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The Michigan Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about races on your ballot, based on your values. You can vote early now through Monday, November 2nd at 4:00 p.m. at your local clerk’s office if you’re registered at your current address. If voting by mail, get your ballot to your clerk’s office as soon as possible. For more information about your voting options, visit: MichiganVoting.org

Federal

President

  • Democrat
  • Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden has a long career in public service, most notably serving as Vice President alongside President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2016. Prior to that , Biden served six consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. Biden is also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction, which only three others have received. In 1972, two weeks after his election to his first term in the Senate, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. In 2013, Biden also lost his eldest son to brain cancer.

    Joe Biden speaks frequently about tragedy and loss as a way to communicate that he understands the hardships everyday Americans face, particularly when it comes to dealing with the healthcare system. One of his signature accomplishments was getting the Affordable Care Act passed, which helped expand health insurance for millions of Americans and guaranteed no one could be discriminated against for having a preexisting condition. Biden believes in building on the success of the Affordable Care Act - and has advocated for adding a public option, with the goal of universal coverage for all Americans, regardless of income.

    Biden also came into office as Vice President during the depths of the Great Recession. He played a key role in planning the recovery effort, which pulled the American economy back from the brink and led to more than a decade of job growth. Biden’s decades of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also informed his more recent accomplishments on the world stage, including helping the U.S. join the Paris Climate Agreement, securing the Iran Nuclear Deal, and building international alliances.

    Biden has received his fair share of criticism. He sponsored the 1994 crime bill, which is blamed for accelerating mass incarceration rates of Black and Brown Americans. Biden also supported the Hyde Amendment, a provision barring the use of federal funds for abortion. In both cases, Biden’s views evolved. In the past few years, he’s repudiated the crime bill and supported legislation to end the death penalty and reverse mass incarceration. Biden has also pledged to eliminate the Hyde amendment as part of his larger platform of expanding health care to all Americans.

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden’s platform was already progressive. When it was clear he was going to win the primary, Biden pulled together top progressive leaders from across the political spectrum, from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to John Kerry and Eric Holder. These committees were tasked with building a platform to address the greatest challenges of our time, including health care, criminal justice reform, and climate change.

    Biden believes economic recovery cannot occur until the pandemic is under control, which he believes requires federal support for testing, distributing protective equipment, and providing federal aid to states and the unemployed. To kickstart the economy, Biden proposes mobilizing manufacturing, infrastructure spending, clean energy projects, funding and training for caregivers and educators, and fighting systemic racism through targeted investment.

    At George Floyd’s funeral, Biden called on Congress to pass the House’s wide-ranging police reform bill, written in the wake of the ongoing, historic marches demanding racial justice all around the country. Joe Biden is also committed to passing the bill named in honor of John Lewis to enshrine the sacred right to vote. Finally, Biden supports the end of the Senate filibuster in order to pass progressive legislation and end decades of Republican obstruction to pass laws that enjoy broad support among Americans, including universal background checks for firearms.

    Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate and Vice Presidential candidate. Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Her background is in law. She served as the San Francisco District Attorney from 2004 to 2011 and Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2016. She has represented the state of California in the U.S. Senate since 2017. Harris is well known for confronting Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings over Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s serious allegations of sexual assault against him. Harris’s views are progressive; especially on health care. She has co-sponsored bills that would expand Medicare to cover all Americans.

    Joe Biden is running against Republican incumbent Donald J. Trump. Trump has tried repeatedly to take away the rights of immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and tribes. He’s separated families at the border and put children in cages. He’s denied the reality of the climate crisis and repeatedly ignored the science that links it to the record setting fires, storms and floods devastating peoples’ lives. . Trump cheered GOP legislation like the 2017 tax bill, which burdened families and rewarded the rich and supported GOP efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and the protections it provides for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

    Trump’s presidency has been characterized by unprecedented levels of corruption with a record number of staff, cabinet members and campaign staff indicted and convicted. His failure to lead during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of Americans dead and the economy in shambles. Trump even admitted on tape that he knew about the severity of the virus as early as February and deliberately withheld that information from the public. Trump is only the third president ever to be impeached by Congress. There are active criminal investigations against his businesses and his family. Openly, Trump seeks to undermine the bedrock principles of democracy by obstructing justice, attacking peaceful protesters, and using the powers of his office to prevent Americans from voting.

    Joe Biden is the most progressive choice in the race for president.

    Joe Biden

    Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden has a long career in public service, most notably serving as Vice President alongside President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2016.

Vice President

  • Kamala Harris is the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States. She was born in Oakland, California to immigrant parents. Her mother was a cancer researcher from India and her father is an economist from Jamaica. Senator Harris is the first Black woman and South Asian American of any gender to be nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party.

