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tv   Michigan State of the State  CSPAN  March 6, 2019 8:12am-9:15am EST

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well c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span nine c-span was created as a public service by america's cable-television companies here and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> michigan democratic governor gretchen witmer delivered her first state of the state address to lawmakers. she said the state is confronting two major crises involving infrastructure and education. in addition she outlined her top legislative priorities which included job skills training, workforce diversity, economic opportunity, education investment and healthcare. the start sheet and the michigan legislature honored the late congressman john dingell bereft in michigan in the us house from
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1955-2015 2015. this is about one hour. [applause]
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[applause] >> members of the joint convention, and honored guests, i present you the governor of the state of michigan, gretchen whitmer. [applause]
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>> i have to turn it on. thank you. thank you everyone. it is a privilege to be addressing you tonight as the 49t49th governor of the great state of michigan. [applause] to my partner, lieutenant governor gilchrist, speaker chatfield, to the majority leader shirkey and to the democratic leader, leader greig and leader ananich i'm honored to be here with you tonight. to the members of my cabinet over here in the corner, to my daughters, sherry and sydney, my husband marc, and to my fellow michiganders, good evening.
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i am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you tonight about the growing challenges that we face here in michigan, the steps we're going to take to address them, and my priorities for next year and beyond. yes, get comfortable. [laughing] 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 cold, that i should, quote, fix the damn weather. [laughing] i guess the cat is 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 in dangerous conditions to keep the rest of us safe. i also want to express my deepest gratitude to the
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michiganders who keep us safe every day, those who serve in our armed forces, and the veterans who oppressed their lives to serve the united states of america. [applause] -- have risked their lives to disturb 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
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serving the people of michigan. and he will forever be remembered as the dean of congress, but not simply for the length of the service, but for the crucial role he played in passing some of the most monumental loss of the past century. he was the epitome of what i think we in michigan no. you don't have to be mean to be strong. [applause] 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 the loss. we are grateful nation and a proud state for the work john
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dingell did. [applause] 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. well. [applause] -- welcome. attorney general dana nessel. [applause] and all of the dedicated public servants of my cabinet, which by the way is the most diverse in michigan's history. [applause] and a new leader of our states
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highest court is here tonight as well, chief justice bridget mary mccormick. [applause] for the first time in michigan history, our governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and chief justice of the supreme court are all women. [cheers and applause] and that's not to overlook a united states senator or the fact that we set a record five women to the united states congress in this last year. [applause] icu, congresswoman.
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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 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. [laughing] 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 it one day and delivered 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. [applause] and we must work together because we've got a lot to do. as i said before, michigan's
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problems are not partisan problems. potholes are not political, and there is no such thing as republican or democratic schoolkids for drinking water. our challenges affect us all. [applause] our challenges affect us all and they were 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 michiganders are a diverse, persevering, innovative group. i mean, just think about the people who built this date. dutch immigrants who settled in west michigan to work the land. finns who came to mind in the upper peninsula.
