieces and developing and deploying new and traditional media communications.

You must have the desire and the temperament to work collaboratively with organizations that have a range of communications experience and skills. Your passion must be to expand social justice and you must be comfortable and willing to be a team player. You’ll need to be adept and creative at organizing and mobilizing folks to make a difference. You’ll need to be able to turn on a dime and respond quickly so when there’s a new idea on Monday afternoon, you can implement it on Tuesday morning. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need an entrepreneurial spirit to help establish a ubiquitous brand and take Engage Michigan to the next level.

REQUIREMENTS: To position our Social Justice Organizer for success, we have identified three critical skill-sets necessary to excel in this role – roughly grouped into Scalable Organizing skills, Technology, and Communications. Strong candidates will be skilled in all three areas. We also encourage candidates to apply who don’t have deep expertise in all three areas, but have exceptional skills in one or two areas as well as the hunger and aptitude to learn the other areas quickly.

Scalable Organizing

  • Constantly thinking of creative new ways to mobilize supporters in ways that have a tangible impact
  • Can integrate online communications with real-world organizing
  • Skilled at combining various tactics and managing the tempo of a campaign to keep the momentum building
  • Social media organizing experience across a variety of platforms is strongly preferred
  • Experience directing advocacy campaigns is preferred
  • Ability to manage staff and volunteers and conduct trainings

Technology

  • Adept at figuring out creative ways of leveraging technology to accomplish goals
  • Skilled at testing new uses of technology, and knows how to measure what’s working
  • Has managed and scoped out web tools
  • Willing to learn from others and follow the latest best practices

Communications

  • Powerful writer for earned media and online audiences, especially succinct press releases, short and catchy email actions and insightful opinion pieces
  • Knows what media tactics will attract press coverage, how to pitch a story and makes themselves indispensible to reporters and assignment editors
  • Able to organize simultaneous, creative, TV-centric earned media events
  • Thrives on maintaining relevancy in the 24-hour news cycle

Work Environment

  • Likes teamwork, but can work independently day-to-day
  • Highly self-motivated
  • Can plan and manage complex projects under relentless deadlines
  • Is low-ego and high-output (like the rest of our team)
  • Can change directions quickly and frequently
  • Likes working hard with a hard-working team
  • Can connect with rest of team remotely: communicates well on conference calls, IM and email

Compensation:

Engage Michigan offers a competitive salary and benefits package based on relevant experience.

To Apply: 

Please email a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position to Lonnie Scott, Executive Director at Jobs@EngageMichigan.org with the subject line “Social Justice Organizer.”

Engage Michigan is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

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The Contract of Contradictions http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/contract-contradictions/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/contract-contradictions/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:05:49 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37866 You thought conservatives in our legislature over the last four years were bad? Well, say hello to two of your newly elected State House representatives, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Courser and Gamrat are the poster children for the Right’s Dominionist Movement in Michigan and they let us know it every chance they get – […]

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You thought conservatives in our legislature over the last four years were bad? Well, say hello to two of your newly elected State House representatives, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.

Courser and Gamrat are the poster children for the Right’s Dominionist Movement in Michigan and they let us know it every chance they get – most recently in their response to the Governor’s State of the State address. Dominionists believe the United States should be a Christian nation, generally do not recognize the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity, and believe that “biblical law” should be the foundation of American law.

Reps. Courser and Gamrat also hate government, which is ironic since they have chosen to make a career out of being members of it.

Conservatives like Gamrat and Courser like to minimize the role of our elected leaders to a tired three-word phrase – “tax and spend” – while seemingly forgetting that they too are members of the institution they seek to dismantle. They espouse liberty for all while advancing the interests of the privileged few. From what I’ve read, their discourse suggests that they have no real understanding of why our government exists or how it works.

Not only is Gamrat and Courser’s rhetoric completely hypocritical, like when they state in the “The Contract for Liberty” that, “There is no more fundamental right than to be free from government intrusion into the intimacy and privacy of our own bodies,” while simultaneously advancing legislation that limits a woman’s freedom to make decisions about her own body, it also directly opposes the values of the progressive movement.

In the real world, where progressives live, we elected representatives to work with us to provide opportunity, freedom, and justice for all, not to demolish the very programs with which we work together to achieve that vision.

When you ride your bike or go running through your favorite local park, you’re enjoying a space that was built and maintained by you and your local government. When you drop your rent check in the mailbox, you can rest assured it’s probably going to get to where it needs to go thanks to government postal delivery employees. Past elected officials worked together with citizens to create that public university whose football team you root for every year. When you think about your favorite teacher, odds are that teacher was an employee of a government-administered public school.

It wasn’t extremists, destructive industries, and out-of-control-capitalists like the DeVos family who built this state; it was Michiganders working together through our government. It is through government that we will continue to work together to create strong communities, solve problems, protect our families, drive our economy forward, expand justice and opportunity for people of every gender, race, religion, income and sexual orientation, and hold accountable the wealthy and well-connected that we can’t stand up to alone.

Government is not some far away compound filled with bureaucrats who plot to destroy our country, our government is how we as a society decide what is important to us and gives us the means to make that vision a reality.