    Harris went to public schools, attended Howard University, and returned to San Francisco for law school. She began her law career in 1990 working in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office specializing in advocating for child victims of sexual assault. She then moved to the Deputy District Attorney’s office prosecuting criminal cases.

    In 2003, she was the first woman to be elected District Attorney in San Francisco’s history. Harris fought against racial profiling as a driver of mass incarceration. She championed re-entry programs for youth offenders. As Attorney General, Harris also championed the Open Justice program, which provided public access to crime statistics, including use of force incidents by the police. She also expressed interest in redirecting police funds to social programs. Overall, prison incarceration rates in California dropped significantly during her six years as Attorney General.

    In 2016, Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate. She captured national attention right away for her questioning of U.S. Attorney General candidate Jeff Sessions on issues related to foreign interference in the 2016 election. In 2018, Harris again captivated the nation in her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, who was under scrutiny for sexual assault and political corruption. Her voting record in the Senate is progressive. She repeatedly co-sponsored bills to protect human rights. She also voted against the confirmation of the majority of the Trump Administration’s extreme rightwing candidates for office, including Betsy DeVos. Harris spoke out passionately against Republican efforts to block evidence from being considered in President Trump’s trial and ultimately voted to impeach him. She also vocally opposed the 2017 GOP Tax Bill, a massive tax giveaway to the richest one percent of Americans.

    Kamala Harris’s opponent is Vice President Mike Pence. After finishing law school, Pence jumped into politics with two unsuccessful runs for Congress. His loss in 1990 is partially attributed to his embezzlement of campaign funds, which was not illegal at the time. He then built his career as a rightwing radio and television personality in Indiana. A decade later, he finally won an election for Congress and built a record as an enemy of reproductive rights, sensible firearm regulations, social programs for impoverished Americans, and protections for LGBTQ+ citizens. He was elected governor of Indiana in 2013. He refused federal funding for pre-Kindergarten programs, which earned him significant criticism. Pence then used his office to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ citizens. His bigotry and lack of leadership were so severe that Pence allowed one of the worst HIV outbreaks in the country to happen in Indiana under his watch.

    In 2016, Presidential candidate Donald Trump chose Pence as his running mate. Trump chose Pence on the recommendation of Paul Manafort, who now serves jail time for lying to the FBI about his relationship between Russian military intelligence and the Trump campaign. Even though Pence serves as President of the Senate, he’s been completely absent in desperately needed negotiations over a second round of economic relief during the pandemic. He has supported Republicans in their near unanimous vote against full extended unemployment insurance, stimulus checks, support for health care systems, protective gear and testing for frontline workers, mail-in election funding, funding for state budget shortages to prevent layoffs, and new small business loans.

    Kamala Harris is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Kamala Harris

    Kamala Harris is the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States. She was born in Oakland, California to immigrant parents. Her mother was a cancer researcher from India and her father is an economist from Jamaica.

U.S. Senator

  • Democrat
  • Senator Gary Peters was first elected to the United States Senate in 2015 and was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a Senate election in 2014. Before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he was a financial advisor and part of the Navy Reserves. He also served in the Michigan State Senate from 1995-2002, the Michigan Lottery Commission from 2003-2007, and the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009-2015.

    While Peters has been in office, the biggest issues he’s fought for include veterans’ health and safety, lowering prescription drug costs, protecting the Great Lakes, fighting for small businesses, keeping the government transparent with the people, and fighting against the 1% by supporting movements like Occupy Wall Street. He’s also well known for working across the aisle effectively.

    Peters has also been a champion for reproductive health throughout his political career. He fought for the Affordable Care Act, expanding healthcare including no co-pays for contraceptives, and has defended it ever since. He also opposed the 2013 “Rape Insurance” bill that passed in Michigan, and is a strong ally for reproductive rights.

    Most recently he filed an investigation into efforts to cripple the United States Postal Service and expressed concerns about delayed absentee ballots and other important packages like medications, bill payments, and Social Security checks.

    Peters, a veteran and an expert in national security, serves as the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Gary Peters is a man of dignity who takes human rights very seriously. In his time in office as a Congressman and a Senator he’s voted for the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the DREAM Act, all of which have passed and have made life in the United States better for everyone.

    Sen. Peters has been endorsed by six of our partner organizations fighting for a Michigan where everyone thrives. This includes Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Clean Water Action, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Between the Lines, and BlackPAC.

    Sen. Peters is facing a challenge from John James, who in a previous campaign had a swastika in his political ad and said he supported the “Trump agenda 2000 percent.”

    We highly recommend re-electing Sen. Gary Peters, who is the most progressive choice in this race.


    Learn more here: https://petersformichigan.com/

    Gary Peters

    Senator Gary Peters was first elected to the United States Senate in 2015 and was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a Senate election in 2014. Before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he was a financial advisor and part of the Navy Reserves.

