UP Nonprofit Conference, New Local Government Tax Report, Last Week’s Primary Elections, Veteran Burn Pit Legislation, and Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness


This Week in Rural Insights

This week we will not be publishing a Wednesday article. Have a great week!

Informed Brevity

We try to bring you information, facts and data about important issues to the Upper Peninsula and to the world around us.

If we publish an opinion piece we clearly mark it as opinion. You can find these opinion pieces under our Opinion tab on our website.

If we publish an opinion piece we ask the authors to support their opinions with verified analysis, information and facts. This tab is not a “letters to the editor” section, it is more of an op-ed section that you find in major newspapers and publications.

Upper Peninsula Nonprofit Conference

One of the most important conferences in the UP is the UP Nonprofit Conference held each year. It is a gathering of folks involved with nonprofit organizations in our communities that play such an important part of our lives.

This year it will be held on October 20, 2022 at NMU’s Northern Center. Go to www.glcyd.org to find out more about the conference. You might find panels and workshops that interest you and you want to attend.

New Report About Local Government Tax Increases and Budget Needs

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has a new report out that says that “Local governments have responded to Michigan tax limitations, which constrains growth  in the property tax base, by seeking and often receiving tax increases.”

From 2004 to 2020, the average county rate increased 17 percent , the average city rate increased 14 percent and the average township increased 21 percent.

Tax rates increased for reasons other than just constraints on the taxes (e.g., some local governments had population increases or needed to expand service provisions).

Take a look at the report by going to www.crcmich.org. You can find a lot of tax and finance information that will help you analyze what is happening in your local community with local taxes.

Upper Peninsula Primary Elections Last Week

Not a lot of surprises in our primaries around the UP. One was the State House election in the central UP–the 109th House District.

Many Democrats were surprised when Jenn Hill won the Democratic primary to replace the term-limited Sara Cambensy. She won with a pretty solid percentage with a strong grassroots and social media campaign.  She will face off against Republican Melody Wagner.

It is the race to watch in the UP.

Another observation about campaigns that struck me recently. We used to be able to use lawn sign predominance to predict how well candidates were doing. That seems to be replaced by a candidate’s social media campaign and dominance online. Do you agree?

Lawn signs will be around, but today social media campaigns will continue to fill our own social media feeds.

Veterans Burn Pit Legislation Becomes Federal Law

Veterans in the Upper Peninsula and across America were pleased by the US Senate’s  passage of  legislation to address comprehensive toxic exposure. The legislation is called the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxic Act, the PACT Act.

“This legislation has been celebrated as a potential landmark legislative victory in veterans policy.” It is meant to “improve healthcare and benefits for veterans suffering injuries from burn pit smoke, Agent Orange spraying and other military containment exposure.” (Military Times. 8.26.22).

This landmark legislation almost didn’t pass the US Senate after 25 Senators announced their opposition. Veteran pressure turned that around with intensive lobbying efforts in DC and across the country.

Michigan’s two US Senators, Senators Stabenow and Peters both supported the legislation. You can go online to find a list of those Senators who voted against the legislation in other states.

Contact your federal or state veteran’s services office to find out if you qualify as a veteran for help with toxic exposure that you suffer from.

School Loan Forgiveness for Veterans

Upper Peninsula veterans and those in other states can benefit from a loan forgiveness program for veterans. The program is called The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If you are a veteran, contact your college or university financial aid office for information or all your regional Veterans Affairs Office.


“To win 100 victories in 100 battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”  Sun Tzu.

“In order to practice tolerance on behalf of the pursuit of truth, you have to first value and believe in not merely the pursuit of truth but truth itself.” Willmoore Kendall Jr.

Books Recommended By Our Readers

“Corruptible. Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us.” Brian Klaas. 2022.

We try to bring you informed brevity. We believe the only way to speak truth to power is to understand both sides of an issue.

Talk To Us

Keep your raves, laurels, rants and darts coming. Send them to us at david@ruralinsights.org. We love to read them. 

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Rural Insights connects policy, information, news and culture to raise topics and stories/information you might have not seen or overlooked. We bring you original writing from Rural Insights and other researchers, change makers, and storytellers, as well as our latest research and analysis.

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. Janet G Wagner on August 8, 2022 at 10:33 am

    So David, how did our US Rep, Jack Bergman, vote on the Burn-Pit bill? He thinks of himself as such a leader for veteran rights. Just curious.

    • Mark A Kuehne on August 8, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      Bergman is a phony.

    • David S. Haynes on August 10, 2022 at 2:06 pm

      He did vote for it in House.

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