Michigan Gov. Whitmer delivers first State of the State
Good. Evening local for now bring you special live, coverage, of Governor Gretchen, Whitmer's first State. Of the State address in just a moment she will walk into the Capitol and address lawmakers. And you of course the residents of Michigan the, governor expected, to address the state's road problem, among other things of course her first address, comes just weeks of course after potholes, caused the closure of a major freeway, governor. Saying drivers. Have been forced to pay for repairs with, money that they should be spending on things like rent or child care groceries, on and on whitmer also expected to touch on infrastructure. Water and talk about job skills as well so let's set, the scene for you take a look at the, evening as it's shaping up at the State Capitol in, Lansing, this, of course was an address that was supposed to happen one week ago tonight but, because the president's, State of the Union address, got, moved by a week due to the government shutdown so too did the State of the State address but, really. Her first chance since, winning the election back in November, to address the citizens, who elected her and we've been keeping an eye on social, media as well a, lot of folks taking guesses as, to the. Topics, that she is gonna focus on the theme of her, speech, tonight and also how, long as. Well it's. Always yes. Always a good old parlor game as to how long someone will go and we, are joined, now by, Nolan. Finley editorial. Page editor of the Detroit News and chastity, Pratt dossie a bridge magazine both very familiar faces for if, you're a part of the flashpoint family. Jesse, let me start with you what do you think the governor. Should be aiming, to try to do tonight very, definitely talking about the roads infrastructure, things like that we know that for sure and job skills she said all that before but people in southeast, Michigan want a larger message is she going to reach. Across the aisle is she going to have bipartisanship, she needs to do that with those legislature, especially you know Nolan she of course got used to having to do everything in a bipartisan, fashion when she was the Minority Leader pretty good training but does. It work the same way then when you're on the other side of the of the arrangement, I mean it's the same challenge, I think she's got to keep it simple though tonight roads roads roads that's, what she promised on the campaign, trail we time later on. For, the getting to the other things, on her checklist, but if she comes out with a strong, proposal. To deal with the roads, this. Is the time of year to do it everybody's, out there and they're reminded, of how bad things are, she comes out with a strong plan for roads nothing. Else much will. Get any attention so stick stick. To the core. Issue and, we kind of I think have a good idea of what she will talk about any guesses as to what she may completely stay away from what, what don't you touch, on a night like tonight I, don't know about car insurance, that's.
A Big one for especially Detroiters, but it's it's a quart it's sticky, gerrymandering. A sticker eat sticky, sticker. Eerie. Let's she's, just now entering the. Legislative. Chamber there let's head back to the Capitol and watch her making. Her way through the crowd and as we watch her approaching. The podium here Nolan, the other if it was easy to pay for the roads it was an easy there was something easy to be done it, had been done so, this is going to require some creativity in. Finding, something that is palatable. To both sides well you know things. We've been hearing leading up to this is that she was going to take the 6% it's a sales, tax that's, applied, to fuel in Michigan and use. That for the roads other states it, is used for the roads here we use it for education, we use it for revenue, sharing it's about a billion dollars if you take that away from, those other pockets. Of you know you've, got to forego. And I. Don't know that that's gonna be because I don't think a Republican, legislature, is, going to give her a tax hike it's. Hard to imagine that having chastity, you've got a number of people who've been elected, on that exact. Promise, that they wouldn't, vote. For a tax increase whether it's roads, infrastructure. School. Funding, jobs, skills third-grade. Reading all of these things require money, and that is a good question will that, be something that she can get out of this legislature, one morning tricky. And. As we're looking live right now we're seeing her walking, up shaking, hands a lot of hugs as she, gets ready for the her, first State of the State address we. Did, a poll recently at, local four with, the Glen Gareth group that showed she has very low, right. Now-. Ratings but very few people in Michigan have a negative perception, of her but, we're. In the honeymoon stage she, has that. Although. I, know know when you've taken, some issue with the executive, orders I'm not sure your fondant I think we've not fondling whether they're done at the state level the presidential, level whether, it's Republican or Democrat. There, is regular, ordered government, yeah and you've, worked through the legislature, and just because you've got a hostile. Legislation, or legislature. Or uncut. Calm, uncooperative. Legislature. Doesn't mean you can