The Williamston Roadhouse, located on 3700 E. Grand River Ave., featured Fox News on its TVs Tuesday night for patrons watching the presidential election coverage. Credit: Brian Goldsmith
Election night at the Williamston Roadhouse is a relaxing sight for people looking to wind down in the company of their peers, said Sammual L. Hitchcock, 30, a Leroy Township farmer. The Trump supporting-patrons are in high spirits on Tuesday night as they watch the presidential election coverage on Fox News. The restaurant is decorated in Trump-Pence 2020 banners and signs.
Watching the election coverage at the Williamston Roadhouse is a great place because the bar is located only a mile and a half from his house, said Hitchcock. “There’s great people here, we all get along, [and] we’re all hard-working people,” he said.
President Donald Trump came to Lansing to hold a “Victory Rally” in front of thousands of supporters. One of those supporters was Justin Edelen. Justin drove from southern Indiana and camped out at 11 p.m. the night before to grab his spot in line to see the President. Along his way, he found support from those in line around him, and the comradery of his new community.
For decades, Michigan was a Democratic stronghold. George H.W. Bush won Michigan in 1988, and that was the last time a Republican won the state. That is until President Trump won much of the Midwest in 2016. He was able to make a new coalition of states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. To keep that coalition strong this time around, Trump is campaigning hard Michigan and other bue-collar Midwestern states.
On this edition of Focal Point, a look at the recently announced changes to the Spring Semester and how MSU plans to keep students healthy while slowly reopening. Due to the pandemic, one East Lansing business is forced to close its doors, and graduating students struggle to find jobs. Big Ten football is back, but two MSU linebackers will not take the field after being arrested in September. Other varsity sports will not return at all after the Athletic Director announced swimming and diving have been cut. Those stories and more on Focal Point.
MSU freshman Pamela Quintana descibes her mother as hardworking, kind and community-oriented. “Everyone who knows her loves her,” said Quintana. “She’s known throughout the community…she’s a very hands-on mom, always taking care of her kids.” Every day, she wakes up at 5 a.m. She cleans as many as five homes a day to make ends meet. And she tries to return home at 5 p.m to see the kids she works hard to support.
Michigan State hosted an informational meeting days after President Trump issued an executive order banning immigration from seven countries. While many came with questions, university officials could only offer a little more than support. “We can’t change anything about the executive order,” said one speaker. “We are committed to supporting you.”
MSU faculty from the Office of International Students and Scholars addressed a jam-packed lecture hall in the international center. Lawyer Marie LaComb flipped through a powerpoint detailing the specifics of the ban.
DeVos Place hosted the Michigan Music Conference, an annual event bringing together the state’s music educators – many of whom have not rallied behind new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who’s namesake adorns the venue. The Michigan billionaire was confirmed in the Senate in a 51-50 decision, the win decided by a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos advocates for school-choice and using vouchers to pay for private schools. But her opponents dislike her lack of education experience. “You have to be working with the kids day by day to understand what it is we do,” said Farmington High School choir director, Angel Gippert.
As President-Elect Donald Trump continues to consider candidates for his cabinet, one who has already been chosen has influenced Michigan politics more than any other person in the state with the help of her family, and public school advocates say she threatens the foundations of the state and nation’s public school system. Last month, Trump chose Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education, something many experts say is a clear attempt to further privatize education by expanding the use of charter schools and the voucher system, something Betsy DeVos and her family have contributed financially to for the last 20 years. The family has combined to make about $14 million in political contributions in the last two years alone, according to Secretary of State data. “Their money has impacted numerous pieces of legislation in the House and Senate,” said Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, which tracks political money throughout the state. “It’s obvious they wield a ton of power in not only Michigan politics but throughout the country.”
Mauger said the family’s giving in the state outnumbered the combined fundraising of the main state PACs for the United Auto Workers, the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Association for Justice over that time period.