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Colbeck Recall Petition Approved But Will It Yield Results?

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck is among more than two dozen state legislators facing recall attempts.

A new governor. A struggling state economy. Controversial changes coming down from Lansing.

That was the recipe for the history-making recalls of two Michigan state senators almost 30 years ago.

Recalls are heating up again in Michigan, and around the country, this year. While an effort aimed against newly-elected Gov. Rick Snyder has commanded most of the attention, recall petitions are also being circulated locally against state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and some two dozen other Michigan legislators. Petition language was recently approved by the Wayne County Elections Division.

For organizers of Colbeck's recall, votes on cuts to school funding and business taxes are inexcusable.

But how fruitful will recall organizers' efforts be?

“We don’t know how many will even make the ballot - there’s just one I’m aware of that looks like it will at this point,” said Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics and a longtime observer of the state’s electoral landscape.

Stakes are high but so are the odds

Snyder’s recall is seen as a long shot by most political observers. No Michigan governor has ever been recalled and only two sitting governors have been recalled in the past 90 years.

But a recall of Colbeck and other GOP legislators could shift the balance of power in the state Legislature, halting new-found Republican momentum on everything from taxes to the state’s new emergency financial manger law.

"Our wording is simple," said Mary Kelley, the Northville resident who took out the recall petitions against Colbeck. "People don't want an unelected bureaucrat running their cities or schools." Kelley said she's part of a group of 423 people, including petition circulators, who are working on the recall.

For Kelley and her fellow petition circulators, the issues run deeper.

"There's the feeling that Sen. Colbeck doesn't really represent the interests of people in the 7th District - whether it's cutting $470 per student from our public schools to a $1.8 billion tax break for business," she said.

Cuts in per-student spending, mitigated in part by a one-time $100 per student "best practices" grant for districts that follow select financial procedures, and changes in the state's business tax structure are two key elements of the budget balancing and economic development strategies put forth by the governor and approved by the Republican majorities in the state House and Senate.

Colbeck, a Republican who represents the 7th Michigan Senate District, has called the recall effort wrongheaded and says he's doing his best to bring jobs and revenue back to Michigan.

"It is unfair to taxpayers to spend their money on recall elections when an elected official does their job and casts a vote as they were elected to do," Colbeck said in a statement to Northville Patch. "If we disagree with a lawmaker's philosophy or voting record we can work to vote them out of office at the next election."

Colbeck said he remained convinced that his congressional voting record was the right thing for Michigan.

"I have cast every single vote based on what I was elected to do by an overwhelming majority of the voters in my district, which is to restore financial responsibility to our state government and create an environment for job growth."

The state Senate district stretches from the Northville area to Grosse Ile and includes Plymouth, Plymouth Township and Canton Township, among other communities.

Andy Brandt September 22, 2011 at 09:36 AM
What the heck you think I have been doing for 30 years Ann? "Real Life" said it perfectly. Time to work and be compensated like rest of us and stop blaming business, the government and the citizens that pay your salaries. This is not a conspiracy by business; this is real grass roots activism shedding light on the realities of what we are dealing with. Quit wasting your time trying to finding someone to blame to make you feel better. The train is coming from the fiscal conservatives of the world. Time for real change based on data; not social change based on emotions. The more you attack each of us as "Know Nothings" and OMG comments only sheds more light as to what is driving this recall of the Gov and Senator, emotion! Not the facts. Attack all you like, you are making our case.
Bryan Bentley September 22, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Denise, If you want to tie GE to ALEC, you must also tie GE to Dear Leader Obama. I'm sure you know that the chairman of GE is Jeffrey Immelt, who Obama, named to head the Economic Recovery And Advisory Board, and will be the Chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which Obama is creating for him by Executive Order. You are talking about that GE right? The GE which just announced this July that they are moving their Xray operations from Wisconsin to China? That GE? I would say Denise, that GE is tied much more closely with the Obama Administration than ALEC. Could it be that Jeffrey Immelt was a major bundler in 2008? :) I'll tell ya what Denise, you progressives can just keep dancing to the beat of Arrianna Huffington & George Soros, and I will honor your right to do so, but do not expect me to buy into the "hope and change" kool aid, because he has failed, and as for Michigan, we were not "blown away" by Granholm's 8 years, and that is why Snyder is your Governor, and Colbeck is your State Senator. Good luck with your recall effort dahhling,you will need it...
Andy Brandt September 22, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Nice job Bryan! Progressives go quiet when you to point out the reality of their leader they are try to distance themselves from; POTUS!
Bryan Bentley September 23, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Denise, If you feel the need to use vulger terms for people, our conversation is over... #RUDE
Denise Nash September 23, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Sorry. Deleted my comment.

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