go. Government. Executive, orders are and. Executives, use them I think the bigger question is how many will stick the. Legislature. Can overlap we're up to 10, I believe Frank, was so, far in this early, tenure Gretchen. Whitman but no doubt an exciting, moment for her she spent a lot of time sitting. In this chamber listening, to State of the State address as before and this. Time it's her turn to to. Deliver it so let's listen in and then at the end we'll bring Nolan, and chastity back will, not only talk. A little bit after the address here on, the, broadcast side but we'll also move over for a conversation I'll, click on Detroit comm and there you see the new lieutenant governor garland, Gilchrist about. To bring, this, meeting. To order. Convention. And honored, guests I, present. To you the governor of the state of Michigan Gretchen. Whitmer. I kind, of turn it on thank. You. Thank. You everyone. It is a privilege to be addressing you tonight as the 49th, governor of the great state of, Michigan. -. My partner lieutenant, governor Gilchrist, - speaker Chatfield. -, the, majority, leader sure, key into. The Democratic. Leaders Chris. Gregg and Jim Anna Nick I am honored. To be here with you tonight - the members of my cabinet over. Here in the corner -. My daughters Sheri and Sidney, my. Husband, Mark and to. My fellow Michiganders. Good, evening I am. Grateful. For the opportunity to. Speak with you tonight about, the growing challenges. That we face here in Michigan, the. Steps we are going to take to, address them and my, priorities, for next year and beyond yes, get comfortable. As. You. Can imagine over. The past few weeks I've, gotten a lot of unsolicited. Input. About what I should say tonight and what, I should do as governor. Someone. Even suggested, after. The recent. Record-breaking. Weather, that. I should quote fix. The damn weather. I. Guess. The cats out of the bag and you now know my slogan for 2022. Joking. Aside I want to thank all of the dedicated, public servants, who. Showed up for work during, dangerous. Conditions, to. Keep the rest of us safe I also. Want to express my deepest, gratitude to, the.
Michiganders, Who keep us safe every, day those. Who served in our armed forces and the. Veterans, who have risked, their lives to serve the United States, of America. One. Of those veterans, and one, of Michigan's, greatest. Leaders. Was. Congressman, John Dingell who, passed away last week at the age of 92. From. His courageous, service in, world war ii to his. Model, leadership, over 59. Years, in the United States House of Representatives. Congressman. Dingell. Devoted. His life to. Serving. The people of Michigan and he. Will forever be, remembered as, the Dean of Congress. But. Not simply. For the length of his service, but. For the crucial, role he, played in passing, some of the most monumental. Laws, of the. Past century. He. Was the epitome, of what. I think we, in Michigan, know. You. Don't have to be mean to be strong. And. Those who live by this Creed can get a lot of things done, so. I want to extend my deepest, and most heartfelt. Condolences to. Congresswoman, Debbie Dingell and the, entire Dingell, family for their loss we, are a grateful. Nation and, a. Proud state for, the work John Dingell did. I want. To welcome the public servants, who are either new to state government, or who are now serving in new roles like. Secretary, of State Jocelyn, Benson, Jocelyn. Attorney. General, Dana Nestle. And all. The dedicated public servants, of my cabinet. Which by the way is the most diverse, in Michigan, history. In. The new leader of our state's highest court is here tonight as well, chief. Justice. Bridget, Mary McCormack. For. The first time in Michigan history, our governor, Attorney. General Secretary, of State and Chief Justice, of the Supreme Court are all women. And. That's, not to overlook, our United, States Senator or the fact that we sent five a record, five women to the United States Congress, in this last year I. See. You congresswoman. Finally. I want to congratulate the, 52. Members of the Michigan Legislature, who are embarking, on their first term, in office I. Remember. Vividly, the excitement, that I felt as a 29. Year old freshman, lawmaker I, sat. Where you are in the house and eventually in, the corner as the Senate does I. Watched. Three, governors give, the State of the State address and back. Then it never dawned, on me for a second, that, I would stand here one day and deliver, this speech I am. Eager, to work with each of you to, get things done for the people of our state congratulations, to all of you. And we. Must work together because, we've got a lot to do as, I have said before Michigan's. Problems, are not partisan, problems. Potholes. Are not political. And there, is no such thing as Republican. Or democratic. School kids or drinking. Water our. Challenges. Affect us all. Our. Challenge, is affect us all and they will require us all working, together to, solve. Despite. Our challenges. Michigan's, greatest. Strength is and, always. Has been our people. It. Is no accident that, Michigan's. Our Michiganders. Are a diverse. Persevering. Innovative. Group I mean. Just think about the people who built this state, Dutch. Immigrants, who settled in West Michigan, to work the land, finns, who, came to mine in the Upper Peninsula.
African. Americans who came North for jobs in the auto industry. People. From the Middle East who made Dearborn, one of the country's, most vibrant. Flourishing. Arab, American communities. People. From around the world came, to Michigan, for a, good-paying, job a, high, quality education, for their kids and the, right to live and worship. Freely. The. Diverse people who built our state. Saw. Michigan, not just, as a potential, home. But. As a home for opportunity. That. Is our legacy and it is a great legacy, Michigan. Has been a home for opportunity, for, 182. Years and of. Course our predecessors. Overcame, some big obstacles, along the way and now. It is our turn. To make. Sure that Michigan is an opera home for opportunity, for people today and, for. Future generations. There's. No doubt there are some wonderful, things happening. In our state, there. Are also some. Very serious challenges. Today. Michigan. Is confronting, two, major. Crises. The. First is our failing infrastructure, and you knew I was going to talk about it, last. Year the American, Society, for Civil, Engineers, gave Michigan. Infrastructure. An overall. Grade, of D, plus. Our. Roads, fared. Even worse with. A d-minus, with. Just. 18%. Of Michigan. Roads in good. Condition. Another. Recent, study found that Michigan was have, the worst, roads, in the country, the. Worst. Fell, let's be honest none, of us needs a study to. Tell us how bad our roads are the. Evidence, is impossible. To ignore, just. A few weeks ago I 75. Was, suddenly shut down in Oakland County because. Dangerous, potholes, flattened. And destroyed. Tires. Sidelining. Dozens. Of cars. But. The potential, consequences of, course can be much, more, serious than just a flat tire, right. Now we have crumbling. Bridges, that. Have hundreds. Of temporary. Supports, holding them up. Why. Do you think about buses, of kids and families traveling. Over those bridges or. Under, them, chunks. Of concrete. Slamming. Through windshields. By. One estimate the, vehicle, damage from our roads, costs. The average motorist. 562. Dollars a year in repairs and if, you're a Detroiter, it's a lot more expensive. That. Is money that could go toward childcare. Rents. College, tuition, or retirement, savings. We. Are fixing, our cars and paying a road tax that, doesn't even fix the damn roads. So. While it is hard to imagine that things could get worse that's. Precisely, what, will happen, if we, don't act boldly, and, swiftly. Because. Over the next decade. The share of Michigan's. Highways, and trunk. Lines and poor condition, will. More than double. Worsening. The severity, of the danger, and of course. Costing. Drivers across our state even more it. Endangers, our families. It. Robs, us of our time and our hard-earned, money and it, hurts businesses. Bottom, lines. It. Also jeopardizes. Our edge in mobility, and, limits. Our ability in terms of economic. Potential, and investment. Because. No one will invest in the state that doesn't invest, in itself, that's. The hard truth and, let's. Be very clear. Incremental. Functions like. We've seen in recent years they just won't, fix, the problem, they. Only slow, our decline. And. I got to tell you I didn't run for governor to. Manage the decline of the state that I love we. Deserve, better and we must do, better I ran. To make sure that this is a state where, our kids, stay, and our families. Thrive. Solving. This crisis, will not be easy we did not get here overnight this, is a challenge, 30 years, in the making the. Result of, underinvestment across, multiple. Administrations. We. Need to act now though before, a catastrophe. Happens, or, the situation, becomes truly, unrecoverable. And every. One of us has a role to play. So. To everyone at home who is tuning in, share. Your stories, about what the infrastructure, crisis. Means to you. Take. A picture of your, damaged, car or your repair bill or the pothole, outside, your house and post. It with the hashtag. FTD. Are and I think you know what that stands for. Two, Michigan businesses. Quantify. What. The infrastructure, problems, mean to your bottom line and share, it using. The hashtag FTD. Our and. To my friends in the legislature, when. You're back home in your districts. Talk. To your local leaders, and start, to prioritize. So. That we can make sure when we come back and we pass a budget we, get to work on the things that are most meaningful to, the people that you represent. Let's. Get it done and let's fix the damn roads. Now. Of course you cannot navigate, the road if you are looking at your phone so. In addition to, better, roads, we. Need safer, roads. Car. Crashes, are the number one, killer of our young people I recently. Met, Steve, Kiefer who told me about his son Mitchell a. 2016. Graduate, of Detroit Catholic central a member. Of the state championship.
