Perhaps because many of us are focused on Jan. 20 as the possible End of Days, or because we were shaking our heads both in amazement and sick amusement at the Senate confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s perverted choice to lead the U.S. Department of Education, not a considerable amount of coverage was dedicated by most major news outlets to the State of the State address delivered by Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday evening.
Not that there weren’t some interesting moments in the speech, both in the positive and negative column, but compared to viewing the steady incoming march of Trump and his merry band of unqualified pranksters, goofs, and wrecking balls, it’s admittedly hard to focus on the relentless – some might say unfounded – optimism of Michigan’s Nerd-In-Chief. After all, it’s kind of hard to forget that it was Gov. Snyder’s insistence on ignoring the will of the people who did not want any more emergency management that gave us Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, who was complicit in not just one but two of the state’s largest disasters in its history; the Flint water crisis and the Detroit Public Schools, where he fulfilled his role as one in a line of EMs to effectively wreck public education in Detroit after helping to poison the citizens of Flint.
In December of 2016, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schette’s criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis produced felony charges against Earley along with former Flint Emergency manager Gerald Ambrose and two Flint public works employees.
That said, Gov. Snyder did offer his side of the Flint story on Tuesday:
“Now I’d like to talk about Flint for a couple minutes. Make no mistake; this was a sad chapter in the history of our state. Last year the people of Flint suffered an unacceptable crisis. I made a commitment to the people of Flint to fix it. …We’re making progress, but our work is not done yet. …In terms of progress on the water front, we have new test results, and by June 2016 we provided $27 million to help with lead pipe replacements to the City of Flint. To date we’ve seen progress. Over 600 pipes have been replaced. In terms of health, we have over 24,000 new Flint residents on Medicaid waivers to help provide health care. On education, we have over 400 new positions for early childhood education in the community of Flint, and we’ve seen 827 new jobs created in that community since we’ve started this process.”
Other highlights, at least to me, included the following:
- “Our production is up 44 percent over the past decade (in the dairy industry).
- Michigan cows are the second most productive behind Colorado per cow. So when you see those cows, give ‘em a shout out.”
- “Manufacturing, we’re simply leading the nation. We’ve created over 116,000 manufacturing jobs since December 2010. We lead the nation. We are number one both in terms of manufacturing jobs and growth rate percentage.”
- Snyder said that when he took office there was only a $2 million rainy day fund that “Wouldn’t run government for 30 minutes”. Now the fund is practically spilling over at $700 million.
- “I want to give a shout out to Detroit. …We’ve gone from bankruptcy to the comeback city of the United States.”
- “Since 2009 we’ve seen a doubling of heroin overdoses, and that’s unacceptable.”
- Between Flint and the sinkhole in Fraser, “We’re at risk in every corner of Michigan for aging infrastructure.”