Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivers State of the State address
LANSING, Mich. – There were no notes and no teleprompter but there was a whole lot crammed into an hour of Gov. Rick Snyder's first State of the State address of his second term.
Snyder started off, as most of these speeches do, with a list of accomplishments. And yes, he took a victory lap for Detroit exiting from bankruptcy. But not everybody was impressed.
"I thought that speech talking about the city of Detroit was authentic, like a Calvin Klein/Justin Bieber ad. I thought it was really ridiculous and had no real sense of authenticity whatsoever," said Sen. Coleman Young Jr., D-Detroit.
Then came the nitty-gritty. Michigan's Republican governor delivered an old-fashioned populist message. The theme of this year's address was "River of Opportunity." Snyder said he wants to fundamentally change how the state delivers services to the disadvantaged. He's merging two departments, Community Health and Human Services, in an attempt to streamline help for the poor.
"The system is failing, folks," Snyder said. "What we've done is we've sliced and diced people into programs. We've moved away from treating them like real people."
He also devoted a good portion of his speech to Pre-K through third-grade education, and then hit on protections from the environment. It was at that point that he made some of the staunch religious conservatives uncomfortable. He called on the Legislature to revisit items including gays and lesbians under the state's civil rights law. An attempt to do that failed in the last lame duck session.
The governor goes into this second term with new leadership at the helm of the Legislature. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhoff, R-West Olive, and Senate Minorty Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, praised the governor's address and vowed to find common ground.
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