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"Rogue Secretary of State" Jocelyn Benson


Hello podcast people. Are you subscribe to spotify yet? I am and I love it so much. Spotify has a huge catalog of my favorite podcasts. On every topic including mine. When you download spotify you can follow your favorite podcast so you never miss an episode. Premium users can download episodes. Listen to offline wherever you are and you can easily share what you're listening to with your friends on instagram. How cool is that so if you haven't done so already be sure to the spotify APP search for Illicit Milano? Sorry not sorry on spotify or browse podcasts. In Your Library Tab also make sure to follow me so you never miss an episode. Hi I'm Melissa Milano and this is sorry not sorry do. In two thousand eighteen Jocelyn Benson was elected as secretary of state in Michigan. It was part of a historic sweep. Where women were also elected to the governorship and to the Attorney General's office then the corona virus hit and Donald Trump went on the warpath personally attacking governor. Whitmer as she fought to get her citizens access to needed medical equipment. Well now he's also attack. Jocelyn calling her a rogue secretary of state for her plan to make sure all Michigan voters can apply to get an absentee ballot. This fall keeping them safe from the virus and ensuring everyone has a chance to vote. Jocelyn joined us to talk about the monumental importance of voting rights in the age of trump and the corona virus. This year we saw the. You're the woman. Two Point Gretchen. Whitmer Dana Nessel Jocelyn Benson Debbie Stamina and the list goes secretary of state of the Great State of Michigan. Four four my duties to invest in my abilities regard. Help me guys. The Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says. She sees nothing wrong with paper ballots. Secretary of state says the voter absentee ballot. Applications are great way for voters to vote in coming elections without risking their. How ahead of a planned visit to Michigan Tomorrow? President trump is targeting the leaders of the state on twitter president trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding to Michigan after the state announced that all of the states registered. Voters would receive applications for absentee ballots in the mail this year. Benton Secretary of State of Michigan on fighting every day to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted. Sorry not sorry first of all. Thank you so much for doing this. I really really appreciate it. It's interesting because you have a job that I don't think a lot of people fully grasp what you do as secretary of State in Michigan. You're responsible for overseeing elections. But can you give my listeners? Really an overview of what that entails. And just broadly what? The job secretaryastate position in most states overseas democracy and that means everything from money in politics and regulating promoting disclosure of bat to the actual act of casting a ballot and making sure those votes are counted accurately protecting the security of the process. Anything that goes into ensuring that our democracy runs well flows lows through each state secretary of State and from your perspective. What is the biggest threat to our democracy? And you can do that. Broadly but you can also do that in Michigan. Well Yeah I always say that. A healthy democracy requires an engaged. An informed electorate and so in that way biggest threat is disengaged and misinformed electorate. I think you need both. You need everyone. Voting particular especially systems of underrepresented communities whose voices has historically been at the table and decisions. That are made them. But you also need to to be informed about all the aspects of an issue that they can make independent decisions about what's best for them. We're having our communities so to me really. You need people. Running the system secretaries of state and we need elected representatives who all kind of flow into that any neighbouring and encourage engagement and Commission. Of course the media as well but if you poke short on either of those two metrics those two pieces than democracy is threatened and. I think that's some of what we are seeing today where you have in some cases. Low turnout or disengagement or feeling of apathy or. My vote doesn't matter. My voice doesn't matter which is the exact opposite of which real and democracy or people not having access to accurate information about the decisions that are being made note decision makers that are making them can hold them accountable. We here and we've heard a lot about Michigan this cycle. So what makes it so important in this election besides the Electoral College? And how did it become a battleground? These chicken is a collection of voters that really reflects the entire country in many ways certainly in the Midwest and you've got a very diverse population we've got the largest concentrations for example Arab American voters in the country. We've got strong urban areas with unique stories and history like Detroit and Flint and high levels of communities of color growing Tino population and then a lot of the state is very rural. And so the racial demographics. The economic demographics -cation you have also right next to Detroit. One of the wealthiest per capita community in the country and they got in some ways integregation and many of the problems that afflict and having the country historically are reflected in Michigan. There's a great thing I saw when I personally hear when Michigan accuses the whole country gets a cold that in some ways is