Hockey, Team. Mitchell. Was a freshman, at Michigan State, when. He was tragically, killed by a distracted, driver on, i-96. The. Family formed the Keifer foundation, to carry on Mitchell's. Legacy, and to, end distracted. Driving and they're. Already making, important. Progress I. Got. To tell you all the hearings, i sat through as a legislator, there was nothing, that, amazed me more than. Parents, that could channel the loss of their child into. A crusade, to protect, other people's kids, today. We are joined by Mitchell's, parents, Steve, Kieffer, and Paula Kieffer, up, here, in the gallery, and Mitchell, siblings. Those. Are Mitchell siblings, up there as well Blake Juliana, and Alexa, I know. The Kieffer's and I believe. It is time for Michigan, to join the 16 states that have passed hands-free. Laws to keep our roads and our kids safe so, let's make it happen. We. Also face serious, infrastructure. Problems, with regard to our water, last. Month Flint's. Water showed, the lowest levels, of lead and copper contamination. Since. The start of the crisis four years ago that's. Good but. Our work is not done, we. Are home to 21. Percent of the world's freshwater and, yet. Too many families, in Flint and across our state, don't. Have access, to clean drinking water. Talking. About contamination. From old pipes but. Also, PFS. Toxic. Chemicals, that have been found in our Lakes our rivers, and, our water systems, in more, than 70, communities, across, our state spanning. Both, peninsulas. This. Problem may not have commanded, as much national attention, as the. Crisis in Flint but. It is just as urgent, and it, is time to step up our efforts to, protect the health and safety of all, Michiganders. From. Our roads to our water infrastructure. Is the crisis, that we see we. See it in our commutes we. See it in our communities, and in, our homes but the second crisis is harder to see but every one of us knows it, exists. It. Is the crisis, and education. And skills and just. Like infrastructure. It. Impacts. Every, single, one of us our. Employers, our workers and all of our kids, today. Third. Graders, in Michigan, ranked, in the bottom, ten in our country, in literacy. The. Bottom, 10. Since. 2014. Among. States measured, every year, Michigan. Has actually, experienced. The worst decline. In childhood, literacy and, the. Decline has been consistent, across. Every, racial, and, economic group, in our state and let's. Be very clear. This. Is not happening, because our kids are less talented, this, is not happening because our kids are less motivated. It's. Not happening, because our educators. Are less dedicated, it's. Happening, because generations. Of leadership have failed them. I. Know. Republicans, love education, don't you. In. The past 25, years Michigan. Has seen the lowest, growth in k-12 education spending. Of any, state in the country and during. That time our, per-pupil, revenue, has, actually. Fallen by, 15 percent in, the. Last decade, as our literacy crisis, has grown our. Predecessors. Have, repeatedly, raided, the k-12, education, fund to, fill gaps elsewhere. In the state budget. Despite. These challenges, we still have some incredible. People. Teaching across our state people. Like Marla Williams who is here tonight she's. Right up there. Marla. Is a special, ed teacher at, Davison, School in Detroit where, she is known as a tireless advocate, for her students in. Class Marla, ensures that her special, IDI students, have all the same opportunities. As their peers, but. Her work doesn't stop when the bell rings at the end of the day she. Goes to their birthday parties, she visits them when they're sick she, even has taken, some of their clothing home to launder, it for them she. Changes, lives for the better every, day and that's. Because she like so many, Michigan. Educators, knows that teaching, is more. Than a career, it's, a calling. You. You. I. Want. To send a message to all the devoted, educators, across Michigan, you're. Not failing, us we. Have been feeling you. Our. Educators. And our kids, deserve our support not, a funding, crisis, that undermines, the work of the classroom. That weakens our schools, and compromises. The education, we. Know that, potential, is, everywhere. Potential. Is universal. But, right now opportunity is, not our. Students, are not broken our. Teachers, are not broken it's. Our system, that has been broken and. While we can't fix it overnight and, greater. Investment, alone won't. Be enough, we. Are going, to do it because two million.