Congress, 11th Congressional District

U.S. Representative

  • Congresswoman Haley Stevens is running for her second term in Congress, having first been elected in 2018. More than 200,000 jobs were saved thanks to Stevens’s work in the Obama administration, where she played key roles in helping to rescue the auto industry and revitalize manufacturing.

    In addition to workforce development and technology, Stevens has also prioritized health care, the environment, and equality during her first term in Congress. She was also selected, alongside Colin Allread, to be co-presidents of the House Democratic Freshman Class of the 116th U.S. Congress.

    Most recently, Stevens has voted to protect the U.S. Postal Service during a time when mail-in voting will be at an all time high, and has called for greater transparency in the government.

    Stevens is endorsed by seven of our partner organizations, including the AFL-CIO, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Clean Water Action, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Sierra Club, and Between the Lines.

    Stevens faces far-right Republican Eric Esshaki.

    Stevens is the most progressive candidate in this race.

    Learn more: https://haleystevensforcongress.com/

    Haley Stevens

    Congresswoman Haley Stevens is running for her second term in Congress, having first been elected in 2018. More than 200,000 jobs were saved thanks to Stevens’s work in the Obama administration, where she played key roles in helping to rescue the auto industry and revitalize manufacturing.

Representative, 38th District

State Representative

  • Kelly Breen is running for the Michigan House of Representatives for the first time in the 38th District. Breen is currently an attorney, an activist, and serves on the Novi City Council.

    Breen’s priorities include expanding affordable prescriptions and healthcare, fighting to keep our air and our water clean, and supporting common-sense gun laws including Red Flag legislation. She has a history of supporting local LGBTQ rights as well.

    Breen is endorsed by five of our partner organizations including the American Federation of Teachers, Michigan AFL-CIO, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, and Between the Lines.

    Breen is running against Chase Turner. We do not recommend voting for Turner because of his far right-wing views and ardent support of Donald Trump. He is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life and by the DeVos-connected Great Lakes Education Project. He has also been backed by the Michigan Trump Republicans and Michigan Conservative Coalition, both of which are far-right, fringe organizations.

    Breen is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Learn more: https://kellybreen.com/

    Kelly A. Breen

    Kelly Breen is running for the Michigan House of Representatives for the first time in the 38th District. Breen is currently an attorney, an activist, and serves on the Novi City Council.

Statewide

Michigan State Board of Trustees

  • The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Brian Mosallam and Rema Reynolds-Vassar as the progressive choices in this race. 

    First elected to the board in 2012, Brian Mosallam has stood up for employees and students of MSU, and fought for justice and dignity for the survivors of sexual assault.

    As a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, administrator, and parent organizer with over two decades of experience, Dr. Rema Reynolds-Vassar is a university educator with a dedication to equity, access, inclusion, and safety for every student, faculty, staff, and alum.

    The Republicans in the race are Pat O’Keefe and Tonya Schuitmaker. We do not recommend either candidate. O’Keefe’s has received the support of right-wing U.S. Senate candidate John James. Schuitmaker is a former legislator who racked up a very conservative voting record in Lansing and is endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Mosallam and Dr. Reynolds-Vassar are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Brian Mosallam

    The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

  • The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Brian Mosallam and Rema Reynolds-Vassar as the progressive choices in this race. 

    First elected to the board in 2012, Brian Mosallam has stood up for employees and students of MSU, and fought for justice and dignity for the survivors of sexual assault.

    As a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, administrator, and parent organizer with over two decades of experience, Dr. Rema Reynolds-Vassar is a university educator with a dedication to equity, access, inclusion, and safety for every student, faculty, staff, and alum.

    The Republicans in the race are Pat O’Keefe and Tonya Schuitmaker. We do not recommend either candidate. O’Keefe’s has received the support of right-wing U.S. Senate candidate John James. Schuitmaker is a former legislator who racked up a very conservative voting record in Lansing and is endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Mosallam and Dr. Reynolds-Vassar are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Dr. Rema Reynolds-Vassar

    The Michigan State Board of Trustees is the governing body of Michigan State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

State Board of Education

  • The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

    A fierce advocate for public education and government transparency, Ellen Cogen Lipton served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives, including a term as Democratic Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

    A proud parent of three public school children and raised in a family of educators, Jason Strayhorn believes that our best investment as a state is in providing every child a high-quality and equitable education.

    Both Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn are endorsed by Between the Lines, Michigan AFL-CIO, AFT Michigan and UAW. 

    The Republicans in the race are Toni Carlone and Michelle Frederick. We do not recommend either candidate because they have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Cogen Lipton and Strayhorn are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Ellen Cogen Lipton

    The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

  • The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

    A fierce advocate for public education and government transparency, Ellen Cogen Lipton served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives, including a term as Democratic Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

    A proud parent of three public school children and raised in a family of educators, Jason Strayhorn believes that our best investment as a state is in providing every child a high-quality and equitable education.

