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Eulogy for a White Supremacist in Michigan: MLive downplays the role that John Tanton played in nurturing the current anti-Immigrant and White Supremacist climate in the US

July 23, 2019

On Thursday, July 18, MLive ran an article about the death of John Tanton. The MLive article acknowledges that Tanton was the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and was referred to in the article as an anti-immigration activist. 

The article also mentions that Tanton, “also held leadership positions as president of Zero Population Growth, chairman of the Sierra Club’s National Population Committee, founder of Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood Association and has been active in Negative Population Growth, Inc.”

However, the short article focuses on Tanton’s views about immigration and even provides a link to an essay he wrote in 1975. The article cites the current president of FAIR and an immigration lawyer, to fulfill the “balanced coverage” aspect of the article. However, the MLive story barely scratches the surface in terms of where Tanton stood on immigration policy nor the deeply white supremacist views he held, which influenced his decision to start more than a dozen far right groups during his lifetime.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform is not just an organization that opposes the increase of immigrants coming into the US, they are opposed to people who are coming from countries that are part of the global south. The Southern Poverty Law Center refers to FAIR as a hate group and has long been linked to racist ideas — “fretting about the ‘educability’ of Latinos, warning of whites being out-bred by others, and publishing a number of white nationalist authors” — and is also closely affiliated with a number of white supremacist organizations such as the Pioneer Fund.

The Pioneer Fund help to pass the racist Prop 187 in California in 1994. FAIR had received a total about $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund,  which primarily funds race and IQ studies intended to reveal the inferiority of minorities and to this day describes its grant recipients, generally, as “race realists.” However, this kind of research is nothing more than eugenics, which white supremacists have used for more than a century in an attempt to prove the intellectual superiority of white people.

After creating FAIR, Tanton went on the help found numerous other organizations that would embrace a white supremacist ideology summed up by Tanton himself, who said:

“I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

Some of the groups that Tanton was involved with are NumbersUSA, ProEnglish, Social Contract Press, American Alliance for Rights and Responsibility, Center for Immigration Studies and US English.

Last year in Michigan, groups like US English help to push English as an official language, when several GOP State Representatives proposed legislation to make English the official language in Michigan. US English has been attempting to do the same in states across the country and it used to be a recipient of funding from the Richard & Helen DeVos Foundation. In fact, Helen DeVos used to be on the advisory board of US English.

It is unfortunate that the MLive story on the passing of John Tanton did not provide a more accurate and more in depth look at a man who was not just anti-immigrant, but someone who embraced deeply white supremacist values that spawned a multitude of groups in the US. Tanton was said in a 1986 article, “To govern is to populate. Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that simply more fertile? As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?

3rd Congressional candidate Lynn Afendoulis tours US Border Detention facilities, praises law enforcement officials who feel hurt by criticisms over treatment of detainees

July 22, 2019

US Congressional candidate, Lynn Afendoulis, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District, just came back from touring some of the US detention facilities in Texas, near the US/Mexican Border.

Afendoulis, who is currently serving as a State Representative in Michigan, had several posts on her Lynn Afendoulis for Congress Facebook page. One post has her in a picture in front of one of the detention facilities with two unidentified men. Here is what Afendoulis wrote, with the accompanying photo:

I’m touring intake and detention facilities in El Paso, Texas today. No one drinks from toilets. That’s not even close to the truth and is a cruel representation of the work being done here by good, hardworking people. Shame on politicians who use these circumstances for their own political gain.

These comments are meant to contradict the well documented horrid conditions at border detention facilities and to criticize politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had a very different experience of the detention facilities recently. In addition, Afendoulis offers no concrete evidence that conditions in the detention facilities are are acceptable, which of course flies in the face of well documented reports, like the ACLU report, Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention

The 3rd Congressional candidate also posted a short video from the airport about her experiences at the border. Afendoulis acknowledges that there are “problems at the border,” but she spent most of the time in the video praising law enforcement officials. Afendoulis refers to these law enforcement officials as patriots who find the criticism and attacks against the treatment of immigrants as “hurtful to them.”

