Newsletter May 2015

In this edition:

  • A Message from the Chairwoman
  • Notable Announcements
  • 14th Executive Committee Votes Opposition to Proposition 1
  • 14th CD Members Lead Freedom of Speech Effort with U of Michigan “American Sniper” Flap
  • Remembering Robert P. Griffin, a Great Michigan Republican
  • Meet Gina Barr: State Committeewoman
  • “National Geographic” profiles Detroit in May 2015 edition
  • Ohio Governor Speaks at Detroit Economic Club 
  • Democrat Rep. Brenda Lawrence Votes for “us” in Washington
  • “Walk for Israel” support on May 17
  • MiPAC event to be held in Troy on May 15-16
  • News Links of Interest

A Message from the Chairwoman

Greetings Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives and Tea Party Americans!
To say that "the 14th District is off and running" is an understatement.IMG_2276.jpg
Would you believe we have:
  • Produced and delivered the first ever 14th CD newsletter in April (let me know if you did not receive it).  This first edition addressed a variety of topics including a profile of Sue Burstein-Kahn, our new State Committeewoman (each state committee member will be profiled in future issues), and identified our 14th CD member Grant Strobl as the youngest Republican Committee member in the State of Michigan.  
  • The 14th CD email list has been cleaned up and vastly expanded to now include over 3,200 Republican voters.  
  • Using a team of volunteer writers sent five (5) press releases--so far--to media outlets across the CD and state, which resulted in two follow-up interviews;
  • Launched the first ever 14th CD web site at Check it out and forward the link to your Republican/conservative friends! The web site will always be “under construction” as more and more content is added. Send your web ideas to me.
  • Launched a new, updated and inter-connected Facebook page.  Check that out and “like us” at the new and real 14th CD Facebook page at
  • Launched our first ever Twitter account ( As with Facebook, we need to build the follower base, so sign in and forward to your friends.
Whew! What a team! None of this could have happened without the help of Chief Editor Glenn Gilbert; writers Bill Rauwerdink and Christina Barr; and tech support, Matt Schonert, and Grant Strobl.
Here is a "Thumbnail Sketch" of the Thursday April 23, 2015 Executive Committee meeting held in Royal Oak:
  • The Committee passed a resolution against Proposition 1, the May 5 Ballot Proposal.  The resolution was  brought forth by member Bob Oestreich.  A special thank you goes to guest speaker Randall Thompson, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Higher Taxes, who spoke AGAINST Proposition 1.  Another thank you goes to David Waymire, Partner at “Strategic Communications”, a Lansing firm, who spoke in SUPPORT of Proposition 1.  
  • The 14th District by-laws were amended to include a 26th member to the Committee: welcome Bill Rauwerdink.
  • Three (3) of the 23 brainstormed/proposed activities for the 14th District were discussed.  The remainder of the proposed activities will be discussed and we will choose 5 events at our next meeting.  Thank you to three event “leaders”  Darwin Jiles, Chris Konja, and Regina Brim who “pitched" their proposed event.
  • Thank you to guest Eric Bond who worked as guest Parliamentarian.
  • Thank you to Carol Foster who helped us choose the next two meeting dates.
    • Next Meeting is Wed May 20, 6:00pm- location to be announced.
    • June meeting is Thursday, June 18, 6:00pm- location to be announced.
Notable Announcements:
  • May 8th-9th State Republican Committee Meeting/Spring Training at Boyne Mountain
  • May 15th-16h MiPAC meeting in Troy, MI---see details below
  • May 17  “Walk for Israel” sponsored by Temple Shir Shalom--see details below
  • September 19th-20th Republican Mackinac Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island
Next 14th CD Meeting:  May 20 at 6:00pm

Meeting location- TBD


This is an open meeting for all Republican patriots!  Looking forward to seeing you there and helping us to grow!
Warmest Regards,
Janine Kateff
14th District Chairwoman
586 917 6118

14th Executive Committee Votes Opposition to Proposition 1

May 5th Ballot Initiative “Not the Way to Go”---Please Vote
At its regularly scheduled April meeting, the 14th District Executive Committee joined a growing list of statewide Republican groups opposing the May 5 ballot initiative.  At this meeting,  the Executive Committee voted nearly unanimously to oppose Proposal 1.
“We all agree that the roads need work, but with this vote the Committee is clearly saying that this massive tax increase is not the way to go,” said Janine Kateff, 14th District chair.
She said the committee voted after hearing presentations from representatives of each side of the issue.
“To me, this is a call for the GOP leadership in Lansing to roll up their sleeves and manage the taxes they already take from hard-working taxpayers in Michigan,” Kateff said.
The resolution says in part:  “It has been estimated that about half of the new taxes raised by the proposal would not be spent fixing Michigan roads, but benefiting other interests for the apparent purpose of inducing them to support the measure. Of the $2 billion per year estimated to be extracted from state taxpayers annually by the tax increases in the proposal, only half of that money, or $1 billion, would be dedicated to road funding.”
Other Republican District Executive Committees that have voted opposition to Proposal 1 include the 1st, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th and 13th Districts.   Many other local and county GOP groups have passed similar resolutions in opposition, including the Oakland County Republican Party.
“This Committee is not satisfied that our elected leadership in Lansing has done all it can to address road funding without a massive tax increase,” Kateff said.
In addition to opposing Proposal 1, the resolution also calls “upon the legislature to act immediately to pass a plan to fix Michigan's roads in the event Proposal 1 is defeated on May 5, and remove Michigan roads and taxpayers from being held hostage to a massive tax increase as contained in Proposal.”

