Today former Senate Democratic Leader and Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer released her plan to fight urban poverty. The policy agenda is the result of a seven-city urban listening tour Whitmer participated in with Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans and community leaders in Detroit, Pontiac, Flint, Saginaw, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and Benton Harbor.
Whitmer’s plan focuses on: bringing down auto insurance rates; supporting regional transit; restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families; protecting revenue sharing for police and fire; reducing crime and preventing gun violence; expanding affordable housing; and ending racial disparities in health, education and criminal justice. Read the full plan here. [s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com]
“Michigan used to be the place people flocked to for opportunity,” said Whitmer. “Michigan built the middle-class and created pathways to opportunity for people of all ethnicities who couldn’t find them elsewhere. But now many families living in Michigan cities are struggling just to get by, much less get ahead. Solving these problems will require a strong partnership with state, local and community leaders. As governor, I am committed to bringing people together to build strong, vibrant and healthy communities across the state, so we can fight urban poverty and build a Michigan that works for all of us.”
“Our communities need a governor who actually knows how to get things done,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “Gretchen Whitmer has walked the walk. In the legislature, she went to bat for communities like Detroit, Pontiac, Grand Rapids and Flint every single day. On the campaign trail, she took the time to meet with community and faith leaders across the state and actually listen to their ideas about how we can help our families and cities thrive. This plan offers a clear agenda for how Gretchen’s administration will bring people together to make Michigan a more equitable state, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to help her get it done.”
Whitmer’s plan includes:
Lowering auto insurance rates: ensuring policyholders are treated fairly by ending discrimination and redlining; reducing costs and providing reasonable cost controls; limiting unnecessary and costly litigation; reducing abuse and fraud; requiring insurers to make timely payments; and mandating transparency around the catastrophic claims fund.
Appointing a cabinet-level position to combat poverty by: working with employers to create job opportunities for underemployed Michiganders; putting people to work redeveloping city housing inventories; ensuring youth employment initiatives stay focused on combating juvenile delinquency; and improving financial literacy services.
Increasing the EITC for working families from six percent of the federal credit under Governor Snyder back to 20 percent, which will allow low-income workers to keep more of what they earn.
Reducing crime by: improving city lighting; increasing the use of body cameras and improving cultural togetherness and know-your-rights training to improve community-police relationships; working to prevent gun violence with universal criminal background checks, banning bump stocks and passing red flag legislation.
Expanding and improving affordable housing by: removing blight; allowing inclusionary zoning to create incentives for developers to build affordable housing units; and protecting tenants from lead-based paint and landlords who fail to pay tax bills.
Ending racial disparities in health, education, and criminal justice by: restoring health prevention funding in the state budget; mitigating childhood lead poisoning through stronger testing and wraparound health and educational services in schools; investing in skills and job training through the MI Opportunity Scholarship; improving indigent defense; supporting Handcuffs to Hardhats programs to get returning citizens into careers in the skilled trades.
Whitmer has also released plans to protect women’s health and reproductive rights [s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com], clean up Michigan’s drinking water [gretchenwhitmer.com], improve education and skills training [s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com], create more good-paying jobs [s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com], fix Michigan's infrastructure [s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com] and make state government more open, transparent and accountable [s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com].