GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will enter her second term as Michigan’s chief executive with her party in control of the Michigan Legislature.

Democrats won control of both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate in this month’s elections — the first time they’ve held them in years. They also hold the governor’s office, secretary of state’s office and attorney general’s office.

That means Whitmer is in a good place to implement her priorities:

“I think one of the things that I’m impressing upon the Legislature is we’ve got to stay tethered to the kitchen table issues,” she told News 8 Thursday. “That’s what we’ve worked on for four years. We’ve laid a great foundation. Now is the time to put our foot on the accelerator. So whether it’s out-competing other states for investment in Michigan or it’s continuing our work in education so we can get to that top 10 in literacy goal, those are going to continue to drive everything from the budget to policy change.”

She added she would like to “scour through old laws and clean them off the books” — specifically referencing Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban, which was rendered obsolete by the passage of a constitutional amendment that protects reproductive freedoms, including the right to abortions.

Whitmer has campaigned on promise to “fix the damn roads.” In her first term, after a pitch to increase the gas tax fell flat, she resorted to bonding to fund projects. She said with her party now in control of the Legislature, she is prepared to create an “informed,” “comprehensive and long-term” plan, especially considering an expected shift to more electric vehicles on our roads.

“We … have an outdated mode of funding our roads, as does every other state. No state has figured this out yet. Some have got some pilot projects that they’ve done to determine how you might measure miles traveled, for instance,” she said. “I think it’s going to take a lot of work. It’s not going to come from one person. It’s not going to come from one side of the aisle. This has to be a plan that is comprehensive, forward-looking and inclusive of our locals and our state highway systems.”


Asked if there was anything she would like to see the Republican-led Legislature get done in the lame-duck session, she pointed to working to move Michigan’s presidential primary up. The Democratic and Republican national committees would also have to sign off on that.

“We (Michigan) go so late in the primary system that our voice is muted,” she said. “Whether you’re Republican or a Democrat, I think moving Michigan up in the primary system would be a good thing for the state of Michigan, it would be a good thing for the country because our voices are important.”

Whitmer said flatly that she has no intention to participate in that primary as a presidential candidate.

“No. There’s nothing else to say. No,” she said. “I’ve been unequivocal from the get-go but for whatever reason, people want to keep writing articles. I’m focused on Michigan. I ran for four more years as governor of the state of Michigan and I’m going to serve them.”