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Dem's Drop-In With Barb Byrum

Dem’s Drop-In with Barbara Byrum, Ingham County Clerk May 27, 2017 “You need to run for office or get appointed, especially if you are a woman. It doesn’t matter what office, committee or commission, just do it”. That was one inspirational piece of advice from Barbara “Barb” Byrum, Ingham County Clerk and former Michigan State Representative. Barb spoke at the GT Democrats Drop-In on May 26 at MI Grill in Traverse City. She was also in town for another race as a runner in the Bayshore Marathon. It seems running for herself and running for a cause “is in my blood”. Full of energy and stories ranging from Michigan politics to family history, Barb kept her audience laughing and listening.

How Unions Can Help Win Back Blue Collar Vote

The significance of organized labor being an important component in establishing a strong middle class, I believe that a necessary element in winning back those who voted for Trump, it is imperative that members of the progressive movement put pressure on our elected officials, whether Democrat or Republican, to put forward legislation to safeguard the rights of disenfranchised blue-collar workers, many of whom voted for Trump, to defend worker’s rights to collective bargaining. Many states have worked to erode those rights, Wisconsin and Michigan being current examples. Legislators in these states have failed to step up to the plate to back labor unions in their efforts to improve and pro

Immigration Concerns Forum, Grow Benzie

Immigration Concerns Forum, Grow Benzie Tuesday, May 23, 2017 by Sylvia McCullough On Tuesday evening a crowd of about 150 people attended a panel forum focused on immigration concerns hosted by Concerned Citizens of Benzie County at Grow Benzie, organized by Keria Duvernoy. The panel included moderator Christie Bardenhagen, and panelists Don Smeltzer, Carolina Tabora Cortez, Sheriff Ted Schendel; Marcelo Betti, and Fr. Wayne Dziekan. When asked if the Trump administrations recent changes around immigration have affected the availability of farm labor, Don Smeltzer, a grower who has managed large apple and cherry farms in Benzie County for over four generations; responded that indeed it has.

GT Dems Blue Tiger Project

The Blue Tiger Project is a charitable initiative of the Grand Traverse Democratic Party, which serves the Traverse City Food Pantry of Traverse City High School. The food pantry serves from 180-240 students who are often simultaneously attending school, employed and in transition (temporarily homeless). Traverse City High School serves a concentrated “at risk” population, where 70% lack fixed regular or adequate housing and 79% qualify for free or reduced lunch. For the past decade, individual members of the GT Dems have contributed food items, clothing, gift cards and thousands of dollars to the pantry. According to its volunteer founder and coordinator, Mary Preston, the Blue Tiger Proje

GT Dems Meet Dana Ferguson

Dems Meet Dana Alan Ferguson, Candidate for Congress by Lori Brickman Another newcomer is testing the waters for a 2018 run in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District. Dana Alan Ferguson met with Grand Traverse Dems on May 21 at the MI Grill in Traverse City to introduce himself and talk about why he thinks it’s time for someone new to represent us in Washington. Dane, as he prefers to be called, is from Negaunee near Marquette. He is a small business owner who earned his bachelor degree in Economics from Northern Michigan University. Married with five children, Dane admits he doesn’t like to make stump speeches or ask for money. But he believes “making a difference in politics” is too imp

Water Symposium

Grand Traverse Band Hosts Water Symposium, Friday, May 19, 2017 Leelanau Sands Casino, Suttons Bay, MI by Sylvia McCullough Tribal Chairman, Sam McClellan, opened the water symposium hosted by the Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians on Friday evening with a plea for community support in protecting the water of the Great Lakes. A water ceremony was conducted by tribal women who sang and prayed for preserving the purity of our water for future generations and the world. After the blessing, water was distributed to the audience. Sault St. Marie Ojibwa Tribal Chairman, Aaron Payment, spoke of Governor Snyder’s failure to seriously consider the threat Line 5 presents to our Grea

Rep. Inmann Meets Area Educators

Michigan Representative for Grand Traverse County, Larry Inman, met with active and retired teachers Saturday, May 6 at the MEA office in Traverse City. He had requested the meeting to listen to educators concerns about their future. Every seat was filled as was every inch of wall space in the conference room. The assembled group was desperately trying to make Rep. Inmann understand what was happening to them and education in general here in Michigan. You may be thinking that they were fighting for their pensions and health care. You might be expecting those teachers to complain about lack of accountability in charter schools making for an uneven playing field on which they are judged.

Dems Clean Up!

The GT Dems “Clean Team” volunteers were busy cleaning up a three mile stretch of M31, south of Antrim County, on Thursday, May 4 providing a service for the community and helping improve the environment. We picked up enough litter to fill 32 trash bags and in the process we enjoyed the sunny weather, made some new friends, caught up with old friends and had lots of laughs along the way. At the end of the pick-up we had a contest as to what was the most “unique” item picked up. Sorry can’t tell you what that was… Having worked up a good appetite after finishing the job we went out to lunch at McGee’s for more lively conversations and socializing. Many thanks to our great crew: Ralph & Lori

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