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Whitmer and Schuette trade barbs on debate stage in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) - The two major party nominees for governor traded barbs on the debate stage on Friday night fighting for votes in their first televised debate.

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and Republican Bill Schuette didn't hesitate to take aim at their opponent during the debate.

They were asked about a variety of pressing issues including healthcare, the funding of schools, to even how they would improve skilled trades across the state.

It was the first debate between the two major party candidates hoping to be Michigan’s next governor.

The event started politely enough as the Whitmer and Schuette shook hands on the debate stage. But when they faced questions about big issues like the Larry Nassar scandal, they didn't hold back.

“I was one of the first people to call on an independent investigation for what happened at Michigan State University,” said Whitmer.

“Gretchen Whitmer failed to do her job. She did not file charges against Larry Nassar and she did not refer them to me,” Schuette stated.

When asked how they planned to deal with the water crisis in the city of Flint, both candidates had their own priorities and weren't shy about pointing fingers.

“I'm going to make sure that there's accountability and justice for families in Flint. Now Gretchen Whitmer in her 14 years in the legislature did nothing to help the situation in terms of water although she did sponsor one bill that passed that regulates swimming pools,” said Schuette.

“8,000 children in Flint brush their teeth every night with water that had lead on it and you know what, they called the Attorney General, they asked 15 times they filed complaints over the course of two years and were ignored,” Whitmer stated.

And of course, Schuette and Whitmer had different ideas about how to repair Michigan’s aging infrastructure.

“We have $1.2 billion dollars planned to invest in the roads until 2021, I’ll make it a priority to add to that,” said Schuette.

“I put a real plan on the table. It is going to cost $3 billion dollars. To say you're just going to find the dollars and cents in the budget is phony,” Whitmer stated.

When asked about immigration, Bill Schuette said if he is elected governor, there will be no more sanctuary cities in Michigan, while Gretchen Whitmer blamed the white house for not passing a comprehensive immigration strategy.

They also hashed out their own views of proposal one. Whitmer says she supports legalizing recreational marijuana for extra tax revenue. Schuette on the other hand opposes legalization saying it would make the opioid crisis worse.

This was one of two gubernatorial debates between Whitmer and Schuette. The next is scheduled on October 24th in Detroit.


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