Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Michigan voters take note: Three candidates for governor step up to debate environmental issues; four others run for cover, or couldn't care less

Michigan's candidates for governor have one chance to debate environmental issues head-to-head, and that is at Wednesday night's forum at Central Michigan University, sponsored by the Detroit Free Press and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, among others: http://bit.ly/9QA5q9

Pathetically, four of the seven candidates said "no thanks, we've got better things to do than discuss how to protect the Great Lakes, reduce health-related heartache caused by toxic pollutants, or and preserve our state's majestic forests." Really. That's exactly what they said.

Kudos to the three who apparently see our state's natural resources as worthy of an hour or two of their commitment: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, State Sen. Tom George and businessman Rick Snyder.

The message from the no-shows is either that they do not consider Michigan's environment a priority; do not understand the monumental importance of natural resources to our economy; or they are unwilling to defend the decisions and votes they've made in the past on environmental issues.

The no-shows are Attorney General Mike Cox; Congressman Pete Hoekstra; House Speaker Andy Dillon and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. Hoekstra has miserable record of environmental voting -- scoring less than 10 percent according to the League of Conservation Voters. Dillon has exhibited little interest in, or understanding of, the importance of strong policies to protect our state's natural resources in his legislative tenure. Bouchard? Not certain where he stands, but if he's been banging the drum for environmental issues so far I haven't heard it. Cox....well, Cox has successfully positioned himself as a leader of the state's fight to prevent Asian Carp from decimating the Great Lakes. And while he has been tone deaf to other environmental imperatives, I'm a bit surprised he isn't coming.

Anyway, again, the candidates who care enough to show up:

Rick Snyder: http://www.rickformichigan.com/
Tom George: http://www.georgeforgovernor.com/
Virg Bernero: http://www.votevirg.com/

* My opinions do NOT REPRESENT those of my employer, the Michigan Environmental Council. As a 501c3 nonprofit, the Council is not permitted to campaign for or endorse candidates for office.

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