Upper Peninsula Conservative Political Action Conference held in Marquette


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Attendees of Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Conservative Political Action Conference in Marquette had a chance to hear perspectives on many topics from speakers hailing from across the state, region and nation.

The conference, which kicked off with a VIP meet-and-greet reception Friday night and featured a full day of speakers at the Ramada Inn Saturday, was held by the Michigan Conservative Union of the Upper Peninsula, an affiliate of the Michigan Conservative Union, organizers said.

“UPCPAC has only been around for two years, this is the second year. Last year, of course, was our initial year and we brought in speakers from all over the nation to speak at our event,” UPCPAC Director Mary Sears said. “And this event may be a little bit smaller in turnout, but it still just has a dynamic roster of speakers.”

The event gave attendees a chance to learn about the governmental “departments that are out there and their impact on the everyday person,” Sears said, as a variety of speakers who “have been impacted by different departments within our government,” shared how they handled these situations.

The conference aimed to offer perspectives on issues such as political leadership, gun control, heartbeat bills, repressed memory therapy and more, Sears said.

One of Saturday’s speakers was Terri McCormick-Dawson, Ph.D., of the Center for Political Leadership, who analyzes primary elections and works to predict winning candidates through data collection.

“(She) does analysis of primaries and what kind of governmental people that we’re really putting into office: if they have integrity or not, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how the public is really responding to them,” Sears said.

Using things like social media, researchers create a point system to predict winners.

“They were able to predict Trump’s victory six months before the election,” she said. “So they’re going to do that again; and next year when we have Terri back, she’s going to do predictions for the primaries.”

Also speaking Saturday was Corey Shankleton, president of the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition, who told attendees about heartbeat bills and the coalition’s efforts to get one passed in Michigan.

“It’s a very simple bill, it simply says this: ‘When a heartbeat’s detected, the baby’s protected.’ It’s that simple,” Shankleton said. “Most of us realize that a heartbeat can be detected right now somewhere between six and eight weeks (of gestation), and so it moves us from where our current standards are in this nation miles in the right direction, understanding that most of us — I believe all of us in this room — want to see that bar moved to conception.”

Heartbeat bills, which ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected, have “swept across the nation,” Shankleton said, noting the bills have been introduced in over 25 states, with nine passing such bills.

In Michigan, the bill has been introduced in the Legislature with Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, being the “leading sponsor for it in the Senate,” Shankleton said.

However, the coalition has a “full understanding that the governor is going to veto” the bill and is working on an alternate route to get a heartbeat law on the books in Michigan, he said.

“We have already put before the board of canvassers language which will be approved here in the next week or so to begin what is called a legislative initiative petition,” Shankleton said. “That gives us the ability in the state of Michigan to gather 340,000 signatures, put it back before the House and the Senate, and then with simple majorities, this can become law without ever having to sit on the governor’s desk.”

For those who would like to learn more about UPCPAC, next year’s conference, or watch videos of Saturday’s speakers online, visit https://upcpac.webs.com/.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.