Thursday night from Milwaukee the PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate will be aired live beginning at 9:00 on WGVU-HD and WGVU-FM. With two contests in the books, what should voters be listening for from candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? WGVU spoke with two local political scientists to find out.

The Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primary are in the books. What does it mean heading into tonight’s debate?

“So I think the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire have clarified the Democratic field and Bernie Sanders is a legitimate contender.”

Michigan Senate approves bill to ban fully-nude bars

Feb 10, 2016

Michigan would strip state liquor licenses from bars offering fully-nude entertainment under a bill passed by the state Senate.

The bill approved Wednesday is sponsored by Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge and wouldn't affect liquor licenses for topless bars.

Jones says the bill is intended to protect nude dancers and suggested that they're in greater danger in fully-nude bars.

He says the legislation also is needed to make sure Michigan remains a tourism-friendly state.


Four years ago, Business Leaders for Michigan unveiled its Michigan Turnaround Plan. The idea was to formulate a strategy jump starting the Michigan economy following the Great Recession. Four years later, BLM claims there’s been improvement and now it’s time to move the state to higher economic strata. It wants to position the state to a “Top Ten” economic power by the year 2020. How does it plan to get there?

“If you look back we were probably 50 out of 50 states on most measures. Today, we’re about average. Maybe a little below average than most.”

NPR Morning Edition and WGVU wrap up our week-long series focusing on the Five Big Themes influencing the upcoming presidential election. So far we’ve explored voter mood, the middle-class squeeze, the economy and how the President’s approval rating may - or may not - motivate voters at the polls.

Today, we break down the country’s demographics and voter behavior.  WGVU spoke with a Michigan pollster and political scientist along with a nationally known political observer.

NPR Morning Edition has been examining Five Big Themes influencing the upcoming presidential election. WGVU has been exploring those themes locally - from voter mood, the middle-class squeeze and the economy. Today, how a two-term president’s approval rating plays into the election process.

During the modern era, only one president succeeded a two-term president of his own party. It’s a rare feat, but President Barack Obama’s approval numbers are inching closer to 50 percent.  WGVU talks with two Michigan political pollsters for their take.

This week NPR’s Morning Edition is taking the pulse of the American electorate heading into the Iowa Caucuses. It’s examining Five Big Themes this week. WGVU is exploring the same themes closer to home.

Monday, we spoke with voters about their mood. Tuesday, we met with families experiencing the middle-class squeeze. Today, it’s the economy. WGVU spoke with a West Michigan investor and an economist about what the financial state of the nation is telling them.

The Iowa Caucuses are now less than one week away. This week, NPR’s Mara Liasson is gauging the nation’s mood. How are voters feeling about the upcoming presidential election? How are real incomes, economic mobility and government policy impacting West Michigan families? WGVU talks with area voters, the moms and dads experiencing the middle-class squeeze.

Seated on his lap, Ryan Vandermeer is teaching his 4-year old son how to read at Grand Rapids downtown library.


As the nation looks forward to the start of the primary season and the Iowa Caucuses one week from today we’ve heard from NPR’s Mara Liasson this morning taking the pulse of the American electorate. What is the voter mood here in West Michigan?

WGVU caught up with some Republicans and Democrats at a Grand Rapids coffee shop to find out.

The Bitter End is a popular Westside Grand Rapids coffee house.

It’s eclectic, rich dark wood walls with an array of framed paintings and photos, a burgundy tin ceiling, brass coat hangers at every table.

Michigan's annual average unemployment rate falls in 2015

Jan 21, 2016

The state says Michigan's annual average unemployment rate fell in 2015, marking the sixth straight yearly decline.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday that the preliminary annual average unemployment rate was 5.4 percent last year, down from the 2014 annual rate of 7.3 percent.

The 2015 measure was slightly above the 5.3 percent national annual rate.

The agency says Michigan's annual unemployment rate has fallen each year since hitting a recent annual high of 13.7 percent in 2009.

Gov. Snyder: Clinton politicizing Flint's water crisis

Jan 18, 2016

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is making Flint's water crisis a political issue.

Clinton said during Sunday's Democratic debate that Snyder has "acted as though he didn't really care" about the crisis.

But Snyder told The Detroit News on Monday after speaking at a Martin Luther King Day event in Flint that "politicizing the issue doesn't help matters."

The Republican also reiterated he's focusing "on the solution and how to deal with the damage that was done."