From the Secretary of State Project:
Election law scholar and community organizer Jocelyn Benson is running for an open seat to replace Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land who is term-limited out of office. In 2004, she ran a voter protection campaign in 21 states, deploying 17,000 trained election law lawyers. She also developed and supervised two statewide nonpartisan election protection efforts in Michigan in 2007 and 2008. In 2007 Benson successfully led a grassroots campaign to prevent the closure of a branch Secretary of State’s office in Buena Vista Township near Saginaw, Michigan, arguing that the closure would violate the Voting Rights Act.
From Democracy for America:
Jocelyn has dedicated her life to protecting people's right to vote and that is exactly the sort of experience and dedication that Michigan needs in the Secretary of State's office.
Jocelyn knows what Michigan must do to become an election administration leader again -- early voting, same-day voter registration and more -- and she's ready to push these common sense reforms as Secretary of State.
From the Jocelyn Benson campaign:
"Knowledgeable and genuine."
Those were the words that an editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette used in a recent column on our campaign.
"The quality of being genuine is a rare attribute in a politician," she wrote.
Below is Joyce Pines' article about my candidacy for Michigan Secretary of State in the Kalamazoo Gazette. I wanted to personally share it with you because it illustrates what our campaign is about - a genuine effort to ensure that Michigan's government is efficient, transparent, protects pocketbooks, and puts people first.
Here are excerpts from that article:
Column: The quality of being genuine is a rare attribute in a politician
Joyce Pines | Kalamazoo Gazette
The first major politician I covered was a U.S. representative from Illinois, Paul Simon, a Democrat who ran for the United States Senate in 1984. The Illinois newspaper I worked for was in the hometown of Simon’s opponent in the race, incumbent U.S. Sen. Charles Percy, a moderate Republican.
My newspaper assigned me to cover Simon’s candidacy and I was sent to follow a campaign swing through southern Illinois beginning at dawn at a coal mine during shift change....
Simon had a quality of genuineness that I have rarely seen in politicians. He was also incredibly knowledgeable about the issues. He was someone you could sit down and talk to and get his views without hearing talking points and what his “handlers” thought would most resonate with voters...
After 26 years, I recently met another individual running for office who reminded me of that encounter: Jocelyn Benson, who is running as a Democrat for Secretary of State. I was impressed with her understanding of the office and her enthusiasm. A professor at Wayne State University specializing in election law, Benson has written a book on the Secretary of State’s office...
But Benson’s major concern is making sure the right to vote is protected. She is very concerned about the potential influence of corporations on elections in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling. She favors requiring companies that pay for ads and robo calls to identify themselves so voters will know who’s responsible.
We had a good conversation, not a question-and-answer session.
After all that time, it was nice to be surprised by a political candidate who is both knowledgeable and genuine.
Here is Jocelyn Benson's recent speech to the Michigan Democratic Party:
Please support Jocelyn Benson for Michigan Secretary of State. Knowledgeable and genuine are definitely valuable qualities in a Secretary of State.
Progressive Majority is an organization with an excellent track record of helping good, progressive candidates get elected. They have about a 50% success rate in getting candidates elected year after year. For an organization focused on electing progressive candidates, many of whom are challengers going up against incumbents, that is a damned good track record.
Here is a list of excellent candidates endorsed by Progressive Majority in Michigan:
Art Reyes II
Candidate for State House - District 51 (Challenger)
Genesee & Oakland County
Art Reyes II is running for state representative against an incumbent Republican. The Republican is pursuing the GOP nod for Secretary of State and, if successful, it would become an open seat. Progressive Majority can make the difference in helping increase viability and providing training support and other campaign expertise. When Art is elected, Progressive Majority succeeds in increasing the ''progressivity'' of the state House and keeping majority in Democratic hands. Art is the President of UAW Local 651. In the past, he has been the organizer for the GOTV efforts of the local UAW Region in Genesee County. He has the passion to fight for working families, and create a state that allows his grown children to find work and raise their families here. Progressive Majority will be critical in providing the messaging and fundraising capacity building to make Art a viable candidate. Referred to Progressive Majority by leaders in the progressive community, Art's candidacy is taking notice by those in labor and the broader progressive movement.
Candidate for State House - District 97 (Open Seat)
Gladwin & Clare Counties
Mark Lightfoot, the Supervisor for Freeman Township, is running for state representative. Mark is a progressive who brings a strong profile and credentials that creates a possible pick-up for Democrats in the state House, while increasing the progressivity of the Democratic majority. This district is located in rural mid- Michigan, and Mark has a unique profile that will play well in the area. He is a Navy veteran, a retired firefighter and a current business owner in the district. As the next state representative, he will champion 21st century job creation, strengthening public education, protecting farmland, and securing the state's natural resources.
Click here to support and learn more about Mark.
Candidate for State Senate - District 34 (Open Seat)
State Rep. Mary Valentine is running for the state Senate, District 34. She is running for the state Senate in a district that is being vacated by a Republican due to term limits. Democrats need a net gain of four seats to win majority, and this potential pick-up is critical to that goal. Prior to becoming a legislator, Mary was a speech therapist for over 30 years and retired from a local school district. As a legislator, Mary was a leading voice in the fight to stem the flow of Canadian and out-of-state trash into Michigan, create good-paying jobs for Michigan workers, increase investment in renewable energy and protect our Great Lakes. Among all the top tier state Senate races this year, only a few have front running progressive candidates like Mary. Mary is known as a tireless campaigner, and Progressive Majority can provide the support to insure that Mary wins in November.
Click here to support and learn more about Mary.
Candidate for Oakland County Commissioner - District 16 (Challenger)
Kathy Hagopian is a Democrat running for the 16th Oakland County Commission seat. She is a local businesswoman and has been active in many local community affairs. She was re-elected to the West Bloomfield Township Wetlands Board in 2008. She has 30 years in manufacturing and owns her own company, Building Accessories Corp. She is active in the Women's Officials' Network, Construction Association of Michigan, West Bloomfield Youth Assistance Board. The Republican, Shelly Goodman Taub, is a former commissioner and state representative, and defeated the won in 2008 by just 128 votes. Kathy's election will result in flipping majority on the county board in this county that has historically been a conservative stronghold in southeast Michigan. Kathy will focus on creating and attracting jobs, supporting public transportation, and protecting the environment in Oakland County.
Click here to support and learn more about Kathy.