From the White House to Your House

The next president will affect southeast Michigan communities. Here’s how.

Q: What do your icy sidewalks have to do with the President of the United States?

A: Maybe more than you think.

Depending on how your local officials spend federal money that comes in to your community through grants and loans, there may be more of a connection than most people realize between who is in the White House and what happens in your neighborhood, say Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson and WDET’s Sandra Svoboda.

The pair talked about Sandra’s current reporting project, which is examining how the next president can affect southeast Michigan communities. Sandra says presidential administrations, through both their priorities and programs, can influence the operations of local governments and advocacy groups as well as fund certain projects.

Coverage of the 2016 campaigns is not helping enlighten anyone.

 “Nobody is asking the candidates during the debates ‘how would your strategy for declaring (federal) disasters affect southeast Michigan the next time we have flooding like in August 2014,” Sandra says. “We wanted to lay out some of the issues and what are some of the other ways you can make a decision about a candidate.”

The Obama Administration has had a large impact in southeast Michigan, Sandra and Stephen agree, with federal Hardest Hit Fund money paying for blight removal in the city and certain grants paying for infrastructure improvements aimed at combating the effects of Climate Change.

But with voters most often focused on party affiliation or candidate personality or image, “(That decisionmaking by the president) is something that is maybe not on the top on voters’ agenda and something they may vote against in some circles,” Sandra says.

Click on the audio link above to hear the full conversation.


This feature was produced in partnership with the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Learn more about this special project and explore all the content here.

  • Sandra Svoboda, special assignments manager
  • Melissa Mason, research assistant and graphics designer
  • Jessica McInchak, digital architect
  • Matthew Morley, videographer and photographer