Quotable of the Year:
“As we go into 2020, I say, ‘May the best woman win.’”
— Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) at a May speech in Detroit
In the last days of 2019, the Advance ran a series of our best stories from a few of the many issues we cover, from the environment to the 2020 election. With more than 2,000 stories to choose from, it was hard to pare the list down. We’ve also done dozens of interviews and profiles with notable figures in Michigan and national politics.
Here’s our roundup of our top interviews of 2019:
In an exclusive interview with the Advance last December before she was inaugurated, then-Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer waved away the possibility of being on the Democrats’ 2020 ticket. When the Advance caught up with her again in May after a parade of presidential hopefuls had paraded through Michigan, Whitmer again demurred about VP.
In May, the Advance had an exclusive one-on-one with presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who talked about how she’s been able to win red districts in another Upper Midwest state and she appears on Fox News because she believes Dems need to go “not just where it’s comfortable, but where it’s uncomfortable.”
After the U.S. House kicked off impeachment proceedings against President Trump, we talked with the chamber’s lone independent, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, who bolted from the GOP over his support for an inquiry. Yes, Darth Vader makes a cameo.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist in November became Michigan’s first Black lieutenant governor to sign a bill into law. He told the Advance, “The administration’s goal is to break down as many barriers as possible.”
On the Veterans Day, Southeast Michigan was pounded by its first major snowstorm of the year, and reporter Laina G. Stebbins tried to keep up with U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) during a cold, packed day of events.
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) talked about defending the previous GOP-led Legislature’s conservative actions, like Medicaid work requirements, amid opposition from Whitmer and Democrats.
Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who was nominated by Democrats, but was elected to lead the GOP-majority body, talked about how she’s been able to bring about more consensus on a once-fractured court.
Perhaps the most well-known proponent of impeachment, freshman U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) this fall talked about what’s at stake.
President Donald Trump kicked off his campaign in Michigan and March and Democrats brought in someone who voted for him and now regrets it — retired Army Major Richard Ojeda, a former West Virginia state senator who briefly ran for president as a Democrat.
State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) has appeared at both of Trump’s rallies in Michigan and even invited him to give his State of the Union address at Michigan’s Capitol amid a dispute with the Democratic-led U.S. House. But he told the Advance his priorities in an era of divided government are mostly nonpartisan.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has gotten some blowback over her 2018 campaign promise to move customers in and out of offices in 30 minutes or less for most services, but she told the Advance she doesn’t regret her pledge.
On the day that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — a West Michigan native — took a shot at a conservative conference at American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, the Advance was covering the union head at a U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) presidential campaign event in Detroit. We sat down with Weingarten, who was all too happy to fire back at the billionaire.
Before he was elected mayor of Flint, we interviewed then-state Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) on the tense election and the aftermath of the city’s water crisis.
Republicans are heavily targeting freshman U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) in the upcoming election and we followed him during a day of his annual motorcycle tour across Michigan, asking him about impeachment, the Democratic presidential debates in Detroit, gun violence and more.
The Advance caught up with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) on Capitol Hill following Trump’s campaign kickoff in Michigan, which he didn’t attend, although some of his GOP colleagues did. The dean of Michigan’s delegation is a top Democratic target in 2020.
Attorney General Dana Nessel isn’t one to hold back, and she told the Advance that she believes the strong right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court could put landmark decisions on contraception and same-sex marriage on the chopping block.
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) decided not to run for governor in 2018 and instead has ascended the ranks of congressional leadership. He discussed what’s changed with Democrats taking control of the U.S. House.
As the UAW’s six-week strike against General Motors dragged on this fall, the Advance talked with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler about how workers were getting by and what they were fighting for.
Former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley didn’t leave Lansing after being termed out of office in 2018 — he now heads up the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). The Republican has been a key ally for Whitmer on some initiatives, although they still have plenty of ideological differences.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) flipped a key Southeast Michigan seat last cycle. The millennial hit the ground running and was elected co-president of the freshman class.