With term limits keeping Gov. Rick Snyder from running for a third term, the people of Michigan have a chance to choose a new direction for the state’s top office. Candidates Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette provide starkly different visions for the future of the state. Whitmer, a former prosecutor and state Senate minority leader has committed to “fix the damn roads,” while Schuette, the current state Attorney General, has channeled President Donald Trump with his “It’s time to win again” slogan.

The Michigan Daily Editorial Board strongly endorses Gretchen Whitmer for governor of Michigan. Whitmer has proven her dedication to the state of Michigan through her years of public service in local government. During the debate over whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in Michigan, Whitmer worked across party lines to advocate for increased health insurance coverage for thousands of Michigan residents. That sense of drive and prioritization of Michigan unity is what brought us, as an editorial board, to conclude that she is the best candidate to create change in our diverse state.

As students, the issue of college affordability is at the forefront of our minds when considering candidates. While Schuette’s plans for college affordability have remained vague, Whitmer has proposed to implement the Michigan Opportunity Scholarship, a program that would allow Michigan students to have two years of higher education schooling completely debt free.

Additionally, as young voters, Michigan’s public schools remain in our minds. Schuette and Whitmer strongly disagree, with Schuette supporting charter schools and the privatization of education, much like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Whitmer has come out in strong opposition of the privatization of education. Whitmer plans to improve the consistency of school funding and create more accountability for public schools. We agree with Whitmer that this plan is a better option to improve education quality, accessibility and equality in Michigan.

Whitmer’s also supports an increase of the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, showing her dedication to the working class of Michigan and her prioritization of the standard of living of everyone in Michigan. In stark contrast, Schuette’s economic policy focuses mainly on cutting taxes and vetoing tax increases.

The most important issues in this upcoming election are the ones that affect the everyday lives of all the Michiganders who have been neglected under the current administration: road infrastructure and water availability. Whitmer has committed to a comprehensive and specific plan to improve road conditions through registration fees or gas tax increases. Schuette, on the other hand, has not included any specificity or detail in his plan and doesn’t mention where the money for any infrastructure improvements will come from, though he has firmly stated that he will work to improve road conditions.

Whitmer has also highlighted the importance of clean drinking water for all Michiganders, making special mention of the topic in her infrastructure plan. Schuette’s plan includes few implementable policies and is sparse on details, especially concerning from a candidate currently part of the administration that enabled the Flint water crisis.

We are also concerned about Schuette’s response to an endorsement by singer Ted Nugent, who has made sexist and anti-Semitic comments in the past. Instead of distancing himself from Nugent, Schuette campaigned with him and welcomed his endorsement. Schuette’s ties to Nugent are worrying when considering Michigan’s need for politicians who are able to appeal to many audiences and build communities.

Whitmer, however, is a uniter. She’s worked tirelessly to expand access to Medicaid for Michiganders, and has focused her campaign on issues affecting every resident: water, roads and schools. Given her dedication to the Michigan community and impressively comprehensive policy platform, The Michigan Daily Editorial board believes Gretchen Whitmer is best suited to lead Michigan into the future.

For a full list of The Michigan Daily Editorial Boards endorsements for the 2018 midterm elections, click here.


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