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Stateside: Whitmer shifts from SOTS to SOTU; tackling imam shortage; marijuana banking

Gretchen whitmer at a microphone
Jake Neher
Governor Gretchen Whitmer at her second State of the State speech January 29. She'll be giving the Democratic rebuttal to President Trump's State of the Union speech next Tuesday.

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is set to deliver the Democratic rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union next week. Why was she chosen and what can we expect to hear? Plus, the head of a Dearborn seminary talks about educating the next generation of Muslim faith leaders.

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What to expect from Gretchen Whitmer’s Democratic rebuttal to Trump’s State of the Union speech

  • As Senate impeachment proceedings wind down, focus turns to President Trump's State of the State speech next week. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the Democratic rebuttal. We talk to our Friday political commentators about how she might position Michigan as a key player in a contentious election year. John Sellek is the CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Relations. Matt Friedman is co-founder of the Tanner Friedman public relations firm.

Dearborn seminary leader talks about educating the next generation of Muslim clergy

Stateside’s conversation with Imam Hassan Qazwini

  • Mosques in the United States are struggling to fill open leadership poistions. By some estimates, more than half of all Muslim mosques in the United States don’t have a full-time imam. Imam Hassan Qazwini is the former leader of Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America, and founder of the Islamic Institute of America, a madrasa based in Dearborn Heights. Imam Qazwini talked to us about how the shortage of imams impacts the way Muslims experience their faith, and what he is doing to recruit a new generation of faith leaders.
  • This segment originally aired on January 9, 2020

Without a legal banking option, marijuana businesses face safety risks and other challenges

Stateside’s conversations with Lisa Conine, Patricia Herndon, and Brian Calley

  • Michigan's era of legal cannabis sales is in full swing, with more than $10 million in sales in just the first few weeks. Most of that money, though, never goes to a bank. Cannabis businesses are legal in Michigan, but the classification of marijuana as an illegal drug at the federal level makes banks wary of handling their money.
  • We talked to Lisa Conine, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Om of Medicine dispensary about how her company handles business without a bank and the risks it poses. We also talked about how this issue impacts banks themselves, as well as small businesses that work with cannabis vendors. For that discussion, we were joined by Patricia Herndon, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at the Michigan Bankers Association, and Brian Calley, former Lieutenant Governor of Michigan who is now with Small Business Association of Michigan.
  • This segment originally aired on January 21, 2020

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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