Editor's note: This story was published in the Record-Eagle's Economic Outlook 2019 section, inside Tuesday's newspaper. For more stories, click here to read the section in its entirety online.
Serving as Michigan’s 49th governor has given me the opportunity to hear stories from people in every community.
Over the past 10 months, I’ve had the privilege of traveling around the state and hearing stories from educators, construction workers, state employees and more. I sat down with special education teachers at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Kalamazoo on Friday, broke ground for the Motown Museum expansion two weeks prior, and traveled to the Upper Peninsula to meet with MDOT workers over the summer.
Everywhere I go, I’m reminded that our state is made up of resilient, diverse people who dream of building a great life for themselves right here in Michigan. And we cannot call this a successful state unless everyone has a path to opportunity.
We are one Michigan, and we rise and fall together.
Generations ago, Michigan became a state that people flocked to for good jobs, good schools and strong communities. That Michigan was built by leaders who found common ground in the understanding that the people of our state must always come before partisan games.
At every school I visit, every small business I frequent, or every community meeting I attend, I meet people who desperately want their leaders to come together like those before us and build a state where everyone can thrive.
Our new fiscal year started on Oct. 1, and there are exciting times ahead. We were able to achieve a budget that largely reflects my commitment to improve the fundamentals that our state is built on, like investing in public education, cleaning up our drinking water, and protecting access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.
I carefully eliminated many government programs the Legislature repeatedly doled out to lobbyists and vendors with no concern for meaningful outcomes. And I’ve called in the Legislature to work with me on a supplemental budget that will protect Michiganders’ safety and access to health care. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m optimistic that my partners in the Legislature will also realize that if we build a stronger Michigan for everyone, we must do it together.
If we band together and pursue a common good, a Michigan where everyone has a path to opportunity, we can take incredible strides.
We can ensure a great public education for our kids. We can build paths to economic opportunities for our adults, including paths to new skills for the jobs of tomorrow. We can rebuild our infrastructure and rest easy knowing that our kids’ school buses will travel safely over our bridges. And we can take further steps to clean up our drinking water and ensure every family can turn on the tap and drink their water safely.
When we stay laser-focused on these fundamentals and build a strong foundation together, we can help families in every community.
We have exciting opportunities ahead of us and I’m hopeful our Legislative leaders will join me in these efforts. I know everyone is committed and eager to get to the table to find a serious, long-term road-funding plan to fix our crumbling roads and our more than 1,000 bridges in critical condition. I’m hopeful that this will be the first in a long series of critical bipartisan issues we tackle together.
Our state’s progress is too important for us to waste time fighting over our differences instead of working together for one Michigan.
Let’s get to work.