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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    RightMichigan Exclusive: An Interview with 2010 Secretary of State Candidate Michelle McManus

    By Nick, Section News
    Posted on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:55:13 AM EST
    Tags: Secretary of State, 2010, McManus, statewide, GOP, primary (all tags)

    Its officially 2009 which means Election Day 2010 is practically right around the corner.  This year in Michigan just about everything is up for grabs.  110 seats in the House, 38 seats in the Senate, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, two Supreme Court Justices and heaven knows what kinds of ballot initiatives will be before Michigan voters when they head to the polls this cycle.

    And with the new year, primary races begin to shape up and take form for many of those offices.  One that is shaping up faster than the others is the Republican Primary field for the Secretary of State's office.

    As we move through the year Right Michigan will be working hard to bring you profiles, updates and interviews with the men and women who will occupy all of our political discussions throughout the cycle and we're starting today.

    Several weeks ago I had a chance to speak with Calhoun County Clerk and Register of Deeds Anne Norlander, our first official candidate for Secretary of State.  

    Today she's got company.  State Senator Michelle McManus just announced her intention to seek the same office and was good enough to take a few minutes to speak with RightMichigan about her background, her platform and elections in Michigan.

    So where does she stand on issues like no-reason absentee voting, photo ID and the timely resolution of campaign finance complaints?

    You'll have to read below the fold to find out...

    Senator McManus, thank you for making the time to speak with everyone at RightMichigan! Only a few days ago now you became the second Republican candidate to officially announce her candidacy for Secretary of State in 2010.  So it looks like we have a race!

    Thanks for having me here!  I appreciate the opportunity to share my vision for the Secretary of State's office with you and your growing Right Michigan audience.  My vision includes improving on the customer service progress Candice Miller and Terry Land made while in office (like accepting more forms of credit cards at branch offices,) applying my common-sense, fiscally conservative principles to every dollar in the budget, and putting rows of sharp teeth into our campaign finance and election laws so that bad actors like ACORN who try to come into Michigan to illegally manipulate our elections are sent home packing.  I am proud of my years of service to the state Legislature and stand ready to put my experience and vision to work as our next Secretary of State.

    Sounds like a list of goals folks can get behind.  I've got a lot of questions about some of those topics and would love to ask about the SoS race in general but want to make sure everyone gets a chance to get to know you a bit too.  Obviously, you're the state Senator for Michigan's 35th District and I hear they grow cherries up there, correct?

    Yes, the harvesting of cherries is known as "shaking the trees" and I have been shaking the trees on the family farm my whole life.  In fact, I live on my family's farm in Lake Leelanau with my husband, Keith Nelson, my son Ben, and two daughters, Jessica and Mary.  I'm a lifelong resident of northern Michigan, and it has been my great honor to serve the people of the 35th District in the Michigan Senate since 2003. I also represented the 104th House District for six years. My time in the Legislature has been marked by tremendous challenges and exciting successes, but through it all, I have not wavered from my commitment to faith, family and fiscal responsibility.

    You've been in and around the process for a lot of years now.  In all of that time, what are you proudest of?  And on the flip side, is there anything you've had to see or experience that you really wish had turned out differently?

    In the House, one of the more significant things I worked on was getting the informed consent for abortion legislation signed into law. I also was a leader for Gov. Engler's tax cuts and welfare reform initiatives, among others.

    In the Senate, I spearheaded the fight against partial birth abortions in Michigan by sponsoring legislation to define when a person was considered "born" and therefore eligible for full legal protection. Even after the people of Michigan overwhelmingly backed this proposal through a citizens' initiative, it was overturned by the courts. I've always been passionate about Right to Life issues, and that had to be one of the most frustrating days in my legislative career.

    And I don't think we have enough time to go into the frustration of watching some Republicans vote for the largest tax increase in Michigan history.  That was a very sad period for me as a Republican elected official.

    Now, I love politics and I love the process and the relationships and the satisfaction with getting something done and done well and seeing lives improved but, that said, I could never fathom, personally, actually sticking my neck out on the line and my name on the ballot.  It is absolutely cut-throat.  What brings you to public service?  Why serve in the legislature and now look to continue your service via the Secretary of State's office?

    My family has always emphasized three important areas: family, faith, and community.  I believe we are all called to give back to our communities and serving the citizens of Michigan is a way for me to help my fellow citizens.

    Last year was a challenging year for Michigan Republicans. As I've said before, I believe tough challenges present opportunities, which is why I am stepping forward as a candidate for Secretary of State.  I am ready to make Republicans believe again that we can make a difference.

    Just this week Lt. Governor John Cherry said he thought Governor Granholm has done a good job and if elected he would continue her tradition.  As a Republican, I am excited to make sure that never happens.

    I've served the residents of northern Michigan for more than a decade in the state Legislature, where I've proven myself to be a no-nonsense legislator with a fiscally and socially conservative record and a strong commitment to customer service. Growing up on my family's cherry farm in northern Michigan is where I learned that work ethic.

    I want to serve as Michigan's Secretary of State in the spirit of Candice Miller and Terri Lynn Land. My focus will be on customer service, cost savings and clean and fair elections. The Secretary of State is a servant to the people of Michigan. I work for the taxpayers, and I take that role very seriously. Across state government, we are stewards of the taxpayers' money, and we must answer to them if we are not using that money as efficiently and effectively as we can.