WXMI 17 also did a story with Afendoulis, after her visit to several detention facilities near the US/Mexican border. Again, Afendoulis praises law enforcement  and border officials, saying:

“I’m telling you, some of the hardest working, most dedicated law enforcement agents I just ever met in my life. These people are really dedicated to what they do to securing the border to treating the people that come over the border with dignity and respect and concern.”

Afendoulis also told the Fox 17 reporter that Rep. Amash and members of Congress haven’t done enough to support ICE agents. Such a claim was not challenged by the Fox 17 reporter, although they do ask Afendoulis to respond to reports of abuse and inhumane conditions in the detention facilities. Afendoulis said:

“When you see parents taking the kinds of risks that they take with their children, you know they’re not doing it for frivolous reasons. I have a heart for people who are suffering persecution and need to get to a better place but I also have a heart for this country and doing things, I mean we’re a country of laws as well.”

This statement doesn’t acknowledge that parents who bring their children are coming to the US for legitimate reasons, but Afendoulis ultimately takes the position that the US is a country of laws and that people need to come through legal channels.

Such a statement is not only naive, it completely dismisses the reasons why so many people from Mexico and Central America risks their lives to come to the US – fleeing political violence, poverty, torture, government corruption and the consequences of climate change.

State Representative Afendoulis said she plans to hold a town hall meeting to discuss what she learned at the border, but did not provide specifics on when and where this would happen.

DeVos Political Operative Greg McNeilly is also promoting the West Michigan Policy Forum’s scheme for road funding by using teacher pension funds

July 19, 2019

Last week, we posted an article about a proposal from the West Michigan Policy Forum to borrow money from the Michigan Teachers Pension Fund and use it to pay for the roads throughout the state. 

We stated the following:

First, in 2016, the West Michigan Policy Forum was backing legislation that would remove the decades-long contractual agreement between the State of Michigan and the teacher union to remove the state as the primary source to pay teacher pensions and transfer that responsibility to the market.  That legislation was adopted, which means the traditional pensions have been eliminated in terms of how they get paid and are replaced with 401k-type plans leaving the teacher pensions in the hands of the speculative capital market. At the time, the Michigan Education Association stated that, “This is a nation-wide attack, led by Enron billionaire Tom Arnold, whose Arnold Foundation is flooding right wing think tanks across the nation with funding to do this work. The Enron meltdown cost public pension funds $1.5 billion in losses.” 

Second, the West Michigan Policy Forum has not been shy about their efforts to undermine unions, such as the 2016 legislation to attack the teacher unions and more recently, their push to undermine public sector unions, by calling health care benefits and pensions of government employees “unfunded mandates” as well.

Therefore, what Chase Bolger and the West Michigan Policy Forum is now proposing, is to take money from the Teacher Pension Fund (money that was previously guaranteed by the State and now is placed in the speculative capital market) and place that in the speculative capital market in order to make money to pay for the roads. Not only does the West Michigan Policy Forum see the speculative capital markets as the financial savior of us all, they are ultimately interested in pushing Neo-Liberal economic austerity measures in order to weaken the public sector.

Now, the West Michigan Policy Forum is pushing the same idea, which their friend and fellow DeVos-operative Greg McNeilly proposed in an opinion piece in the Detroit News

McNeilly was the campaign manager for the failed gubernatorial campaign of Dick DeVos in 2006. He is also a board member of Great Lakes Education Project (created by Betsy DeVos) and is the Chief Operating Officer of the DeVos run Windquest Group.

McNeilly, who once said that the wealthy people who contribute large amounts to elections should be applauded for their efforts. McNeilly also called rich people funding candidates, “the most protected form of speech.” 

In his opinion piece, McNeilly also referred to teacher pensions as an “unfunded liability,” which is essentially code for, “we don’t like unions,” even though teacher pensions have been honored for decades by states across the country.

In addition, McNeilly also states:

One important detail that’s important to remember, using pension obligation bonds represents a pension- and classroom-funding plan more than a road-funding plan. The $980 million in additional cash flow per year would be in the state’s school aid fund, offsetting the $540 million that could be moved from the current sales tax on gasoline into roads, and providing another $440 million on top of that each year that could be spent to either further pay down teacher pension debt or poured directly into Michigan classrooms.

