Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has major role as Democratic Party kicks off presidential convention

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist weighs in on Whitmer's role

LANSING, Mich. – The Democratic Party is kicking off its presidential convention, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a very important role.

The convention was originally planned for Milwaukee, but because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s now virtual.

Whitmer is one of Monday night’s speakers. She’s been a rising star on the Democratic stage, giving a state of the union response and co-chairing the Biden campaign. Whitmer joins Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders to kick off the convention.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said he’s excited to see the convention begin and to see Whitmer play such an important role.

“It really shows how important the state of Michigan is to not only this election, but also to the country, with the governor’s leadership on display to help the party not only win the election, but to govern, to deliver for people,” Gilchrist said.

The Democratic Party’s overarching convention theme is “uniting America.” The Monday night theme is “we the people.”

Democrats said there are three main points on which they’re attacking President Donald Trump: the pandemic, the struggling economy and racial injustice.

“While Donald Trump did not create COVID-19, he exacerbated the dangerous and deadly impact on the state of Michigan and on the entire country, and how that translates to the impact on the economy, the impact on our educational system and what we need to be doing, the impact on state government,” Gilchrist said. “I think (Whitmer) is going to -- what we’re seeing in Michigan is really, I think, a canary in the coal mine for the country.”

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, is scheduled to join Whitmer. He’s a vocal anti-Trump advocate.

“We need to have a table that has a place for everyone to move forward together, because we have to work together in order to get past COVID-19,” Kasich said.

Whitmer is scheduled to speak just after 10 p.m. Monday, if the convention stays on schedule.

Gilchrist also said Whitmer, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have to keep up the momentum of the 2018 campaign that flipped Michigan to blue for the presidential race.

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