Voters Guide Continued: GRETCHEN WHITMER (D)

Gretchen Whitmer, candidate for governor

Political experience: Michigan State Representative from the 69th District 2000-2006, Michigan State Senator from the 23rd District 2006-2015, Democratic Leader of the Michigan Senate 2011-2015

Civic involvement: NAACP – Lifetime member; Small Talk – Ingham County Center for Child survivors of sexual trauma; Take Back the Night – Take Back the Night is an international event and non-profit organization with the mission of ending sexual, relationship, and domestic violence in all forms; Firecracker Foundation – Center provides holistic healing services to child survivors of sexual trauma under the age of 18 and their families in the tricounty area of Mid-Michigan; Greater Lansing Food Bank – organized volunteer efforts and required all Senate Dem staff to volunteer for one day; Habitat for Humanity; Children’s Trust Fund

Gretchen Whitmer

What will be your top priority if elected to office? We’ve got to fix the roads here in Michigan. The average Michigander spends $540 a year on car repairs. I have a real plan to rebuild Michigan’s roads the right way, the first time with high-quality materials and mix so we can get the job done right.

Name three core values that define your political outlook: 1. Everybody deserves to drop their kids at school or drive to work safely, without blowing their tire or cracking their windshield. 2. Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care and protections for pre-existing conditions. 3. Everybody deserves clean, safe drinking water.

What makes you the best candidate for the job? As Senate Democratic Leader, I routinely worked across the aisle to solve problems. I’m proud to have the support of the Detroit Regional Chamber and leaders from the past three Republican administrations because they know I’m ready to work with everyone to get things done for Michiganders.

What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your life? As Senate Democratic Leader, I negotiated with Republicans to expand Medicaid to more than 680,000 Michiganders. I’m proud of the work that I did, and as governor, I’ll defend Medicaid expansion and fight to protect and expand coverage for every Michigander.

How do you think you can impact southwest Michigan’s future? We need to make sure everyone can thrive here in Michigan. I have real plans to build a better Michigan for everyone by fixing the roads, repealing the retirement tax, making health care more affordable, and making sure every Michigander has a path to a high wage skill.

What is the biggest challenge our region faces? How would you address it? Every Michigander deserves a path to a good job. I have a plan to improve early childhood education, ensure students have the wraparound services they need, and lower the cost of higher education through the MI Opportunity Scholarship to be used at community colleges, four-year universities, and skills training programs.

Other comments: I’m a mom, former Senate Democratic Leader, and lifelong Michigander who loves our state. As governor, I’ll focus on the things that will actually make a difference in your lives right now. That means fixing our roads, making health care more affordable, getting every Michigander on a path to a high wage skill, and cleaning up our drinking water.

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