The first article in our March/April 2009 issue easily provoked more responses from readers than almost any other article yet published in Michigan Capitol Confidential. "Escort Service?" described House Bill 4229, legislation that proposes to require state police escorts and a state flag for the funerals of deceased lawmakers when requested by the families of the departed. As part of our ongoing contest offering prizes for the most thought-provoking letters referencing Michigan Capitol Confidential articles, many readers sent us copies of the letters and e-mails that they directed at lawmakers regarding this legislation.
The mail that we received was unanimously opposed to HB 4229. The e-mail pictured to the right is from Jim Reb of Auburn Hills, Mich. Mr. Reb wrote to Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, who co-sponsored House Bill 4229. (Rep. Fred Durhal, D-Detroit, is the main sponsor who introduced the legislation and there were 17 other co-sponsors in addition to Rep. McMillin.)
Mr. Reb wins the framed original of the "Mandatory Pallbearer" Henry Payne editorial cartoon that adorned the front page adjacent to the "Escort Service?" article.
The contest was introduced with the November/December 2008 issue, following numerous reports from readers that some lawmakers had begun to deny their own legislative records when confronted by Michigan Capitol Confidential readers.
We don't yet have an award for politicians who have the integrity to publicly fess up when they think they've made an error, but when we do we'll probably call it "The McMillin." On this page, please also note an e-mail that Rep. Tom McMillin sent to us, wherein he owns up to his co-sponsorship of HB 4229, apologizes for it, and pledges to work for its defeat in the future.
Special thanks to Mr. Reb and Rep. McMillin for their roles in providing this civics lesson showing how citizens can have influence when they speak up to their elected officials.
The contest will continue with winners announced periodically in forthcoming issues of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Entries must be either a note to a lawmaker or a published letter in a newspaper, and must also reference the article from Michigan Capitol Confidential.
Subscribers may submit entries to:
Michigan Capitol Confidential c/o Contest
140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, MI 48640
Please remember to include your own name, address and contact information with the entry.
Mr. Reb is a winner of the Michigan Capitol Confidential letter contest and will receive the framed original of the Henry Payne cartoon from the front page of the Mar/April 2009 issue. Readers who mention “Michigan Capitol Confidential” when writing to lawmakers or newspapers are encouraged to send us their submissions.