Partisan Buster: The Michigan Political Leadership Program Makes It Easier for State Lawmakers to Have Good Relationships with Others across the Aisle

By Kyle, Cynthia | State Legislatures, February 2006 | Go to article overview

Partisan Buster: The Michigan Political Leadership Program Makes It Easier for State Lawmakers to Have Good Relationships with Others across the Aisle


Kyle, Cynthia, State Legislatures


Beer's in the bathtub. Soft drinks are chilling. Homemade brownies, chocolate chip cookies from a bakery, Cheetos and potato chips tumble over the hotel suite's dining table.

The sofa's packed with people, knee to knee and nose to nose in the heady conversations of school board budgeting, bipartisan coalitions and the nitty-gritty of campaign fundraising.

A newly elected African American school board member is bumping elbows with a suburban city clerk intent on learning more about voter diversity.

Mid-floor in this tiny campus hotel room, a political consultant is holding court alongside a reporter who periodically exclaims "that's incredible" to an explanation of why all public colleges should be private.

These are members of the 2004 class of the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP), a training program launched in 1992 to combat strictly partisan politics in a term-limited state.

"One of my proudest moments in life was creating MPLP," says Bob Mitchell, a legislative staffer, Democratic congressional candidate, consultant and now founder of Trans-Elect New Transmission Development Co. based in Reston, Va. He and a small group in Lansing, Mich., wrote a business plan and raised $750,000 to give life to MPLP.

From MPLP's ranks have emerged 100 past and present elected community leaders. Among them are school board members, 10 members of state government and now a speaker of the House of Representatives.

This Friday night, like Fridays once a month from February through October, the 2005 MPLP Fellows are coming together to dine, debate and learn more about themselves and each other.

Political affiliations along with conservative-liberal labels will be shed in common tales of winning and losing elections, their hopes and dreams for a better world, and the good food they've brought to share.

"I truly love that program," says John Helmholdt, a political fundraiser with roots in the Republican Party and a 2004 MPLP graduate. He's organized two political action committees of up-and-comers in Grand Rapids, his hometown. "They're starting to get in line to become part of this program."

Just after dinner tonight, members of the Class of 2005 are huddled in small groups in a Marriott Courtyard conference room in Grand Rapids.

The fellows are intent on tonight's assignment: They are to envision themselves as an incumbent member of the Michigan Legislature, running in a district that is entirely new territory.

The district is buffeted by the global economy, and voters are restless, the printed assignment cautions. "Recent polling shows that 65 percent of all registered voters think the state is on the wrong track. How do you get re-elected despite these challenges?"

The fellows must ask themselves why they're running, how they will launch campaigns, contact voters, raise money and keep track of every task. They're plotting media buys and filling in campaign calendars.

One group barely breaks concentration even as guests enter the room. The group is searching for a "hot topic" that will touch the voters in an exercise they hope to take with them into real-life, hands-on campaigns they likely will face outside this venue.

Later this night, Fellows designated as hosts will welcome colleagues to a flood of snacks and after-hours debate that will spill with them into nearby bars and restaurants well into the night.

Early Saturday, after bacon, scrambled eggs, cereal and sweet roils, they'll board a trolley to tour Grand Rapids, and witness housing, health care and entertainment development rising in the city's downtown.

Later, they'll be challenged by a "Budget Busters" exercise that will divide them into assigned political parties and ask them to bring the state's budget in balance against a vortex of declining revenue.

A SELECT GROUP

Each year since 1992, coincidentally when Michigan voters passed the most restrictive term limits in the nation, 24 political junkies and legislative hopefuls have been selected from across the state to take part--at no charge to themselves--in this unique multi-partisan learning environment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Partisan Buster: The Michigan Political Leadership Program Makes It Easier for State Lawmakers to Have Good Relationships with Others across the Aisle
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.