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Big races in the region: beyond the heated run for the Oakland County Executive Office (between incumbent Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence), there are a few other elections this November that already have people talking. Take a look at two of them here.


The proposed constitutional amendment would:

* Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos

- are created for fertility treatment purposes;

- are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;

- would be discarded unless used for research;

- were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.

* Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.

* Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.

* Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research, future therapies and cures.



Tom George, MD,

Co-chair, MiCause

Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science and Experimentation


Proposal 2 goes too far by removing state and local oversight of research on live human embryos or embryonic stem cells. This proposed constitutional amendment provides that no state or local law may prevent, restrict, obstruct, discourage, or provide disincentives to any stem cell research. In other words, no laws would apply to stem cell research.


Matters of commerce, patient safety, record keeping, donor and recipient privacy, and other unforeseen issues could not be regulated by state law. If a business were involved in stem cell experimentation that utilized hazardous viruses or animal DNA, the state would be prevented from overseeing it. Additionally, the licensing of clinics or technicians involved in embryonic stem cell research would not be possible under this constitutional amendment.

As written, Proposal 2 means that any individual or corporation, public or private, can conduct completely unregulated and unrestricted experimentation on embryonic stem cells or human embryos.

Among other things, the state regulates for ethical, health and safety reasons, organ donation, tattoo parlors, the Internet, manufacturing and the practice of medicine. Stem cell research should not be exempt from state or local laws and oversight. There are many examples of hospitals, universities and scientific self-regulation failing the public. That is why it is dangerous to put this exemption in our state constitution.

There is no other sector of society in Michigan that is completely beyond the reach of state or local laws. There is too much public and private money involved in this research for the voters to allow it to be unregulated and unrestricted.

This is not the cure Michigan needs. Proposal 2 goes 2 far.

Joe Schwarz, M.D., former Member of Congress


Michigan is one of only five states where such research is prohibited by law.* Embryonic stem cells are the only cells capable of forming any of the more than 200 different cells in the human body. New lines of embryonic stem cells are desperately needed to: provide cell replacement and/or therapy for injury or disease, better understand the origin of disease and improve drug development for the treatment of diseases, some of which, such as Huntington's Disease, have no known treatment.


The ballot proposal is essentially a restatement of the Castle-DeGette Bill which has passed both houses of Congress twice, and has twice been vetoed by President Bush. The bill states, "blastocysts (eggs not more than three or four days after actual fertilization takes place in a Petri dish, using donor eggs and sperm) not used for in-vitro fertilization (surgically implanting the fertilized eggs into a woman's uterus) may be donated to a facility doing embryonic stem cell research, in accordance with guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health or the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Embryos in excess are "medical waste" and are, literally, tossed in the trash. The bill will again pass in the next Congress, and both Barack Obama and John McCain have clearly stated they will sign it into law, creating a federal funding stream for ESC research.

The ethical and legitimate stem cell research community supports all stem cell research, embryonic, adult and re-programming. Adult stem cell research has existed for more than 50 years, embryonic stem cell research for just 10 years. The discovery of treatments and cures derived from embryonic stem cells will be the great health care story of the 21st Century.

Current federal and state restrictions do not protect a single embryo from destruction. They simply delay life-saving medical research.

* ND, SD, LA, AR

RELATED ARTICLE: The race for Michigan's 9th congressional district. What makes you the best candidate for business?

Rep. Joe Knollenberg

For our state to overcome its unique economic challenges, we need bold and innovative solutions to move us forward. We need to strengthen the auto industry and our manufacturing core, helping them to compete and win the global marketplace. We need to diversify our economy with new kinds of high-tech industries, creating high-paying jobs. We need to train our workforce to have the high-tech skills for the high-paying jobs we're working to bring to Oakland County.


The plan we've set in motion is starting to work. Working with County Executive Brooks Patterson, we've brought in more than 13,000 new jobs and more than $1.1 billion in new investments. These are good, high-paying jobs in new, high-tech fields and emerging sector industries like medical research, information technology and alternative energy.

I've been one of the Big 3's strongest defenders in Congress. I've stood up to partisans and presidents alike in defense of our auto industry and its workers. Detroit needs to continue to be the world leader in automotive innovation. I have a serious plan to help the automakers compete and succeed in a challenging global marketplace.

I've worked with the Oakland School District and Automation Alley to create an innovative worker training and re-training program. I secured funding to set up a program at Oakland Community College teaching students skills required to work in the "emerging sectors" companies we're working to bring to Oakland County. My "Henry Ford Scholarship" bill was signed into law in August. It will provide $5,000/year college scholarship to students who study math, science, technology, engineering or health care related fields.

These things will help lead us toward a new Michigan economy, ending our single-state recession and building a stronger, more prosperous future. I will not rest until Michigan's economy is vibrant and strong once again.

The Chamber endorsed Representative Joe Knollenberg

Gary Peters

Throughout my career in public service, I have drawn upon my background in business to fight for accountability and fiscal discipline. As a Michigan Senator, I ran my office so efficiently I was able to return the equivalent of a full year's operating budget. When I took over the stagnant Michigan Lottery system in 2003, revenues had been in a four year slump. I turned the Lottery around my first year, and went on to generate record revenues for Michigan classrooms - under budget every year. In 2006, Crain's wrote: "We admire the fresh thinking [that] Peters, a former state lawmaker and investment advisor, brought to his lottery job."


I earned my MBA from the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1984, and I served as a vice president at Merrill Lynch and UBS/PaineWebber for more than 20 years. At UBS/PaineWebber I served as Vice President of Investments, managing accounts worth in excess of $75 million, and as manager of the Rochester branch, I was recognized every year for outstanding management performance.

In Congress, I will take action to restore fiscal discipline, cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses and reinvest in Michigan's economy.
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Title Annotation:FEATURE
Date:Oct 1, 2008
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