LANSING, Mi. (WLNS) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her Wednesday State of the State address will focus on the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and her plans for Michigan to recover.
“The state of our state is resilient,” Whitmer told News 8 in a Tuesday morning video call. “Michigan’s now in a stronger position than most states in the Midwest, we have saved countless lives, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
She said her address will acknowledge the cost of the virus, which has contributed to the deaths of more than 14,000 people in Michigan alone, but also look forward to her plans for 2021.
“How we reengage our economy,” she listed, “how we get our kids back in school, and how we make sure that we vaccinate, get to that 70% mark that we are racing to meet.”
At least part of the governor’s speech will be directed toward the Republican-led Legislature, with which Whitmer, a Democrat, has had a tense relationship in the last 10 months. Republican lawmakers sued over her unilateral actions in response to the pandemic and won when the Michigan Supreme Court tossed out the law on which they were based.
“We’re coming off of a very polarizing, vitriolic election cycle,” Whitmer said. “We need to all recognize this is a non-election year. Let us put the political rhetoric aside and focus on where we can find common ground.”
She said those areas of common ground will include support for education and small businesses and the vaccination process.
“The hurdles are real, but we can clear them easier and faster if everyone says, ‘All right, let’s focus on these fundamentals and get it done and put Michigan in a strong economic position and keep the people of our state healthy,’” Whitmer said.
While the State of the State is generally delivered before a packed House chamber at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, it will be held virtually this year because of the pandemic. The 7 p.m. address will air on WLNS-TV and WLAJ-TV.
This will be Whitmer’s third State of the State.