Political insider: Local Chaldeans on right side, new state rep says

When state Rep.-elect Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, is sworn into office in January as the new representative of Oakland County’s 39th District, he’ll become the first Chaldean-American to serve in Michigan’s Legislature.

Kesto, whose parents fled Iraq in the 1970s under religious persecution of Catholics, acknowledges his election to the state House is a feat to Metro Detroit’s growing Chaldean population, estimated to be 120,000-150,000.

But Kesto, 31, also thinks it cuts into the national media’s narrative that the Republican Party isn’t attractive to racial and ethnic minorities.

Chaldeans share the same family, education and work ethic values of conservative Republicans, he said.

“I believe they align more to the conservative policies and the policies that help small businesses, because many of them are entrepreneurs and own their own shops,” said Kesto, a Wayne County assistant prosecutor and owner of a family-run pizza and sub shop in Sterling Heights.
State workers’ votes on improvements count

Did Gov. Rick Snyder know what he was getting into when he asked for state employees’ ideas on how to fix state government?

His “Bureaucracy Busters” program opened the floodgates to a sea of ideas from state employees who think efficiency and customer service can be improved.

Nearly 8,300 state employees posted 1,200 ideas on a “crowdsourcing” website — the nerdy governor’s version of a suggestion box.

Workers placed 110,000 votes for their favorite ideas. Three winners will see their suggestions implemented — including reducing the number of passwords employees need to remember and informing unlucky job applicants not to expect an interview.

The suggestion most likely to be noticed by Michiganians will be the addition of location information on Pure Michigan billboards that show pictures of scenic Michigan destinations.

That leaves Snyder with just 1,197 suggestions left to implement. Maybe he should go back to the old-fashioned suggestion box.
Dark side of election win: Losing prime office space

Congressional redistricting that shuffled numerous counties into new representation means a prime piece of Traverse City real estate will soon be available.

U.S. Rep. Dave Camp , R-Midland, will be closing his Traverse City district office at the end the year because the area will now be represented by U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek , R-Crystal Falls.

The second-floor office on Front Street has been a favorite of Camp’s congressional staffers. “Everyone in my office wants to go there in June, July and August” to work, Camp said.

He’ll retain his Midland district office and open another space to be determined in the new part of his 4th Congressional District. It will be up to Benishek, who won a squeaker of an election over Democrat Gary McDowell , to decide where to open his Grand Traverse County office.

Uncertified results show Benishek beat McDowell by 2,328 votes. It was the tightest congressional race in Michigan, but it’s not anything new to Benishek. In 2010, in his first bid for Congress, Benishek won the GOP primary by just 15 votes over Jason Allen .

So a couple of thousand votes ahead of the competition amounts to “a landslide for him,” Camp said. “We’ll call him ‘Landslide Benishek.'”
Already, a poll? Snyder in good shape for 2014 race

You’d think the media would be sick of political polls by now, and Insider certainly is. But we love a horse race story better than anything else.

So, we’re passing along the latest from Public Policy Polling that looks ahead to gubernatorial races in 2014.

PPP pollsters ranked governors’ chances for re-election, and Michigan’s Rick Snyder is sitting pretty good.

He’s in a group that’s listed as “Folks who look favored for another term, at least for now.” Snyder had a single-digit lead (47 percent to 41 percent) against a generic Democratic candidate.

In his group are Wisconsin’s Scott Walker , Iowa’s Terry Branstad and Democrat Dan Malloy of Connecticut.

Leading the group of governors in trouble is Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Also in that group are Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett , Maine’s Paul LePage and Florida’s Rick Scott .

Contributing: Karen Bouffard, Chad Livengood and Marisa Schultz

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121115/POLITICS02/211150339#ixzz2CKZPctCB