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Schuette vows to be ‘Jobs Governor’

September 19, 2017

Courtesy of MIRS News Service

Attorney General Bill Schuette launched his gubernatorial bid Tuesday evening with the pledge of making Michigan a “growth state, paycheck state and jobs state.” 

The Republican pledged in front of some 500 supporters to turn the page on the Democratic President Barack Obama years and the former Gov. Jennifer Granholm tenure by delivering lower income taxes and cheaper car insurance. 

While giving a passing mention to current Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, Schuette, 63, painted a picture of Michigan that has its best days ahead of it. 

“I’m here to serve notice to the world that we are Michigan. We are going to start winning again,” he said, invoking a President Donald Trump campaign theme. 

“I’m running for Governor because it’s time for Michigan to lead the world again. To usher in a new era of jobs, opportunity and prosperity.” 

Schuette made the long-presumed announcement at the Midland County Fairgrounds at the site of his annual barbecue fundraiser. Dressed in a red polo and blue jeans, Schuette gave a 20-minute speech in front of backdrop of an enormous American flag and around 70 supporters seated behind him. 

The master of ceremonies for the event was Midland Republican Party Chair Cathy Leikhim, a personal friend. He was introduced on the stage by his wife, Cynthia Schuette, who recalled the days when a young Bill Schuette introduced himself to each and every child on the school bus. 

Schuette carried the hometown theme through his announcement, describing himself as the boy who scooped mashed potatoes at the local Ponderosa. 

Before ticking off his accomplishments, Schuette vowed to “Hold the Washington politicians accountable” by getting them to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” 

He uttered the name “Jennifer Granholm” more times than “Rick Snyder,” as if the state is still recovering from an era in which “the only thing that got blown away was the hopes and dreams and aspirations of Michigan families.” 

For Michigan to embrace a “Granholm” lieutenant “is not a sequel anybody wants.” 

As far as a platform, the Attorney General claimed he would end the “Granholm” income tax increase, a reference to the 2007 income tax increase from 3.9 percent to 4.35 percent, which has since been trimmed to 4.25 percent. He also pledged to: 

– Trim Michigan’s car insurance rates by cracking down on insurance fraud and “passing real auto insurance reform;” 

– Nurture Michigan students so they will be able to read at grade level by the 3rd grade, a reference to recent legislation designed to accomplish this goal; 

– End the Common Core state standards in public education; 

– Make vocational education and skilled trades a top priority. 

“I’ve had enough of small thinking and tiny steps and politicians who set their sights lower,” he said. “I reject the notion that Michigan’s best days are behind us. I reject the casual resignation and acceptance that the paychecks and jobs have gone elsewhere and that Michigan will have fewer and fewer jobs . . . that we’ll become a smaller and less significant state. 

“No way. My one goal, my one singular ambition is to make Michigan a growth state, a paycheck state, a jobs state and to achieve this we must have a jobs governor.” 

Watching today’s address was a cadre of familiar faces, including such legislators as House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville), Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), Sen. Darwin Booher (R-Evart), Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland), Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Mt. Pleasant) and Rep. Martin Howrylak­ (R-Troy). 

Also seen in the crowd was Secretary of State candidate Stan Grot, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Young, Jr., Michigan National Committeewoman Kathy Berden, former Rep. Joel Johnson, former Rep. Rick Outman and Michigan Republican Party 8th Congressional Chair Norm Shinkle. 

The Schuette announcement comes roughly 10 days before the Michigan Republican Party (MRP) leadership conference on Mackinac Island and a day after another potential candidate, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, announced a series of town halls as a run up to a decision about his next step. 

Schuette has served the last 6 and a half years as the state’s 53rd Attorney General. He’s also served on the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Senate and the U.S. Congress. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, Schuette became the Department of Agriculture director under former Gov. John Engler. 

Other Republicans in the 2018 gubernatorial race include Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and Dr. Jim Hines of Saginaw, but Schuette emerged as the frontrunner in those polls conducted to date. 

He’s running neck-and-neck with presumed Democratic frontrunner Gretchen Whitmer, whose campaign offered the following response to today’s announcement: 

“When the people of Michigan have needed a fighter, they’ve turned to Gretchen Whitmer because she has spent her career fearlessly taking on the status quo to put the people first, while Bill Schuette has put special interests and his own political gain ahead of peoples’ lives,” said Whitmer spokesperson Annie Ellison. “Whitmer continues to mobilize people across this state to take on our toughest challenges, so that everyone has a path to a better job, our kids get the education they deserve, and our government works for the people.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed said, “People like Bill Schuette are the reason I am running for Governor.

“Too often, we surrender our future to the whims of self-interested politicians like him who sell us out for their power. They see nothing bigger than their own ambitions.”

El-Sayed bashed Schuette for being against LGBT rights, affordable healthcare and literacy at Detroit Public Schools, all the while being “bought and sold by the likes of Betsy DeVos, Blue Cross, Dow Chemical and Walmart.

Another Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Shri Thanedar, called Schuette a “career Lansing politician who is bought and paid for by corporate and wealthy special interests.” 

“On every issue, he sides with his wealthy donors over the middle class and working families of this state,” Thanedar said. “He ignored the people of Flint when they raised concerns about their water. He fought against Michiganders who just wanted affordable healthcare. And he chose to side with drug companies over the innocent people they’ve harmed.  

“We can’t afford four years of Bill Schuette dragging Michigan down to the failed Kansas model of bankrupt government, just to please his extreme right wing donors. We need to help Bill Schuette stop living off the state and show him the door to the private sector.” 

At the entrance of the Midland County Fairgrounds today, a small group of around a dozen protestors lambasted Schuette has having a history of “standing with wealthy donors and right-wing special interests.” 

“When we heard that Bill Schuette was announcing his run for governor today, we knew the only people who would be excited were his wealthy donors like the DeVos family,” said Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott. “Michigan cannot weather more cuts to our cities and schools, further attacks on working families or another governor like Rick Snyder who gives massive tax handouts to corporations.”

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