Highland Park, GLWA strike deal trying to buy time for final settlement

Whitmer switches up campaign staff

Detroit News staff

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Gretchen Whitmer is mixing up her campaign staff six months after announcing her candidacy, parting ways with her initial spokesperson in what both sides described as an amicable split.

Jen Eyer is returning to Vanguard Public Affairs on May 29, the Lansing-based consulting firm said Monday in an announcement the Whitmer campaign later confirmed.

Eyer took a leave of absence to help Whitmer launch her campaign in January but will return to Vanguard with a promotion to senior vice president.

“I wish them well, and I think they wish me well,” Eyer told The Detroit News. “…This was always meant to be a temporary leave, and it’s time for me to return to work with Vanguard.”

Whitmer hired national consultant Jerid Kurtz to serve as her campaign manager in late March as she continued to fill out her early team including finance director Cheryl Bergman and campaign attorney Mark Brewer, who confirmed Tuesday he’s still with the campaign.

She is expected to hire a new communications director in coming weeks.

Farm Bureau says it isn’t panicking over Trump budget

While the Michigan Farm Bureau wasn’t happy about some agriculture policy cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, it said Wednesday it is not panicking.

The Farm Bureau, which traditionally backs Republican presidential candidates, opposes the Trump proposal to cut $240 billion in farm bill spending over 10 years, among proposed reductions in conservation programs and crop insurance.

“It is only a proposal,” said John Kran, who represents the Farm Bureau in Washington, D.C., as the associate national legislative counsel. “It is Congress that ultimately passes and implements a budget.”

Trump did particularly well with voters in Michigan’s rural areas.

Media frenzy expected for ‘White Boy Rick’ hearing

The June 8 parole hearing for drug convict “White Boy” Rick Wershe is expected to be a big media draw judging by early preparations by the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The department is already asking media outlets to let it know how many reporters they plan to send so it can plan accordingly.

The case is getting national attention because Wershe has been serving a life prison sentence for possession of cocaine after being depicted as drug kingpin following his 1988 arrest when he was 17. But defenders have argued that Wershe was a one-time paid informant for the Detroit Police Department and that there were far worse drug dealers in the city who served less time.

Wershe has been up for parole twice, but was denied. His last high-profile hearing was 14 years ago, which Detroit area singer Kid Rock attended.

“We hope to make this day go as smoothly as possible,” the Corrections Department said in a media advisory this week, “and we appreciate your assistance with this.”

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Richard Burr