a bellwether state. Her a lot of different things is that because of the people because of history because of the community that can indicate how rest of the country like feeling going and attention on our state certainly over the past ten years when it comes to presidential elections. Really underscored that. Well let's talk about November. I want a really sort of dive into what the plan is. Now that the pandemic changed everything. Because I feel like we're going to all be looking to you and to Michigan to sort of figure this out because you you are a battleground state. So what are the plans? How do we ensure that people are going to be able to vote confident that you really? In this age moment of uncertainty. There are two things that are absolutely certain. Bertha guards are elections in Michigan and many other states won the election. In November will happen. It will happen on time will happen on schedule and to citizens in Michigan and many other states will have a right to participate in that election from their home. Coming to you from the Robertson League voting booth here my dining room table. This is Dave. He's at home in Seattle Washington. Dave's done a lot of reporting on. What he says is a simple solution to how America can vote during the pandemic Chins of millions of people in America by mail now every election and it's fine. Washington is one of the few states that runs its entire election through the mail voting by got to walk into the two thousand. We everyone who done food by mail. Basically works by taking two important elements of voting verifying your identity and filling out the ballot and moving them from a polling place to your home or the ballot gets mailed a weeks before the election. They will not have to choose between her health and right to vote which is critical in ensuring back at this moment of historical election. Possibly the most significant election in our lifetime that every citizen knows exactly how to vote and doesn't worry that in casting they're risking their health so armee work really over the next five and a half months or how many weeks are left until November election. Which is coming out of quite quickly is to make sure that every citizen feels confident in the process knows exactly how to ensure their ballots. Catchy counting it there heard and if they are engaged if not even more so than ever before in using the power vote. To hold elected officials accountable. You said before and I agree with you that I feel like a lot of at least the younger generations feel that their voice and their vote does not make a difference. And it's always been hard to get out certain votes. How are we going to do this when there is a pandemic? I know it's going to happen. I know it has to happen. I know it's going to happen on time. I just can't wrap my head around unless you know by some miracle. Mcconnell wakes up and decides you know what everybody should be allowed to vote from home. That's what we're GonNa do this election cycle Howard secretaries of state. Who are leading the way. Alex Padilla in California. Were to implement program where every voter in the state will get balancing automatically. You've got that same. That's been in place for many years in Oregon and Washington champions Guy Secretaries it's actually both sides of the aisle because one of the other really important aspect of this officers. We administered democracy. We make sure everybody is hurt. It's not a heart condition and oftentimes uses that in the past. But that said. I think secretaries of state that either working with my colleagues around the country are working overtime in the vast majority of states to ensure every citizen has that preserved right by mail in Michigan. We've got this unique story. Because in two thousand eighteen voters voted overwhelmingly to amend our constitution to create a right to vote by mail as well as many other things like automatic voter registration and the ability to register to vote on election day. So really what it comes down to in my view is making sure. One voting is a very personal thing so making sure citizens essentially have choices on how to exercise their vote that they're well informed about how the exercise those choices and that one of those choices is the ability to vote without having to leave your home. And so you know in Michigan will working to make that a reality to build that infrastructure. Because there's many pieces to it. But it essentially requires and enables every citizen to be fully informed on that ability to have heard any continent that their vote will be counted if they receive their ballot and return it through the mail without ever leaving home. And I think we've already seen trump trying to Italian The idea of Malin voting as being something that can be hacked or that is wall neural president. Donald trump on Wednesday lashed out to states seeking to embrace mail in voting. Breaking Michigan Sends Absentee Ballots to seven point seven million people ahead of the primaries and general election this was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue secretary of state. