Jun 17, 2007
There was music, dancing, good food, pats on the back for a good job and pep talks for the 2008 election at the Monroe County Democratic Party's 20th annual Unity Dinner at Leroy's Hall Saturday night.
There were even jokes - some funny and some not so much - and some much-deserved criticism of the opposition.
“The worst thing about political jokes is some of them are elected as Republicans,” said Monroe County Community College Professor William McCloskey, who served as the master of ceremonies.
Debbie Dingell was the keynote speaker. She is a recognized national advocate for women and children, a member of the Democratic National Committee, a trustee at Wayne State University and a senior executive at General Motors. She is also the wife of U.S. Rep. John Dingell. She said her husband could not attend because he is in Washington, D.C. gearing up for a fight that will have a huge effect on Michigan: higher corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards. The Democratic leadership in the House wants higher gas millage standards, and Dingell wants more time for the Big 3 to meet those higher standards.
“That’s the fight we have in Washington,” she said. “It can bankrupt the auto industry; it’s not fair to the domestic auto industry.”
Dingell said the Bog 3 automakers have spent millions of dollars - more than any other industry - in research and development. She criticized the Bush Administration for not enforcing the free trade agreements that give foreign manufacturers an unfair advantage over the Big 3. Democratic leaders say the current tax policies, unfair trade polices and lack of enforcement of trade polices by the Bush Administration is making it impossible for U.S. automakers to compete globally, and foreign governments are helping foreign auto companies compete by providing health care for employees and even manipulating currency to make their cars cheaper and U.S. cars more expensive.
“Domestic manufacturers have fought, and fought and fought to compete with foreign manufacturers who enjoy unfair advantages,” she said. “Our manufacturers are not just competing against foreign manufacturers, they are competing against foreign countries.”
Dingell said Bush’s decision to ignore and refuse to even meet with the Big 3 executives, the largest manufacturers in the country, has led to the loss of more than 3 million good-paying manufacturing jobs.
“It was not so long ago in the Clinton Administration that we actually added manufacturing jobs,” she said.
Dingell also praised the leaders elected in November, and urged the party to work even harder next year to solidify the gains made in November and to add even more.
“We need to make the White House blue again, and we also need to protect our local officials,” she said.
Democrats in the state House went from having a six-vote deficit to gaining a 58-52 majority following the election last November, and one of those newly elected was Rep. Kate Ebli in Monroe’s 56th District. Ebli said the House has worked hard to erase the deficit it inherited by the mismanagement of the Republicans, and the House just reached a deal for a new and improved Single Business Tax (SBT).
“It rewards those companies that invest in and create jobs in Michigan,” she said
Ebli also outlined the victories and campaign promises the House has accomplished in the short time Democrats have been in the majority, such as ethics and eliminating the drug company immunity against lawsuits.
“We sent a huge signal that Michigan is putting people ahead of huge profits for drug companies,” she said.
Ebli said she has teamed up very well with Monroe’s other Representative, Rep. Kathy Angerer, who represents the 55th District.
“It’s very unusual that you walk into a job and are able to work with someone you trust,” Ebli said. “We have that.”
Angerer could not attend because she was attending a family wedding out of town, but she was represented by her Chief-of-Staff, Eric Candella.
“Kathy understqands she can’t do the important work she is doing in Lansing without the work you did first,” he said. “Your hard work had to proceed her hard work in Lansing.”