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Gov. Whitmer outlines plans to 'fix the damn road ahead' in State of the State address

Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Posted at 11:41 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 23:41:29-05

In her third State of the State address, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a pitch for her multi-billion-dollar COVID-19 recovery plan and made a plea for state legislators to work together to “fix the damn road ahead.”

“Let’s commit to the strong bipartisan action we took last year. Let’s focus that same energy to end the pandemic, grow our economy, and get our kids back on track,” Whitmer said.

A major point of contention between state Republicans and the governor has been her stance on in-person education during the pandemic. Whitmer announced she’ll reconvene the Return to School Advisory Council to provide guidance to schools and legislators about a safe return this spring.

The Michigan GOP released a statement Wednesday morning calling the past year “Whitmer’s State of Disarray.”

During her virtual address that night, Whitmer issued a call to get past the “deep divisions in our country.”

“This year I will launch the ‘Fixing the Damn Road Ahead’ tour to engage with and listen to Michiganders,” Whitmer said.

In a non-election year, she is hoping to make progress on issues she’s raised to the legislature before regarding prescription drug prices and funding for roads and water infrastructure.

“Last year I announced the MI Clean Water Plan, a $500 million investment in Michigan’s water infrastructure,” Whitmer said.

Despite increased focus on the pandemic, the governor praised the state’s steps to improve infrastructure since last year’s address. She cited the completion of the Interstate 496 Rebuilding Michigan project as a sign of progress.

“While we had to focus on the virus, we proved that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. And, a lot has happened,” Whitmer said.

She also announced that the Prescription Drug Task Force had released a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs and increase drug price transparency.

Dr. Farhan Bhatti is the Michigan State Lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare and a practicing physician here in Lansing. He says prescription pricing should be a statewide priority.

“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her administration are focusing on the right priorities that can protect people’s health and safety, especially during a pandemic that is causing tremendous pain and suffering to Michigan families,” Dr. Bhatti said in a statement.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Jason Wentworth will respond to the governor’s address Thursday morning.

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

State Capitol

Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy