LANSING, Mich. - Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard is backing Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor.
He endorsed her in a letter to thousands of activists Wednesday, saying she would get results while bringing "new energy and new spirit" to the job. He credited her for helping expand Medicaid coverage to 640,000 residents.
"If we are ever to rebuild the Michigan we so believe in, we must start now, and we must start with Gretchen Whitmer," Blanchard said in a statement. "She is prepared to fight, prepared to win, and prepared to govern, and she will provide new leadership to protect and create good jobs and wages, rebuild our infrastructure, strengthen our education system, and hold government accountable."
Blanchard -- a Democrat who served from 1983-1991 -- said in an interview that Michigan needs "experience" after electing Republican businessmen Rick Snyder and Donald Trump. Whitmer was a state lawmaker for 14 years.
Other Democratic candidates are political newcomers: ex-Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed, entrepreneur Shri Thanedar and former business executive Bill Cobbs.
Blanchard says Democrats can't "take a flyer" on another candidate solely for giving "nice speeches."
The announcement came a day after Republican Attorney General joined the governor's race.
Here is the full Blanchard letter:
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I write to strongly endorse Gretchen Whitmer for Governor of Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer will bring a new energy and new spirit to the job of Michigan's chief executive. Gretchen has the experience to make Michigan work again. As a state legislator who produced results, for example, playing a key role in providing health care to more than 640,000 of our fellow citizens, Gretchen knows that action and know how are critical to the success of our leaders. Nice speeches are not enough. And divisive tactics and verbal assaults further erode our opportunities to move Michigan and America forward.
Gretchen Whitmer also knows that Michigan is a special place. Born, raised, and educated in Michigan, Gretchen knows that we in our Great Lakes State have led the nation in manufacturing, middle class jobs, education, human services and environmental protection. Gretchen understands that Michigan’s quality of life is what makes our state so special. She can provide new leadership to:
Protect and create good jobs and good wages
Rebuild our infrastructure
Strengthen public education and make college more affordable
Modernize state government so it serves us, not bureaucratic convenience
There is much more. When Ingham County needed to select a new prosecuting attorney to restore integrity to that important law enforcement office, it turned to Gretchen Whitmer. She understands our democratic institutions have been taken for granted for too long. She respects our American system of government and our way of life, no matter what the current occupant of the White House may say or do. The governors of our 50 states are now called upon to protect, defend and promote our system that "We the People" established two and a half centuries ago. Gretchen will stand strong. She is steady. She is a fighter for us.
Our Michigan strengths have also been taken for granted for too long. Our people deserve better. Gretchen Whitmer's spirit will bring a new sense of purpose to guide our state's future. Now more than ever, that’s what we need in our Great Lakes State. I urge you to support Gretchen Whitmer for governor!
Former Governor of Michigan
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