1-on-1 with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder hours after he approves right-to-work law

Michigan governor says right-to-work became huge issue after unions pushed Proposal 2 on ballot


LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan governor is obviously facing a lot of criticism Tuesday night after he signed right-to-work bills into law.

However, Gov. Rick Snyder has kept his cool amid the onslaught of protest and screams of disappointment. Local 4's Devin Scillian got a chance to sit down with Snyder at his Lansing office.

The interview started with how he arrived at his decision to allow right-to-work. Snyder had said for a long time he was not interested in pushing right-to-work in this state. However, he says the fight that started with Proposal 2 left him little choice.

Watch full interview: Devin Scillian interviews Gov. Snyder on right-to-work law

"We spent time talking to labor leaders, leadership people about how to avoid this as a topic," Snyder said. "It was clear that wasn't working. It was going to continue to be a problem. So good leadership is you've got a big problem, you step up and make a decision and I believe I made a good decision because it's about worker choice and jobs."

Read more: Snyder signs right-to-work bills into law

Snyder chose to wear a tie on Tuesday, knowing there was history in the making. The commotion outside his office window all day let him know that not everyone agrees with the kind of history he is making. Does the anger in the Democratic caucus now make it impossible to get anything else done?

"Well it does make it more challenging, but I hope people step back and have an opportunity to reflect on this and calm down and really not ask the question about fighting with me," the governor said. "Because if you're an elected official, I don't fight with any elected official or anyone in the public sector, because our common goal should be how do we best serve our citizens, our customer? Fighting has no value between us."

A governor who has never had much taste for politics has reason to worry. Already, important legislation seems imperiled by Democrats no reluctant to get behind anything the governor supports. Things such as the new Ilitch arena complex for downtown Detroit, and others.

Read: Ilitch's $650M development proposal is more than new arena

"Or look at the Detroit lighting. I've been a big proponent of the Detroit lighting proposal. What value would there be in having Detroit Democrats vote against Detroit lighting? The lights need to come on in Detroit. An arena would be great for job creation. So it wouldn't be good out of spite or animosity to vote against those things because that's hurting our customers," Snyder said.