Sep 8, 2008
Livingston County favorite sons get by with too much help from their friends
Anyone trying to beat a Rogers in Livingston County has an uphill battle on their hands.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, is running for his fifth term in the U.S. Congress after wining his first term by a less than 1 percent of the vote with a mere 111 votes in 2000 back in the days when the 8th District was actually a competitive swing district. This is the same district than produced Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and it was her election to the Senate that opened the seat for Rogers. He is again running against Lansing resident Bob Alexander.
After Republican gerrymandering in 2002, Rogers needs little help in keeping the seat, but he is getting plenty of it anyway. So I was a little surprised to see this notice about the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce’s membership breakfast on Sept. 15. In the middle of election season, it is featuring Mike Rogers.
The blurb says he will present something called "Energy, Economy and Jobs." “Congressman Rogers will delve into his plans to help the United States develop diverse and clean sources of energy with his Energy Independence Plan, lower gas prices and share ways to bring jobs to Michigan.”
I don’t know what else we are going to hear from Rogers, other than drill here drill now. Rogers has been a extremely close alley of oilman George Bush, and anything he says beside drill, drill, drill is just rhetoric from him.
But the most glaring thing for me was: how can they allow him to give basically a campaign stump speech less than two month before the election and not extend the same courtesy to his opponent? This is even advertised on the Livingston County Republican Party’s web site.
I understand his mother was the director of the chamber for many years and the building that houses the chamber offices are named in honor of her, but there are still standards.
We need to call the chamber at (810) 227-5086 and ask for some fairness.
As you know, his older brother, Livingston County Commissioner Bill Rogers, is running for the open seat in the state House for the 66th District against Democrat Donna Anderson.
Last month the hometown Livingston County Press & Argus, long friendly to the Rogers family, did a puff piece on the Rogers family last month. The general manager of the paper has even contributed to Mike Rogers campaign. When supporters of Donna Anderson complained about the piece and not giving equal time, they were told it was not a political piece.
Now, I will agree it was a puff piece in that no tough questions were asked, but to paint it as not a political piece is disingenuous at best. None of the three are new to public office, so you have to question the timing of this article.
Then a quick check of Bill Rogers campaign finance report reveals an interesting tidbit. On July 29 there is an expenditure to the Press & Argus for $2,207 in advertising . Now, there was once a time when the best way to reach voters was through the local newspaper, and if you went through back issues from 15-20 years ago you would see lots of political advertising in the local newspaper. However, that has gone the way of kids on bicycles delivering the local newspaper.
As a support of newspapers and a former print journalist that’s a sad fact, but you cannot deny that readership has fallen off. Newspaper advertising is not the best way to reach voters anymore, unfortunately.
He spent $1,340 on the local radio station, but a mere $180 on the Ann Arbor News weekly product that covers Livingston County with an office in downtown Brighton.
It seems funny that less than a month after spending more than $2,000 with the paper, we get this puff piece.