Michigan Gov. Whitmer calls for bipartisanship in State of the State address

Whitmer delivered 24-minute speech Wednesday, seeking ‘common ground’

Gov. Whitmer calls for unity in State of State address
Gov. Whitmer calls for unity in State of State address

LANSING, Mich. – The annual State of the State address went online Wednesday night, an address like no other due to the pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered a 24-minute speech in her office with no pomp and circumstance, and no Legislature and guests in attendance.

“My mission is to find common ground so we can emerge from this crisis stronger than ever,” Whitmer said.

The majority of Whitmer’s address mentioned getting the state through the COVID-19 crisis. She urged patience as the vaccine rolls out, with a goal to get 70% of the state vaccinated as soon as possible.

READ: Michigan Gov. Whitmer seeks common ground, virus relief in State of State

“I know you’re used to me saying ‘fix the damn roads.’ This year, let’s fix the damn road ahead and let’s find common ground to grow our economy,” she said.

Last year had been a push and pull between the governor and Legislature over COVID-19 decision making. On the day of the address, the House GOP released it’s COVID plan, urging Whitmer to allow local health departments to have the decision making power on whether in-person learning is appropriate as well as high school sports. It ties federal dollars in school funding.

READ: Michigan GOP threatens to withhold billions in school funding over COVID precautions

“We have an entire state relying and depending on us to get along,” said Detroit Caucus Chair Rep. Tenisha Yancey ( D-Detroit).

Whitmer did not mention the House GOP plan in her address. State Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton), who sits on Appropriations, said her colleagues are ready to go.

“There is always a way if there is a will,” Bollin said. “I was glad to hear the governor say she is ready to join forces because that is a very different approach than over the past year.”

You can watch the report in the video above.

About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.