The day after her fifth State of the State Address, Governor Gretchen Whitmer hit the road to pitch her plans to impacted communities.
Thursday, she made stops in Grand Rapids and Muskegon to highlight her plans to repeal the retirement tax for seniors and expand free post secondary education.
These were her first public appearances since her speech and chance to react to some of the Republican response to the address.
“So long as we stay focused on the right things, I think we will earn bipartisan support,” said Gov. Whitmer.
It was a historic speech, the first State of the State Address in 40 years where a Democratic governor had the majority to get the plans she’s laying out, turned into bills she can sign.
“Some of them I want to get done immediately,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Get rid of the 1931 abortion law, expand Elliot-Larson Civil Rights Act and making investments.”
Plans for the short term and long term, now with a second term to boost pre-K learning and post secondary education.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but the decisions we make today are going to set us up for success or continue the status quo,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I don’t think anyone here is satisfied with the status quo.”
Immediately after the speech, Republicans seemed agreeable.
“I was happy to hear the Governor is very much in favor of some of the economic things we did last summer,” said Rep. John Roth, Republican from Long Lake. “If we can all work together on those things, we can make Michigan better.”
There was some sarcasm as Republicans point to vetoes made last summer by Gov. Whitmer of Republican bills that were just similar to the Democratic-led bills she now supports.
“We shouldn’t be playing political games with the wallets of Michiganders and when we pass the earned income tax credit last session, the governor vetoed it,” said Rep. Bill Schuette, Republican from Midland. “She wanted the Democrats to take credit for this session and that’s fine. What isn’t fine is Michigan families picking up the bill.”
“Even if I had signed it last summer, it still would not have gone into effect for another couple of months. It was a gimmick. People don’t have time for games,” said Gov. Whitmer. “If the legislature moves in the next couple of weeks, they will get relief a lot faster than if I had signed that bill from last year.”
Will the fight for credit derail progress or can egos be out aside for the common good?
“There were parts in there, which were very clear. When she talked about the woman pulling something off the shelf, looking at the price and putting it back, we’ve all been there,” said Sen. John Damoose, Republican from Harbor Springs. “That’s heartbreaking. This should be our mission right now to solve those types of things.”
That’s what is yet to be seen and will start when the budget is introduced early next month.
“We’re not going to agree on everything,” said Gov. Whitmer. “But I think we’re going to agree on a lot more than people expect.”