See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Senators Stabenow, Peters and Rep. Bergman comment on Capitol siege, electoral college votes

WASHINGTON, DC; DETROIT -- Today, Jan. 7, Michigan Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters released statements on the Electoral College vote count and the siege during which rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and delayed the proceedings. First District U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R) sent comments in a Jan. 6 email.

Senator Stabenow said, "A day that began with a brazen and dangerous attack on our democracy has ended with a sign of its endurance: Congress returned to work and validated the election of Joe Biden as our next president and Kamala Harris as our next vice president. Michigan’s votes were counted and voices were heard. I am grateful to law enforcement officers who keep us safe every day and ensured that we could fulfill our constitutional duty."

Senator Peters made two statements -- one on the events of Jan. 6 and another calling for President Trump to be removed from office.

Senator Peters released the following statement after Congress certified the Electoral College votes:

"Wednesday’s dangerous and unacceptable attack on our Capitol marked one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. These events went against the very values upon which our country was founded.

"The President’s continued refusal to accept the election results and efforts to stoke violence demonstrates his complete absence of leadership and character. His words and actions incited domestic terrorists who endangered democratically elected leaders, staff and law enforcement.

"It was horrific that as members carried out their constitutional duty they were disrupted and threatened by armed rioters in a desperate attempt to keep President Trump in power.

"We had a secure, free and fair election that was certified by Michigan and every other state. Despite what transpired, Congress reconvened and completed the Electoral College vote count. There is no question that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn into office on January 20th.

"We cannot allow these events to deter us from doing the important work ahead of us. I have faith that we can emerge more united, but only if we come all together."

In his email, Michigan First District Congressman Jack Bergman first commented on his opposition to the Electoral College votes:

"In times of tension and turmoil, leaders stand up and do what is right. I made it very clear this week that I intended to stand for my belief that irregularities, discrepancies, and usurpation of state election laws demanded an investigation into the 2020 election. After all, this is a duty that Congress has been given and a lawful way to challenge concerns with state electors. As prescribed by the 12th Amendment, a joint session of Congress is to meet to 'count electoral votes' and make a final determination on the 2020 Presidential Election. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 gives Congress the opportunity to object to any state where any member believes votes were either 'unlawfully certified' or 'not regularly given.' That is what I did today, and what many before me have done - including in recent elections...."

Rep. Bergman added these comments on the siege of the Capitol:

"The actions of the mob that participated in storming the Capitol, fighting Capitol Police, and harming civilians and property is un-American and a disgrace to our republic. Those who broke the law and participated in this effort should receive maximum punishment. These actions undermine our very foundation -- I didn’t fight for our country for forty years to see us devolve into settling political disputes by violence and intimidation.

"We are a nation of law and order and must remain so if we are to maintain our republic."

Houghton County Dems pass resolution in support of Western UP Health Department

The following resolution was passed at the January 6th 2021 regular monthly meeting of the Houghton County Democratic Party, supporting the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) in promoting the health guidelines that help us all fight the spread of coronavirus in our community: We appreciate the work you, WUPHD, do every day in the face of an implacable pandemic and political pressures attempting to prevent you from doing your jobs. We stand with you.

Whereas: Houghton County has been impacted by COVID-19 with 2023 cases, increasing daily, and 33 deaths (per the Michigan Department of Public Health);

Whereas: Statistics alone cannot measure the social and health impacts on the residents of this county that include long term health effects from those recovering from COVID-19 (some still not even recognized); health issues related to disruptions or delays in receiving routine or urgent health care services due to the need to preserve resources for COVID-19 patients; mental health issues related to stress, economic hardship, overburdening of workers in front-line and health care jobs; and delays in educational achievement for many students due to changes from in-person to on-line learning;

Whereas: There has also been grave negative economic impact on individuals who have lost jobs or had hours reduced; small businesses that have had to close or greatly reduce hours or services; institutes of higher education who have lower enrollment and revenues while costs have increased to provide safe environments for learning; public and private schools who have struggled to provide the additional services needed without increase in funding; hospitals, nursing homes and other health care services who have had increases in costs for equipment and supplies as well as staff shortages; and local units of government facing reduced funding;

Whereas: Despite the above impact there has been and continues to be a strong community spirit with many small businesses following the rules of the Michigan Department of Public Health, even as these rules have changed throughout the year, in order to keep both their employees and customers safe; social and religious organizations adapting to a new normal often with the use of technology or new ways of organization to continue to reach their members; and most people following the techniques called for by health officials for social distancing, wearing of masks, and restricting contacts with others to slow transmission of the virus;

Whereas: Health officials locally, state-wide and nationally are calling for us to continue to be diligent with the behaviors that have been shown to slow transmission of the virus while encouraging the use of the vaccine as it becomes available to us;

Therefore be it resolved that the Houghton County Democratic Party:

Calls for the support of the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department from elected and appointed officials and the community to ensure that the agency has the resources to carry out their responsibilities in implementation of public health programs including vaccinations and enforcing public health rules and guidelines in a safe environment for all staff;

And

Calls for our elected officials to develop a proactive plan to re-build the economy ("Build Back Better" as our President-elect Biden has called for!) in the county while supporting the public health measures that are contributing to containment of the coronavirus.

