Broadcaster: March 25, 2022
Due to some technical difficulties with the Zoom feed, the 25 Club members in attendance had some extra time to connect with one another at the Cultural Center. After about 20 minutes, we were joined by another 6 members via Zoom. President Dale Yagiela called our meeting to order then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Scott LaRiche took to the podium to introduce our Program Speaker, Kurt Berryman. Kurt is a registered lobbyist in the State of Michigan, representing the Detroit Auto Dealers, as well as the Michigan Auto Dealers, on various issues in Lansing. A Texas native, and Republican, Kurt has lived in our mitten state for 30 years and married a Democrat. Election time must be very loud, or uncomfortably quiet, at the Berryman home.
This was Kurt’s first outing to Plymouth and first time attending a Rotary meeting. He survived both. Although the Republican prowess of our region had not escaped Kurt, who invoked such legends as Bruce Patterson and John Pastor. He reported that Western Wayne County has a reputation as a political powerhouse where Republicans and Democrats come to mine votes (see April 8 program speaker under “Announcements”).
As a lobbyist, Kurt has considerable company. He stated there are about 1600 organizations and an additional 1400 individuals registered as lobbyists in our state, representing a myriad of professions: insurance, fire/police, teachers, real estate, etc. In contrast, at the State level, we have 38 Senators and 110 representatives. By my calculations this means there are about 20 lobbyists lurking the halls of Lansing for every elected official.
Despite the pandemic, which led to two years of masking and a halt to in-person legislation, three key, bipartisan actions managed to work their way through the halls of democracy for the benefit of Michiganders—clean water funding, no-fault insurance, and an economic development package.
The 2022 election promises to be BIG. In a rare confluence of timing, the seats of governor, attorney general, secretary of state, AND every legislator (senate and house) will be on the November ballot. As a result of redistricting, every one of the incumbents is running in a new district. This will make for either an exciting political season, or a constant spewing of “political” television ads this summer/fall. Kurt’s suggestion—get involved. Pick a candidate you like and support them. In our state the average donation for a state candidate is $25, so lots of opportunities to make an impact.
• Friday, April 1 club meeting. We will get an update from Ellen Elliot and Liz Kerstens on the progress being made in the archiving of the 100-year history of our club in the community.
• Friday, April 8 club meeting. Debbie Dingell, US House of Representative for Michigan’s 12th District, will be our guest speaker. And so the mining begins….
Yours in Service
June Kirchgatter – Broadcaster Rep.