By DANIEL HERATY
Local reaction to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address has been mostly positive.
Jobs were the primary focus of his speech last Wednesday. Local legislators concur with Snyder’s announced support for construction of a new international border crossing between the United States and Canada.
State Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn) said the speech overall was good.
“He is in favor of bipartisanship,” Darany said. “Even though he did not come right out and say he is, it was implied in what he said.
“It was very encouraging.”
State Rep. Philip Cavanaugh (D-Dearborn Heights) said Snyder’s message was “general,” and that while the governor didn’t get into a lot of details, the speech was a success.
“It was great that he was following the Democratic platform,” Cavanaugh said.
He also said it was good to see that Snyder is willing to make the tough decisions, such as structural changes to the budget, and eliminating the tax structure in order to make Michigan more attractive to businesses.
Darany said the budget is one area where he disagrees with Snyder.
“I’m not too sure about the two-year budget,” Darany said. “When you approve one, you give too much power to the executive branch.”
Sen. Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) said in a statement Thursday: “Creating new jobs will get our unemployed workers back into the workforce, while also encouraging our talented young people to stay in Michigan to live and work.”
Sen. Morris Hood III (D-Detroit) said Snyder had some “interesting” things to say and looks forward to working with the governor on helping to strengthen Michigan companies. While the ideas put forth in the speech were good, Hood said, some things still need to be worked out — the bridge, in particular.
“The devil is in the details,” Hood said.
Hood said the cost needs to be worked out, and that the burden must not fall on the backs of working-class residents.
“To my understanding, Canada has offered to pay $550 million, and we would have to match that.” Hood said. “We would have to figure out where that money would come from.”
Darany said that money would come back to Michigan, because the Canadian funds would matched by the federal government. And that should be a goal for Snyder, Darany said.
“If we don’t raise the money however we can, it will go to another state,” Darany said.
State Rep. David Nathan (D-Detroit) was more to the point in his assessment of the speech, saying Snyder was “pretty hopeful” in his solutions to the state’s problems, and that he kept his views bipartisan.
“Overall Gov. Snyder dealt with issues both sides need to look at, and not just for one side or the other,” Nathan said.
He also said the proposed bridge would be positive; that it would relieve gridlock and help get the traffic moving.
Cavanaugh said he hopes the politics will remain bipartisan, and that Snyder will be working for the good of the people, not parties.
“He votes for conscience,” Cavanaugh said of the governor. “The voters want us to work together.”
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected])