press release

News from Progress Michigan

November 1, 2016

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

‘MI Big Rig’ Tour Visits Mount Pleasant to Speak Out Against Higher Education Cuts

Semi-truck representing the MIGOP’s “rigged” economy making stops in eight cities across Michigan

MOUNT PLEASANT — Michiganders spoke out today and shared their stories in Mount Pleasant today as part of the “MI Big Rig” Accountability Tour to hold Michigan Republicans accountable. The tour, featuring a semi-truck with photos of Republican elected officials, is an effort to educate voters about how Republicans have rigged Michigan’s economy to favor their corporate donors, while privatizing the Grand Rapids Veterans Home, which has led to rampant neglect and abuse of veterans. Progress Michigan and the Michigan AFL-CIO organized the tour.

“Michigan needs an economy and elected officials that work for everyone, not just the rich and well-connected,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan and a Central Michigan University alumnus. “No matter how much money you make, or where you live, we all deserve equal representation in Lansing and elected officials that prioritize the things that people across the state care about: good roads, well-funded classrooms, clean water — and a future where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. Unfortunately, for the last six years, we’ve gotten the opposite because of total Republican control in Lansing.”

Students and their families have also taken a hit over last six years of total Republican control in Lansing. Over that time, drastic cuts have been made to the higher education budget, causing tuition hikes and program cuts to continue year after year.

“Over the years, particularly over the last six since Republicans have been in complete control of state government, our educational system is being treated more and more like a business,” said Lexi Achterhoff, a fifth year student at CMU studying women and gender studies and sociology. “Students are being treated like customers instead of people trying to get an education who will one day be the leaders, innovators, and backbone of our state. Meanwhile, corporations get massive tax handouts and the greed of the 1 percent is taking away funding to colleges and universities like CMU.”

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.

“Voters have every right to feel angry, because after six years in power, Lansing Republicans have rigged Michigan’s economy,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “They’ve manipulated the rules to favor their corporate campaign donors, like the wealthy DeVos family, by handing out $2 billion in tax breaks to big corporations. Meanwhile, Republicans privatized jobs at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home, which has been an absolute disaster for our vets. It’s time to hold them accountable, it’s time to get our priorities straight, and it’s time to focus on building an economy that works for everyone, including the middle class.”

The MI Big Rig Accountability Tour has made stops in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Mount Pleasant. The tour will be in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo today and will have stops in Oakland and Macomb Counties later this week.


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