McNeilly is not only endorsing the idea that the West Michigan Policy Forum has put forth, he is willing to use money from the Teacher Pension Fund to invest in the market in order to pay for the roads. In other words, the DeVos political operative is willing to gamble with teacher pension funds to pay for the roads, while at the same time continuing to promote neoliberal economic policies in the state, which has eliminated a business tax and gives greater control to the 1 percent, like McNeilly’s boss, the DeVos Family. Sounds like a solid plan, doesn’t it?

Betsy DeVos Watch: Secretary of Education equates criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism

July 18, 2019

On Monday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made comments that would seem to be outside the lines of what someone in her position would say.

At what was billed as a Summit on Anti-Semitism, DeVos stated, “a movement to boycott Israel has become a pernicious threat on college campuses and is fueled by bias against Jews.”

For those who are not familiar with Betsy DeVos, the DeVos and Prince families, taking a position in support of Israel has been something that the Secretary of Education, along with her family of origin (the Princes) and the family she married into (the DeVoses) have done for many years. In fact, the Prince and DeVos families could be categorized as Christian Zionists,

What is Christian Zionism? According to those who embrace it

Christian Zionism merges theology and politics. It teaches that the secular State of Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Christian Zionism believes that this fulfillment of Biblical prophecy began when European Jews started moving to Palestine in the 1800s, and continued as Israel became a nation in 1948. Christian Zionists believe that modern Israel is a continuation of Biblical Israel and therefore should enjoy special privileges. They declare that it is the responsibility of Christians to support the State of Israel and its policies.

In addition, as Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos does deal with issues that arise on college campuses, such as the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, which began in 2005. The BDS Movement is using the same kind of strategic approach that the South African Anti-Apartheid movement used, which is to boycott, divest and call for sanctions against Israel for its internationally recognized illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

On Monday, DeVos also stated, “Peace in the Middle East begins with recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Israel is a light to the region, but we all know it’s surrounded by jihadists who embrace evil.”

Such a statement by DeVos is rife with exaggerations and half-truths. Israel, is surrounded by countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Now, many of these countries have poor human rights records, but this has not prevented the United States government from providing military and selling weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq since WWII. However, Israel has been the largest recipient of US military aid since the mid-1970s, at an average of roughly $3 billion per year, regardless of who sat in the White House. 

What Betsy DeVos and Attorney General William Barr were stating at the Summit on Anti-Semitism, a summit that was hosted by the Department of Justice, is that criticism of Israel or support of the BDS movement are forms of anti-Semitism. This is simply not true. There is nothing anti-Semitic about people being critical of Israeli human rights violations, particularly in their treatment of Palestinians. The BDS Movement addresses the issue of anti-Semitism on their website saying: 

BDS campaigns target the Israeli state because of its responsibility for serious violations of international law and the companies and institutions that participate in and are complicit in these Israeli violations. The BDS movement does not boycott or campaign against any individual or group simply because they are Israeli.

While some of the speakers at the Anti-Semitism Summit address real examples of anti-Semitism, some reporters acknowledged that the summit was more of a Pro-Israel rally, which is exactly what a Yahoo News reporter called it

However, the effectiveness of equating criticism of Israel or involvement in the BDS Movement with anti-Semitism is a very effective strategy, since people generally do not want to be accused of being anti-Semitic, even if what they are saying or involved in is not anti-Semitic.

It is important to note that even the most credible organization in the US, which monitors anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) states in a 2018 report

ADL is careful to not conflate general criticism of Israel or anti-Israel activism with anti-Semitism. However, Israel-related harassment of groups or individuals may be included when the harassment incorporates established anti-Jewish references, accusations and/or conspiracy theories.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in the US and it should be condemned whenever it occurs. However, it is not accurate or honest to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, no matter what Betsy DeVos or any other member of the US government says.

What do we do now? Allies and the immigration crisis

July 16, 2019

Ok, so the Light for Liberty events have come and gone. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered all across the country last Friday to draw attention to the immigration crisis and demand that the Trump administration close the camps.

The camps are still operating and the widespread harm that is being done to the immigrant community continues. So, what do we do now? This is not just a rhetorical question, but one that we need to think about with great care and conviction.

