Government stops working when it stops listening. It becomes government that happens to you, instead of government working for you. This abuse of the public’s trust impacts everything government touches — from our schools to our roads, water, and economy. Selling out this basic democratic principle has led to unjust, even fatal, consequences. Look no further than the 48,000 workers who were falsely accused of fraud by the state, the Flint water crisis, the privatization that led to tragedy at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, or children in Detroit who had to sue the governor for the right to literacy in our schools.
Michigan is ranked as one of the worst offenders for corruption by special interests and dark money. Government works best when elected officials are accountable to the people who elect them – not the people who bankroll their campaigns, and not their buddies.
I’m no stranger to cleaning up government. When the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office was mired in scandal, the circuit judges unanimously chose me to step in to reform the office and reestablish public trust. I implemented tougher ethics standards, just like we need statewide.
Now we need fundamental reforms to restore public trust, including:
Expanding freedom of information laws to include official email, correspondence, and the calendar of the Governor, because citizens shouldn’t have to file lawsuits to see what their government is up to. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and entire executive branch engaged in a conspiracy of silence during the Flint water crisis and the public didn’t have the tools to find out what they were hiding. Too many laws over the past seven years were negotiated by just a few legislators and power brokers behind closed doors.
Stricter lobbying rules because the sad truth is that lobbyists write legislation and dictate how too many members vote. We can limit that influence by stopping the revolving door that lets term-limited members cash in as lobbyists.
Real campaign finance reform and increased transparency to reform our system, because we’ve seen what happens when we allow millionaires to marshal fortunes to get themselves elected or sway an election for their own personal interests. It’s an affront to democracy and it has to stop.
Return power to local governments so their democratically elected offices can make decisions based on what their unique communities need. I fought against the emergency manager law — voting against it twice as a legislator, and once as a citizen. I will work to replace state emergency management with meaningful investment, support, and assistance and make sure that our public officials are putting the people of Michigan ahead of the bottom line. And I will veto any legislation that uses loopholes to cut the people out of the democratic process.
End gerrymandering so that the people choose their representatives, not the other way around. Before the next governor and the legislature sit down to redraw legislative districts we need to reform our election laws to prohibit the kind of gerrymandering that lets lawmakers create districts based on partisan interests instead of community interests.
Together, we will take on the tough fights and demand action in Lansing. I’m ready to work with anyone who wants to solve problems, and I’m not afraid to challenge both parties to do what’s right.
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