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Governor’s State of the State address is a list of greatest hits, but Dems largely unsatisfied

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan
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A day after Governor Snyder delivers his "State of the State" address, he plans to go live on the web with an "online town hall." The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday. Details can be found on the Governor's Facebook page.

Governor Snyder focused much of the annual address on his achievements as governor, while also, insisting there is more work to be done.

Unlike last year, when the Flint water crisis took center stage, this year, Snyder did not address Flint until halfway thru his speech.

During the short time he did spend on Flint, he spoke about the work that has been done.

“We took immediate action and in the following days and months we’ve worked tirelessly to make Flint’s water safe to drink again and improve the entire city of Flint,” he said. “We’re making progress but our work is not done yet.”

While some accused Snyder of dismissing the water crisis too quickly, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich said he was more concerned about action after the speech.

“The amount of time – if he was guaranteeing more action, I could care less if he brings it up at all,” he said. “I want to see action and I think the people of the state deserve it. I think, you know, probably it should have, but I’m definitely going to be demanding more action on it.”

Flint mayor Karen Weaver also thought Snyder’s address lacked details on how Flint continues to move forward.

“I said well maybe I’ll have to fill in the blanks and roll them out myself, that’s what I make of it,” she said. “And that’s what I was looking to hear, and I didn’t hear those things. I didn’t hear specifics as far as when you talk about rolling something out.”

Snyder also spoke positively about Healthy Michigan – the state’s program to expand Medicaid to more Michigan residents. But, he also alluded to its future under President-Elect Donald Trump.

“With respect to Healthy Michigan in particular though, when it comes to the federal government we hope for the best but we can’t count on it,” he said. “There’s gonna be changes in health care. The important thing is we need to let them know that Healthy Michigan is a model that works for the country.”

The fate of Healthy Michigan is unknown as Congressional Republicans promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Mayor Weaver wasn’t the only one to point out Snyder’s lack of specifics during his speech. Democratic house leader Sam Singh had several areas that he wanted more details on.

“I appreciate talking about good government, but when you don’t talk about how we expand the Freedom of Information Act, how we don’t deal with a number of the campaign finance issues we’re grappling with as a state,” he said. “When we don’t deal with those issues I think it makes things very uncertain for people.”

In a somewhat unexpected turn, Snyder also focused on the state’s population.

Snyder said he wants to boost Michigan’s population by 71-thousand people in the next three years for a goal of 10 million Michiganders. 

“Do you remember what it was like when we heard about our kids having to leave the state,” he said. “Actually raise your hand if you know of someone that had to leave Michigan because there wasn’t a job opportunity in the last decade or so. Those days have changed folks.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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