Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her 2021 State of the State address on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 with the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis and political party fractures in Lansing.
2021 – Gov. Whitmer’s third year in office – was a much different scene than she’s used to. Just a few people in her office conducted the address compared to hundreds of lawmakers and family members filling the Lansing’s Capitol building in 2020.
The 2021 address also struck a much different tone. Gov. Whitmer started her 2020 address by hugging members of her administration, making jokes, and poking fun at State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s outfit in January 2020. The governor’s 2021 address started by remembering the 14,411 Michiganders who have died from COVID-19 complications since March.
“This year didn’t pan out like any of us wanted or imagined,” said Gov. Whitmer, “It required compassion, strength, and a lot of Michigan grit.”
The governor also laid out reasons for optimism, and set big goals for the year ahead.
Gov. Whitmer focused on the pandemic; its impact on the state and her plans to recover from it. She set a goal to vaccinate 50,000 Michiganders every day once supply improves and asked people for patience until then.
“The quicker we do this, the quicker we’ll have the normalcy we all crave,” Gov. Whitmer said.
The governor also promoted her $5.6 billion ‘MI COVID-19 Recovery’ plan. She said it prioritizes, “distributing vaccines, getting our kids back on track, and supporting small businesses to jump-start our economy.”
Gov. Whitmer also announced her ‘Michigan Back to Work’ plan.
“We will leverage all of the resources of the state government to rebuild our economy back better,” said Gov. Whitmer.
The governor said it’s aimed at growing the economy and getting Michiganders back on their feet, but the announcement included few specific details.
Gov. Whitmer said, “Working with leaders in state and federal government, business, and beyond to grow good-paying Michigan jobs. Over the next year, we will announce initiatives and projects big and small – from tech, mobility and manufacturing growth, to clean energy and road construction. This will protect, grow, and create more good-paying jobs.”
In another announcement on Wednesday, the governor said she would be on the road in 2021 for a statewide “Fixing the Damn Road Ahead” tour – a callback to her 2018 campaign – where she will speak with Michiganders about what unites them.
Whitmer’s speech was applauded by some Democrats.
- If you would like to watch the address again, you can do so below:
“That’s one of the things about the governor that I appreciate the most is that – this is her third State of the State – she tries to put in place actionable things,” said state Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-27th District).
But many Republicans were unimpressed and frustrated by the governor’s speech. Two Republicans in the state legislature shared the same sentiment, “Actions speak louder than words.”
“We’ve been working trying to find opportunities to work together for a long time, she chose to go it alone,” said State Representative Mark Huizenga (R-74th District).
Huizenga said while the governor talks about bipartisanship, she hasn’t tried to work with Republicans in the Legislature to get things done.
State Senator Aric Nesbitt (R-26th District) pointed to Michigan’s bumpy vaccine rollout.
“It’s been a complete failure by Health and Human Services and happy talk isn’t gonna gloss it over,” said Nesbitt.
Shirkey and State House Speaker Jason Wentworth are spearheading the republican rebuttal to Gov. Whitmer’s 2021 State of the State address on Thursday, January 28, 2021.