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down. This voter fraud. Pass those tweet from the president. What would you say to someone? That was listening to the podcast right now. Where they're like but I heard that it's not safe to vote when people actually if he does. You said vote by mail. Then they will question it. Piracy is clear. I think to me the is it two things we know they're going to be in. This election. Cycle efforts chew confused citizens about their rights. It's a different form voter suppression. But it's one in which we doubt our ability to vote. We don't be the sanctity of our whole and when you have lawmakers or leaders sowing the seeds of doubt based on false information it is one of those great guts. Democracy. It is heartbreaking. It is one of the saddest things for me to see people taking advantage and be uncertainty right now by the way policy of down in that said you always have to look at the motivation. Sometimes it's motivated for very political agendas and often times. You have to look at the data. The data shows is that where people vote when it's convenient to do so and more people when you wrote my mouth. We just had an election actually on local elections and we enabled ninety nine percent of the electorate to vote by mail. Mailing everyone an application to request their ballots. You sent them. Ninety nine percent of the vote in that elections by mail and turn out secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is doing what we hope. Many of you were doing today voted. There's still time to vote polls are open until eight o'clock you can show up. I if you've already been registered to vote show up at your local precinct. If you're not registered to vote there so time bring your residency verification to your local clerk and you can register to vote and cast her ballot right. Thousands of Michiganders cast their votes in yesterday's election. The first of its kind in the midst of a pandemic on a conference call with reporters Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. The turnout was historic. We have seen the vast majority of upwards of eighty or ninety percent of those voting today have voted by mail. The number of absentee ballots rose over ninety to ninety nine percent of all votes cast. Yesterday's turnout set a record for elections to a whopping twenty five percent double the average. The data across the board shows turnout increases. More people. Vote when they can go by mail and remorse people vote. Whoever HAS POWER INCREASE UNCERTAINTY FOR RETAIN? Our go right question mark and flag because but at the long as thing. I think it's more worried about what happened. More people vote than anything else. That's lying most common. But how do those comments change what you do? Is it more about a campaign of awareness? How do you fight it? That's so many of these issues that we're facing because of this man. I don't know how we fight attacks on elections and voting rights. So how does it change what you to? Beauty of democracy is that it's a team sport and secretaries of state election administrators. Play a key role and making sure that the trains run on time that people get their about their counted accurately and did that works but voters have a responsibility to an opportunity to engage their community to get people where accuracy gotta facts. Truth is one of the ways in which social media can be bluffing. We've also seen it used to sow seeds of doubt in information quite effectively. I see it as refund already but we all have to ensure that we know not just how to vote but they were informed as well and we can't necessarily farm out the duty of being influenced voters we have to embrace that responsibility thousand and nude around the. I think that's important part of it. Democracy is also more than just about moaning that is a key aspect of it but it your own sport. It's one in which stay engaged in spreading awareness about Lille facts is twenty four seven and then not just one day every four years when we tested the presidency. It's a Lotta work. And if we don't do have people writing power who don't reflect willow country and the majority of the electoral call of life and many other things changed impact and long. If you haven't heard about anchor. Let me tell you a little bit about it. It is the easiest way to make a podcast. I've just joined and I can't tell you how much I love it. And here's a few reasons why it's free. It's super easy to create and record podcasts. Right from your computer. Literally anyone can do it. Anchor handles all of the distribution. All you have to do is record or upload your podcast and they send it out to spotify and apple podcasts and everywhere else and get this anchor can help you get paid for podcasting without any minimum listener number. Everything you need to make. Your podcast is in one place at anchor. Download the free anchor APP or go to anchor dot. Fm to get started. I would think it's gotta be super important to be impartial right when administering elections. And then you get these partisan attacks from the other party I mean. Does that affect how you do? Your job is it difficult for you to stay. Neutrally work throughout my career has been around civil rights. I started my career in Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama and it was really like the penetration. Kalama in the early stages. There's just graduated from college where I was in those Lucas. Great commitment of the freedom fighters you come before us to ensure that every vote counted. And so for me. That's where my source of inspiration confront. Those who came before us to ensure democracy works in the fight for every citizen's voice. And now what this is about for me? I have a belief that he can get everyone at the table in voting and engaging informed better decisions emerge history teaches us so my focus has been on that and I think that's what you want from someone administering election. What I've I don't know in this job is how important is to talk to the community. The people aren't talking to and by that I mean even in partner election cycle both sides often times. We'll just talk or message to the