LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – With more than six months since the Governor’s State of the State Address, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shared her priorities going into the near future with Michiganders on Wednesday morning. 

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Governor Whitmer started by addressing the focus of the recent months, particularly increasing what is made in the state. 

That idea of ‘making it’ in Michigan, has been the north star of our economic development vision,” Gov. Whitmer said during the speech, “We’re focused on winning projects… investing in people… and revitalizing places.”

Some of the areas that Gov. Whitmer pointed to were:

“In Senator McDonald Rivet’s Bay City district, SK Siltron is making semiconductor wafers in Michigan instead of overseas. We have seen how chip shortages and long lead times result in unfinished cars sitting in lots,” adding, “Right next to where GM is building a brand new battery facility creating 1,700 jobs thanks to our bipartisan economic development efforts.” 

 She also commented on the new battery facility by General Motors that would create roughly 1,700 jobs. Also referenced but not by name, were Gotion Inc., a Chinese linked company, and Ford BlueOval Battery Park plant which are in development; Whitmer described that they would create 2,300 jobs in Big Rapids and roughly 2,500 jobs in Marshall, respectively. 

These new battery plants will be game changers: supporting thousands of families, uplifting local businesses, and ensuring our cities and towns thrive for decades to come,” Gov. Whitmer said, “They’ll help Michigan go toe to toe with China, bringing critical parts of the auto supply chain home. We must reduce our reliance on Chinese products, which have caused work stoppages, shortages, and car price hikes over the last few years.”  

Currently, several of Michigan’s ongoing EV projects are under review by the U.S. government for ties to China, and are being evaluated for potential security risks. 

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Pivoting from the past eight months of work, Gov. Whitmer looked towards the future of the state in four particular areas including “the health of our people; the health of our planet; the health of our economy; and the health of our democracy,” but not before praising the passage of Prop 3 calling the November vote as protection of “abortion rights in the state’s constitution.” 

Slaying our zombie laws was great, but there are still other bad laws that put politically motivated, medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion,” Gov. Whitmer said. “This forces patients to drive hundreds of miles for care or mandate that they receive biased, inaccurate information about their health.”

The next step according to the Governor is to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act. 

This fall, let’s pass the Reproductive Health Act and roll back these harmful restrictions,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Let’s protect the freedom to make your own decisions without interference from politicians.

Head of Michigan Right to Life, Genevieve Marnon, a pro-life advocacy group, criticized repealing other regulations on abortion. 

“No industry is left to regulate itself,” Marnon said in a statement. “The proposed removal of common-sense regulations serves the interests of the abortion industry, not women seeking abortions.”

On the environmental side of things, Governor Whitmer called upon a 100% clean energy standard in the state and changing permitting laws to give more tools to the Michigan Public Service Commission. 

“Let’s permit clean energy projects through the MPSC—just like all other sources of energy,” Gov. Whitmer said, “ This ensures local perspectives are reflected in the planning process while also allowing us to move faster on installation.” 

Several members of the legislature, including Representative Jaime Greene (R-Richmond), shared concerns about the potential cost of taking power away from local governments. 

“Where are they going to put these large-scale solar farms? They’re going to gravitate toward the flat, fertile, farmland in our area that is wide open for them to force their policies down our throat,” Greene said. “The governor is sending a clear message: If there’s a disagreement between what local people want and what Big Solar wants, she’s siding with Big Solar.”

House Minority Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland) criticized the push for a 100% clean energy standard. 

“At the behest of radical environmental lobbyists, Democrats want to handcuff Michigan energy and shut down reliable, affordable natural gas plants, instead buying solar panels produced in coal-powered China,” Hall said, “Electric bills for residents and small businesses will go up to pay for this drastic change, but Democrats use misleading numbers to ignore common sense.”

The plan to increase the dependence on electricity would likely increase electricity prices according to Representative Mike Harris (R-Clarkston). 

“The whirlwind of change brought on by new green energy mandates will force Michigan residents to pay more to keep the lights on,” Harris said, “Instead, we should be focusing on improving electric grid stability to prevent the major outages that have left people without power. On top of that, a new payroll tax will take more of small businesses’ resources and more of workers’ wages to fund a confusing new bureaucracy. Raising taxes and hiking electricity costs will just add further strain on working families who are already facing financial hurdles from recent inflation and high costs of living.” 

The topic of combating a declining population came up, but Gov. Whitmer said it was mostly due to not having paid time off, something that 77% of Michiganders don’t have access to. 

“Surveys show paid leave is one of the top three policies people prioritize when considering where to relocate,” Gov. Whitmer said, “A majority of adults who plan to move in the next two years would be more likely to go somewhere with it. This is priority for all workers, but it’s especially true for women, who make up half our workforce and often bear the brunt of caretaking responsibilities.”

Representative Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills) countered with, “While Republicans and Democrats alike wonder how to attract people to Michigan and grow our population, one thing is for sure: Raising taxes and prices will give people new reasons to leave our state.”

According to Gov. Whitmer, the state needs to transition from believing in Michigan to bragging about Michigan and its many accomplishments.