Make no mistake: Michigan is in a crisis.
The economy is the worst in the country. Young people and families are leaving at unprecedented levels. Schools are broke. Police and firefighters are being laid off. Government at all levels is dysfunctional.
Proposal 1 on the Nov. 2 general election ballot is the state’s one chance — perhaps its last chance — to, in the words of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, reinvent herself.
Those who oppose Proposal 1, which, if passed, would convene a state constitutional convention, are to to blame for much of Michigan’s woes.
The special interests have crippled Michigan. No matter how dysfunctional Lansing is these days, Proposal 1 opponents are happy because they fear any change in the status-quo. That’s precisely why unnatural bedfellows like the AFL-CIO and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce have joined together, along with dozens of other lobbyists and special interests, to oppose Proposal 1.
The profound change that Michigan so desperately needs cannot happen and won’t happen unless Proposal 1 is passed.
Opponents claim this change can occur through individual amendments to the constitution. That may be true in a perfect world, but not in Lansing.
There is little outside-the-box thinking amongst current members of the Legislature. And the new class of legislators come January will be the most inexperienced, rookie class of House and Senate members in the modern era. They simply won’t have the experience or political will to shake things up and propose the bold solutions that will get Michigan rolling again.
That leaves it up to the people of this state.
With a constitutional convention, everyday citizens — not political elites — could run for one of the 148 delegate slots. And with the convention only sitting for a couple of months for nominal pay with no ability to seek re-election, the delegates wouldn’t be focused on future political opportunities unlike too many of those who presently serve in Lansing.
Without a constitutional convention, Michigan’s challenges will only worsen.
Thus we endorse Proposal 1 and encourage our readers to vote YES.
[Disclosure: Sterling, Hoffman & Co. chairman and chief executive Michael Westendorf serves on the steering committee of Yes On Proposal 1 for Michigan.]