Gov. Rick Snyder’s fourth and final State of the State address of his first term last week not only set a 2014 agenda for the Legislature. It also helps set the stage for the campaign that will determine whether he will get a second term.
“We’ve become the comeback state, but our work is not done,“ Snyder said in an hour-long message to a joint session at the Capitol that, as usual, was hailed by the party of the sitting governor, but not the other one. “It’s about keeping your foot on the gas.”
Mark Schauer of Battle Creek, a former congressman and state Senate minority leader who is the likely Democratic nominee against Snyder (who has yet to formally announce for reelection) suggests it is about putting the foot on the brake on Snyder.
Schauer said Snyder’s “economic policies don’t work. We’re a consumer-driven economy, and Rick Snyder’s policies have made it worse by taking money out of pockets of people who can least afford it.”
As the Associated Press summarized it, Snyder announced a plan “to make Michigan more welcoming to immigrants and enticing for foreign investment, and he also pledged to free up more preschool slots for disadvantaged 4-year-olds.”
Seeking foreign investments has been a welcome thrust of his periodic overseas travel. Also welcome, in this pothole season, was his renewed push for more than $1 billion a year in further funding to fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges. Prospects for the push are dim before the election.
Snyder’s agenda, plodding in delivery but solid in content, also included proposals on urban blight and other city issues, seniors, some limited tax relief, and, ever so limited, the environment, with mixed reviews.
In a statement distributed by the Sierra Club, the Clean Water Now said Snyder showed “lack of vision.” The Michigan United Conservation Clubs said he “continues to move Michigan conservation communities priorities.”,
In an apparent reference to the increasingly embarassing Republican National Committee Dave Agema for his anti-gay and anti-Muslim references, Snyder began his address with what was widely seen as a reference to Agema by calling for greater civility and recognition that “differences are positive.”
Although his staff said that was a fair conclusion, Snyder said in a Detroit Free Press interview published Saturday: “People can speculate all they want. I think there have been cases of people making statements out there — whether it be one person you’re naming or a number of people — that I think are inappropriate.”
Also in the interview on the subject of whether he will run for a second term (He most certainly will) Snyder acknowledged that he is buying Super Bowl ads and said “but I would stay tuned.”
Inside Michigan Politics newsaletter has an interesting spin about the history on how tough it is to beat a Michign governor seeking a second term. It said: “No sitting chief executive has ever lost a bid for re-election after a single four-term…”
But IMP also notes that most recent polls show Snyder with
only a small lead over Schauer, and that Snyder’s personal approval/job ratings are under 50 percent in polls.
Senate race (bf)
Things are heating up in the race to replace retiring Democrat Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. Senator since 1979.
The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee last week issued repeated alarms on $1 million-plus funding by Americans for Prosperity for TV ads attacking U.S. Rep. Gary Peters of Oakland County who is challanging former GOP Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land for the Levin seat.
The committee, citing several national media reports, said that the spending in three states have put Republicans in a slight lead in three states, with Land 42-40 over Peters in Michigan.
Connie Binsfeld Reflecting of the death of 1991-98 Lt. Gov Connie Binsfeld, who was born and raised in Munising and had distinguished service in local government in Leelauau Counry and was the first woman to hold leadership positions in both houses of the Legislature: four others in the last half of the 20th century also with northern Michigan ties held the No. 2 executive position.
Although from Oakland County when elected as 1955-58 lieutenant governor, Philip A. Hart while U.S 1959-96 U.S. Senator cited Mackinac Island as his home.
Then there was 1965-69 Lt. Gov. William G. Milliken, a state senator from Traverse Ccity and then longest-serving governor (1969-62). Initially, the acting lieutenant governor in 1970 with was Sen. Thomas Schweigert of Petoskey.
Former Detroit councilman James H. Brickley served two terms as iieutenant governor with Milliken, and when, while on the Supreme Court, lived in Traverse City.