    Both Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn are endorsed by Between the Lines, Michigan AFL-CIO, AFT Michigan and UAW. 

    The Republicans in the race are Toni Carlone and Michelle Frederick. We do not recommend either candidate because they have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Cogen Lipton and Strayhorn are the progressive choices in this race.

     

    Jason Strayhorn

    The State Board of Education oversees education policy in the state of Michigan. There are two seats on the board up for grabs and we recommend Democrats Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn in this race. 

University of Michigan Board of Regents

  • The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Democrats Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs as the progressive choices in this race. 

    Holding a BA, JD, and MBA from the University of Michigan, Mark Bernstein was first elected to the Board of Regents in 2012 and has fought for affordable higher education, and has advocated for graduate and lecturer faculty at the University of Michigan.

    As the first doctor elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 2012, Shauna Ryder-Diggs earned her BS and MD from the University of Michigan and is an advocate for affordable tuition and financial responsibility, faculty advancement and support, and creating a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. A former union member herself, Ryder-Diggs has been a strong advocate for UM employees and their unions.

    The Republicans in this race are Sarah Hubbard and Carl Meyers, both of whom are endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. We do not recommend either of these candidates. 

    The progressive choices in this race are Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs.

    Mark Bernstein

    The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

  • The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend incumbent Democrats Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs as the progressive choices in this race. 

    Holding a BA, JD, and MBA from the University of Michigan, Mark Bernstein was first elected to the Board of Regents in 2012 and has fought for affordable higher education, and has advocated for graduate and lecturer faculty at the University of Michigan.

    As the first doctor elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 2012, Shauna Ryder-Diggs earned her BS and MD from the University of Michigan and is an advocate for affordable tuition and financial responsibility, faculty advancement and support, and creating a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. A former union member herself, Ryder-Diggs has been a strong advocate for UM employees and their unions.

    The Republicans in this race are Sarah Hubbard and Carl Meyers, both of whom are endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. We do not recommend either of these candidates. 

    The progressive choices in this race are Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder-Diggs.

    Shauna Ryder-Diggs

    The University of Michigan Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Michigan and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

Wayne State Board of Governors

  • The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend Democrats Eva Garza-Dewaelsche and Shirley Stancato as the progressive choices in this race.

    With BA and Masters of Education degrees from Wayne State University, Eva Garza-Dewaelsche is running for WSU Governor to promote greater opportunities for students of color and non-traditional students, increase enrollment and graduation rates, and strengthen the voices of educators and workers in university decision making.

    Appointed to fill a vacancy on the Wayne State Board of Governors in 2019, Shirley Stancato is a social justice advocate and prominent Detroit civic and community leader. Stancato is an architect of civic engagement opportunities that bridge economic, geographical and racial divides and spent her career at the helm of New Detroit, uniting community organizations in the mission of identifying and eliminating racial disparities in metro Detroit.

    The Republicans in the race are Terri Lynn Land and Don Gates. We do not recommend either of these candidates. Terri Lynn Land is a failed U.S. Senate candidate and former Michigan Secretary of State who was tapped by the GOP late in the game after their incumbent candidate was barred from the race because of campaign finance issues. Gates is endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Garza-Dewaelsche and Stancato are the progressive choices in this race.

    Eva Garza-Dewaelsche

    The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

  • The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year. We recommend Democrats Eva Garza-Dewaelsche and Shirley Stancato as the progressive choices in this race.

    With BA and Masters of Education degrees from Wayne State University, Eva Garza-Dewaelsche is running for WSU Governor to promote greater opportunities for students of color and non-traditional students, increase enrollment and graduation rates, and strengthen the voices of educators and workers in university decision making.

    Appointed to fill a vacancy on the Wayne State Board of Governors in 2019, Shirley Stancato is a social justice advocate and prominent Detroit civic and community leader. Stancato is an architect of civic engagement opportunities that bridge economic, geographical and racial divides and spent her career at the helm of New Detroit, uniting community organizations in the mission of identifying and eliminating racial disparities in metro Detroit.

    The Republicans in the race are Terri Lynn Land and Don Gates. We do not recommend either of these candidates. Terri Lynn Land is a failed U.S. Senate candidate and former Michigan Secretary of State who was tapped by the GOP late in the game after their incumbent candidate was barred from the race because of campaign finance issues. Gates is endorsed by the anti-choice Right to Life of Michigan. 

    Garza-Dewaelsche and Stancato are the progressive choices in this race.

    Shirley Stancato

    The Wayne State Board of Governors is the governing body of Wayne State University and there are two seats on the board up for election this year.

Supreme Court

State Supreme Court

  • Elizabeth Welch has stood up for communities throughout her legal career and personal life. She was active in her school community and served as a board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. She helped push back against big pharma and get funding for communities hit hard by the opioid crisis and has a strong record of supporting workplace safety standards. Welch is endorsed by AFT Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and a host of other labor and progressive organizations.

