We are vulnerable. Do you have a plan to respond when you are attacked?
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This is our time to volunteer and get engaged in the communities to show people they are appreciated. It is our chance to show the world we care by becoming more involved as a global citizen, read more about what is going on in the world around us and become involved in public diplomacy.
Today, brands inspire us more than our elected leaders or today's candidate. Dove, Under Armour, Nike and Adidas inspire me through the messages they convey -- In their ads and in their videos I find on YouTube.
In Washington, Congress continues to find ways to avoid substantive issues such as immigration, transportation, poverty, education, serious tax reform and environmental regulation, among many others. In Michigan, there also are a number of unfinished issues that remain on the table, while the legislature is on summer recess for the election. In fact, in Michigan, we have a number of proposals on next month’s ballot that could have been resolved through facilitated discussion rather than expensive campaigns.
In Lansing and Detroit we are still discussing bridges and transit. In fact, in 1976, President Gerald Ford offered funds to build a rail transit system in southeast Michigan. Instead, we just got the People Mover and in 2014, we are finally seeing progress with the M1 Rail construction now under way.
However, despite the progress on regional transportation, our government leaders continue to struggle in finding their way forward and their failure to make difficult decisions by compromising.
Some would call it an impasse while others just chalk it up to politics. However, these are issues that can be resolved, and resolved in a way that preserves the relationships, maintains the political differences and helps move the agenda forward collectively.
It is time we put politics aside - even in an election year. It is time voters demand our politicians to focus and do what is in the best interest of all those affected. Work to find resolution through chaos. Respect each other for taking a position and move on to find where you can each work together.
Last week, more than 400 people filed to run for the Michigan House of Representatives, alone. That does not include the State Senate, Congress and the various county seats now open, not to mention judicial races and the various county elections. Some will withdraw their names before the ballots are printed and others will vigorously campaign over the next several months, before the August primary and November general election. Earlier this month, the French elected a new President, voting for change over the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy. In Greece, after a May 6 election, voters could not decide on a single ruling party to turn that country around and now Greece is at a political impasse. In Russia, Dmitry Medvedev ceded the Russian Presidency back to Vladimir Putin, despite recent protests. In China, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao wil handover the presidency in 2013 and the Prime Minstership to Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. Also in 2012, the following countries will host elections: Mexico (July 1), Venezuela (October 7), Egypt Kenya (August 14) Taiwan (January 14, 2013).
In November, we too will have the opportunity to select or re-select whom we want to run the United States of America. Just as we voted for “Change” in 2008, by selected Barack Obama as President, voters in Democracies world-wide are now starting to vote for Change – Will Change come to America again?
We can see in some pockets, “Change” is already occurring. For example, in Indiana, long-time U.S. Senator Richard Lugar lost his election, in the primary.
Just as political incumbents are starting to fall, so to are our corporate CEOs. The CEOs of Yahoo, Best Buy, AOL, Avon and JPMorgan have all left or resigned. There is no doubt that we will see new faces in places that will impact us and where our daily and professional lives collide. And as we move forward, so to must our relationships with key decision makers who have influence over us.
But how much do we really know about these people? What is their agenda? Why and How did they get into this position? What motivates them and how can we develop meaningful relationships with them before we need their assistance? How much do they about me, about my company and about my agenda?
Campaigns are all about raising awareness, developing name ID, exchanging ideas and debating solutions for problems we face. It is time that we start using campaigns to educate the candidates on what we do as businesses, as unions, as entrepreneurs, educators and the like. Just as a candidate will approach you asking you for your vote, take them aside and start telling them about you.
Start now by developing a relationship with them. It does not matter if they are a Democrat or a Republican, if they drink tea or even something else. Relationships are built around trust, around issues and around ideas. It is time we start exchanging them so that we stay on top of the change, develop the relations and take an active role in the future direction of our city, county, state, country, business, industry and family.
The Michigan State Constitution, Art. II. Sec. 8, extends Michigan voters the right to recall “all elective officers except judges of courts of record” and establishes the minimum number of signatures required on a recall petition. In fact, in Michigan, voters can work to recall elected Members of Congress. The process by which to begin a recall is spelled out in MCL 168.951-976. Before the physical process of collecting signatures begins, the language on the petition must first be approved by the County Election Commission, which can include the County Clerk, County Treasurer and Chief Judge of the Probate Court. The petitioners submit reasons for the recall which must be based on the elected officials conduct in office. Once approved, signatures by qualified voters can be secured. Once a sufficient amount of signatures are obtained, the petitions can fie filed with either the Governor, Secretary of State or County Clerk, depending on the office the individual holds. Petitions cannot be filed until the person serves in office for 6 months and cannot be filed in the last 6 months of their term. The signatures are then examined to see if the signor is a registered voter in that community.
If the signature requirement is met, the signatures can be challenged as to their origin. Once the challenged signatures have been resolved ballot language is prepared.
The reason for the recall election must be stated on the ballot in 200 words or less. Once the ballot language is approved, the elected official at the center of the recall may submit a statement, justifying their conduct, which also is limited to 200 words and will also be printed on the ballot. The Board of State Canvassers or county clerk will then decided when to hold a special election.
In the last ten years, Michiganians have acted upon their (state) constitutional right, to recall elected officials, more and more. In fact, according to the website Ballotpedia, from "2005-early 2010, 700 recall petitions were filed in just three of Michigan's counties: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. The total of filed petitions rose each year since 2007. In Saginaw County, 141 recall attempts were launched in the 20 years from 1990-2010. Of the 141 announced recall attempts, 27 went to a vote, and 18 elected officials were removed from office."
Sometimes candidates are successfully recalled, but not without tremendous efforts on the part of all the interests involved. In Wisconsin earlier this month, the process worked for some and did not for others. Recall drives indicate a strong partisan divide in governing individual states and communities. On one hand it is great to see democracy work as a dissatisfied electorate uses a process created in the constitution to register their concern and act upon it. On the other, it seems like a distraction and unnecessary expense with some easier way to work out ones differences and find consensus through controversy.
Under a parlimentary system, where the majority party governs a nation or province, it is the Parliament that passes a motion that if passed, the head of state no longer has the confidence of the appointed government. The head of state can then ask someone else to lead and form a government or call a general election to elect a new parliament, generally within a matter of months, as is now the case in Ontario. I am not sure if this is the best process either.
It seems to me that those elected to serve should work together as an elected body and create a framework by which they can operate and work together on a common agenda. They don't have to agree to all the policies past, but they can agree on an overall path, i.e. things that create jobs, ensure financial security of the electorate and set us on path to fiscal stability. Regardless, the process by which candidates can be recalled works if precisely followed. While there is room for improvement, it is what we have to work with. This Tuesday, in Grand Blanc, Mich. we will see if the process works.