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Strange Bedfellows: Progress Michigan Supports Mackinac Center FOIA Lawsuit http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/strange-bedfellows-progress-michigan-supports-mackinac-center-foia-lawsuit/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/strange-bedfellows-progress-michigan-supports-mackinac-center-foia-lawsuit/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:54:23 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37863 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from Progress Michigan  January 22, 2015 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Strange Bedfellows: Progress Michigan Supports Mackinac Center FOIA Lawsuit FOIA reform is an issue we can all agree on LANSING – Today, Progress Michigan announced their support for a lawsuit brought by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy alleging that the Michigan Liquor Control […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from Progress Michigan 

January 22, 2015

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Strange Bedfellows: Progress Michigan Supports Mackinac Center FOIA Lawsuit

FOIA reform is an issue we can all agree on

LANSING – Today, Progress Michigan announced their support for a lawsuit brought by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy alleging that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission broke FOIA law by charging excessive fees for copying information onto a flash drive.

“Though we disagree with the Mackinac Center on just about every major issue, we find common ground in exposing Michigan’s broken FOIA laws,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “If this is how Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration treats its conservative political allies then the public should be concerned about how those who oppose Snyder’s policies are treated. When your friends are suing you, it speaks volumes about your trustworthiness.”

Progress Michigan has repeatedly used the FOIA law to keep Michigan residents informed on how its government operates. Copies of FOIA documents obtained and released by Progress Michigan can be found here.

“The fees charged to obtain public information are astronomical,” Scott continued. “Progress Michigan will have spent nearly $10,000 obtaining information that is supposed to be publicly available. The bill the Governor signed in lame duck is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done with FOIA reform.”

Progress Michigan would like to see reforms to extend FOIA to include executive and legislative offices along with administrative functions of the judiciary and to make it easier for the general public to obtain the documents.

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Progress Michigan on President Obama’s State of the Union Address http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/progress-michigan-president-obamas-state-union-address/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/progress-michigan-president-obamas-state-union-address/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 03:18:54 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37860 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from Progress Michigan January 20, 2015 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Progress Michigan on President Obama’s State of the Union Address MICHIGAN — The following statement can be attributed to Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address: “Tonight’s contrast between the State of the […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan

January 20, 2015

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Progress Michigan on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

MICHIGAN — The following statement can be attributed to Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:

“Tonight’s contrast between the State of the State and the State of the Union was the difference between vague metaphors and clearly defined plans. While Governor Snyder offered empty rhetoric that didn’t match his true priority of pushing a pro-corporate agenda that hurts Michigan families, President Obama outlined a path to prosperity. He put forth real plans to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work and families have access to paid sick leave, improve our nation’s tax system, ensuring that everyone pays their fair share, and increase educational opportunities for all.”

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Progress Michigan Responds to Gov. Snyder’s Fifth State of the State Address http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/progress-michigan-responds-gov-snyders-fifth-state-state-address/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/progress-michigan-responds-gov-snyders-fifth-state-state-address/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:12:28 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37858 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Progress Michigan State of the State Response January 20, 2014 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Progress Michigan Responds to Gov. Snyder’s Fifth State of the State Address MICHIGAN — Below is Progress Michigan’s statement in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address: “Governor Snyder kept talking about the river of opportunity, […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Progress Michigan State of the State Response

January 20, 2014

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Progress Michigan Responds to Gov. Snyder’s Fifth State of the State Address

MICHIGAN — Below is Progress Michigan’s statement in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address:

“Governor Snyder kept talking about the river of opportunity, but his policies have left many Michigan families up shit creek without a paddle,” said Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “The Governor once again glossed over the right-wing policies of his administration that have hurt Michigan families. Gov. Snyder has actively fought against LGBT equality, attacked a woman’s right to choose and refused to hold corporations like Aramark accountable for abusing our tax dollars. What we heard tonight was more happy-talk from a governor who has been nothing but a puppet for right-wing corporate donors.”

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Corporate Puppets http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/corporate-puppets/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2015/01/corporate-puppets/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 22:22:19 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37855 Tonight is Gov. Snyder’s fifth State of the State address where he will undoubtedly try to whitewash his corporate-driven agenda. You may recall what we did last year with the State of the State. We introduced you to the Fake Rick Snyder. This year, we set out to show Michiganders where Gov. Snyder’s loyalties truly […]

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Tonight is Gov. Snyder’s fifth State of the State address where he will undoubtedly try to whitewash his corporate-driven agenda.

You may recall what we did last year with the State of the State. We introduced you to the Fake Rick Snyder. This year, we set out to show Michiganders where Gov. Snyder’s loyalties truly lie: with his corporate puppet masters.

And what better way to highlight that than with a Corporate Puppet Rick Snyder? He laughs, he talks, he’s made of foam and he’s ready for four more years of putting the needs of his corporate masters above Michigan families.

This isn’t the last time you’ll be seeing Corporate Puppet Snyder — and he’s certainly not the last corporate crony that we’ll be Muppetizing.

We like to have fun and do things differently at Progress Michigan, but the message behind this video and character couldn’t be more serious. Gov. Snyder has been a puppet for corporate special interests ever since he took office. We’ve seen massive corporate tax giveaways, a massive influx of for-profit and unaccountable charter schools and sweetheart deals like the Aramark contract. It’s clear who’s pulling the strings in the Snyder administration — CEOs and corporate special interests — and we’re out to set the record straight.

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