Gov. Rick Snyder delivering one of eight State of the State addresses.
That's it for big long speeches by Governor Rick Snyder. And we have to be honest, we're pretty thankful. This one actually almost put us to sleep.
As expected, the governor's eighth and final State of the State was an attempt to string together a highlight reel that could put a sunny face on his two terms in office. The state's economy has rebounded, Detroit is basking in the light of Little Caesars Arena
, and the Flint water crisis is a fuzzy object in the rearview mirror.
By listening to the myriad of positive data points highlighted by Snyder (Michigan reversed a yearly trend of job declines to add about 500,000 jobs during his time in office; the state leads the nation in manufacturing jobs) it was almost possible to forget that he was recently ranked the fourth-most unpopular governor in the country
. Going into the night, a WDIV poll of likely 2018 gubernatorial election voters found nearly half
possess an unfavorable opinion of him.
Snyder did describe a few final plans for the remainder of his tenure that may help to dig him out of that hole. Details of the "Marshall Plan for Talent" outlined in Detroit's Amazon bid and aimed to get young people ready for in-demand fields like computer science will be unveiled in February. There was also a vague promise of road repairs.
But for those seeking to replace Snyder, Tuesday's address presented an opportunity to offer an alternative for the state. And for those of us who doze off while listening to the dorky governor's strange speech pattern, the Twitter rants from the two Democrats vying to succeed him were far more entertaining to follow. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed, Detroit's former health director, took Snyder to task for his policy positions in more than two dozen tweets, blasting the governor for everything from approving right-to-work legislation and letting the charter school system erode public districts like Detroit's.
El-Sayed also indicated that, if elected, he would pursue free college tuition for kids in households earning less than $150,000 a year, shut down the controversial Straits of Mackinac oil and gas pipeline, and push the state toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
Also on Twitter, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer noted that, by many metrics, Michigan isn't faring as well as the governor suggests:
Whitmer, who just received the backing of Michigan Education Association, indicated that if elected she would prioritize improving Michigan's education system. She also outlined plans to fight opioid abuse and protect the Great Lakes.
On the Republican side of the 2018 race for governor, Attorney General Bill Schuette took to Twitter to complain about Michigan's actually pretty low taxes
being too high.
Conversely, Brian Calley, Snyder's Lieutenant Governor, said he'd stay the Snyder course:
State Senator Patrick Colbeck is also running for governor on the Republican side. On the Democrat side, businessmen Bill Cobbs and Shri Thanedar have also entered the race. All three were quiet on the internet Tuesday night.