By Michele Bourdieu
HANCOCK, HOUGHTON -- The local petition drive to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder reports collecting more than 300 signatures in the first eight days of the drive for Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties. The group of concerned citizen volunteers kicked off their signature collection on Saturday, June 4, in Hancock.
On June 4 in Hancock, local residents sign the Petition to Recall Rick Snyder. Signers must be 18 years old and registered to vote in the State of Michigan. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
Krissy Sundstrom, BHK (Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw counties) petition captain and event coordinator, said the first collection brought more signatures than she had anticipated.
"Going in I thought if we even get 50 signatures it would be a successful event and worth the effort. Let me tell you," Sundstrom said, "we walked out with many full petitions containing 234 signatures!"
At the June 4 event Joanne and Gary Frederick of Osceola Township both signed the petition and were quite frank about their reasons for signing.
On June 4, Joanne and Gary Frederick, seated, of Osceola Township sign the Petition to Recall Rick Snyder. At far left is Krissy Sundstrom, petition captain and event coordinator for Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Also assisting signers is Kari Sloat of Baltic.
"I can't stand that man," Joanne Frederick said. "How about the jobs? How many jobs have you seen in Michigan since this all started? He's worthless -- just worthless."
Her husband, Gary Frederick, blamed Snyder's shortcomings on the fact that he is a Republican.
"Any time you put a Republican in you've got a problem," Gary Frederick said. "They're strictly against the working man. They're strictly against unions, and unions are the best thing that ever happened to this country. You get good insurance, a pension. It isn't because of the Republicans. It's because of the Democrats.
Gary Frederick is a member of Local 190 Plumber and Pipe Fitter union. He worked as a welder on natural gas lines, but is now retired and receives benefits, thanks to the union, he explained.
Volunteers Kari Sloat, left, and Jennifer Sundstrom, third from left, assist signers Jordan Hahka of Ripley, second from left, and Kyle Hueter of Hancock.
Eugene Johnson, a retiree from Eagle Harbor, who also signed the petition in Hancock, spoke of the new tax bill that intends to tax pension income other than social security and military pensions.
"It hits our pension income while business gets tax breaks," Johnson said.
Jason Laplander of Hubbell said he came to sign the petition because of his concerns about teachers' rights since his wife is a teacher -- and about Snyder's attacks on the middle class, seniors and low-income people.
"He's trying to take away bargaining rights of teachers," Laplander noted.
Individual volunteers gathered for a training session at the Fifth and Elm Coffee House in Houghton on Saturday, June 11, just before the opening of the Spring Art and Music Festival on the city's upper parking deck. The petition drive was not affiliated with the Festival, but volunteer authorized petition circulators stationed on Shelden Avenue invited passers-by -- many of whom were going to or from the Festival -- to sign the petition.
Two of these volunteers were Wilma Minetti and her cousin Sam Buschell, both of Lake Linden.
On June 11 in downtown Houghton, Wilma Minetti and her cousin Sam Buschell, both of Lake Linden, after a training session, collect signatures for the Recall Rick Snyder petition.
Minetti said they were helping collect signatures to save local schools and towns.*
"He's (Snyder's) tearing it apart," she said. "He wants to privatize everything."
Sundstrom reported they collected 117 signatures on June 11.
The next Petition to Recall Rick Snyder signing event is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at the Bridgeview Park in Houghton.
Sundstrom said the local petition signing effort has received solicitation approval from the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce. This covers the Houghton, Hancock, and Calumet areas. More events will be scheduled for July.
Volunteer petition circulators Wilma Minetti, left, and Sam Buschell, right, assist signers Heather Hendrickson of Houghton, seated, and Amy Papp (in brown jacket), a teacher and volleyball coach at Iron Mountain High School. Papp's volleyball players, in the background, were participating in the Hancock Volleyball Camp on Saturday, June 11.
For more information and updates about the effort please visit The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder website at http://firericksnyder.org/ or the local Upper Peninsula effort at www.facebook.com/yoopersagainstsnyder.
Volunteers are still needed to help collect signatures, especially in Baraga County. Petition circulators are not required to be registered to vote in the State of Michigan, but they must be 18 years old and eligible to register to vote. If you wish to volunteer, please contact Krissy Sundstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Editor's Note: Snyder intends to assign emergency financial managers (EFMs) to any community or school district that has to request assistance in times of financial stress. The EFM will have the full authority to dissolve unions and overrule local governments.