Gretchen Whitmer, former Democratic minority leader in the Michigan state senate and lecturer at the Ford School of Public Policy, announced Tuesday that she has officially filed the paperwork to run for governor of Michigan in 2018.

Although a formal announcement has not yet been made — it is expected later this month — Whitmer published a statement on Medium and sent an email to her supporters regarding her intent to run.

“I remember when Michigan was bold,” Whitmer wrote in her email. “When we didn’t just face challenges — we beat them.”

Whitmer also discussed her desire to foster business growth, fight for children and families, and create “opportunities … to enjoy our land and drink pure, clean water.”

In the email, she also stressed the importance of actively working toward solutions to the issues the state faces. Her rhetoric follows themes seen in the 2016 presidential election where President-elect Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) focused on messages of change within the political system.

“For too long, our leaders have been content to manage our decline. We went from leading the nation to lagging,” Whitmer wrote. “We can do better. We deserve better.”  

Filing the paperwork is the first step in Whitmer’s process to run, and with it she is now able to begin accepting financial contributions to her campaign.

Whitmer, who served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2000 to 2006 and the Michigan Senate from 2006 to 2015, most recently served as the Ingham County prosecutor. Her term expired on Dec. 31, 2016. She is the first person to put their name in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

LSA junior Collin Kelly, the chair of College Democrats chapter at the University of Michigan, said while it is still the beginning stages of the race, he is optimistic about her strengths.

“It’s still super early; we don’t know who else is going to run,” Kelly said. “But we know she’s a strong candidate who can rally the party … We’re proud of all the work she’s done (in her past positions).”

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