communities. They know vote likely to vote and oftentimes low income communities places where people are not voting in high numbers. They don't get Kennedy. Does it. In their issues are concerned aren't really part of them. They just want to be able to put two hundred table and take care of their kids. Make sure there can drink safe water. Meanwhile the Democrats actress Eliza Milano made campaign stops who's Gretchen Whitmer Garland Gilchrist stubby stab at other local candidates. I caught up with her after their stop in grand rapids at teamsters four. Oh six and asked why of all places she chose to come here honestly when the opportunity arose? I thought it would be a great opportunity. I because I've never been to Michigan but second because I'm pretty angry about what happened in Flint. June thirty centers have become partisan issues. But they're really not real like what matters for community. Anyone can support that. Well I think that's true with all of the issues that we've seen wind up politicizing every family. Yeah and it's really about. How can we make lives better for those around us and one of the things I've done in my job is identified a community the lowest turnout? We actually moved into one hundred neighbourhoods in our state that have in November two thousand eight ten percent people voted consistently load turn out these opportunities that are often neglected. I was in decision making authority on both sides and I'm been going there just talking to them listening and saying how can we better serve you now? One hundred three things vast majority are in Detroit forty of them memory in Detroit twenty of them with and you also see this pattern of neglect where people are voting in their communities. Don't get the investment resources that you having conversations about that has been roaming firing in part because they're expecting could listen and not be welcome because I don't necessarily look like those new members of the community. I wouldn't be tested in thinking you know. How can I create a space for people are talking about how we can do a better job for them? What I found. Indies stations has been not a single person has said you're not from here. Everyone has said thank you for coming. Yeah single-person instead. I don't vote because I don't think matters Everyone has said. I don't vote because I can't. I have a criminal history which say in Michigan. You can her God criminal history. So that's and then people like you're kidding and then and then. I don't know who to vote for because I don't know anything about the candidates I don't know how to get the precinct. I don't know how to do all these things. Government wants to do in order to vote. So we've been focusing map but I have to say it's been really inspiring the shape. We can make it more accessible and convenient every community for every season we will see more people engaged in vote in and I think our country will be better than us all. Let me ask you this. Do you think that the federal government should have a larger role in national elections? I mean it seems like there's so many problems on state levels right. The hanging Chads in two thousand Florida the North Carolina Gerrymandering the election machine problems in Georgia. I don't know if every secretary of State is able to stay neutral or do their job as well as you do do to. We need some kind of federal government has had an important role to play historically on particular with creating a baseline for what our democracy should be like for every citizen now making sure that no one's discriminated against our Constitution has been amended more times around expanding the franchise than any other one reason. I. The federal government has had this historical critical role to play in protecting everyone's right to vote and ensuring no one else can to discrimination of any kind. That was locked. Their voice would be heard. The Voting Rights Act which is the reason. I became a lawyer because I wanted to enforce the that is a great example of that. It's been in recent years as the battle over. Lockerbie has taken national tone has but that's not the the government in recent years. I think has advocated a bit its responsibility to ensure every voter has an equal access to vote. And there's many reasons why that is and why that has happened. I think it's important role. The federal government has to play and additionally and providing funding for safe including cutting euro to administer elections. During Kovin Michigan Secretary Jocelyn Benson had undertaken a completely lawful routine and in fact laudatory move you send out under Michigan Law absentee ballot applications to the voters of her State. Being so that those voters do not have to go to the polls in the fall possibly miss pandemic if they do not want the president then falsely claimed this was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue secretary straight. He then list threatened to hold up funding to Michigan. If they want to go down this voter fraud path. I'm dumbfounded that this is controversial especially because there are Democratic. Republican secretaries of state are doing. Just what we're doing here in Michigan so I'd like to see the Federal Government Plan Porton role I know. There's many individuals congressman John Lewis in federal government. Who would say the same has been pushing for that and the lack of that type of moral wordings in the federal government in support of democracy. It's part of what turned our democracy today. But that's an advocate the state to state critical role to play as well route laboratory democracy again a partnership a team effort every