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african americans became north for jobs in the auto industry. people from the middle east who made dearborn one of the most vibrant, flourishing arab-american communities. people from around the world came to michigan for a good paying job, high quality education for the kids, and the right to live in 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 home for opportunity for people today and for future generations. there is no doubt there are some wonderful things happening in our state. there are also some very serious
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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 of civil engineers give michigan infrastructure and overall grade of d-plus. our roads, they are even worse, with the d-minus, with just 18% of michigan roads in good condition. another recent study found that michigan had the worst roads in the country. the worst. so let's be honest. none of us needs a steady 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
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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. when 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 a year in repairs. and if you're a detroiter it's a lot more expensive. that is money that could go toward childcare, rent, college tuition, or retirement savings. we are fixing our cars and paying a road tax that doesn't
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even fix the damn roads. [applause] 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 they 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 immobility and limits our ability in terms of economic potential and investment. because no one will invest in
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the state that doesn't invest in itself. that's the hard truth. and let's be very clear. incremental fund shifts like we've seen in recent years, they just won't fix the problem. they only slow our decline, and i forget 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 at our families thrive. [applause] solving this crisis will not be easy, and we did not get your overnight. this is a challenge 30 years in
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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 everyone of us has a role to play. so to edwin at home who was tuning in, share your stories about what the infrastructure crisis means to you. take a picture of your damaged car or your repair bill of the pothole outside your house and post it with a hashtag #ftdr,, and you think you know what that stands for. [laughing] commissioto michigan businessesy what it means to bottom line and shared using #ftdr. and to the legislature, when you're back home in your district, talk to your local
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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. [applause] now, of course you cannot navigate the road if you're 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, 2016 graduate of detroit catholic central, member of the
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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 kiefer foundation to carry on mitchell's legacy and in distracted driving, and they are already making important progress. i've got to kelly, all 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 peoples kids. today we are by mitchell's parents, steve and paula up here in the gallery, and mitchell's siblings -- [applause] will those are mitchell's
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siblings, blake julianne and alexa. i know the keepers and i believe it's time for michigan to join the 16 states that have passed hands-free laws to keep our roads and her kids safe. so let's make it happen. [applause] will we also face serious infrastructure problems with regard to our water. last month, flints water show the lowest level of lead in 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% of the world's fresh water, and yet too
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many families, and flint and across our state don't have access to clean drinking water. talking about contamination from old pipes but also pfas, toxic chemicals have been found in our lakes, 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. [applause] from our roads to our water,
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infrastructure is a crisis that we see. we see it in our commutes, we sit in our communities and in our homes. but the second crisis is harder to see, but everyone of us knows it exists. it is the crisis in 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 rank in the bottom ten in a country in literacy. the bottom ten. 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
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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. [applause] i know republicans love education, don't you? in the past 25 years, michigan is 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%. in the last decade as a literacy crisis has grown, our predecessors have repeatedly
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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. [applause] 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 better special ed students have all the same opportunities as their peers. but our work doesn't stop when the bell rings at the end of the day. she goes to the birthday parties. she visits them when they're sick. she even has taken some other
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clothing home to launder it for them. she changes lives for the better every day. that's because she, like so many michigan educators, knows that teaching is more than a career. it's a calling. [applause] i want to send a message to all the devoted educators across michigan. you are not failing us. we have been failing you. [applause] our educators and our kids deserve our support, not a
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funding crisis that undermined their work in the classroom,, that weakens our schools and compromises their education. we know that potential is everywhere, potential is universal, right now opportunity is not. our students are not broken. our teachers are not broken. it our system that has been broken. while we can't fix it overnight, and greater investment alone won't be enough, we are going to do it because 2 million kids in michigan are counting on us. [applause] our education crisis compromises our workforce, and thi this is a
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moment when the skills we need to compete for good paying jobs are rapidly changing. at the detroit auto show last month i met with auto executives who said the 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 -- and part of the problem is we have failed to prioritize talent and ensure that everyone has a real path to a high wage scale. the vast majority of today's jobs require some form of post secondary education, whether it's the degree or skills certification. but as of 2016, only 44% of our workforce has such a credential. and simply put, that's not good enough. it's not good enough to make michigan competitive.
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and i don't accept that, and none of us should. [applause] as i said, these challenges affects everyone of us here they make michigan a harder place to get ahead. heart a place to raise a family. they even make it tougher to run a business. at its top and it's all because all the pressures under state government that had been building up for years, departments that are understaffed, but lacked diversity, that suffer from low morale. outdated technology and i.t. challenges that impede both state employees ability to do their jobs and residence ability to access their government. severe budget constraints that have prevented badly needed investments in our roads and infrastructure, and more.
