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Stateside Podcast: Gov. Whitmer's State of the State Address

The Michigan state Senate room from the gallery.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Senate chamber.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her fifth State of the State address on Wednesday evening, this time before a Democratic legislative majority for the first time during her career as governor of Michigan. During her speech, Gov. Whitmer called for bipartisanship while still urging her fellow party members to use their voting power to advance Democratic agenda items. Though Michigan Democrats only have a slight upper hand with a two-seat advantage in both the House and Senate, Whitmer is seeking her party’s support on several hot-button proposals this year.

Sweeping Education Reforms

Governor Whitmer cast a wide net with her proposed educational policy plans, which spanned from preschools through post-secondary institutions. She called on the Legislature to make the Great Start Readiness Program universal, which would grant every 4-year-old in the state of Michigan the right to a state-funded preschool education.

Whitmer is also seeking funding for her $280 million "Get MI Kids Back on Track" plan, which Republicans chose not to include in the 2022 budget. Hoping for support from her Democratic colleagues this fiscal year, the governor also took her education agenda to Michigan’s community colleges and universities with a proposal to expand her Michigan Reconnect program to include residents as young as 21 years old.

Expanded Gun Regulations

Republicans have ruled the roost in the Michigan legislature for years, making it nearly impossible for Democrats to make any headway on hot-button issues like gun reform. Now, with Democrats in complete control of the Michigan House and Senate for the first time since 1984, Governor Whitmer is moving full steam ahead with plans to implement more progressive gun policies in Michigan. In her State of the State Address, the governor asked lawmakers to pass universal background checks, red flag gun confiscation laws, and a safe storage law.

Tax Cuts for Seniors and Low-Income Residents

With tax season on the horizon, Whitmer’s tax budget proposal to a new, more fiscally progressive legislature was highly anticipated. In her speech, the governor focused on low-income residents and seniors in her proposed “Lowering MI Costs” plan. The proposed plan would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and repeal the current “retirement tax” on senior pensions.

On today’s Stateside podcast, we were joined by reporters Colin Jackson of the Michigan Public Radio Network and Alyssa McMurtry of Gongwer News Service, who helped break down the highlights and key moments of Governor Whitmer’s 2023 State of the State address.


  • Colin Jackson, reporter, Michigan Public Radio Network
  • Alyssa McMurtry, staff writer, Gongwer News Service 

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Music in this episode byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Anna joined Stateside as an assistant producer in August 2021. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism and previously worked for The State News as an intern and student government reporter.
Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.