player needs to play their role. The thing that keeps me up at night is election security. Because I mean it's just coming from everywhere. We've got external agitators. We've got internal bad actors. We have unregulated companies making voting machines. We can't audit pack with ease. So how are you securing? Election my background. I used to run a law school. I was the dean of a law school before I became secretary of State and my instinct is always like get the smartest people in the room. Let THEM DISAGREE IN. Work it out but bring all of the smart ideas the table and use that to inform what you do and so. I created a task force on election security of on my election to basically bring all these national experts including those in federal government to Michigan to give us all the ideas all the suggestion all areas for improvement and how to plan particularly in our elections. And we've got different pieces that were implementing that plan but it really comes down to two things carrying our elections is one about making sure the infrastructure secure making sure machine can't be hack so to address that we're doing post-election on it risk limiting on it to ensure every paper ballot. We have paper ballots in Michigan. That's critical paper. Ballots are then on to make sure. The machines are counting them accurately example we have various other pieces of our infrastructure. Securing our registry databases. So they can't be hacked so we focused on that and are working with know again leading national computer scientists and others to test systems the ahead of emerging threats and all that second piece of election security though is really in partnership with voters so much about elections security is not just about hacking system is also about hacking the minds of voters. So that they you see when you valuing the US Senate committee mound the Russian influence in their twenty sixteen election. It's about showing people doubt in our democracy in the sanctity of the process along the electorate and using that to division and cause problems in the sanctity of the process so we all have a responsibility as citizens to fight against efforts to misinform voters about their rights about the process and to take various different forms but to be active engaged critical thinkers in the information. We're getting and passing on and at the same per campaigns and not leaders as well so our efforts on election security really focus on those two things and educated me empowering listens to fight back against deceptive practices such critical is protecting the infrastructure system itself with so much going on. What do you think is the biggest risk to this election? Day home or don't vote because they feel they can't they? Shouldn't it's unsafe me. The biggest concern I have and what we're working every day to fight against. We want every citizen in Michigan and beyond to know that and have full faith that they can exercise their right to vote this fall and can do so with faith in our democratic institutions. It feels like a lot it is. I mean he intentionally was set up to acquire all of us to play a role and every Iraq. And so that is if you D and also it's challenge so in all these issues fighting back on elections security making sure that the November election is an accurate reflection of the will of citizens of our country. All of that you know gay gets down to all of the other. Look there's learning right back didn't happen because Lyndon Johnson said no we need Federal Law. It happened because demanded equality inference went to Mississippi and registered voters and showed that courage. Not that is what our democracy really is about. It's about its people and the secretary level it named Nicole to play and I think it's much rather use it to towards partisan and using it towards like engaging everyone outing and in our democracy actually took off twenty secretaries of state to film five months into my tenure. 'cause I was like this is what we're about guys this. Is You know proper the bridge so much of the work that we do in about enabling our systems to be a conduit for the electric's voice voters voice. But we can't do that in my voters. Believe in it believe in the system as well and sixty exerciser vote and demand and times when withheld her oppressed and we do better and tight with them against depression and other thing I mean. Honestly it's why I got politically active because what in two thousand to Al Gore. I was so completely horrified and it was the first moment in my life where I was like. Oh maybe can't be trusted and I promised myself that I would do everything I could. And within my power to help people to vote. And that's when I started driving people to the polls two thousand four. That's when I started driving people to the polls because of what happened in two thousand so identifying thousand votes our country's history so Chris in one state yeah other pieces of this to me is that so much of our history and who we are as a nation as defined by win the election and when that comes down to failures and the system of democracy for whatever reason then our history is defined by things. That aren't accurate. People gain power in a way that is not what the majority of people were mean. We see this in two thousand sixteen much. Our country has changed a response to chronic buyers. So much is decided by an election and I know we feel some times at one. Vote doesn't matter four votes or their householder which I didn't define who we are as a nation and we're seeing what happens when people don't oftentimes people electing the don't reflect the country. I want to switch gears and