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over the last month the lieutenant governor and i have visited every department in person. i have met with state employees who have served the public for 30, 40 years, and never met a governor before. i listened and they learned about the obstacles they try to navigate on a daily basis to serve the people of our state. and i promised them i will do everything i can to support them. them. because while many people focus on what happens here at the capital, 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 their gratitude they deserve. [applause]
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now, there's a manger from the state workforce who i think example finds 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 stepped up. he stepped up to serve his state again, this time as the deq's 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'm proud to be in their ranks. [applause]
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now, the challenges i played up tonight are not the fault of anyone politician or 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. bubut i also know this. turning a blind eye or passing phony fixes won't solve problems. problems. in fact, they make it harder. filling potholes instead of rebuilding roads. pretending that limit increases can fix and 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
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administration. giving sweetheart deals to political insiders. or spending $1.3 billion on the last day of the lam lame-duck session in december. i government that does not work today can't get the job done for tomorrow. and that ends now. [applause] [cheers and applause] as this date 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 start at the top. and that's why 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
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trust us. my first act was an executive order, executive director, so that state employees know how and are empowered to all of us of imminent threats to the public health, safety, and welfare. valid concerns about public health and welfare will be acted upon. [applause] i also established stronger ethics rules for the executive branch, including a ban the use of private e-mail accounts to conduct state business. for too long our government has been plagued by a lack of transparency. we have consistently ranked the worst in the country. we in this room have the power to fix that.
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let's expand foia to my office and to yours. [applause] it is time to ensure that the sun shines equally on every branch of state government. [applause] i also signed an executive directive banning state government from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. [cheers and applause]
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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. [applause] and it will help me build and attract a talented top-notch workforce in state government. that's precisely why the business community has pushed to extend these rights 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 the elliott-larsen civil rights act to include protections for the lgbtq community.
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[applause] and i want to make sure that women have opportunity, too. today women in michigan's workforce make 78 cents for every dollar men make her doing the same job. women of color make even less. it is time for that to change, and that's what i signed an executive directive prohibiting employers in state government from asking women about their salary history. you might wonder why that makes such a big difference, and it's because you can't ask that question, past discrimination won't hurt a woman's future earnings.
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[applause] 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. [applause] 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
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months of rent or 18 months of childcare. that's how you build a stronger economy. that's making michigan home for opportunity. [applause] now, opportunity also means a level playing field for small businesses, small businesses from marquette to macomb to muskegon heights. and so i opened up contracting opportunities for small businesses in designated opportunity 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. [applause]
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let's create more opportunities for companies like open systems technologies in grand rapids. recently i was in grand rapids and met with a cdl meredith bronk was 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. 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, mr. julie calley. [applause] but as the leader of the small business association of michigan, he is offered in
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credits the sport and ungrateful. it's 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 and the only state in the midwest that has not even established a formal goal for postsecondary attainment. that changes tonight. [applause]
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i'm announcing a new statewide goal of increasing the number of michiganders between the ages of 116 and 64 with a postsecondary credential the 60% y2030. -- by 2030. [applause] 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've 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 of. but today it's more like rock climbing.
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there are many paths to a good life, and we need 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 have already started their careers. as workplaces evolve, any 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 are looking for new opportunities. that's why we are launching a michigan reconnect, by training adults seeking an in demand industry certificate, or associates degree. reconnect is up after working michiganders to upskill. it will qualify michigan businesses to qualify candidates for the growing number of jobs that are currently unfilled. this initiative is modeled after
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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 you 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 mi opportunity scholarship will guarantee two years of debt-free community college for all graduating high school students who qualify.