Showing up to demonstrations can be a good thing, but it always depends on what the objectives are of demonstrations. Holding a demonstration in a neutral public space has less of an impact, than say, at an ICE office or detention facility. It might make us feel good to hold a sign and listen to a couple of speakers, but lets face it, it doesn’t do a damn thing to end the current harm that is being done to the immigrant community. And this should be the point. What can we do, those of us who are allies and are not a part of the affected community, what is it that we can do that will not contribute to the harm, but will actually begin to reduce the harm being done to the immigrant community.

This should be the strategic goal for the work that needs to be done by allies. The immigrant-led movements across the US are doing what they need to do, without our help, unless they are asking for it. However, when it comes to what can we do, we need to always center what this will mean to the immigrant community. If we are truly to be allies in this struggle, in this movement, then we need to shut up and listen to what it is that the immigrant-led organizers are saying and asking of us.

This ultimately means we follow their lead, it means we listen to them, learn from them and then act in solidarity with them. Good intentions are not enough, and in fact, good intentions often contribute to the harm being done to the immigrant community. We need to center the voices and lived experience of the immigrant community if we are to be allies in the struggle for immigrant justice. This means that we do NOT go off on our own and do what we think is best. People who think they are allies and act on their own more often than not are taking action to make themselves feel better, which is often actions that in no way works to dismantle the systems of power & oppression that are causing the harm. This means they are low-risk actions that are safe and do not either disrupt the harm being done, nor do these kind of actions threaten the comfortability of white people who do not want their lives disrupted. For those who hold all kinds of privilege, in order for them to really contribute to the immigrant justice movement, means they have to be willing to take some kind of risk.

Now, when I say risk, I don’t just mean that people with privilege have to be willing to get arrested. When I say they have to be willing to take risks, I mean that they have to step outside of their comfort zones, take a public position that might create conflict in their lives or even disrupt their privilege at a certain level. Confronting and dismantling systems of power and oppression is not easy work and it will require those of us who are not primarily impacted by these systems to take risks. No social movement in the last 200 years has achieved substantial change without risk, without sacrifice and without commitment.

If people who want to be allies are serious about reducing the harm being done to the immigrant community right now and specifically in West Michigan, then here are some concrete ways to make that happen:

  • If we want to be an ally with the immigrant community, then attend one of the regular ally trainings that Movimiento Cosecha GR hosts, like the one that is happening this Saturday, July 20. An important part of the work that Cosecha is doing now is a Drivers Licenses for All campaign, which will significantly reduce the possibility that immigrants will end up in ICE custody, plus it is a quality of life issue. 
  • Once people have attended an ally training, there are regular ally work meetings, which makes decisions with immigrant-led input on what work allies to be doing. Check the Movimiento Cosecha GR Facebook page for scheduled Ally work meetings meetings.
  • There are also training that GR Rapid Response hosts on a regular basis, either to be part of their work or to be involved in their Abolish ICE campaign. The next training is being held on Monday, July 22, which is a Direct Action training, with details at this link.
  • People can provide direct relief to immigrants by donating to the GR Rapid Response Mutual Aid fund, which is paypal.me/arcarpenter. You can also attend one of the upcoming fundraisers for GR Rapid Response to ICE, such as the one on July 18 and another one on July 27, which is 80’s Against ICE Dance Party at St. George’s Hall – 1513 Quarry Street NW, Grand Rapids from 7 – midnight
  • We also need people to provide transportation for immigrant families, either because they don’t have a car, don’t have a license or because the person who could drive is now in ICE custody.
  • We need people of faith to ask their pastors, their rabbis or their Imam’s to see if the place of worship is willing to be a Sanctuary for the immigrant community that is being targeted.
  • We also need people who want to help us get ICE out of Kent County. We have an Abolish ICE campaign and we need people to be part of that work, which means attempting to disrupt or shut down local ICE facilities, disrupt business as usual at the Kent County Jail, confront local politicians who are complicit with ICE violence or disrupt the businesses that are profiting off of the contracts they have with ICE. Our next Abolish ICE action is Wednesday, July 24
  • In addition, we need people to be part of our Rapid Response on call system, where we can respond immediately to people in the community who are being targeted by ICE. We need people who can speak Spanish to be able to take the calls and we need people who can send out messages to people who have been trained to do either direct intervention against ICE or people who can do Mutual Aid work with individuals and families.
  • We also can use people to distribute both electronically and handout form, the information about how to contact GR Rapid Response to ICE if you see ICE in your community.

