[Editor's note: Throughout his life, Rex Babin championed those who focused on state and local issues in editorial cartoons, a field that he and other cartoonists felt was regularly overlooked by journalism contests. The "Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning" was launched in 2017 to celebrate those working in this niche. To that end, we will be showcasing each cartoonist who entered the contest this year, one or two each day, leading up to the announcement of the winner on Saturday, Sept. 22, during the AAEC Convention in Sacramento, CA.]
John Auchter, who has been drawing for Michigan Radio for years, says, "I’ve lived in Michigan almost all my life, and it’s still sometimes startling how deeply my cartoons can connect with my fellow Michiganders. Whether it’s the collective cringe we share when Betsy DeVos or Ted Nugent tell people where they’re from or the common understanding that we are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to drinking water issues, Michiganders know."