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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Didn't Quite Work Out

It's like it happened just yesterday. Gov. Jennifer Granholm had
just declared victory at a downtown Detroit hotel as Michigan voters
rewarded her with another four years. She was being whisked away by
her cheering campaign handlers when she breezed by a capitol
"We won the House," she blurted out like a kid who had received a
new bike for Christmas. Happy Days were here again as she contemplated
what that meant for her final four years in office.
First of all it meant she no longer had to deal with a GOP
controlled house and senate which was her fate for the first four
years. It had been a grueling tenure as she battled the likes of House
Speaker Craig DeRoche and his side kick Senate GOP leader Mike Bishop.
Let's just say they made her life miserable at times.
Now with Democrats stealing the house from the Republicans,
Granholm held control of two thirds of the legislative process.
Brighter days were sure to come.
Little did she know.
House democrats in a close election picked Rep. Andy Dillon as the
new Speaker. He was probably not Granholm's first choice, but hey, he
was on her side and he would be ten times more cooperative that
DeRocheā€¦so the thinking went in the Granholm inner circle.
Four years later as she prepares to leave and he hopes to replace
her, you can not say this was a match made in heaven. To be fair, they
have worked together to get stuff done, but not all the time.
And once more the two Democrats are at odds. This time over
school spending.
Dillon's agenda to be governor doesn't not mesh with her desire to
balance the books.
They disagree over what to do with a $300 million surplus in the
school aid fund.
Dillon, who is on a mission to mend some fences in the labor
community, is siding with the Michigan Education Association on this
one. It won't do him any good in that the MEA has already endorsed
Dillon's opponent Virg Bernero. But by Dillon digging in his feet and
declaring the "surplus" should stay right where it is, it might gain
him some traction with rank and file teachers who might ignore the
union leaders.
The governor on the other side says she is willing to look at
swiping the surplus from the K-12 fund to shore up the red ink in the
higher education and community college budgets which she declares are
part of the "education infrastructure."
Instead of working cooperatively with her Democratic Speaker, the
governor finds herself in the awkward position of siding with
legislative Republicans who want to preserve the surplus, too.
So it is she and the R's against big D Mr. Dillon. It is not what
she contemplated on election night four years ago.


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