These are just some of the more important, strategically sound things that people can do if they want to truly be an ally in the fight for immigrant justice. Movimiento Cosecha GR needs allies to support their offensive work and GR Rapid Response to ICE needs allies to step up and do the defensive work that can reduce the harm being done to immigrants right now.

Editor’s Note: an important read on what it means to be an ally is, Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing The Ally Industrial Complex

I also have a memory about former Michigan Congressman Paul Henry

July 15, 2019

Recently, I read a piece by Joel Belz from the publication World Magazine, which discussed the 1992 Congressional race between then Congressman Paul Henry and challenger Carol Kooistra. 

The article by Belz, is entitled Opponents and Friends: An unlikely 1992 political race seems even less plausible in today’s climate. The article shares the story that while Henry and Kooistra were campaigning, it was revealed that Henry was diagnosed with brain cancer just two weeks before the election. Kooistra decided to withdrawl campaign literature that attacked Henry’s voting record and she helped to distribute his campaign literature while she and her team were going door to door with her literature. Henry won the election and died in late July of 1993.

I have my own story about Paul Henry, one that was years earlier, when Henry was still fairly new as a member of Congress.

Paul Henry was elected in 1994 and began his career as a Congressman in 1985. One of the most controversial issues that was taking place while Henry was still a newcomer, an issue that would continue throughout the rest of his life, was US policy towards Central America.

The US was financing two counterinsurgency wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, along with using Honduras as a massive US military base and using Panamanian President Manuel Noriega for CIA activity. However, maybe the most controversial aspect of US policy in Central America at the time, or at least the one that received the most media attention, was the US support for the former Somozan National Gaurdsmen in Nicaragua, known as the Contras.

The specific issue was whether or not the US Congress should provide funding for the Contras, which were attempting to overthrown the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration wanted to fully fund the Contras, while Democratic members of Congress were not fully supportive of such a plan.

On the matter of the US support for the Contras, Paul Henry consistently voted for military funding that allowed the Contras to attack Nicaragua from both Honduras and Costa Rica, the countries which border that Central American nation. The Reagan administration (and Paul Henry) was claiming that the Contra forces were “freedom fighters,” despite the record of massive human rights violations. The Contras were known for attacking farming cooperatives, literacy workers and other social programs, which were at the forefront of the Sandinista revolution.

There was a lively campaign in Grand Rapids to challenge Paul Henry’s position on Nicaragua and his support for the Contras beginning in 1984, with the Stop The Invasion Campaign (STIC). There were weekly demonstrations outside his office in the federal building for years and several acts of civil disobedience, where people occupied his office until they were arrested. On one occasion, a group of people put 100 crosses in the lawn of the federal building with the names of Nicaragua civilians that the Contras had killed. Despite these efforts and many more Paul Henry never changed his position on Nicaragua, even after the Iran Contra affair and the allegations that the CIA was working with the Contras to traffic cocaine to buy weapons.

In 1986, the community that I was part of then, the Koinonia House, was in the process of becoming a Sanctuary for Central American refugees. Some of us went to a conference in Washington, DC, to learn more about being a sanctuary and connecting with the larger Central American Solidarity movement. At the conference, several members of Veterans for Peace were in the midst of a 30 day fast to end US support for the Contras. They were encouraging others to do the same, in their own communities.

I decided to do a 30 day fast against US funding of the Contras, in 1986. As part of my fast, I decided that In would write to Congressman Paul Henry every day of the fast to share my thoughts and information about what the consequences of US funding were having on the Nicaraguan people.

On day 26, I received a phone call from Congressman Henry, saying that he had a stack of letters from me on his desk and that he thought he would reach out to me. I said I was grateful for the call and then said that I would like to talk with him in person. I then suggested that I would end my fast early if he would sit down and break bread with me. Congressman Henry declined, so I finished the 30 day fast as planned.

In the 1980s the US was also providing massive amounts of military aid to the country of El Salvador to fight the FMLN guerilla forces. Throughout that period human rights groups and many US-based church groups were claiming that the Salvadoran military and the death squads were responsible for the bulk of the human right abuses, but Congressman Henry (who support military aid to El Salvador) was staunch in his conviction that the human rights abuses were equally committed by the FMLN.

