On November 2, 2010 Michigan voters must decide on a replacement for incumbent governor Jennifer Granholm (D). Candidates include Rick Snyder (R), Virg Bernero (D), Stacey Mathia (UST), Ken Proctor (L) and Harley Mikkelson (Green). Decisive issues in the 2010 gubernatorial election are Michigan’s ailing economy, high unemployment, natural resource allocation and education.
Michigan accomplished a great deal under Jennifer Granholm, despite the naysayers criticisms. When Governor Granholm’s predecessor John Engler left Michigan’s office of governor, in 2002, he left behind nothing less than a state in crisis. Former governor Engler had drastically cut education funding and in many ways the education system never recovered. The No Child Left Behind Act coupled with Engler syphoning of Michigan State Lottery money from education into the general fund left gaping holes in education funding that have been difficult to patch up.
Massive lay-offs, plant closings and mergers that left countless Michigan workers unemployed, have pushed Michigan to the bottom of the food economic food chain. Governor Jennifer Granholm inherited a plate full to overflowing with problems. She has been able to improve many of the issues, but there is much work to be done. And she has done so by still protecting one of Michigan’s most precious natural resources: our lakes and rivers. More than once Governor Granholm has had to step in to prevent water companies from taking water from the Great Lakes. Progress is being made in jobs as well; Ottawa County’s unemployment rate has dropped from 12.4% to 11.1% since last year. 13 of 17 labor markets in Michigan showed drops in unemployment.
So now Michigan voters face the possibility of another Republican, Rick Snyder, being voted in and undoing what was done. Evidently Rick Snyder, former CEO of Gateway (1991-1997) is not satisfied with outsourcing work, laying workers off and pocketing hefty salaries in the private sector. He would now like an opportunity to do so with all of Michigan.
Democrat Virg Bernero comes to us from Pontiac Michigan, one of Michigan’s largest auto manufacturing cities. On the otherhand, as mayor of Lansing, Michigan’s capitol, Bernero cut government spending 18%, erased $40 million in deficits to balance the budget on time. Bernero did this increasing taxes or laying off city workers. Virg Bernero set the bar, by cutting his own pay, refusing a car traditionally provided to Lansing’s mayor at the City’s expense and doubling what he pays for health care. Bernero is endorsed by the UAW and has made his platform about putting Michigan back to work.