Thursday, November 20, 2008

The New Faces of The Michigan Republican Party by Akindele Akinyemi

While there is talk about former Maryland Lt. Governor and GOPAC Chairman Michael Steele running for the top position as Chairman of the Republican National Committee in January we need an epiphany of our own here in Michigan. This too, is the time for urban conservatives to sink their teeth into the leadership of the party. While we still have people seeking answers from the grave or talking to about why we lost our core principles we need to diversify the Michigan Republican Party from the precinct delegate to the leadership of the party.

So this brings me to pick two of the most viable candidates that I can possibly find who can actually lead us back to greatness.

Let me begin with Oakland County Commissioner Mike Rogers from Farmington Hills, Michigan. Recently, he lost his bid for another term to Steve Schwartz in District 14. Now every single Oakland County Republican knew that this was a targeted race and with both Gov. Granholm and Jon Stryker wanting this seat they knocked off one of the most talented Black Republican elected officials we have seen in Southeast Michigan since Bishop Keith Butler sat on the Detroit City Council from 1990-1994.

Here is why many grassroots Republicans should take a look at Mike Rogers.

The first thing is take a look at this man's credentials. Rogers has a B.S. in construction engineering from Lawrence Technological University (my father's alma mater) and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University. That alone should help you realize with all of his expertise in engineering that he can easily engineer a creative platform for our party. We do not need anymore talking points on principles. The only principle we should be engaged in is action.

Take a look at how Oakland County has been able to balance their budget. Commissioner Rogers is the Finance chair. You should be able to connect the dots on this one.

As a transportation expert Commissioner Rogers is a proponent of mass transit. Of course, this fits directly into our urban conservative platform. It is silly for the big three to have a monopoly on transportation when other cities nationwide have a light rail system. As an executive board member of SEMCOG Commissioner Rogers would bring much needed discussion on items such as high speed rail connecting areas such as Southwest Michigan and Detroit or Mackinac City and Detroit. A Michigan High Speed Authority is necessary to help generate jobs in this state.

Instead of being the traditional leader in the Michigan Republican Party Commissioner Rogers would bring what we call humanitarian issues to the table such as improving health care, transportation, mental health issues and of course both of our favorite issue education.

Speaking of education, Commissioner Rogers have embraced my push for alternative teacher certification here in Michigan to increase job growth in much needed areas such as math, science and computer technology. Although we have measures in the Michigan School Code for alternative teacher certification now is the time to push for this especially in areas such as Oakland County where Automation Alley is booming and industries are coming to the county. Commissioner Rogers can assist in that effort to create jobs.

And who would be helping the Commissioner in a leadership capacity in our party? The Muskegon County Clerk Karen Buie.

Karen Buie would bring much needed excitement to our party. While many people have their eye on Sarah Palin in 2012 I have my eye on this Michigan wonder right now. How come the party has not reached out to the first African American Republican female County Clerk for leadership I have no clue. Like Commissioner Rogers, Clerk Buie was also a victim of straight party voting that made her lose her race on November 4th to someone who Buie looked up to as a role . That person was Nancy White. White is 66 years old and likes to micromanage things. Sounds like some of the leadership here in our OWN party.

But like I shared with Karen there is a light for you. You see, the Michigan Republican Party can no longer sit in the dark and try to win elections outside the inner cities. The next war will take place on the streets of Detroit, Benton Harbor, Flint, Highland Park, Inkster, River Rouge, Ecorse, Lansing, Saginaw, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Muskegon. This party need a viable force such as Karen Buie to shore up support, help promote the message of REAL CHAGE and give solutions for the inner cities here in Michigan.

Just like I have supported Democratic candidates in the past here in Detroit Buie is not a very partisan person, and as a member of the county elections board, has voted several times to support Democrats. She understands cooperation and she understands the importance of civic education.

Buie would help in our party in terms of educating our communities on civic education. I can work with her from a grassroots and outreach capacity on this critical point since people vote by name recognition or straight ticket. Again, I cannot help but wonder why our party in Michigan still wants to remain in the dark after losing 20 house seats, 3 Senate seats, the Chief Judge, various local races and did not even win any statewide elections on the MSU, U-M, Wayne State or State Board of Education. All of this have been happening since 2006.

Like Commissioner Rogers, Clerk Buie is a tremendous asset for Muskegon County. Here is an All-Star who served on a state committee that helped choose optical scan voting machines for use throughout Michigan, then managed the conversion to the new system throughout Muskegon County. She made it possible for customers to pay for county clerk services with credit cards, increased the speed of getting local election results posted on the Internet, and made it possible for customers to fill out online applications for marriage licenses and birth certificates.

She said she also purchased software that allows her staff to update their Internet services in-house, which saves a lot of money.

We have lost good Black Republican leadership in this state over the years because they felt that the party was not moving in the right direction. Kevin Fobbs is gone. I cannot find Myrah Kirkwood anywhere.The older Black Republicans who I have spoken with wants young people like myself to take over (which I do not even have a problem with in this day and age). Most of the same Black Republicans (young and old) who helped us on the DeVos campaign in 2006 ended up voting for Obama this year.