Kids In Michigan are counting, on us. Our. Education. Crisis, compromises, our workforce, and this, is at a moment when the skills we need to compete for good-paying, jobs are rapidly. Changing, if, the Detroit Auto Show last, month I met with auto executives, who said their number one challenge, was, attracting. Talent, they. Used to need auto engineers. Today, they need software, engineers. And developers and. More people from the trades the. Skills gap poses. A serious. Economic, challenge. For us as, part. Of the problem and part of the problem is that we have failed to prioritize. Talent, and ensure. That everyone has a real path to. A high wage skill, because. The vast majority of today's jobs, require. Some form of post-secondary education. Whether. It's a degree or skills certification. But. As of 2016. Only. 44, percent, of our workforce has such, a credential, and simply. Put that's not good enough it's, not good enough to make Michigan competitive. And I, don't accept, that and none, of us should. As, I've, said these challenges, affect, every, one of us they. Make Michigan a harder place to get ahead a harder. Place to raise a family they. Even make it tougher. To run, a business and, it's. Tougher, to solve because of all the pressures, on our state government, that have been building up for years. Departments. That are understaffed. That, lack diversity. That suffer, from low morale. Outdated. Technology. And IT challenges. That impede both state, employee's, ability, to, do their jobs and residents. Ability, to access their, government. Severe. Budget constraints, that have prevented, badly, needed investments, in our roads and infrastructure. And more. Over. The last month the lieutenant, governor and I have visited every department. In person. I've, met with state employees who. Have served the public for 30 40. Years and never. Met a governor, before I. Listened. And I learned about the obstacles. They, try to navigate on a daily, basis, to, serve the people of our state and, I. Promised, them I would do everything, I can to. Support them because. While many people focus. On what happens, here at the Capitol, the. Real work of state government, the real work of protecting our kids. Protecting. The public working with business. Is. Done by the 48,000. People of our, state workforce and, they, don't get the gratitude they deserve. Now. There's a man here from the state workforce who, I think exemplifies, that Eric, Oswald, is here with us today Eric. Was a colonel, in the Air Force and he retired in 2017. And he. Was looking. For a new challenge when. The Flint water crisis, hit so. He stepped up he. Stepped up to serve his state again this, time as the DEQ. X' director, of drinking water and municipal, assistance, division. Eric. Says he sees the same qualities, in his fellow state employees, that. He saw in the military. Hard-working. Public servants. Committed. To the mission of, protecting. And serving others, they. Deserve, our thanks and, support and i am proud to be in their ranks. Now. The challenges, that I've laid out tonight are not the fault of any one politician, for, any one political party I spent. 14, years in the legislature, so I know how, tough it is to, keep the government funded, and functioning. But. I also know this turning. A blind eye or. Passing. Phony fixes, won't, solve problems in fact they. Make it harder. Filling. Potholes, instead. Of rebuilding roads. Pretending. That little increases. Can fix an education. Crisis, like we have playing. A shell game with the state budget. Ignoring. The, potential, of hundreds, of millions of dollars in lawsuits from. The last administration. Giving. Sweetheart, deals to political, insiders, or, spending, 1.3. Billion dollars on the last day of lame-duck session, in. December a. Government. That does not work today, can't. Get the job done for tomorrow and that ends. Now. As a. State we must make the bold choices so we can build a stronger Michigan, and we, need to do it together I, recognize. That the tone starts, the top and that's, why I took a number of steps during my first month in office. To make sure that government works, so. Our state employees and. Our businesses, and our employees across the state and people can trust us.