talk about some of the recent events in Michigan. You've had some I mean. It appears terrifying things happening. They're armed men storming the State House demanding. The governor reopen the state despite overwhelming scientific consensus to the contrary. What is up with that? What's happening. Who are able. It's heartbreaking to see actually when we have a governor who has brought together people are very movies the business community all over the state to inform her decision making should make very clear. Data driven decision in someone is a reflection of misinformation citizens are one in terms of what spurs someone to oppose it this information that they're hearing from different sources that we can be about. Parvin those sources come from a high levels or power. But it's sort of spurred on by permission it was politicize political and partisan agenda. That's not necessarily about the health of our state or communities or families and I think first and foremost I'm so honored to be working alongside governor. Who has been sped fast in continuing to do? What's best for everyone even those who seek to do harm and it's a reflection of good leadership certainly and when you again without being friend history. The decisions that are often made are ones that we make as leaders when they're unpopular right. And and you just hope that everyone power to make decisions and affect us all do. What's right now with popular politics and certainly in times like he'd more important so it's been scary early. It's unnerving days that it's happened winner and you know people with on storming the Capitol building and he just think what is this. What are we become the racial dynamics? Of course well he had was a car doing just sort of see the privilege of a community that have that reaction the communities of caller would have. And you know. Everything's up in Georgia with Aubrey. Martyn Amick to and just real elevations of the issues of criminal justice. And then you always there. You know. I think everyone in our state regardless of your party affiliation should be able to denounce violence in our capital. Yeah we haven't had that. Well that's because we don't have a leader at the highest level. That is able to do that. Yeah leader that was. Put there by an election right. So that's why there's when we have an election coming out. There's all the more reason to ensure winner hurt in the political arena the proper way but yeah so it's been Gosh. I mean even just this week. There was a vote illegal opinion by the Attorney General. The capital condition outlaw firearms and the capital declined to do so. Even people leveraging threats against elected office holders and it's time agreeing fighting and certainty to have that exacerbated by this type of behavior it just really disappointing that all around and I think moments of crisis you can either try to bring up the best. They can bring out the worst. Yeah and I think we all the Jones have a choice that we can make. And certainly what? We're all looking seen great leadership. We're also seeing some the worst behavior that we can see in society. Well and I think that a lot of it is stemming from this lack of coordinated effort in the beginning. It's like wear masks. Don't wear masks. Please don't wear masks your today. We're GONNA wear masks and when it's something as simple as protecting yourself with a mask and that message gets botched and there's no federal guidelines for reopening even though everyone's talking about reopening I think there is no real sort of begin of truth that we can trust. I think fouts using the best job he possibly can be doing in the CDC. I mean we. We heard a few weeks ago that the CDC guidelines and trump is editing them right now but states are already opening up. Wouldn't it be nice to have some sort of blanket guidelines? Were all on the same page? Because I mean as far as I know. We don't have barriers protecting us from other states that are opening where the pandemic is growing at a friend who is the other day and packing my driving through different states and I decide. Don't get out of your car and that state I live in Detroit and even just this morning I learned of our colleague former state. Senator more heard who passed away colonel virus and there's been significant racial disparities in. Detroit in other places in terms of WHO's been affected by this but certainly in communities of Color African American communities have been highly affected across the country. From what reasons because it is being the task force on this in Michigan and elsewhere but losing someone or losing many people to this virus versus not knowing anyone who was affected by it for multiple reasons and therefore being more susceptible to not leaving things that need to protect yourself and the restrictions are good reason for your own good health and my deputy secretary state income landlords attorney Emberley from time he's African American sixties and his experience with this forest. He lost so many people who knows his of big whisper. Portion impact had yet community different. Any experience at somewhere in the world can be might have based on who they know and who's going to factor that plays a little too in front of more reflection of our society and how race connected we are that we can't know or feel compassion towards those teaming would be another place but his experience is very different and also taking. He feeds the disparity the impact on the loss in the buyer viruses. Are you totally overwhelmed and stressed all the time? And Are you having trouble? Sleeping focusing or relaxing. Well if the answer is yes a joined the