    Elizabeth Welch

    Elizabeth Welch has stood up for communities throughout her legal career and personal life. She was active in her school community and served as a board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Other Candidates

Also in this race are Brock Swartzle and Mary Kelly, the Republican-nominated candidates running for the court against McCormack and Welch. We strongly recommend not voting for either of these candidates. 

Mary Kelly has faced questions of nepotism involving her job in the same court where her husband is chief judge and fired a longtime public employee in what was clearly a case of political retribution because he refused to back her candidacy for judge. 

Swartzle has a long history of being a GOP operative, a lawyer who defended foreclosure companies, and was appointed to the Court of Appeals by former Gov. Rick Snyder under very shady circumstances that was called an act of “political patronage,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Oakland County

Oakland County Executive

  • David Coulter was appointed Oakland County Executive in 2019 and is running for his first full term in that office. He previously served as mayor of Ferndale and as an Oakland County Commissioner. He is the first openly gay Oakland County Exeuctive. Coulter has also held a number of executive roles within nonprofit organizations.

    In his first year as executive, Coulter focused on making county government more inclusive and forward thinking, while helping the county through the COVID-19 crisis. He has established a minimum wage for Oakland County government employees, made investments in infrastructure and water quality, created an Economic Stabilization Fund to support the county’s recovery from COVID-19; and appointed the most diverse leadership team in county history.

    Coulter is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

    Coulter is running against Mike Kowall. During his time in the Michigan Legislature, Kowall supported controversial right-to-work and emergency manager legislation, as well as cuts to education and infrastructure. He is also endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Coulter is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    David Coulter

    David Coulter was appointed Oakland County Executive in 2019 and is running for his first full term in that office. He previously served as mayor of Ferndale and as an Oakland County Commissioner. He is the first openly gay Oakland County Exeuctive.

Oakland Prosecuting Attorney

  • Karen McDonald is running for her first term as Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney. She has served as a judge, assistant prosecutor, and teacher. She is also involved in a number of community activities and organizations. She has gained recognition for her efforts to protect children and prevent domestic violence.

    McDonald is endorsed by the Michigan Education Association.

    McDonald is running against Republican Lin Goetz. 

    McDonald is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Karen McDonald

    Karen McDonald is running for her first term as Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney. She has served as a judge, assistant prosecutor, and teacher. She is also involved in a number of community activities and organizations.

Oakland Sheriff

  • Vincent Gregory is running for his first term as Oakland County Sheriff. He previously served as a county commissioner, state representative, and state senator, where he built a progressive reputation and voting record. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he also served for 30 years in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, where he was a member of the SEIU.

    He is endorsed by the Michigan Education Association.

    Gregory is running against Republican Michael Bouchard, who has developed a reputation as a staunch conservative and is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Gregory is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Vincent Gregory

    Vincent Gregory is running for his first term as Oakland County Sheriff. He previously served as a county commissioner, state representative, and state senator, where he built a progressive reputation and voting record. A U.S.

Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds

  • Democrat
  • Lisa Brown is running for her third term as Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds. As a state representative, Brown gained national acclaim for her advocacy on behalf of women, students, and the environment. As Clerk and Register of Deeds, her priorities include innovation, voting rights, and fiscal responsibility. 

    Brown is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Michigan Education Association.

    Brown is running against Tina Barton who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Brown is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Lisa Brown

    Lisa Brown is running for her third term as Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds. As a state representative, Brown gained national acclaim for her advocacy on behalf of women, students, and the environment.

Oakland Treasurer

  • Robert Wittenberg is running for his first term as Oakland County Treasurer. As a member of the Michigan House of Representatives since 2015, Wittenberg established a progressive reputation and voting record. He chairs the Michigan Legislative Gun Violence Prevention Caucus. Financial security, economic opportunity, and transparency are among his priorities.

    Wittenberg is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: the Michigan Education Association, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, and the Sierra Club.

    Wittenberg is running against Republican Susan Anderson who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Wittenberg is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Robert Wittenberg

    Robert Wittenberg is running for his first term as Oakland County Treasurer. As a member of the Michigan House of Representatives since 2015, Wittenberg established a progressive reputation and voting record.

Oakland Water Resources Commission

  • Democrat
  • Jim Nash is running for his third term as Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner. He is an Army veteran who has also served on the Oakland County Commission. Environmental quality, public health, innovation, collaboration, and fiscal responsibility are his priorities as Water Resources Commissioner.

    Nash is running against Republican Robert Buxbaum. 

    Nash is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Jim Nash

    Jim Nash is running for his third term as Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner. He is an Army veteran who has also served on the Oakland County Commission.

