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Political Insider: Jingle with a message

Detroit News staff

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, is continuing husband John’s long-running tradition of composing the annual Dingell Jingle, which this year mimics Clement C. Moore’s “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Dingell

The rhyme alludes to Republican lawmakers delaying emergency aid for Flint’s drinking water and endorses Vice President Joe Biden for president in 2020. The jingle:

‘Twas the day before the government would shut down for business

When the House came together — we passed a budget before Christmas!

While Congress moved slowly, in its usual fashion

One issue in particular wasn’t getting much traction

“Sell ice to an Eskimo,” some said with a glint

Do that and then finally we’ll give you money for Flint

We fought tooth and nail and reason finally prevailed

We passed funding for Flint families, the waiting curtailed ...

As the New Year approaches, we’ve seen stark divisions

Our country has spoken, we’ve made big decisions

We all have moved forward in our own way

In our office, we chose a Christmas display

But good news for Trump and his Twitter vice

Even at 90, the Dean’s still tweeting advice

So we say goodbye to a President who lifted us up

To be sure in these eight years, he’s earned his new look

No one will be sadder to see him go

Than his friend and our favorite Vice President Joe

But maybe just maybe a new announcement we’ll see

Happy holidays to all, and Biden 2020

Jennifer Granholm endorses Tom Perez to lead the Democratic National Committee.

Granholm praises Perez

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who was seen as a potential candidate to helm the Democratic National Committee, this week endorsed Labor Secretary Tom Perez for the post and said she won’t pursue the position.

“I am 100% excited about Tom Perez. I won’t be throwing my hat in, and fully support his commitment to progressives, youth, labor, diversity,” Granholm said on Twitter.

“He’s no free-trader. He’s all about fair trade. Not kidding - he can knit our D wings together. Totally progressive. Strong on jobs,” she added. “To be clear: Perez embraces Sanders wing. It’s a big tent. No need for either-or: it’s both-and. We need ALL of our progressives now.”

Granholm said she has no objection to the other leading candidate to chair the DNC — Detroit native Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minneapolis in Congress.

“I just know Perez better, & think his background and commitment would serve us well. Not saying Keith wouldn’t,” she posted.

Ellison recently reversed his earlier decision to remain in Congress should he win the DNC seat.

“In order to further their commitment and maximize my effectiveness, I have decided to resign as a member of Congress if I win the election for DNC chair,” Ellison said in a statement.

“Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising. I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge.”

Three-week legislator

“Well, that was fast,” state Rep. Lauren Plawecki joked Tuesday on the House floor, delivering her farewell speech after just three weeks on the job.

Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, was elected last month to finish the two-year term started by her mother, Rep. Julie Plawecki, who died of an apparent heart attack in June. The 22-year-old University of Michigan graduate jumped right into a busy lame-duck session.

“Overwhelming is one word for it,” Plawecki told The Detroit News last week, the second of her three in the state Legislature. “It’s frustrating at times, but it’s still one of the best experiences I could have had to be put in this position.”

Plawecki praised fellow Democratic Reps. Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo and David LaGrand of Grand Rapids, who she sits next to in the House, for giving her a crash course on various bills but said she would have liked more time to prepare.

“I’ve seen a couple bills passed that I don’t agree with, and because I only saw them for the first time last week, I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to really prepare to fight against them,” she said.

Plawecki called it an honor to finish her mom’s term and to bring a fresh perspective to the lower chamber.

“It’s hard for millennials to feel like they have a say in politics,” she said. “I’m in a really good position, and I don’t want to take that for granted.”

An even younger millennial will fill the 11th District state House seat next year, when 21-year-old Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones takes office after winning election to a two-year term.

Meekhof

Flint funding fight

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof on Tuesday practically begged reporters to ask him about U.S. Senator Gary Peters, and when one did, he went off on the Bloomfield Township Democrat for remarks he made last weekend about the Flint water crisis.

“It’s hard for me to comment on the southbound end of a northbound horse, but I’m happy to do it,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive.

The top Republican in the Michigan Senate apparently was miffed when Peters called on the state to “step up” after Congress finalized a $170 million aid package to help Flint and other communities affected by water contamination issues.

Meekhof pointed out the Republican-led state Legislature, acting in concert with minority Democrats, has approved multiple appropriations for Flint totaling more than $234 million since November 2015, when the state first confirmed dangerous lead levels in the city’s drinking water supply.

“He either doesn’t know about them, which is really really really bad, or he does know about them and he’s playing politics with people,” Meekhof said. “Either one I think would cause a lot of voters to think different about him the next time he’s up for re-election.”

Peters, discussing the Congressional aide package this weekend with reporters, challenged the state to do more than it has for Flint because “it is clear this is a problem created by the state government.”

A task force appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder concluded the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality bears “primary responsibility” for the crisis but also highlighted mistakes made at the local and federal level.

“The State of Michigan needs to make sure that the resources are there for the people of Flint,” Peters said. “Not just now but for decades to come.”

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Melissa Nann Burke