If you agree with this position, here is an inexpensive way to advertise! Those interested in a yard sign indicating opposition to Proposal 1 can pick up such a sign (until the supply is gone) at: 31909 Trestain (last house on left), Farmington Hills. Signs may be picked up at that address between noon and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

14th CD Members Lead Freedom of Speech Effort with U of Michigan “American Sniper” Flap 

An attempt to ban a showing of “American Sniper,” an Oscar winning and very popular movie,  on the University of Michigan campus was thwarted due to the efforts of two members of the 14th Congressional District’s Republican Executive Committee.
Grant Strobl, a current U-M student and president of the campus Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, and Brian Koziara, a YAF adviser and current U-M Law School student, spoke out after the University officials cancelled the planned showing.
The film, a box office smash, features the exploits of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, considered the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.

Grant Strobl

The controversy started when the Muslim Student Association (MSA) presented petitions signed by about 300 students protesting the showing and ended after drawing the involvement of controversial new U-M football Coach Jim Harbaugh.

"The movie 'American Sniper’ not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim and anti-MENA (Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African) rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer," stated the MSA petition. "Chris Kyle was a racist who took a disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians.”
YAF launched a counter-petition drive that attracted media attention.
“We’re at a university,” Koziara said on Fox2 Detroit’s “Let It Rip” feature.
 Brian Koziara“This is supposed to be about a free exchange of ideas”, Koziara continued. “We’re supposed to be confronting controversy and discussing these issues. It does us no good as university students to find comfort zones or ask for safe spaces and hide from these issues … there was nothing saying university students had to go and watch this movie. If you’re offended by it, don’t go. It’s not a racist movie; it’s not a documentary. It’s about an American war hero and it’s focused on his service to the country.”
“It’s a freedom of expression issue,” Strobl told Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade. “The Muslim Student Association claimed that the movie was racist and that Chris Kyle was a mass murderer, and that’s just not true,” continued Strobl. “This movie isn’t about race. This movie isn’t against religion. This movie is about a war hero. It’s about tremendous military skill. If we have to disqualify a movie based on tangential statements by the subject then we’d have to disqualify movies on FDR, on Henry Ford, and then what are we left to discuss at the university.”  Strobl was also interviewed on WJR Radio 760 on the Frank Beckmann show.  The audio is at this link:
Harbaugh jumped into the controversy with a Tweet.
“Michigan Football will watch ‘American Sniper’!  Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!”  Harbaugh stated.
Shortly after, U-M officials reversed themselves, admitting they made a mistake.
“The initial decision to cancel the movie was not consistent with the high value the University of Michigan places on freedom of expression and our respect for the right of students to make their own choices in such matters,” said E. Royster Harper, University of Michigan vice president for student life.
“The movie will be shown at the originally scheduled time and location.” Harper said, adding “We recognize, however, that some students are uncomfortable with the content of the movie, and appreciate that concern.  Therefore, the university also will show an alternative movie, ‘Paddington,’ in another location on campus at that same time and date to provide our students with additional options that evening.”  
“Paddington” is an animated cartoon targeted toward children.

Remembering Robert P. Griffin, a Great Michigan Republican 

Personal note from Bill McMaster of Bloomfield Township and State Chairman of Taxpayers United Michigan Foundation (email him at [email protected]).

“Robert P. Griffin was a 10-year Congressman (R-Traverse City) before Gov. Romney appointed him to replace Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick McNamara when he died in office. U.S. Senator Griffin then hired me to serve on his 1966 Campaign for U. S. Senator. I was his Issue Writer and Asst. Press Secretary.  Griffin was not expected to win. When he did, I went to Washington as an Issue Writer on his Senate Staff.  Later, I founded McMaster Marketing & PR (and continue there today as President) which hired to serve Griffin’s U.S. Senate re-election campaigns in 1972 and 1978.  Bob Griffin deserves to be recognized as the Great American he was.”
Former U. S. Senator Robert P. Griffin (R-Mich) passed away recently at the age of 91.  He served in the U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate for 22 years, and on the Michigan Supreme Court for eight years.  He served with six U. S. Presidents   The complete obituary may be found at
The family would greatly appreciate, in lieu of flowers, any donations to the Robert and Marjorie Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan 48859.  See
Marjorie and Robert Griffin in 2005

