Michigan candidates scored on willingness to bridge the divide

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A nonpartisan organization has a new tool to help Michigan voters identify elected leaders and candidates for office who are willing to reach across the aisle.

The Common Ground Scorecard evaluates the degree to which politicians will work with members of the opposing party through listening and productive conversation.



Pearce Godwin, executive director of the National Conversation Project, helped develop the tool and said it also highlights those who have vowed to take specific actions towards a common good.

He noted in Michigan, it's a commitment made by both 6th District Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and his challenger, State Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo.



"And indeed, that is the only race in the country in which both candidates, the incumbent and the challenger, have responded to our invitation to affirm those commitments and be celebrated for that common-ground spirit and practice," Godwin disclosed.

Nationally, a total of 21 challengers and incumbents made the pledge.

Michigan voters can search for officials that will appear on their ballot by ZIP code, and find out how elected leaders have performed on making bipartisan progress.

Erik Olsen, co-Founder of the Common Ground Committee, said it's becoming increasingly apparent partisan politics are preventing elected leaders from working on solutions to the myriad of challenges facing the country.

"So much of the problems that exist in Washington are just a matter of leadership making a point of not working with those across the aisle," Olsen contended. "There's plenty of legislation which could be done very quickly if people were just willing to work together and not be concerned about whether they're viewed as working together with the opposite side of the aisle."

The Common Ground Scorecard does not endorse any candidates, or assess other criteria which voters may also want to consider.

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