Voters recall Paul Scott -- "This is what democracy looks like."

Alongside citizens on the ground in the 51st House District, MEA members, leaders and staff pulled off what hasn’t happened in this state for more than two decades—the recall of a sitting legislator. Last night’s recall of Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) marks the first time in state history that a Republican has been recalled.

This is truly historic. MEA President Steve Cook said in a press release today, “This is more than just a victory for voters in the 51st District who feel Paul Scott hasn’t been representing their interests – it’s a victory for every Michigan voter who feels misled by Republicans and their agenda this year in Lansing.”

“Last night’s results prove that voters will hold lawmakers accountable for assaults on the middle class.”

This couldn’t have happened without your efforts—whether you collected signatures, made phone calls, knocked on doors or sent a note of encouragement.

Scott was the focus for recall after he influenced the passing of legislation which cut school funding, taxed pensions and gave tax handouts to corporate special interests—all at the expense of the middle class. Scott betrayed the voters in his district by supporting the interests of corporate CEOs and doing nothing to create jobs. And he paid the price for turning his back on his constituents.

Election results will have to be certified by the county Board of Canvassers and then at the state level. At that time, Scott will be immediately removed from office. The seat will be vacant until a new representative is elected in February.

Scott was in his second legislative term and served as Chair of the House Education Committee and the Committee meeting scheduled today was cancelled. Scott told the media he will not be coming to Lansing for any more committees or sessions. Scott earlier indicated that he may run for the seat again.

Today House Speaker Jase Bolger announced that Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) will be the interim Chair of the House Education Committee. McMillin is a member of the Education Committee and was a former president of a charter school board. On his appointment, McMillan said, “Michigan’s children deserve a quality education and that means we must thoroughly examine how the system is currently failing them. We cannot sacrifice our future by continually focusing dollars on special interests rather than classroom.”

Republicans promise that their “reform” agenda will still move forward. But between the Scott recall and the overwhelming voter repeal of Ohio’s anti-collective bargaining law (see below), lawmakers should be on notice that their constituents expect their leaders to stand up for their kids, their communities and the middle class – not CEOs and the elite 1%.

Other election results

Again, with the help of MEA members, leaders, and staff, Tim Griemel won the primary election for the House seat left vacant by Tim Melton. In February, Griemel will face Republican Bob Gray for Melton’s seat representing Pontiac and Auburn Hills. Melton resigned his seat and left Michigan to work for Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization.  Rhee’s group, which spearheaded the “tenure reforms” earlier this year, invested in both the Scott recall and one of Griemel’s opponents in the 29th District.

More than 73 school board candidates across the state received recommendations from MEA leaders and members. More than half of those candidates were elected. 

And in neighboring Ohio, the middle class sent a loud message to Republicans when they rejected SB 5 by more than 63 percent of the vote. SB 5 ended the collective bargaining rights for public employees, which included teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers.

All of these election wins represent a victory for the middle class. In every case, voters sent elected leaders the message to stop the power struggles and start working together to create good jobs and invest in education to give our kids a better future.

Take a few minutes to enjoy the moment that was a long-time coming. But remember—this is just the beginning of the fight. We’re at a turning point. We’ve proved that if we stand together for the middle class, we can win. Now, let’s take that energy and set our sights for November 2012 when we take back the House!