While we keep talking about returning to core principles what about inclusion before election time? I should not have to see a mailer on abortion or marriage one week before we vote. In fact, get off those issues right now. The Michigan Republican Party needs new, young, sober and diverse who know how to work the ground game and aren't afraid to spread the knowledge. The Michigan Republican Party must begin to figure out how to strategically apply these ideals and make them pertinent to today's most pressing issues; then use surrogates who are more engaging and less divisive.

For any African American who is reading this and tells me that the conservative ideas are is lying. Liberal ideas have been since day one (think Detroit, Benton Harbor or Flint). So do not come with that foolishness.

This is a new day in our party and their names are Mike Rogers and Karen Buie. These are the die hard leaders we have been looking for. We can run anyone for Chair of the Michigan Republican Party (Jack Hoogendyk, Dan Tollis, Paul Welday, Laura Toy, Norm Shinkle, Jerry Zandstra, Ron Weisner) in fact I am NOT backing anyone. What I care about going into 2009 is creating a relationship between minorities in the party, not looking at Blacks, Hispanics or Asians as tokens and actually create some serious in-roads into the inner cities starting with the educational debate. That is the party chair I am willing to lend a hand to.

However, it falls on the shoulders of other urban conservatives and Black Republicans to support both Mike Rogers and Karen Buie in leadership and keeping them visible in our communities. Both have greater ahead of them and I can even picture Mike Rogers being our next Lt. Governor. Whoever is going to be the Republican nominee for Governor MUST look at Mike Rogers if you want to win Detroit. I can already see Karen Buie running for Michigan Secretary of State. She has already rehearsed as the Muskegon County Clerk. Remember, Terri Lynn Land started off as the Kent County Clerk and now look at where she's at? Even Detroiters love her. They would love Karen Buie even more.

That is a commitment and total sacrifice I am willing to make in this Republican Party. If you have Michael Steele as the RNC Chair along with Mike Rogers and Karen Buie in leadership here in Michigan it would be a revolution. Southeast Michigan would be forced to look at things differently with a Rogers-Buie team. These two have my complete support for any endeavor they may pursue. But we should not allow them to become discouraged because of , ignorance, or stupidity in the Republican Party. These are two highly qualified individuals who can help transform our party into national prominence.


Anonymous said...

"This is a new day in our party and their names are Mike Rogers and Karen Buie."
"We do not need anymore talking points on principles. "
"...easily engineer a creative platform for our party."
"...Oakland County has been able to balance their budget."
"...high speed rail connecting areas such as Southwest Michigan and Detroit or Mackinac City and Detroit."
"...our favorite issue education."
"...alternative teacher certification..."
"How come the party has not reached out to the first African American Republican female..."
"...straight party voting..." Yes, education, education, education, education.
"I should not have to see a mailer on abortion or marriage one week before we vote. In fact, get off those issues right now. The Michigan Republican Party needs new, young, sober and diverse who know how to work the ground game and aren't afraid to spread the knowledge." As you can see, I can only repeat your article, word for word. I pray you'll not grow weary of focus and the needful work in the years ahead.

Chetly Zarko said...

I know Mike well (I don't see him being picked as a Lt. Gov, likely because of the loss this year and County Commission itself is not a direct stepping stone for that position, but I think he should try to fit into other options), and was unaware of Buie (I was born in Muskegon, so that slipped by me). How about running her for Sec. of State? County Clerk experience is a credible jump to that spot, although I can see several other contenders that would simply overwhelm her politically in a convention floor fight. But sometimes the fight - even if lost, is worth it in the long-term.

Akindele F. Akinyemi said...

Hey, I am just putting it out there. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Akinyemi,

If you can get over to Grand Rapids on the 25th of November (the Kent County Republican Committee meeting), then I have a few things I'd love to discuss with you . . . including sticking my face on that list.

live dangerously said...

Hi Akindele, we've met a couple of times now in passing. I live in Muskegon and have been with Karen for the last 4 months through the electtion. The Sec. State idea was floated earlier and she was flattered. I don't know what she feels about it now. She has been pretty busy since the election getting into a lot of other things. One being an educational endeavor which might just be up your alley. Anyway one correction her opponent in the election was Nancy Waters not Nancy White

In her defense, we out hustled out fought out polliticked Waters. Karen whooped her in all the debates. Every time we turned around we were telling people how to split their ticket. We just got straight ticketed and Obamanated.

Keep those juices flowing.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative.

Chetly Zarko said...

Hey, I was just putting another idea out there, and suggesting it was more likely than the Rogers idea. And BIGGER.

I've talked to some family in Muskegon - Buie was very well likely among independents and even left-leaning types that don't vote straight ticket. You're right about why she lost, and she's a credible future candidate at any level in my opinion. If the Party had the cahones to nominate her to Sec. of State, and invested some real outreach money and thought into urban areas, it would be an interesting move.