Oakland County Commission

Oakland County Commission, District 1

  • Michelle Bryant is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a registered nurse and former Army officer.

    Bryant is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Bryant is running against Michael Gingell. We do not recommend voting for Gingell because of his endorsement by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Bryant is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Michelle A. Bryant

    Michelle Bryant is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a registered nurse and former Army officer.

    Bryant is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

Oakland County Commission, District 2

  • Jim Williams is running for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. He retired after working for 24 years as a youth services caseworker and 16 years as a substitute teacher. 

    Williams cites fighting PFAS contamination and making Oakland County carbon neutral among his priorities, if elected.

    Williams is challenging conservative incumbent Bob Hoffman.

    Williams is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Jim Williams

    Jim Williams is running for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. He retired after working for 24 years as a youth services caseworker and 16 years as a substitute teacher. 

Oakland County Commission, District 3

  • Michelle McClellan is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a massage therapist and community volunteer. Infrastructure, clean water, mental health, and education are among her priorities.

    McClellan is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

    McClellan is running against Michael Spisz who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    McClellan is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Michelle McClellan

    Michelle McClellan is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a massage therapist and community volunteer. Infrastructure, clean water, mental health, and education are among her priorities.

    McClellan is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

Oakland County Commission, District 4

  • Phillip Reid is running for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. He worked as a system administrator for Chrysler for over a decade.

    Reid is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Reid is running against current Waterford Township Trustee, Karen Joliat. Joliat’s website does not outline any specific policy positions or endorsements.

    Reid is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Phillip W. Reid

    Phillip Reid is running for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. He worked as a system administrator for Chrysler for over a decade.

    Reid is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

Oakland County Commission, District 5

  • Kristen Nelson is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a board-certified behavioral analyst whose work focuses on young people with autism. She was previously a special education teacher for 15 years.

    Because the Oakland County Commission redraws its own district lines after each Census, re-electing Nelson will be critical in ensuring that gerrymandering does not happen at the county level in 2021.

    Nelson is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.

    Nelson is running against Klint Kesto, who accumulated a conservative voting record as a state representative. We do not recommend voting for Kesto because of his conservative views and his endorsement by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Nelson is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Kristen Nelson

    Kristen Nelson is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a board-certified behavioral analyst whose work focuses on young people with autism. She was previously a special education teacher for 15 years.

Oakland County Commission, District 6

  • Jeffrey Long is running  for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. An electrician, he is a proud member of IBEW Local 58. He is a member of the Huron Valley School Board. Education, workers’ rights, and health care are among his priorities.

    Long is endorsed by one of our partner organizations: the Michigan Education Association.

    Long is running against Eileen Kowall. When Kowall was in the Michigan Legislature she supported controversial right-to-work and emergency manager legislation, as well as cuts to education and infrastructure.

    Long is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Jeffrey Long

    Jeffrey Long is running  for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. An electrician, he is a proud member of IBEW Local 58. He is a member of the Huron Valley School Board. Education, workers’ rights, and health care are among his priorities.

Oakland County Commission, District 7

  • Karen Adams is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. The environment, senior services, and infrastructure are among her priorities. She has served in a number of roles in her community, including her school board and planning commission.

    Adams is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Sierra Club.

    Adams is running against Christine Long who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Adams is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Karen J. Adams

    Karen Adams is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. The environment, senior services, and infrastructure are among her priorities. She has served in a number of roles in her community, including her school board and planning commission.

Oakland County Commission, District 8

  • Democrat
  • Toni Nagy is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission.

    Nagy is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

    Nagy is running against incumbent Phil Weipert who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life and played a role in gerrymandering County Commission districts to favor Republicans in 2012.

    While very little information about Nagy is easily found, she appears to be the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Toni Nagy

    Toni Nagy is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission.

    Nagy is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

Oakland County Commission, District 9

  • Gwen Markham is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She has also worked as a manufacturing executive. As a member of the Novi City Council, Markham brought a progressive voice to a Council that was usually dominated by conservatives. She also served as chair of the Novi Planning Commission. The environment and equity are among Markham’s priorities on the County Commission.

    Because the Oakland County Commission redraws its own district lines after each Census, re-electing Markham will be critical in preventing gerrymandering at the county level in 2021.

    Markham is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.

    Markham is running against David Staudt who is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life. 

    Markham is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

     

    Gwen Markham

    Gwen Markham is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She has also worked as a manufacturing executive. As a member of the Novi City Council, Markham brought a progressive voice to a Council that was usually dominated by conservatives.

Oakland County Commission, District 10

  • Angela Powell is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She has been an active volunteer in Pontiac since long before she was elected in 2018. She has worked as a community organizer for both the Oakland County Democratic Party and the Michigan House Democratic Caucus. She also worked on the staff of House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel. Transportation, education, and voting rights are among Powell’s priorities on the County Commission.