club and be you have to check out? Tm soft white noise sleep. Sounds podcast. Okay this hour long. Podcast is made to help you. Get rid of distractions reduce stress. Relax and get better sleep. You can listen to the sounds of nature white noise relaxing music and so much more so check out the TM. Soft white noise sleep. Sounds podcast on spotify or wherever you? Listen to your favorite podcast. The thing that I've been thinking about is. How do we come out of this better than we went into this Because it is such a reflection of every failing that we have that is in place that is not in place and when you look at the success that other countries have had in preventing the amount of deaths that we have. It is incredibly heartbreaking to me one of the things that all of those countries or a lot of those countries have in common is. They're all run by women and since two thousand eighteen election Michigan's top elected offices are now all held by women whether it's governor attorney. General Secretary of state or Senator Michigan Selected Democratic Woman for State Wide Office on Tuesdays ballot nationally. More women will serve in Congress than ever before political analyst. Dave Giulio says it comes as no surprise me. Too Movement is without a doubt out in front. I'm wondering do you think that that changes? How estate is run. I know that the fact that I get to work with attorney. General and governor in Chief Justice the import who we have some shared experiences. There's all of our gender and other things that we're all their unique people that it creates a solidarity that otherwise might not be there. I could just. I'm so grateful every day as I get to work with this governor and I learned so much from see her. She's handled every crisis with grace and dignity and formal and you see you know the fact that she's a mom. Look cheever Dahmer. The experiences that are unique to her gender and being a woman that have shared to she as we see that reflected in a lot of ways makes and I've certainly and I said to her many times I can't imagine anyone else in competition that she's been doing good a job as she has an part of that. Is You know what she's learned as a mom as a daughter and a female lawmaker most of her career being the only female voices in the room and the Grit and the grace that generates in you and ability to bring people together making questions so I think a lot of that has combined to make her great leader and I see that a lot of this who've had to overcome a lot in order to be taken seriously a Michigan. All she does is. She has no idea what's going on and she does say. Oh it's the federal government's full. I don't want them to say things that aren't true. I want them to be appreciative. Youngest woman to run a law school when I became law and I saw immediately how it can different type of approach to leadership when you're a minority voice in any way I think it's certainly shape term short sheets a lot of leaders and also the other thing is is. We don't have a lot of women to undo and say. I want to do it like that. Hopefully that is changing now. But we're really kind of making that leadership up as we go along being inclusive of everything that we are because it's very hard. I mean I remember totally unrelated but I had an agent who I loved very much and she was a woman and she left the agency and I said to her. I said I don't understand like why are you leaving? And she said to me she said because I look around and there's no one that's doing it the way. I think I need to do it so I need to get out of here and figure out what that end and it just struck a chord with me because so often we are shaping what leadership looks like by trying to emulate what are male counterparts. Make leadership look like and I think it is the grace of governor Whitmer. It is her ability to have empathy and compassion. And all of those things that make women special because of not in spite of and so. I'm just so pleased that my daughter she's five and that she gets to grow up in a world where she hopefully we'll have women in leadership positions that she can say. You know what I WANNA do like that. I worked in sports briefly. We've talked about that. Yeah is you're saying that and just thinking about that as well because I've never felt more aware of my gender and the way in which it on my ability to be effective and successful than when I work in sports and is this irony that most women executives have some background in sports and athletes many ripe executives has worked with after have some sort of sports in their background and if irony. That one of the industry's where women are released. Empowered is also the one that can create female leaders in other industries I think awesome only have a lot of fire making sure sports. They possible okay. Everyone money levels and and a lot on that too and and there's a similar piece to know what does leadership charter to recreate each a role that women know that they can truly be anything cannot see and but I always tell you especially when it's been too young female athletes is that you have to be what you can't see right now like right now and hopefully you'll see it more. You have to be that champion. You have to be that leader and I'm really hopeful that their daughter are where young girls that are gonNA be growing up in environment where there are more female leaders will really just reached a tipping point. Where every young girl goes a long that they can do anything and really. Just be able to close your eyes and dream of what that looks. I wanted to empire. That was my first job. It's so cool. I'm not owning me. Just a young