ICYMI: Last Night, Governor Whitmer Delivered a Uniting Speech That Put Politics Aside and Michiganders First

With a backdrop of a fleet of electric vehicles signifying Michigan’s standing as the “‘hub’ of electric vehicle development and manufacturing” thanks to GM’s $7 billion dollar investment, Governor Whitmer delivered a State of the State highlighting her kitchen-table solutions to tackle Michigan’s most pressing issues. 

This morning, MIRS described the address as a “short and highly achievable” list of proposals that even a Republican-dominated legislature could get behind – should they choose to put partisanship aside and work with Governor Whitmer to secure more big wins for working Michiganders.

MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:

“Governor Whitmer’s message last night was loud and clear.There are plenty of common-sense solutions to be pursued by both sides of the aisle to keep cutting costs for Michigan families, deliver tax cuts for seniors, get our kids safely back to school, and give small businesses the support they need to thrive. That’s the kind of leadership that has come to define Whitmer’s first term as she has worked with anyone to deliver wins for our economy, public education system, and auto industry. It has paid off dividends for our working families.”

Read below for excerpts on MIRS’ analysis of the “healthy helping of accomplishments” Governor Whitmer laid out for Michiganders last night:

MIRS: Optimistic Whitmer Gives A State Of State Even A Republican Could Like

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER offered up a locker room-like pep speech during her fourth State of the State address tonight, which was a collection of go-get-’em back-slaps to go along with a few politically safe and easily digestible proposals for the Legislature. […]

Whitmer stressed that by working together — Republicans and Democrats — “Michigan is going to win.” […]

The Governor’s to-do list for the Legislature was short and highly achievable: Tax cuts, caps on insulin costs (something that already has passed the House), money for mental health professionals and a $2,500 rebate for new electric vehicles.

Less than 11 months from her re-election bid, Whitmer gave viewers a healthy helping of her accomplishments as she delivered the annual message from Detroit Diesel’s factory floor as opposed to the House chambers, which is traditional. […]

The Governor stressed how students should not be learning virtually.

“I want to be crystal clear: Students belong in the classroom,” Whitmer said. “We know it’s where they learn best. Remote learning is not as fulfilling or conducive to a child’s growth. In-person learning is critical to social development and mental health.

“That’s why we will do everything we can to keep kids in the classroom.” […]

Whitmer offered a twist to her previously leaked proposal for eliminating the income tax exemption for pension income, adding that all retirement income – from IRAs and 410(k)s – shouldn’t be taxed either. This goal, she explained, would provide 500,000 households $1,000 annually.

She also stood by her call to expand the state’s Earned income Tax Credit (EITC), underscoring that it will give a nearly $3,000 average refund to 73,000 families in the state.

It’s a song from many Republicans’ hymnal, but it’s not the same tune they’re singing at the moment. […]

Whitmer also called for the expansion of the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program for students looking to get into the mental health profession, hoping to aid a field that is aching badly for new providers.

House Minority Leader Donna LASINSKI (D-Scio Twp.) said she’s “excited about all of the great things in store for us” as she works with the Governor for “these transformational opportunities.”

And Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) picked up a pompom by saying “Gov. Whitmer’s message reminds us that, together, Michiganders can do anything . . . We have fearless leadership in our governor and incredible courage within ourselves, and that’s exactly what makes the state of Michigan strong.”

In general, Republicans had little to go after the Governor on. Speaker Jason WENTWORTH (R-Farwell) said he felt Whitmer spent too much time celebrating other people’s accomplishments.

A skeptical Sen. Rick OUTMAN (R-Six Lakes) referenced feeling like Charlie BROWN for as many times Whitmer has “yanked the football from in front of lawmakers” who tried to pass bi-partisan legislation with her.

However:

She mentioned the auto-insurance reform and the $400 rebate checks drivers are getting. Republicans were on board with that.

She mentioned her Michigan Reconnect community college scholarship plan. Republicans by and large voted for that.

She, of course, heralded General Motors’ $7 billion investment in Michigan from Tuesday. Various Republican lawmakers were at that press conference.

She mentioned more than $420 million in small business relief to businesses. Republicans were all over that.

She highlighted the job done by law enforcement and police. Republicans are all over that.

“It wasn’t as awful as last year’s speech,” conceded Rep. Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain). “She hardly bashed us at all. It was pretty tame . . . […]

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