    Powell is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Sierra Club.

    Powell is running against Republican David Foster. Powell is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Angela Powell

    Angela Powell is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She has been an active volunteer in Pontiac since long before she was elected in 2018.

Oakland County Commission, District 11

  • Democrat
  • Tim Burns is running for his third term on the Oakland County Commission, having previously served from 2007 to 2011. He has served on the Oakland County Parks Commission and Oakland County International Airport Authority.

    Burns is running for County Commissioner because he knows how important it is for science and facts to guide public policies. Economic growth, fiscal responsibility, and COVID-19 response are among his priorities, if elected.

    Because the Oakland County Commission redraws its own district lines after each Census, electing Burns will be critical in preventing gerrymandering at the county level in 2021.

    Burns is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Sierra Club.

    Burns is running against Republican Thomas Kuhn. 

    Burns is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Tim Burns

    Tim Burns is running for his third term on the Oakland County Commission, having previously served from 2007 to 2011. He has served on the Oakland County Parks Commission and Oakland County International Airport Authority.

Oakland County Commission, District 12

  • Kelly Dillaha is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a university administrator, school volunteer, and business owner. She has gained a lot of experience tackling difficult challenges head-on.

    Dillaha’s platform includes expanding health services, business development, clean water, and making county government more inclusive.

    Dillaha is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.

    Dillaha is running against Chuck Moss. During his time in the Michigan legislature, Moss supported controversial right-to-work and emergency manager legislation, as well as cuts to education and infrastructure. He is endorsed by the anti-choice organization Right to Life.

    Dillaha is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Kelly Dillaha

    Kelly Dillaha is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a university administrator, school volunteer, and business owner. She has gained a lot of experience tackling difficult challenges head-on.

Oakland County Commission, District 13

Oakland County Commission, District 14

  • William Miller is running for his second term on the Oakland County Commission. A certified crane operator, he has worked as an organizer and negotiator for the International Union of Operating Employees Local 324.

    Miller is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Miller is running against Republican Theresa Noseworthy. 

    Miller is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    William Miller

    William Miller is running for his second term on the Oakland County Commission. A certified crane operator, he has worked as an organizer and negotiator for the International Union of Operating Employees Local 324.

Oakland County Commission, District 15

  • Melanie Hartman is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a doctor and active community volunteer. Physical and mental health, clean water, and green spaces are among her priorities.

    Because the Oakland County Commission redraws its own district lines after each Census, electing Hartman will be critical in preventing gerrymandering at the county level in 2021.

    Hartman is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.

    Hartman is running against Republican Adam Kochenderfer. 

    Hartman is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Melanie Hartman

    Melanie Hartman is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She is a doctor and active community volunteer. Physical and mental health, clean water, and green spaces are among her priorities.

Oakland County Commission, District 16

  • Democrat
  • Penny Luebs is running for her second term on the Oakland County Commission. She previously served ten years as mayor of Clawson. Her priorities include funding for roads and improving the quality of life for residents.

    Because the Oakland County Commission redraws its own district lines after each Census, re-electing Luebs will be critical in preventing gerrymandering at the county level in 2021.

    Luebs is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.

    Luebs is running against Republican Matt Pryor. 

    Luebs is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

Oakland County Commission, District 17

  • Yolanda Charles is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She has served as President of the Southfield Board of Education and the Commission on Senior Adults. She is a web developer and a small business owner. If elected, she plans to focus on transit, technology, and senior services.

    Charles is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

    Charles is running against Republican Mordechai Klainberg. 

    Charles is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Yolanda S. Charles

    Yolanda Charles is running for her first term on the Oakland County Commission. She has served as President of the Southfield Board of Education and the Commission on Senior Adults. She is a web developer and a small business owner.

Oakland County Commission, District 18

  • Charlie Cavell is running for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. He is a social worker who has been involved in many organizations. If elected, he plans to focus on regional collaboration, innovative government, and inclusion.

    Cavell is endorsed by three of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the Sierra Club, and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

    Cavell is running against Republican Michelangelo Fortuna. 

    Cavell is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Charlie Cavell

    Charlie Cavell is running for his first term on the Oakland County Commission. He is a social worker who has been involved in many organizations. If elected, he plans to focus on regional collaboration, innovative government, and inclusion.

Oakland County Commission, District 19

  • David Woodward is running for his ninth term on the Oakland County Commission. His colleagues elected him to chair the Commission in 2019. He works for the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, which focuses on economic justice and racial equity. He has also served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives, where he established a progressive reputation and voting record.

    The environment, economic opportunity, and equity are Woodward’s top priorities as County Commission Chair.

    Woodward is endorsed by two of our partner organizations: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Sierra Club.

    Woodward is running against right-wing Republican Pam Lindell. 

