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It’s not the KKK invading Grand Rapids this weekend, it’s a group more dangerous: The American Legislative Exchange Council

April 26, 2018

The American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC, will be having their 2018 Spring Task Force Summit in Grand Rapids all day long, this Friday, April 27.

The ALEC event will be held at the Amway Grand Plaza and is a private event for members only. This is not surprising, as ALEC does not want journalists or any one else to expose what new policies they are crafting that will promote their neo-liberal economic agenda.

ALEC, of course, is the creation of the Koch Brothers, and is designed to implement policies that promote privatization, greater corporate control, plus undermine unions and attack public education. 

The Center for Media & Democracy (CMD) has done more to expose the efforts of ALEC over the years and they are the ones who discovered that ALEC will be in Grand Rapids this weekend

In an article by David Armiak and Mary Bottari, the co-author’s write:

There is no word yet on whether Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a Michigander married to Amway heir Richard DeVos, will be joining the gathering at the swank four-star hotel as ALEC legislators and corporate lobbyists vote on cookie-cutter bills behind closed doors. ALEC has long embraced DeVos and her school privatization agenda, even though the failure of the charter school system she helped create in Michigan has been the topic of devastating reports in the New York Times and 60 Minutes. Further education privatization is on the agenda in Grand Rapids along with measures to please fossil fuel companies, marijuana companies, and more.

The agenda for the ALEC gathering in Grand Rapids can be found at this link, which includes discussion and the crafting of policy relates to economic development, pension reform, education and workforce development, energy and the environment, to name just a few. 

ALEC operates across the nation and has state policy chair persons who work for the state legislature. In Michigan, the state chairs are Rep. Mike Webber and Senator Michael Green. Green has been the recipient of large sums of DeVos money and Webber has been the recipient of another member of the West Michigan power elite, John Kennedy

Michigan organizations, such as the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, are part of the network of ALEC supported right-wing think tanks. In 2015, Grand Rapids was host to the State Policy Network’s (SPN) annual gathering, but the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center were effectively the hosts for that SPN function. I had planned to attend that gathering in 2015 and was even registered, but when I checked in they denied me entrance to the conference

On Friday, in Grand Rapids, a national right-wing organization will meet to create proposals that will give more power to corporations, attack public education, promote greater privatization of government and craft energy policy that will continue to benefit the oil and gas industry as we all suffer the consequences of climate change. How can we allow this kind of gathering to take place in this city, especially knowing that they seek to use wealth to influence public policy that gives private power greater control over our lives?

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