My. First act was an executive order executive, directive. So that state employees know. How. And are, empowered, to, alert. Us of. Imminent, threats to the public health safety. And welfare. Valid. Concerns, about public, health and welfare, will. Be acted, upon. I also. Established. Stronger ethics rules for the executive, branch including, a ban on the use of private email, accounts, to conduct state business, for. Too long our government, has been plagued by a lack of transparency, and. We have consistently, ranked the worst in the country we. In this room have the power to fix that, let's. Expand, FOIA to my office, and to, yours. It. Is time to ensure that the Sun shines, equally. On every. Branch of state government. I also, signed an executive directive. Banning state government, from discrimination. Based on. Sexual. Orientation or. Gender identity. Without. Exception. Now. Michigan, government, is on the right side of history because. No one should get fired because of who they are or who they love. And. It'll help me build and attract a talented. Top-notch, workforce, and see government, and that's, precisely why. The, business community. Has pushed to extend these rates to, the private, sector as well if we. Want Michigan, to be a home, for opportunity. It should. Be opportunity. For all in, all, workplaces, we. Need to expand, Elliott Larson's Civil Rights Act to include protections for. The LGBTQ. Community. And. I, want, to make sure that women have opportunity. To today. Women in Michigan's, workforce, make 78. Cents, for every dollar men make for, doing the same job and. Women of color make even, less it, is, time for that to change and that's, why I signed, an executive directive. Prohibiting, employers in, state, government, from, asking, women, about. Their salary, histories, you, might. Wonder why that makes such a big difference and it's because, if you can't ask that question. Past. Discrimination, won't, hurt a woman's, future, earnings. But. I want you to I want you to hear a couple of statistics, if we. Extended, these same protections. To all, Michigan. Women, we. Would cut the poverty, rate among working, women, in half. It. Would cut the poverty, rate among working, single moms by even more pulling children. Out of poverty, in our state a Michigan. Woman's, annual. Income would increase, enough. To. Pay for on, average. Nearly 14. Months, of rent or, 18.
Months Of childcare. That's. How you build a stronger economy that's. Making Michigan a home for opportunity. Now. Opportunity, also means a level playing field for small businesses. Small. Businesses, from Marquette to, Macomb to, Muskegon, Heights and so. I've opened up contracting. Opportunities. For small businesses in designated. Opportunities. Zones across our state, that. Means that a small business in a geographically. Disadvantaged. Community, will, now have a level playing field. Let's, keep Michigan, dollars, in Michigan. Let's. Create more opportunities. For companies, like open systems, technologies. In Grand Rapids it, recently, was in Grand Rapids and met with the CEO, Meredith, Bronk who's, also with us tonight. She. And several other women small business owners, we, sat down and talked about how do we level the playing field for. Entrepreneurs. Across, our state and when, we were in Grand Rapids we were joined by former, Lieutenant, Governor Brian, Calley or. As. Some of the newer legislators. Might know him, mister. Julie, Calley. But. As the leader of the Small Business Association, of, Michigan he's. Offered incredible, support and I'm grateful, and it, is proof that if we can put the election behind, us we. Have a great opportunity to. Work together and, to build, a stronger, economy a. Stronger. Economy also. Requires a concentration, of talent and as. I said earlier we must ensure that every. Michigander, has. Opportunity. Through a path, to, skills, that. Lead to a good job, today's. Jobs and jobs on the horizon, demand. Greater education. And training, than ever before. Right. Now Michigan, is one of only nine states. In the country in the. Only state, in the Midwest that. Has not even established, a formal, goal, for. Post secretaries. Post-secondary. Attainment, that. Changes. Tonight. I'm. Announcing a new statewide goal, of increasing the, number of Michiganders. Between the ages of 16. And 64, with. A post-secondary. Credential. To. 60%, by, 2030. And, when you're at 44%, it is aggressive. But, it. Is doable because, great, expectations. Lead. To great results, to. Get there though we got to start thinking differently about, what it takes to succeed, we. Used to think about careers, in terms of ladders, there, was one way up, but. Today it's, more like rock climbing there. Are many paths, to a good life and. We need to help people find, the one that is right for them. That's. Why tonight I am announcing three. Paths to skills for, workers and students, across our, state, the. First is for Michiganders, who have already started, their careers as. Workplaces. Evolved many, people will need to acquire new, skills to, advance or. Just to even keep the jobs they have, there. Are also displaced, workers, across, our state who are looking for new opportunities. That's. Why we are launching the Michigan reconnect. By. Training, adults, seeking, an in-demand. Industry. Certificate. Or, associate's, degree, reconnect.