Inset logo courtesy Houghton County Democratic Party.

Michigan moves to new phase of vaccinations; Western UP Health Department continues to vaccinate Phase 1A, planning for Phase 1B

This slide from Governor Whitmer and Dr. Khaldun's presentation on Jan. 6, 2021, summarizes plans for beginning Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations in Michigan next week. (Image courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)*

LANSING -- To help reach the state’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of Michiganders over age 16 and bring a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials announced on Wednesday, Jan. 6, that the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, Jan. 11.*

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, joins Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (background) in a live video presentation Wednesday, Jan. 6, on the plans for continuing COVID-19 vaccinations across Michigan.**

HANCOCK -- Healthcare partners across the Western Upper Peninsula are working together to push forward with making COVID-19 vaccinations available to residents. To date, well over 1,000 individuals have been vaccinated in the 5-county area. Phase 1A vaccinations should be completed by the middle of next week.

As announced earlier Wednesday, Jan. 6, by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, Jan. 11. This next phase, known as Phase 1B, will include residents age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers.

Local partners including Aspirus, UP Health Systems-Portage, Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center, and Baraga County Memorial Hospital met Wednesday to expand planning to accommodate those eligible for Phase 1B vaccination. The planning group is working towards offering a variety of options and venues for residents, with the end goal of providing doses to everyone wishing to be vaccinated.

Vaccine supply remains limited and vaccine clinics will be by invite or appointment only. No walk-in vaccination clinics will be held at this time. Additional details, including how to schedule a vaccination with the various providers, will be made available soon.

This slide from MDHHS directs those in an eligible group for vaccination to make an appointment for vaccination through their local health department.*

"Changing guidance and limited vaccine allocations have added to the complexity of the planning process," said Kate Beer, Health Officer for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department. "We appreciate your patience as we develop our plan to meet the needs of our community."

Editor's Notes:

* Click here to see the full Jan. 6 COVID-19 power point presentation on vaccination planning.

** Click here to see the Jan. 6 video presentation from Gov. Whitmer and Dr. Khaldun on Gov. Whitmer's Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Governor Whitmer, former Governor Snyder call for unity, healing

LANSING –- Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former Republican Governor Rick Snyder joined each other today in calling for national unity.

"What is unfolding today in our nation’s capital is truly appalling. Violence, vandalism, and insurrection have no place in this great country of ours. We are a nation of laws, not mobs," Whitmer said.

"While we come from different backgrounds and political parties, Governor Whitmer and I share a deep love for our country," Snyder said. "We must always remember that we are Americans first, and we are not one another’s enemy. That’s why I join with Governor Whitmer in calling on people of goodwill across America to pray for peace, calm, and healing."

"Now is the time to put this election behind us once and for all," Whitmer added. "We must unify as one nation to defeat our real enemy, which is the pandemic that has taken far too many of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. As Americans, there is no problem we can’t solve, and no challenge we can’t meet. Let's all stay safe. Let’s take care of each other. And let’s move forward together, as one United States of America."

Governor Whitmer also posted a short video on her Facebook page, in which she gives her reaction to the news of the violent protests at the Capitol today.

"We had an election. We voted. It is time to move forward as a nation," Whitmer said. "And the actions of these people who are trying to stage a coup and wreak violence on the very foundation of our democracy is appalling and abhorrent."

See the video on her Facebook page here.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Secretary of State Benson: Michigan’s election was secure and fair; results are accurate

Photo courtesy Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

LANSING -- Michigan’s election was conducted fairly and securely, and the results accurately reflect the will of Michigan voters, the majority of whom cast ballots for President-elect Joe Biden.

"This was the most successful election in our state’s history, in which a record-setting 5.5 million citizens cast ballots and clerks and election workers processed every vote meticulously, fairly and efficiently, despite the challenges of the pandemic," said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

There is no evidence of widespread election misconduct, as has been confirmed by President Trump’s former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, as well as numerous election officials of both political parties, and state and federal judges and justices. Additionally, state and local election officials have conducted more than 100 post-election audits, all of which have demonstrated the integrity of Michigan’s election.

Yet members of Congress are expected to parrot previously debunked false claims of election fraud on Wednesday (Jan. 6) in a partisan attempt to discredit Michigan’s election.

"By making false claims that undermine voters’ faith in our election, these elected officials demonstrate their shameless willingness to prioritize personal and partisan politics over the good of our country," said Benson. "They dishonor every citizen who voted and the thousands of public servant election clerks and volunteer election workers who carried out this successful election."

Voters should be wary of the disinformation that is shared on Wednesday. They can find accurate election information at Michigan.gov/SOSFactCheck, on Michigan Department of State social media accounts, and with their local and county election clerks.