July 20, 2018
|By Ellen Moorhouse
Grassroots Communications Manager, Represent.Us
Meet Emily Wietecha, co-founder of the Represent.Us Metro Detroit chapter. Her incredible contributions to local efforts that have paved the way for local advocacy—and far-reaching statewide impact.
Local Game Changer
As an electrical engineer with an automotive company in Detroit, Emily is a STEM leader with years of experience as a skilled problem solver. When faced with declining membership and local political apathy, she could have given up. Instead, she led by example—rallying volunteers, writing to local news outlets, and building a thriving coalition of Represent.Us members across the state of Michigan.
“There are a lot of people working on the symptoms of our problem - but I want to work on the systemic cause of our problems,” says Emily.
In 2016, the Detroit chapter passed Michigan’s first Anti-Corruption Resolution through the Southfield, Michigan City Council. In 2017, Emily worked closely with her fellow chapter members and local elected officials to pass a similar resolution through the city council in Ferndale, MI. Standing up to corruption in her community gave her an idea of what it could be like to make this kind of change on a statewide level.
A David and Goliath Tale: Michigan Voters VS. Corporate Interests
Emily spearheaded recent efforts with fellow voters and volunteers across the state to fight for Michiganders' right to vote on a crucial anti-gerrymandering initiative.
Over 425,000 people submitted signatures to place this initiative on the November 2018 ballot in Michigan. Voters not Politicians led a grassroots statewide initiative to let Michiganders vote.
When the Michigan Chamber of Commerce sued to stop the initiative, Emily stood up for the rights of Michigan voters, and led the charge to peacefully protest the Chamber’s actions. She led the fight (literally) to the front door of Mark Davidoff, Managing Partner of Deloitte Michigan—and chair of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Emily tried hand-delivering petitions asking Davidoff and other members of the executive committee to drop their lawsuit and let the people vote.
MLive.com captured video of Emily rallying Represent Michigan volunteers and delivering signed petitions.
“We got it on the ballot legally. We should be able to vote on it,” said Emily Wietecha, an organizer with Represent Michigan. “I know that Mark Davidoff has the power to drop the suit today, because he’s one of the lead members of the Chamber of Commerce who’s kind of funding this suit.”
When the Chamber began to respond to the protests by saying that Represent.Us was threatening or advocating violence against Chamber members, Emily worked with Represent.Us staff to set the record straight—that Represent.Us and our nonpartisan members across the country do not condone violence. Instead, we believe in an America where the government works for you and your families, not just a handful of billionaires and special interests.
Check out Emily's OpEd published in four news outlets across Michigan:
Building Statewide Impact
On July 18, 2018, the Michigan Supreme Court began to hear oral arguments in the case to allow this ballot initiative to come before the voters this November. No matter what happens, one thing is true—without volunteer chapter leaders like Emily lending her voice to the growing chorus of people power, this work would not be possible.
It’s easy: You can do this process in your own town, city, or state!
Local, volunteer-led chapters are the heartbeat of our movement. From coast to coast, dedicated people like you are organizing across the country, working together to pass meaningful anti-corruption reforms.
The Represent.Us Metro Detroit chapter meets the Third Thursday of every month in the Hazel Park Library at 6:30pm.
If you are anywhere else in the US and want to volunteer, let us know who you are and what matters to you.
Together, we can support local initiatives that fight corruption across the United States!