Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) delivered the official Democratic response to Gov. Rick Sndyer's State of the State address.
Democratic response to State of the State
State of the State response full text:
Good evening. I'm State Senator David Knezek and I'm one of the newest members of the Michigan Senate.
I'd like to spend a few minutes with you tonight sharing the Democratic vision for moving Michigan forward:
A vision that includes working together in pursuit of common-sense legislation that promotes opportunity and fairness for everyone.
As the first Iraq War veteran to serve in the Senate, I've sworn an oath to protect and serve both our country and our state.
It was my time spent as a United States Marine that taught me the importance of setting aside our differences, calling upon every skill and element of our training, and above all else, taking the necessary actions to protect the man or woman next to you.
These skills were critical while serving in a combat zone and they are exactly what we need in the halls of our State Capitol today.
No matter your party affiliation, what matters is that you are a citizen of Michigan and you deserve to have a state government that puts you first and represents your interests.
As lawmakers, we were elected to serve every citizen of our great state and there are people in Michigan today who need our support.
The student at Saginaw Valley State University who works two jobs and is still crippled with student loan debt—she's counting on us.
The single mom from Marquette with a sick daughter who has to decide between staying home to take care of her child and missing a very important paycheck—she's counting on us.
The factory worker in Muskegon who lives in constant fear that they could lose their job for that most basic human emotion of loving another person—he's counting on us.
The veteran in Detroit who's trying to get back on his feet after defending our country abroad in the hopes that he might contribute more to the very world he fought to protect—we owe it to him to make the right decisions.
And while everyone in Lansing talks about how we need to attract and retain young people in our state to help build the next generation, as the youngest member of the Michigan Senate, I know.
I graduated from college just three years ago, and I chose to stay in Michigan because I believe in the promise of a brighter future.
I know that as a state, we have yet to reach our full potential and so all of us should all be invested in helping to achieve greatness.
But the people of our great state are looking for solutions that work for them and they're tired of the rhetoric.
We must do more to support our public schools to ensure that college is attainable for everyone, and once students get there, we need to ensure that a degree is affordable.
And we must to do more to keep our young people here after they graduate.
I'm tired of seeing my friends take their creativity, ambition, and entrepreneurial spirit out of state.
If we want to compete for 21st Century jobs, if we want to create and develop new sectors of jobs right here at home, Michigan needs to stand out from other states.
We should adopt common-sense policies like paid sick days and equal pay for women, and we must ensure equal rights for all citizens.
Every elected official should want to attract the talent of today in order to create the growth of tomorrow, and it's time we start passing the policies to actually do it.
We have to do more to help working families. I'm talking about all of the people who wake up before the crack of dawn each and every day to try and make our state the economic powerhouse it can be.
People who work hard and play by the rules, but are still struggling to make ends meet.
These are our family members, our friends, and our neighbors.
They deserve our support.
Now we're not always going to agree, but that's the great thing about this country.
Through principled and respectful debate we can always find a path to our shared goals.
It is time for every elected official to take a stand for the people we serve and send a message across Michigan that partisanship for the sake of partisanship is the enemy of progress.
Once we shed those blinders, we can return to the task—together—of making this state the best place to work, worship, and raise a family.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless Michigan.