Gretchen Whitmer on the Issues

Michigan voters are now less than three weeks away from picking the person who will hold the state’s highest office, Gretchen Whitmer or Bill Schuette.  Last week, 9&10 News brought you a one-on-one interview with Republican Bill Schuette. Now, it’s Democrat Gretchen Whitmer’s turn.

We caught up with her at the UAW hall in Flint, and began with her now-famous slogan,”Fix the damn roads,” and why she’s OK with raising the gas tax to do it.

“We’re all paying to fix our cars because the state’s not fixing the roads. We’re paying a road tax, we’re just doing it in a way that doesn’t fix the problem. That’s why I’m committed to solving this problem in a way that will bring down the cost of car maintenance and builds our infrastructure,” Whitmer said.

She says it will mean a higher gas tax, but in the end drivers will end up spending less. “When you’re paying $550 a year to fix your car, but you have the alternative to actually pay a little more at the pump that would solve the problem, we all know what the better solution is.”

Line 5 carries oil and gas through the Straits of Mackinac, and Michigan made an agreement with Enbridge to build a tunnel for it. Whitmer doesn’t like how that agreement was handled.

“I’m very unhappy that the governor is trying to bind the hands of the next governor. I think it’s wrong and I’ve voiced my unhappiness with it because getting the oil out of the great lakes is something I take very seriously.”

She says she’s not necessarily opposed to a tunnel, but thinks the agreement with Enbridge was rushed. “If a tunnel is worth our consideration, then we have to have a full debate to understand what it means.”

Unlike her opponent, Whitmer has been vocal in her support of proposition one. If it passes, she could be the governor that oversees implementation of recreational marijuana.

“I think it’s going to pass, and when it does we need a governor not who will stand in the way of implementation, but who’s going to roll up her sleeves and do it right… Make sure it stays out of the hands of children, and we collect taxes for infrastructure, health care, and education as it’s supposed to.”

On why the GOP likes to compare Whitmer to former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, she says, “I think we all know what dog whistle Bill Schuette is blowing when he does that. I’m not going to get distracted by that. I’m not running to defend anyone else’s record.”

The GOP is also going after candidate Whitmer by casting her choice of running mate as reckless, and showing bad judgement, citing Garlin Gilchrist’s tweets about Hamas and tax issues with a property he owns in Detroit. But Whitmer defends her choice, saying Gilchrist is right for Michigan. “Garlin is a wonderful human being and anyone who knows him is thrilled about his selection as my running mate. He’s not perfect, but you know what? I’m not perfect either. I don’t think anyone is and I think the best kind of leaders understand how important it is to invest in our state and communities. Understand we make mistakes along the way. We own them, we fix them, and we go back to work. And that’s exactly the philosophy I think that Garlin and I both share.”

You can hear the entire 9&10 News interview with Gretchen Whitmer on the latest Focus podcast available here.