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Snyder talks policy agenda in State of the State address

By Shoham Geva, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 16, 2014

The state’s early educational childhood services cannot fulfill that demand, but Snyder announced that he has recommended an additional $65 million for preschool programs in order to make Michigan a “no wait state” for preschool education.

He also discussed the state’s $971 million budget surplus more broadly, comparing the government to a family that has to take care of the most pressing issues first.

“We have a number of things we should be taking care of, because it’s not about a government that simply says ‘let’s spend everything,’” Snyder said.

He concluded with a call to action, saying though Michigan is a “comeback state,” it still has a ways to go.

“It’s about keeping your foot on the gas, because this is critically important — we have the opportunity to build a great Michigan for today and tomorrow,” Snyder said.

The governor also identified several issues of unfinished business, including transportation reform and constructing an additional international trade bridge between Canada and Detroit.

State Representative Gretchen Driskell (D–Saline) said she usually tries to stay positive about events like the State of the State, but there were a lot of things about the speech that disappointed her.

“We need jobs from the 21st century, knowledge economy kind of jobs, which usually require higher education,” Driskell said. “He didn’t really talk about the things we need to do.”

She added that funding higher education is something which she would like to see an increased focus on.

“I think we could be a leader in the country if we could figure out a way to fund college,” Driskell said. “We’ve talked about that on and off for a number of years now, but it’s clearly a vehicle for providing higher per capita income for folks.”

In anticipation of the speech, Democratic representatives held press conferences across the state, and an initiative through Progress Michigan called “Snyder Fails” held a mock State of the State address in Lansing Thursday morning followed by a speech by House Rep. Jeff Irwin (D–Ann Arbor).

Mark Schauer, Democratic candidate for governor, said he found one of the central themes of the governor’s message about family disingenuous.

“The governor talked about bringing people together, but this is the same governor that has attacked women, and made it harder for women to have access to basic health care,” he said.