FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
October 27, 2016
‘MI Big Rig’ Tour Launched in Lansing to Hold Republicans Accountable
Semi-truck representing the MIGOP’s “rigged” economy will make stops in cities across Michigan
LANSING — With the honk of a horn from the semi-truck parked in front of the Michigan Capitol Building today, the “MI Big Rig” Accountability Tour was officially launched. The tour is an effort to educate voters about how Michigan Republicans have rigged the economy in favor of their corporate donors and against working families, seniors and students. Progress Michigan and Big Rig coalition partners organized the tour.
“We have a big rig that we’ve outfitted to be a symbol of the Republicans in Michigan ‘rigging’ the economy for their corporate donors, while stacking the deck against hardworking Michiganders, seniors, students and veterans,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The MI Big Rig will be touring the state over the coming days in eight cities to hold elected officials accountable.”
The semi-truck is outfitted with a banner donning the faces of Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, House Speaker Kevin Cotter, and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, as well as visual symbols of the Republican failures, including the Grand Rapids Veterans Home and the Flint Water Crisis.
The tour will feature Michigan residents who are retirees, teachers, students, working people, and veterans who have been affected by Republicans’ wrong priorities in Lansing. The tour will be making stops in eight cities over the next week.
“Since the Flint Water Crisis first began, a lot has changed in the city and many residents have been beaten down emotionally, physically and financially. But we’ve grown stronger as a city,” said Flint resident Gina Luster. “This crisis occurred and has endured because Republicans have the wrong priorities. That’s why I’m here today: to call out those in power for their failure to properly address this crisis and hold Gov. Snyder accountable.”
One of the biggest knocks on Republicans over the years has been their systematic attacks on public education and their underfunding of public colleges and universities.
“Michigan has been under Republican control for a long time, but unfortunately, their control has consistently undermined public education from K12 all the way up through higher education,” said Jesse Draper, a history instructor who has taught classes at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. “Tuition at Michigan State University has gone up every year for as long as I can remember. But it’s not just MSU, across the state, public universities and colleges have been starved for funding because of the Republicans’ misguided priorities.”
“Republicans have had total control over every branch of state government for the past six years. They’ve manipulated the rules to favor their corporate campaign donors, while regular working families struggle to get by,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “And what have Lansing Republicans done? Their first act was to hand out $2 billion in tax breaks to big corporations, while cutting billions in funding for our schools. They voted to create a new Retirement Tax on seniors’ pensions. They passed a roads package that raised taxes and fees on working families while asking corporations to pay nothing. Now they’re taking even more resources away from local schools and giving it to for-profit charter and cyber schools.”
A perfect example of Republicans rigging the system for their corporate donors could be seen not far from where the MI Big Rig Tour launched: the Capitol View Building, which has once again faced fierce scrutiny from opponents of the sweetheart real estate deal that benefited a GOP mega donor.
“Our roads crumble. Our schools suffer from lack of resources. Those at the top get massive tax breaks, while middle class families, seniors and workers pay the price,”said Brandon Dillon, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Nowhere is the Republican focus on political allies and cronies more obvious than the $134 million Capitol View building. This $134 million Taj Mahal is a monument to Republicans putting their donors ahead of roads, education, veterans and seniors.”
The MI Big Rig Accountability Tour will be making stops in these areas over the coming week: