The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Michigan Initiative Mostly Funded by Out-of-State Donors
Feature Story by civilrights.org staff - 2/23/2005Recent reports show that Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action campaign in Michigan continues to receive most of its funding from out-of-state donors. Meanwhile, a new poll shows that support for the measure has dwindled.
Connerly's campaign to ban affirmative action in Michigan - the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) - submitted signatures to the state in January in an attempt to qualify the initiative for the November 2006 ballot. (See story.) Connerly is best known as the California-based businessman and former University of California regent who successfully led anti-affirmative ballot initiatives in California in 1996 and Washington state in 1998.
Through reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, The Associated Press (AP) reported earlier this month that most of the funding for the initiative has come from outside the state. MCRI collected $713,464 from August to December of 2004, of which only 29 percent came from Michigan residents, according to the AP. Connerly himself donated the most to the campaign, giving $355,000 to a committee that is supporting the initiative, the Ann Arbor News reported.
Most of the money earned by MCRI has gone to a signature-gathering firm that collected names for the petition submitted in January.
Meanwhile, support for the initiative has dropped since last year, according to an EPIC/ Michigan Researchers Associates (EPIC/MRA) poll.
The EPIC/MRA poll showed that opposition to the initiative has grown by ten percentage points since April 2004. The poll shows that 33 percent of those surveyed would oppose the proposal, which is expected to appear on the November 2006 ballot, and 53 percent would support it.
The poll also shows that men opposed the proposal 29 to 61 percent, and women opposed it 36 to 47 percent. Whites opposed the proposal by 32 to 56 percent, while blacks opposed it 44 to 36 percent.
Ed Sarpolus, vice-president of EPIC-MRA, told the Gongwer Michigan Report that the increase in opposition resulted from more discussion and coverage of the issue in January, when supporters were turning in petition signatures. The numbers show that the proposal could be defeated, he said.
Michigan law requires that MCRI collect approximately 320,000 valid signatures in order for the measure to qualify for a vote.
While Michigan voters wait for the state to review the signatures, Citizens for a United Michigan (CFUM), a diverse coalition of mainstream Michigan organizations, said it will continue to educate voters about the benefits of affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. The coalition counts as members numerous women's groups, educators, businesses, faith-based organizations, labor rights groups, civil rights advocates, and others.