As A path for working Michiganders, to, upskill. It's. Also going to connect michigan businesses. To, qualified, candidates, for, the growing number of jobs, that are currently unfilled. This. Initiative, is modeled after one in Tennessee that their former governor bill Haslam, Republican. Launched, last, year and it, is already. Surpassing. Expectations. Why. Can't we do that in Michigan. We. Can let's. Get it done. The. Second path is for graduating, high school students. Who want to continue their education but. Who decide, that a four-year, college, or university just. Isn't for them a four-year. Degree, is not for everyone but every. One of us needs skills to get into a good job so. For them the MIT the my Opportunity, Scholarship will. Guarantee, two, years of debt free Community College for. All graduating. High school students, who qualify. The. Scholarship, will be officially, launched, the spring, and available, to students beginning the fall of 2020. And it, will make Michigan, the, first. Midwestern. State to guarantee Community, College or all. The. Third path is for graduating, high school seniors, who as my. Friends, and the trades would say are. Just not skilled trades material, I'm. Talking, about people going to four-year university. A. Study. Last year found that, average cost, of tuition fees. Room, and board at, a public four-year, school, in Michigan is. Almost. $22,000. A year, that. Is the tenth highest. In the nation and. It, is a complete. Barrier, for, a lot of people in our state, that's. Why the my Opportunity, Scholarship will, provide two years of tuition assistance at, a four-year, not-for-profit. College or university. For students, who graduate, from a Michigan high school with at least a B average. Real. Paths, real. Opportunity. Together. These, three paths, will go a long, way toward. Closing the skills gap making. Michigan's, economy more, competitive and. Creating. Real, opportunity. For everyone. In this state if you, are willing to put in the work you're. Gonna have a path to succeed, in Michigan. A, strong. Michigan, requires more. Than just a singular, commitment, to better skills though it, also requires, a commitment, to the health of our workers families, and communities, and that, is why we are taking several, important, steps to protect and improve public, health, last. Week I announced the creation of a new department, that. Will bring sharper, focus to addressing Michigan's, water safety, and environmental. Challenges, the. Streamlined, Department, of Environment, Great Lakes and energy, will, be tasked with ensuring that every Michigander has. Access, to clean safe drinking. Water it. Will be charged with safeguarding our, Great Lakes taking. Action to protect our state from the harmful, effects of climate change the. Agency, will include new, offices. Of the, clean water Public. Advocate and the, environmental. Justice Public. Advocate, we. Are going to make state government more efficient. And responsive. To our environmental, and public health challenges.
The. New department eagle has. Gotten, bipartisan, support from Michigan businesses, and leaders including, people like my friend Candice Miller over, there who's, with us tonight. As well, as the former D Hewitt director. Under the Snyder administration Heidi Greuther and dr., mona. Hanna-attisha. I. Also. Joined Michigan in the US climate, alliance with a bipartisan. Coalition of Governors from 20 different states, that, have committed to reducing, greenhouse gas, emissions. Consistent. With the goals of the Paris, climate, agreement. Two. Weeks ago we had wind chills 50. Below zero, last. Week it was 50, above, and, you, know what it's like out there today a, hundred. Degree swing, in five days and a, reminder that, climate, change and, extreme weather are already. Putting Michiganders. At risk as a, state, we must take this seriously. We. Cannot, and will not wait, to act. Everyone. In my administration is, also committed, to ensuring, that all Michiganders, have access, to, the quality health care they can afford, during. My time in the state Senate, I worked across the aisle with Governor Snyder and, leader, sure key and leader, a Nanak to. Expand Medicaid, and provide coverage, to six hundred eighty thousand, people in our state through healthy Michigan as governor. I am, committed, to defending healthy, Michigan and we are already doing so in two important, ways first. Last. Week I sent a letter to the Trump administration about, my concerns that new work requirements. Slated. For next year may hurt Michiganders. I wrote. That I intend, to work with the legislature, to find ways that both promote. Work and. Preserve. Coverage, for people who need it. Second. We have joined 19, other states to defend, the Affordable Care Act in court hundreds. Of thousands, of Michiganders, health care is on the line and I want to commend the Attorney General, for leading on that vital, issue. The. Policies, that I have outlined tonight will strengthen, Michigan's, foundation. For our economic future, next. Month I will present a, budget, and my, budget will offer a real solution, for fixing our roads and rebuilding, our infrastructure. It will give frontline, educators.