    Woodward is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    David T. Woodward

    David Woodward is running for his ninth term on the Oakland County Commission. His colleagues elected him to chair the Commission in 2019. He works for the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, which focuses on economic justice and racial equity.

Oakland County Commission, District 20

  • Gary McGillivray is running for his seventh term on the Oakland County Commission. He currently serves as chair of the Democratic Caucus on the County Commission. He has served the City of Madison Heights as a reserve police officer, city council member, and mayor. He writes and issues a periodic newsletter to make sure residents are informed about happenings in Oakland County.

    McGillivray is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

    McGillivray is running against Republican David Harrel. 

    McGillivray is the most progressive choice in this race.

     

    Gary R. McGillivray

    Gary McGillivray is running for his seventh term on the Oakland County Commission. He currently serves as chair of the Democratic Caucus on the County Commission. He has served the City of Madison Heights as a reserve police officer, city council member, and mayor.

Oakland County Commission, District 21

Statewide Ballot Measures

Michigan Proposal 1, Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment

  • No Position
    No Recommendation - Michigan Proposal 1
  • Proposal 1 changes how the royalties from oil and gas production in Michigan would finance different state park projects. The proposal gives more flexibility for how state park project money can be used and raises the amount of money that can go into the state’s budget for parks and recreation. 

    Under this proposal, the current $500 million cap on Michigan's Natural Resources Trust Fund would be lifted when the State Parks Endowment Fund reaches its own $800 million dollar cap. Once the balance of the State Parks Fund reaches this upper limit, the oil and gas monies currently saved in the fund would revert back to the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which has been in place for nearly four decades. Under existing law, when the State Parks Endowment Fund reaches $800 million, Michigan's oil, mineral, and gas revenues will revert to the state's general fund.  

    Law currently states that no more than a quarter of the State Parks Endowment Fund can go to existing state parks. If passed, this amendment would make it so that at least a quarter of future expenditures can go towards existing parks for projects like renovations and redevelopments, with at least a fifth of the money towards capital improvements. These funds typically go towards constructing recreational items such as trails, bathroom facilities, playgrounds, and other park projects. 

    The proposal does not raise revenue or taxes in any way, but instead changes how future revenue would be allocated. 

    While many conservation organizations across the state are supportive of this proposal, it also has the support of business interests including DTE Energy, the Detroit Regional Chamber, and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association. 

    Progress Michigan’s partner organizations are equally divided on this proposal. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters supports the proposal, while the Michigan Sierra Club is strongly against the proposal. Clean Water Action is neutral on Proposal 1.

    Given the split between our environmental partners, we cannot make a recommendation on this proposal. 

Michigan Proposal 2, Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment

  • VOTE YES
    Vote Yes on Proposal 2
  • This proposal requires law enforcement to have a search warrant before accessing a person’s electronic data or electronic communications. Electronic data under this proposal would be defined as private property and would be prohibited from unreasonable searches or seizures. Passing this measure would make it clear under the state constitution 

    Proposal 2 has a broad bipartisan consensus. While the proposal is spearheaded by Republican State Senator Jim Runestad, it also has the support from groups like the ACLU of Michigan. 

    We recommend voting yes on Proposal 2. 


     

Oakland County Ballot Measures

Millage Replacement and Increase to Improve, Operate, and Maintain Parks, Open Space Areas, Trails, and Recreation Activities in Oakland County, Michigan

  • VOTE YES
    Vote Yes on Millage for Oakland County Parks System
  • The proposal states, “The Oakland County Parks System includes 7000 acres and 80 miles of trails preserving and protecting the environment. There are 13 Oakland County Parks and recreational activities throughout the County including campgrounds, dog parks, golf courses, water parks, and mobile recreation units.

    “To continue to provide revenue to the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission, shall the current millage, which has been reduced by required rollback, be replaced and increased to .35 mills for 10 years from 2020 to 2029? The .35 mills is equal to 35 cents per $1,000.00 of taxable value. The millage, if approved and levied, will generate approximately $22,026,860.00 in 2020. The purpose of the millage is to improve, operate, and maintain parks, open space and water areas, trails, and recreation facilities; to allow for free day-use park admission for seniors (62 and over), military, veterans, and residents with permanent disabilities; to expand trails; to enhance local recreation programs; and to increase environmental conservation and recreation activities. Revenue from the millage will be disbursed only to the County of Oakland to be used solely for the purpose of funding the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission with external audits and oversight by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.” 

    In short, the proposal increases funding to keep up with the services, operating costs, and capital improvements for the Oakland County Parks System. The county notes there is more demand for residents who use the parks system, while over time the required upkeep to deal with a growing parks system needs to be augmented. The parks system has already lowered their operating budget twice in the last fiscal year. 

    We recommend voting yes on this proposal so Oakland County residents can continue to enjoy their parks.