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[applause] the scholarship will be officially launched this spring and available to students begin in the fall of 2020. 2020. and he will make michigan the first midwestern state to guarantee community college for all. [applause] the third path is for graduating high school seniors who, as my friends in the trade would say, are just not skilled trades material. i'm talking about people going to four-year university. a study last year found that
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average costs of tuition, fees, room and board at a public four-year school in michigan was almost $22,000 a year. that 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 mi opportunity scholarship will provide two years of tuition assistance at a four-year, not-for-profit college or university for students who graduate from an michigan high school with at least a b-average. real paths, real opportunity. together, these paths will go a long way toward closing the skills gap making michigan's economy more competitive, and creating real opportunity for everyone in the state. if you are willing to put in the work, you are going to have a path to succeed in michigan. [applause]
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a strong michigan requires more than just a singular commitment to better skills. it also requires a commitment to the health of our workers, families and communities. that is why we are taking several important steps to protect and improve public health. last week i announce 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 would be tasked with ensuring that every michigander has access to clean, safe cranking 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
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public advocate and environmental justice public advocate. we are going to make state government more efficient and responsive to our environmental and public health challenges. [applause] the new department eagle has gotten bipartisan support from michigan businesses and leaders including people like my friend candace miller over there with with us tonight. [applause] as well as the former deq director, heidi grether and dr. mona hanna-attisha. ..
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a reminder that climate change ap extreme weather are already putting michiganders at risk. as a state, we must take this seriously. we cannot and will not wait at that act. [applaus
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[applause] >> everyone in my administration is committed to assuring all michiganders have access to the quality health care they can afford. during might time in the state senate i worked across the aisle with governor snyder and leaders to ensure people were covered in our state through healthy michigan. as governor i'm committed to defending healthy michigan and 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. [applause]
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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. [applause] the policies that i have outlined tonight will strengthen michigan's foundation for our economic future. next month i will present is budget, and my budget will offer a real solution for fixing our roads and rebuilding our infrastructure. it will give front-line educators the tools they need to address the literacy crisis, and most of all, it will reflect my unwavering
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commitment to make michigan the home for opportunity. the people of michigan voted for people they believe 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 divide 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 on bringing down car insurance rates. [applause] finally get--
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>> i finally got these guys on their feet! but you i want to be very clear about where we are headed. i'm committed to this state and to solving problems, but i want you to know i'm going to reject anything presented as a solution that doesn't actually solve the problems or creates a new one. i will not sign anything that resembles the budget gimmicks and bandages that failed in the past. i'm going to veto bills that are designed-- i'm sorry, i'm going to veto bills designed to cut out the public's right of referendum. [applause]
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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. we are going to stick to that, how many of you agree with me, no break until the budget is do done. [applause] because just like every other workplace, we shouldn't go on vacation until our job is done. [applause]
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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 economies at risk and those 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
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centered by my family and my love for in state. and i hope my kids choose to make their lives here in michigan. g garwin gillcrest moved back to detroit with his wife ellen to make a life for themselves and their twins, garlynn and emily and a new member on the way in june. [applause] lee and stephanie hatfield 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 parents and he is guided by his faith. jim and andrea annenneck
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expanded their family through adoption and like a lot of flint families worried about mixing jake's formula. and he's a teacher and affinity for nicknames. if you're nice, i'll 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 shirky has 12 grandchildren, he is rarely spotted around town after hours because he likes to high tail it home to jackson to have dinner with his wife sue. [applause]
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and chris gregg has three sons. she loves tennis. and when she gets home, she's got this phenomenal spouse chef bob who has 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 michiganians, if you insist. [laughter] >> we can get the job done for the people of our state.
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we can build bridges and assure 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 williams. a former later -- leader sent me a bow tie and a commemorative coin from the opening of the mackinac bridge. holding coin between my hands and it's a moving inscription because when you read this it says built by the will of the great people 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
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wisdom to put partisanship aside and get to work for the people that we serve? i think we do. thank you. [applause] . [applause]
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. [applause] pren pren . [applause] >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and
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today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. provider. >> last month nasa ended the opportunity rover mission after it spent 15 years exploring 28 miles of the surface of mars. before that announcement, nasa scientists gave a presentation on the latest discoveries from the various mars missions and plans for future missions to the red planet. this is just over an hour. >> nasa's jet propulsion laboratory presents, the lecture, a series of talks by scientists and engineers who are exploring our planet, our solar system and all that lies beyond.

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