Governor to Mich. press: Take debate to ‘higher ground’

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told key executives at Michigan newspapers they are partners with elected leaders, both charged with forwarding democracy.
At the same time, Granholm said she hopes those who hold elected office, "exhort you to something higher."
The governor spoke Friday at the Michigan Press Association's annual Legislative Luncheon at its Winter Convention at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids.
She challenged the media to be, "more David Broder and less Don Imus. More Jim Lehrer and less Shawn Hannity. More New York Times and less National Enquirer…I hope both partners in this dance can take it to a higher ground, on that makes your readers feel uplifted."
Granholm briefly outlined topics facing Michigan residents in the near future, including the state's anticipated $1 billion budget shortfall.
She said Michigan voters who put her and members of the state legislature in office "expect a balance in government. They expect us to work together and expect us to produce results."
Granholm said she and others in government will focus on jobs.
As an example, Granholm pointed to the expected loss of 2,700 jobs in the Greenville area, where Electrolux has announced it will close its operation and move to Mexico.
She said the issue is one of fair trade and the problem is on the federal level.
She said other countries are engaging unchecked in trade practices that are harmful to manufacturers in the United States, like manipulating their currency to make it more profitable for companies to operate in those countries.
She said other countries "set up bizarre rules" that impede U.S. manufacturers from selling their goods elsewhere.
Granholm said the state's leaders, while finding a way to keep current manufacturing jobs, should invest in "intellectual capital" by fostering education and technology and leading the way in research.
She also said her administration will also work to create venture capital funds by leveraging federal and private dollars for start-up companies.
Granholm said those in her administration and the Michigan legislature should look closely at revamping the state's single business tax.
That tax, which she called a disincentive for businesses to locate in Michigan, is set to expire in 2009.
She said Michigan is also at work to keep young people here by upping the quality of life for all through its Cool Cities initiative.
She said her administration has formed "a commission on cool," and is working with leaders in a variety of Michigan cities to come up with ideas, like creating loft living spaces in downtowns and cyber cafes in an effort to make like in Michigan cities "cool."

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