    Well, we certainly appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there that way.  And you're offering to serve in a pretty large and important capacity here in 2010 so let's start with some large, important issues.  So much talk lately about how to "fix" the Republican Party and about returning to our conservative roots.  For the sake of being thorough and crystal clear, where are you on those foundational conservative issues?  Taxes?  I know you voted against the Democrats' giant tax hikes in 2007... the right to life, to bear arms?

    Taxes: It's been proven time and again that lower taxes and reduced restrictions on businesses result in economic growth. I am one of only a handful of senators who have consistently scored 95% or higher on the Michigan Chamber's Job Provider Index, which measures legislators' support of business-friendly issues.  I am committed to continue my fight for lower tax burdens on Michigan families and businesses in the coming budget discussions.

    Guns: I am a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association and one of the founding members of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus. I have always been a fierce defender of our Second Amendment Rights.

    Life issues: I passionately believe life begins at conception - without exception. Throughout my legislative career, I have always been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. In fact, my work to both sponsor and pass pro-life legislation helped Michigan earn the designation #1 Best State for Life in the Americans United for Life Defending Life 2006 report.

    Marriage: I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.  I was a strong supporter of the Defense of Marriage petition effort and am proud to have received the support of Citizens for Traditional Values throughout my legislative career.

    Awesome to hear.  Alright, some big issues the next Secretary of State is going to face and they aren't all easy.  If it's OK with you, maybe we could just move through these topic by topic so our readers can get a sense of where you're coming from?

    Sounds good. Where do you want to start?

    First issue, and one where I suppose it's impossible to make everyone happy, where are you on no-reason absentee voting?

    I do not support no-reason absentee voting. Anything the Democrats want so badly, I am naturally suspicious of and almost always opposed to. I get a little nervous when I hear people start talking about some of these "voter convenience" issues, like no-reason absentee voting.

    We've seen renewed voter interest in recent elections, and while I applaud that, the price we pay for increased participation cannot be guerilla tactics by groups like ACORN. This might sound silly to some, but I believe only real, living people should get to vote.  Ideas like no-reason absentee voting open the door for fraud and other voter irregularities that could compromise the integrity of Michigan's elections.

    You mention voter fraud.  All over the news in 2008 with ACORN setting land-speed records for fraudulent voter registrations and reports of voting irregularities across the nation.  Do we have these problems in Michigan? Do you think voter fraud exists "locally" and assuming the answer is yes, what can we do to stop it?

    I would not say that it is the norm to have voter fraud in Michigan.  However, with over 1500 Clerks administering elections in Michigan there are bound to be some irregularities which enterprising partisan organizations like ACORN will manipulate to their personal benefit.

    Michigan's photo ID law is fairly recent.  Do you support it and do you think it is an effective tool in minimizing some of these problems?

    Absolutely! This one simple change gives Michigan voters another protection on the integrity of their vote. Voting is the most sacred of our civic duties. Preserving the integrity of the ballot box is vital to upholding the ideals of democracy on which this nation was founded. I applauded the Michigan Supreme Court's decision to uphold our voter ID law, and I was happy to get "carded" on Election Day.

    One issue that's been on the books for years now reaches all the way back to the 2006 general election and campaign finance violations stemming from your former colleague in the Senate, now Congressman Mark Schauer. The current Secretary of State still hasn't made a ruling either way, three years later, on what to the outside world (and regardless of party identification), looks like a pretty serious violation.

    It probably wouldn't be fair to ask you to comment on irregularities that the current team at State is supposed to be dealing with, but on principle, would we see a commitment to resolving campaign finance complaints in a timely manner?

    I am committed to free and fair elections in Michigan. As Secretary of State, I would take very seriously allegations of fraud and other violations and would act on them in a timely and efficient manner to resolve complaints that come before me.

    Can't speak for everyone but I know I'm glad to hear that.  You've been generous with your time.  Is there anything else you'd like to cover before I let you go?

    www.Michellemcmanus.org is my website (which is being updated!) and I encourage your readers to look me up on Facebook.

    Senator McManus, thanks again for the time!  Looking forward to the next two years!

    Thank you for taking the time to speak with me!  I look forward to talking with Right Michigan supporters again soon.

    < Friday in the Sphere: Global Warming Edition | Michigan's Saul Anuzis RNC Chairman Candidate >

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    I like what I'm hearing. (none / 0) (#1)
    by KG One on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:24:51 AM EST
    I do not support no-reason absentee voting.

    Obviously, Senator McManus has the common sense that her predecessor Terri Lynn Land and our own county clerk Carmille Sabaugh, sorely lack.

    Hur-rah! Sign me up for a lawn sign!

    Having lived in Cadillac for awhile . . . (none / 0) (#2)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:17:43 AM EST
    . . . I've developed a working familiarity with Senator McManus.  (I've even had the pleasure of meeting her in person.)  Stand-up person, actually listens to her constituents.

    I do know that the Michigan Fair Tax Association has approached her to learn her position on the Michigan FairTax Proposal; I'll keep you posted on what I learn.

    She's got my vote! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Eric T on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 06:25:40 PM EST
    She is very attractive, She's got her politics right, on important issues like the 2nd Amendment.

    Maybe an idea for her campaign: The Secretary of State will cut you a deal on your registration and tags, when you buy a new car or truck, that is a model built right here in Michigan, and post a list of vehicles that qualify.

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