Bright and early this Sunday morning, AnnArbor.com issued four endorsements for the general election. The online newspaper endorsed Barack Obama for President, Debbie Stabenow for Senator, and Mark Ouimet for State Representative.
In its endorsements of all three incumbents, AnnArbor.com cited their accomplishments on behalf of job creation and growing the local economy.
The virtual paper also recommended a yes vote on consolidation of the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts.
In its editorial endorsing him for re-election, AnnArbor.com gave Mr. Obama a generally positive review while pointing out that Mitt Romney has not made a good case to replace the President. The endorsement highlighted six areas in which Obama stood out over Romney--the economy, the deficit, health care, social issues, green energy, and foreign policy. According to the paper, Obama has the following achievements and advantages on these issues:
- The national, state, and local economy would be far worse without the auto industry bailout, which Obama proposed and Romney opposed.
- While Obama has increased the national debt, his plans to reduce the deficit seem more practical, reasonable, and responsible than Romney's.
- Health care reform is Obama's signature achievement, while Romney's pledge to repeal it would "create an unholy mess for the health care industry," a vital economic sector for Washtenaw County.
- Like Washtenaw County, Obama is both pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, while Romney opposes both social issues.
- Obama supports green energy, a field in which Ann Arbor could become a major player, while Romney has "little to no regard" for clean energy initiatives.
- Obama has several foreign policy successes, including repairing relations with many countries around the globe, ending the war in Iraq, and killing Osama bin Ladin.
The editorial concluded by looking forward to Obama encouraging continued economic growth, more initiatives for small business, more attention to issues involving the Great Lakes, and better relationships with the Republicans in Congress, although it recognized that the Republicans earned their share of blame for "the paralyzing partisanship that’s become the norm in Washington."
AnnArbor.com endorsed Stabenow as the candidate who would "most effectively speak for the goals of most Washtenaw County voters" as Senator. The paper pointed out six areas in which Stabenow would effectively represent voters in the county as well as the state--the economy, energy, education, environment, equal rights, and agriculture.
In its editorial, the paper described how Stabenow's efforts on behalf of manufacturing, especially in the auto industry, managed to combine several of her major issues. One in particular involved her sponsorship of the Battery Innovation Act, which would bring jobs to Michigan, improving the economy, reducing the U.S.'s reliance on imported oil, and, along with other green energy initiatives, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.
The paper also noted the broad range of interest groups supporting her ranging from business groups like the Detroit Regional Chamber to environmental groups like Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club, and interpreted this as a sign of being able to advocate on behalf of all of her constituents.
This endorsement was one of several from Michigan papers today. In an email, Stabenow's campaign also listed support from the Dearborn Press & Guide, the Lansing State Journal, and the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
In its editorial, AnnArbor.com weighed the qualifications of incumbent Mark Ouimet and challenger Gretchen Driskell carefully before coming down on the side of Ouimet. The paper mentioned Driskell's advocacy on behalf of education, transportation issues, and a women's health bill. It them moved on to Ouimet's priorities of dealing with the state's budget, improving job creation, stabilizing education funding, and increasing government accountability and transparency. The paper agreed with these goals and thought they would "serve residents in the 52nd District well."
Ouimet's campaign reacted by linking to the endorsement on their Facebook page with the following comment. "Michigan is on the right path, and people are noticing. Let's keep it going on November 6! Thank you, AnnArbor.com!"
Ypsilanti-Willow Run consolidation
The final endorsement was on behalf of merging the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts. The paper cited "declining student counts, low student achievement and deficit budgets" in both districts as a reason to approve the merger. Consolidation would be a way of reducing costs and improving parent confidence in public education. The paper believed that the merger was necessary, despite the uncertainty involved, and thought it would "best serve the overall needs of the community."