Former Gov. Engler still lives in fast lane
Former Michigan Gov. John Engler apparently is living life in the fast lane, despite his recent retirement as president of the Business Roundtable.
Engler was caught speeding July 21 in Mecosta County and ticketed for driving 10 miles per hour over the limit, Sheriff Todd Purcell confirmed this week. It took his deputy a while to figure out who he had written up.
“I don’t think he knew” who Engler was at the time, Purcell told The Detroit News. “He realized after he cleared the stop that it was the former governor.”
It’s unclear where Engler was headed. After leading Michigan from 1991-2002, the Republican former governor has primarily been living in Virginia while working for the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable, from which he was to retire on July 1.
Engler has also owned a home in Laingsburg, near Lansing, and grew up on a family farm in Beal City, about 20 miles east of Mecosta County, where he was ticketed.
Purcell was not sure exactly how fast Engler was clocked at but said it “wasn’t anything outrageous.” The governor “was very polite and understanding,” the sheriff added.
Kid Rock ‘fundraising 101’
If U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is worried about a potential challenge from Republican music celebrity Kid Rock, she’s not letting on publicly.
The Lansing Democrat on Tuesday declined to say whether Kid Rock – real name Robert Ritchie – is actually qualified to serve in the Senate.
“I’m going to let him decide, and let the primary voters decide, first of all,” Stabenow said. “And I think he’s going to be pretty busy with concerts and a big primary. So I’ll just wait until that is all done.”
Kid Rock is due to open Little Caesars Arena in September with six shows at the new Detroit venue. But he also launched a campaign-like website last month, announced a voter registration drive and has said he’s considering a Senate run.
If he does, he’d likely join a GOP primary field that includes Bloomfield Hills businesswoman Lena Epstein and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young of Laingsburg. Farmington Hills businessman and Iraq War veteran John James has also formed an exploratory committee.
Stabenow has used the threat of a Kid Rock run to raise money for her 2018 re-election campaign. As The News reported last month, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts sent out a plea soliciting funds for Stabenow, saying she wasn’t taking anything for granted.
Asked if it suggests she’s scared about a Kid Rock run, Stabenow said “It suggests we understand Fundraising 101.”
Dems target Upton in ads
Democrats this week upped their attacks on longtime Republican Rep. Fred Upton. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched Google search ads and a website criticizing him for for not holding town hall meetings in his southwest Michigan district.
The Google ads, which are geographically targeted, would show up when some searches for Upton or other search terms related to him or his district, town halls or health care, according to the DCCC.
They direct searchers to uptontownhallwatch.com, a website that says, “WHOOPS! His town hall schedule doesn’t exist! In fact, Congressman Fred Upton hasn’t had a town hall in ... 2,724 days.”
Also, the House Majority PAC, a super political action committee affiliated with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, put up a billboard Monday and sponsored mobile billboards in the Kalamazoo area targeting Upton.
The billboard displays an image of a 50th birthday cake and reads, “For your birthday, Fred Upton got you a new ‘Age Tax!’” The ad is referring to a provision of the GOP health care bill that would allow insurers to price their plans for up to five times higher for older people.
Under the Affordable Care Act, those age ratings are capped at a ratio of 3-1 for what an insurers may charge older people relative to younger Americans.
“Political opponents and outside groups make outlandish and disparaging claims, that is pretty normal, and Fred is used to it,” spokesman Tom Wilbur said.
“Would just note that last year he won re-election by more than 20 points despite millions in negative advertisements spent against him in the last two cycles. Fred’s focus is on serving the folks he represents and delivering results for Michigan – not trying to appease a parade of Washington, D.C., liberal special interest groups that continue to distort his proven bipartisan record of results.”
Wilbur noted that Upton has held more than 300 meetings with constituents, and that 7,000 people have participated in telephone “town halls.”
80 from Mich. head to D.C.
Eighty county commissioners and tribal leaders met with members of President Donald Trump’s administration at the Old Executive Office Building on Tuesday, as organized by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The White House said the purpose of the visit was to promote and develop relationships between the administration and influential leaders of Michigan communities.
Commissioners heard from, among others, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is from the Grand Rapids area.
Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke, Jonathan Oosting