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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WOW!  What a fantastic turn-out for the Holly Hughes coffee hour today -- about 40 people.

Sadly, though, she was proficient at not answering most of our questions.  The meeting was an hour long, with lots of good discussion and many great questions.  This is a summary of some of those issues.

There was a great deal of discussion about referendum-free laws which have been passed recently.   She answered by talking about her work for Veterans (really!  I couldn't make this stuff up).  When pressed, she came back to the referendum-free laws and denied that was happening.  When further pressed, she attempted to convince us that appropriation and policy bills could not be separated and said she'd look into it .  Many people addressed this issue with considerable passion.

When asked about the Lansing casino, she said the governor was against it but would initially not tell us what she thought about it.  She also gave a lot of irrelevant information. Eventually, she mentioned that personally she isn't crazy about them.

When I asked her about her 0% rating from Clean Water Action, she completely ignored the question and told us about her history as an environmental activist in the 90s. 
(Because of that activism, people assumed she would vote as an environmentalist.  Thus, it is all the more disappointing that she received a 0% rating from Clean Water Action).

She was also asked about the situation in Muskegon Heights.  She mentioned the superintendents she had talked with and agreed it was a problem.  Dave Frederick drew applause for the following question:  why is there money for bail-outs of the world's largest  banks, for General Motors,  and tax breaks and large subsidies  for  businesses, but not a bail-out for Muskegon Heights?

Tracy Dobson informed Rep. Hughes that 80% of the American public believes the Citizen United decision is wrong  and asked her to introduce a resolution in the legislature for a constitutional amendment to repeal the Citizens' United ruling, which allows corporations to be people.  She answered by talking  about the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act and a bunch of irrelevant details. When pressed, she said she would look into the resolution, which was handed to her.

She agreed that Cyber Schools were not good for kids but did not know how she would handle that issue when it came before her for a vote; she said she would have to study the bill, which is now in committee.

When asked about large corporations passing along the costs of their clean-ups to taxpayers, she talked about the Zephyr clean-up and how good it was that taxpayers were paying $6,000,000. for the clean-up and she would try to get additional money as well BECAUSE SHE KNOWS FULL WELL THAT IT WILL COST FAR MORE THAN THAT.  She said it was not possible for the private companies that own it to pay for their own clean up because there were three companies.  Tracy Dobson asked why it could not be split up in thirds.  She did not answer.

Someone asked her about horizontal hydraulic fracking.  She did not seem to know much about it, which is surprising considering how much has been written about it in recent months.  She said she would look into it.
Another speaker inquired about why taxpayers are paying for environmental clean ups instead of the polluters themselves.  She then went into the Zephyr money and never responded to the main question (polluters used to be required to pay into a fund that was used for cleanups but Engler got rid of it).
So these are the issues we need to follow up on: her vote on cyber schools (she agreed with us that students need hands-on teachers), the resolution for a constitutional amendment related to the citizen's united ruling, referendum-proof laws, and horizontal fracking.

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