REDISTRICTING DUST-UP: Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Gingell (R-Lake Orion) isn’t buying Democrats’ claims that a new state law is purely a political gesture aimed at giving Republicans in Oakland County a sweet deal after suffering defeats in 2008 that they surely would rather forget. “I think our map will be more appropriate than any map that’s going to be introduced at this point,” Gingell said, referring to new district lines that are called for after the GOP in the state House and Senate sheparded through legislation that effectively makes the county board, controlled by Republicans, redraw a district map that was approved in May by the county Reapportionment Commission that was controlled by Democrats. “We are going to have a process that’s open. I’m planning on having public hearings on this process.” And John Scott, a Republican commissioner representing portions of West Bloomfield and Waterford, wants people to remember that the GOP members of the Reapportionment Panel — Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr. and county Republican Party Chairman Jim Thienel — said they would have supported an initial map by Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper before that one was scrapped in favor of the one the panel approved in a party-line vote in the spring. The new state law — which we chided for two consecutive weeks — now faces a lawsuit filed in Ingham County Circuit Court by Oakland County Democrats.
SOTS, PART DEUX: Gov. Rick Snyder is due to give his second State of the State Address on Wednesday, Jan. 18, and after a year in office and plenty of political fights — with Democrats and Republicans alike — the “tough nerd” is expected to dedicate a solid chunk of the annual pep talk to transportation issues, said state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-Commerce, Highland, Milford, Walled Lake, Wixom, Wolverine Lake, White Lake, Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield). And, with the SOTS approaching, the state Senate Republican Caucus will be holding an off-site confab to discuss some of those issues. “Transportation is real big on the agenda, both automotive and shipping in the Great Lakes,” Kowall said, adding that he’s working on an initiative that would add a new lock at the “Soo” facility, a project that would cost in the “hundreds of millions of dollars” between the state and federal government and potentially creating up to 160,000 jobs. If one of the locks, which allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes, becomes unusable — for any number of reasons — it could be dire straits (pun intended) for Michigan.
STILL WAITING: Kowall, who is expected to challenge sitting U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Waterford, White Lake, Highland, Milford, Commerce, Wolverine Lake, Walled Lake, Wixom) in the GOP primary election in August, has not yet submitted the proper documentation with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office or the federal government, despite hopes that he would file campaign paperwork by the end of 2011. “We’re getting our team back together because everyone was scattered about over the holidays. There’s a lot of paperwork,” he said. Duly noted.
HE SAID WHAT? State Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) is no stranger to controversy, but he’s in more hot water after comments he reportedly made about a Lansing PR guru who named him to a “biggest loser” list. Jones reportedly likened Kelly Rossman-McKinney to a “hooker” in a published report in a publication covering Lansing politics and state government, and he has been eating a fair amount of crow as a result. “The fury is still flying on that,” Kowall said. “Kelly Rossman is a very intelligent woman. I’m kind of surprised she took a crack at Rick the way she did. They are always picking winners and losers in Lansing, but for Rick to come back and say that about her, that was not something he should have done, either.” Jones has apparently not apologized for the remark — although Kowall said Jones may — but Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Frenchtown) has. Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) has opined that sexism is still rampant in the halls of power in Lansing in light of Jones’ comment.