Again, people in Grand Rapids organized to oppose the US support of the Salvadoran military and Paul Henry’s office was the target of people’s rage. The largest action against Henry’s support for the death squad terror in El Salvador was right after several priests, their cook and her daughter were assassinated on November of 1989.

About 100 people blocked traffic on Michigan Avenue in front of the Federal building in Grand Rapids. After the police came, another contingent of people went into Paul Henry’s office and attempted to make a citizen’s arrest against the Congressman and his staff. Eventually, the people who were in Paul Henry’s office were dragged out and the doors to the federal building were locked so no one could get in.

In 1992, there was a ceasefire in El Salvador and a UN Truth Commission was established to investigate the crimes committed in El Salvador between 1980 and 1992. In March of 1993, the UN Truth Commission published their findings, which stated that the Salvadoran military was guilty of 85% of the human rights abuses during that 12-year period and that the FMLN was only responsible for 5%. Congressman Henry never admitted he was wrong or that he was mislead by the Reagan/Bush administrations.

I respected the fact that Paul Henry called me during my fast, a respect that Carol Kooistra seemed to share about the former Congressman. Kooistra’s decision to not distribute literature that would have held Henry accountable for his voting record, particularly on funding human rights abusers in Central America, was laudable. However, I believe that one can be respectful when interacting with those who hold political office AND hold them accountable at the same time. It is sad that anyone would die prematurely because of cancer, but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore their support for policies that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Central America during time in Congress.

Line 5, Labor Unions and Democratic lawmakers in Michigan

July 14, 2019

Last week, several Michigan news sources, including Michigan Advance, reported that at least six Democratic State Representatives signed a letter in opposition to the lawsuit that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5.

Michigan Advance reported that six Democratic State Representatives – Brian Elder (D-Bay City), Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods), Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette), Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit), John Chirkun (D-Roseville) and Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon) – signed on to a letter, that was critical of the Attorney General’s desire to shut down the Enbridge run Line 5.

The article also stated:

The Democrats added that Line 5 is critical for transportation fuels, consumer goods and home heating energy, something echoed by Republican senators last month.

Not only are there Democratic lawmakers in Michigan who support Line 5, there are several labor unions that do as well. One of them signed on to a letter written with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, which states: 

Dear Governor Whitmer,

We believe in your leadership, your commitment to jobs, doing what’s right for Michiganders and protecting and preserving our magnificent Great Lakes.

So let’s get the job done. The underground tunnel beneath the Straits will be the largest construction project in Michigan since we built the Mackinac Bridge. It will create many good-paying construction jobs, allow the continued supply of essential energy to heat family homes in the Upper Peninsula, fuel businesses and jobs across our entire state, and protect the Great Lakes as Line is removed from the floor of the Straits. 

You have worked to build consensus on many issues. On the issue of building an underground tunnel to replace Line 5, business and labor agree. So let private industry, private funding and Michigan workers build the Straits Tunnel.

Securing Michigan’s future is in your hands.

Sincerely,  

Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Operating Engineers 324

Here the emphasis in on job creation, specifically jobs for construction workers in Michigan.

Last month, Crain’s Detroit Business reported that at least two Michigan labor unions had been lobbying Gov. Whitmer to support Line 5, again because of the construction jobs. 

The connection between jobs, labor unions and the six Democratic State Representatives becomes even clearer, when you see that these same state representatives have all received substantial campaign funding support from the very unions that would likely benefit from the construction of new energy pipelines.

If you go to the hyperlink for each of the six Democrats that oppose the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Line 5, you can see that each of them have received substantial support from labor unions which would benefit from the construction of Line 5.

Rep. Terry Sabo 

Rep. Brian Elder 

Rep. Tenisha Yancey 

Rep. John Chirkun 

Rep. Sara Cambensy 

Rep. Wendell Byrd 

One lesson from this is that it is not just corporations or wealthy people whom we should be concerned about in regards to campaign financing, but even labor unions can support politicians, which support policies that are unjust and unsustainable, such as the Line 5 pipeline project operated by Enbridge.