The Tools they, need to address the literacy, crisis, and most. Of all it will reflect my unwavering, commitment, to. Making Michigan the home for opportunity. The. People of Michigan voted. For people they believed, could solve problems, there. Are legislative. Districts, in our state that. I won by double digits and voters also elected, Republicans, to represent, them let's. Prove, to them, let's. Prove to the country, that. Divided, government doesn't. Have to mean gridlock, I am. Eager to engage with, any and all, people, of good faith about. Ideas, and priorities. Including. Your ideas I'm bringing down car insurance, rates. I. Finally. Got these guys on their feet. But. I want to be very clear as we talk about where we are headed, I'm committed. To this state into solving problems, if. I want you to know I'm going to reject, anything. Presented. As a solution, that. Doesn't actually solve, the problem or. Creates. A new one I will. Not sign anything, that resembles, the, budget gimmicks, and band-aids, that have failed us in the past I'm, going. To veto bills. Designate. Designed, sorry. I'm going to veto bills designed, to. Cut out the public's reign of referendum. And. I will stay faithful to the mission of fixing, the roads improving. Skills through better education. And training and cleaning, up our water and, I'll work with everyone who wants to do that and, one. More thing I pledge, to continue I. Pledge. To continue the culture, that was created, by the last administration and, I give kudos to Governor Snyder, budgets. Got done, before, a break, happened, we. Are going to stick to that how many of you agree with me no break until the budgets done. Because. Just like every. Other workplace. We, shouldn't go on vacation, until our job is done. You. Know we can get a lot done in, the, legislature, we can get a lot done for the people of our state if. We really focus on the, things that matter. Some. Will doubt our ability to find common ground. Some. Will doubt our ability to make bold choices that, are needed to ensure that Michigan, will always be a home for opportunity. And. When you look at the dysfunction. In Washington, you. Understand, the skepticism. Extreme. Partisanship. Shutdowns. And trade Wars all, put, our economy. At risk and, those. Things are out of our control. So. Let us stay. Focused, on what we can control. Let. Us strive. To, see the humanity, in one another along, the way, because. When we do, it's. A lot easier to find common ground. You. All may know that I am centered by my family, and my love for this state and I. Hope my kids choose, to make their lives here in Michigan. Garland. Gilcrest is an, engineer, who moved back to Detroit with his wife Ellen, to, build a life for themselves and, their twins garland, and Emily and a. New, member on the way in June. Lee. And Stephanie, Chatfield, are parents, to five kids, eight, years, old and under. Four. Sons, and a daughter and. The. Speaker like, I used to lives. Next door to his appearance and he, is guided, by his faith. Jim. And Andrea, a Nanak, expanded. Their family through adoption a, few years ago and like. A lot of Flint, families, they, were worried, about mixing, baby Jake's formula. Jim's. A teacher, and. He has affinity, for giving people nicknames and. If. You're nice to me I might tell you what he gave me a while ago. As. Dads. Of young kids I bet. These three, could, get some pointers from the other two leaders, Mike. Shirkey, has 12, grandchildren. He. Is rarely spotted. Around town after, hours, because he likes to hightail at home to Jackson to, have dinner with his wife Sue. And. Chris greg has three, sons. She. Loves tennis, and when she gets home she's. Got this phenomenal. Spouse chef, Bob who's, got something amazing waiting. For her. We. All have, families. We. All care about our kids and our grandkids futures. We. All want, what's best for our communities, and our state and it. Is important, for us to remember, the. Enemy is not the person across the aisle. The. Enemy is apathy, the. Enemy. Is extreme. Partisanship. The. Enemy, is, self-interest. When. We stand together as Michiganders. Or. Michigan, Ian's if you insist. We. Can get the job done for the people of our state, we. Can build bridges and ensure, that Michigan, is the home for opportunity, for. Generations to come. After. My inauguration, I received, messages, of support and encouragement from, people across our state one. Of them was the granddaughter, of Sophie.
Williams Governor. G Mennen Williams a. Former. Labor leader sent me a Sophie Williams era bowtie green, with white polka dots and a. Commemorative, coin from. The opening of the Mackinac, Bridge and. Holding. The coin between my hands, it's. A moving experience because. When you read the inscription on this coin it. Says built, by. The will of a great people a pound. The find upon, the foundations. Of Michigan's. Faith in her future. More. Than 60 years later we, are still a. Great people we. Still have the, will we. Still have faith. The. Question, is do we have the wisdom to put. Partisanship. Aside and, get, the job done for the people we serve I, think. We do, so. Let's get to work thank. You. There, you have it the first state, of the state address from, the new governor. Of Michigan, Gretchen. Whitmer.