girl even in high school. Well you know I can't being apart. I didn't even think that much about off the table right. And that really impacted me and so I got into politics that as an athlete myself and all the different ways in which many industries are are not equally open to women and what women leaders could do to industry to improve them if they were equally open to women and another that and then I think just finally. I'd like to ask you because I know right now. Everything feels so raw and scary and uncertain and disheartening. What just give you hope about? Twenty twenty the goodness of the People. We are seeing merging this crisis. The people who every night New York City applauds these hostile locals that the people who are hacking their lives so that they could take care of other he means in hospitals. The goodness that is emerged. One of these. This gives me hope and talking that we will get through this together. Knowledge that things like elections but determine who has power in this country will continue the industry that creates vaccines is working out to the goodness of humanity will the the individuals who are choosing to emulate right now and so much of who we all country? The party's GonNa be defined over here in terms of how elections and how we elect people but also how we do everything but we can from shopping to entertainment to claim for it. And so I think the more people who make informed decisions for the best community. Don't fall victim. I guess you could say to partisan agendas and devices actions the mark people who choose good and Jews Service. The better off will be at the society so that telling written but it gives me hope because so many people choosing goodness cheating service choosing community cheating prolonged Taber and that ultimately that choice individuals making that choice is I think what's going to bring up to. I am so glad there is you in this world. Thank you so much a part of the podcast. I appreciate you so much. Well since this conversation was recorded. Donald trump publicly attacked Joscelyn for doing her job and protecting voting rights. Something he knows is bad for him and the Republican Party so because of that we asked her to close out. Today's episode with some words about that attack. Here is jostled high. My name is Jocelyn Benson. But you might know me as that rogue secretary of state from Michigan. At least that's what. The president of the United States calls me. His recent tweets about my decision to send all Michigan voters. Applications to safely vote by mail suggestion. I had gone rogue and acted illegally and informing our voters about their rights. He was wrong in Michigan. Every registered voter has the right to vote by mail and as we collectively endure this moment of great uncertainty caused by global pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly one hundred thousand Americans. It's both within my authority and responsibility as Michigan's chief election officer to ensure every voter knows that they do not need to risk their health to cast their ballot. Our democracy requires no less. So why is the president attacking me spreading false information about the voting rights of our citizens and my authority to protect them even going so far as to threaten to withhold federal funding from our state unless we comply with his demands. Well the obvious answer. Is that Michigan is one of several states that will heavily influence the outcome of this year's presidential election. But there's more to it than that this year perhaps more than any other. Americans will be inundated by efforts to confuse them about the elections process. Their rights issues at stake and whether the elections will be held at all these efforts foreign domestic partisan or simply militias are designed to foster mistrust in our elections process. Depress turnout and erode confidence in the election results and the of our democracy. They are a real threat to the health of our republic and they will only escalate in the months ahead. That's why it's incumbent upon all of us regardless of where we are or what our positions are to stand up in the face of any attempts to deploy false information about our elections and our voters rights. We must be vigilant against any and all attempts to hack our voters minds with social media posts and scare tactics that falsely threatened their confidence in our elections by proactively seeking out reliable sources of information and encouraging productive dialogue. Now make no mistake. It will take all of us every single one of us to work together if we are going to disarm and diminish to confuse our electorate but only by doing so. Can we fully succeed? In ensuring our elections are a secure. An accurate reflection of the will of the people now is not the time for partisan game ship but this moment in history requires that we come together and resist attempts to de-legitimize elections and silence. The Voice of our voters. We cannot let misinformation whether it comes from the White House the Kremlin or anywhere else so seeds of doubt in our elections process facts must prevail over fear otherwise it does not one party that will lose to the other that our nation that will lose its democracy. Sorry not sorry is executive produced by listen a lot out. That's me. Our associate producer has ben Jackson Editing and engineering. Tasha's Jake Guts and music by Josh Cooke. Alicia Eagle and Milo Bully Ari. That's my boy. Please subscribe on spotify Itunes or wherever you get your podcasts and if you like the show please rate review and spread the word.

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