Meet Gina Barr: State Committeewoman 

This is the second in a series of profiles about our 14th District state committee members.
When people ask Gina Barr where her conservative values come from, she just smiles and says, “My father is an old school fire and brimstone Pentecostal preacher, you don’t get any more of a conservative upbringing than that.”
Gina Alicia Barr is the eldest  of Apostle Keith and Isabelle Barr’s seven children, born and raised in Pontiac.  Barr always knew her political views were different that those of most of her peers, but she said it wasn’t until she was a senior in high school when she had a brilliant political science teacher, Melvin Nuss, that she realized she was a Republican.  
After Barr graduated from high school she went on several missionary trips that took her across Europe, Africa and Asia.  She has spent almost all of her life active in her father’s church and on the mission field.  But it wasn’t until 2012 that her focus shifted to politics.  In 2012,  Barr became active in the Republican Party and in 2014 was hired to work in the Michigan GOP office in Detroit.  Barr works alongside Wayne Bradley, the director of African American Engagement. They primarily focus their efforts on urban outreach in cities like Detroit and Pontiac.  Barr believes that the only way to reach voters in heavy Democratic areas is to not “stand on a soap box” and preach conservatism, but to go out and personally share it with people in the community.  She cites a biblical principle for her work:
“And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”  ​(Luke 14:23)
Before her work with the Michigan GOP, Barr worked at GM as a security supervisor for nearly a decade.  She is a graduate of Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield with a concentration in radio.  Barr lives in Pontiac.

“National Geographic” profiles Detroit in May 2015 edition

In a three part feature “Taking Back Detroit”, “National Geographic” shows how “the die-hard natives and upbeat newcomers...are reimagining Detroit”.   Check out each of three segments (look for the tabs Meet Detroit, Explore Detroit, and See Detroit) in the link below:
The 14th CD Republicans look forward to helping rebuild Detroit, too.

Ohio Governor Speaks at Detroit Economic Club

On Monday, April 13, Governor John Kasich spoke to a packed room at the newly renovated Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit. Ronna Romney McDaniel, New MIGOP Chair, Steve Ostrow, MIGOP Executive Director, Mike Banerian, MIGOP Youth Vice Chair,  Adi Sathi, MIGOP Coalition Vice Chair, Wayne Bradley, State Director of African American Engagement and Gina Barr, 14th CD State Committeewoman were among those in attendance. The Governor is considering a run for president and will be making his decision in the near future. Governor Kasich would join a strong field of GOP candidates. A clip from Gov. Kasich’s presentation is at this link:

Democrat Rep. Brenda Lawrence Votes for “us” in Washington 

Your Democratic 14th Congressional District U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence has been busy in Washington, D.C. Here is a recap of several of her recent votes. After considering her positions, please feel free to call her office at 202-225-5802.
  • U.S. House Bill 622 passed 272 to 152 (though Rep. Lawrence voted against it). The bill makes permanent the deduction of state and local sales tax on your federal tax return. Again, our 14th CD Representative voted AGAINST this bill.
  • U.S. House Bill 1105 passed 240 to 179 (though again Rep. Lawrence voted against it). The bill, named the "Death Tax Repeal Act", would end the federal estate tax and would end an additional tax placed on money given to grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
  • U.S. House Resolution 10 passed 241 to 175 (though Rep. Lawrence again voted against). The resolution would prevent the EPA from instituting regulations unless scientific data supporting such regulation(s) are publicly available and can be verified 
  • U.S. House Resolution 161 passed 253 to 169 (though again Rep. Lawrence was against it). The resolution would authorize construction of the Keystone pipeline.
Seems that Rep. Lawrence has quickly learned to be a straight Democrat party line voter. Voters here in the 14th CD should be on alert. Follow how your Representative performs her job for us in Washington, D.C. by watching for updates in this 14th CD Republican newsletter.

“Walk for Israel” support on May 17 

Join local Republicans as we “Walk for Israel”. Started ten years ago, the “Walk for Israel”, sponsored by Temple Shir Shalom, has grown in size and prominence by appealing to a broad cross section of the community in the Detroit metropolitan area. See more details at   
Several GOP groups will be participating in the 2015 “Walk for Israel”. See the link for details or just look for the GOP float as the Walk begins on May 17 (at 1:30 p.m.) at the corner of Walnut Lake Road and Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield. The 2014 event looked like this:
Local Republicans “Walk for Israel” in 2014 

MiPAC event to be held in Troy on May 15-16

Michigan Conservative Political Action Conference (MiCPAC) is hosting its annual gathering of the full spectrum of Michigan conservative leadership in Troy, MI. The conference features  academic, philosophical, political and business leaders who will share best practices and inspire attendees to greater effectiveness. It is billed as a great learning, planning, strategizing and networking opportunity.
Most recently added to the speaker list is Kevin Jackson, Fox News pundit, who is a nationally recognized rising star among young conservative thinkers, writers, and political commentators. He is a Fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics and is a highly sought-after speaker. Kevin reaches over 2 million people in radio and print weekly.
MiCPAC describes “their trifecta of fantastic keynote speakers” as Kevin Jackson, along with Larry Pratt, Director of Gun Owners of America, and Dr. Paul Broun, MD, leading conservative member (former) of U.S. Congress from Georgia. Register to attend this event at :

News Links of Interest