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Stateside: Lawmakers, teachers, LGBTQ activist react to SOTS; empowering Muslim girls through books

Gretchen Whitmer
Whitmer for Governor
"Michigan's problems are not partisan problems. Potholes are not political. There is no such thing as Republican or Democratic school kids or drinking water. Our challenges affect us all," said Gov. Whitmer in her first State of the State speech Tuesday.

Today on Stateside, we hear reactions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as some Michigan teachers, on the plans Governor Gretchen Whitmer laid out during the State of the State speech. Plus, we talk to two sisters from Rochester Hills who started the nonprofit “Girls of the Crescent” to empower Muslim girls through books and reading. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

GOP Senator applauds Gov. Whitmer’s calls for bipartisanship, but how to get there “is going to be a challenge”

Stateside’s conversation with Jim Stamas

  • "Let's come together to solve Michigan's problems." That was the message Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered in her first State of the State speech. So, how is her message of bipartisanship landing with members of the GOP-led Legislature? To find out, we talk with State Senator Jim Stamas, a Republican from Midland and chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Stamas tells us what he thought of Whitmer's appeals for bipartisanship and her plans to increase funding for roads and education.

LGBTQ advocate hopes Gov. Whitmer can “break the log jam” on expanding civil rights protections


Stateside’s conversation with Erin Knott

  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Tuesday night speech called for expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protection for LGBTQ people across the state. Stateside hears from Erin Knott, the interim executive director of Equality Michigan. She talks about the Republican opposition to the changes to Elliot-Larsen, and shares what she thinks the LGBTQ community can do to work with Whitmer to  advance LGBTQ rights. 


Sisters on a mission to stock library shelves with books featuring Muslim women characters


Stateside’s conversation with Zena and Mena Nasiri

  • When a research project in the 4th grade required sisters Zena and Mena Nasiri to read about someone they looked up to, they were disappointed to discover that they couldn’t find any biographies on Muslim women they admired at their local library. To fix this problem, the sisters founded a nonprofit called "Girls of the Crescent" to collect books with female Muslim characters and donate them to local libraries and schools.  


Michigan took a stand against the Fugitive Slave Act 164 years ago today


Stateside’s conversation with Rachel Clark and Kimberly Holley

  • It was on this day, 164 years ago in in 1855, that a new law in Michigan took affect. It was created to get around a federal law known as the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed for the capture of escaped slaves in non-slaveholding states. 
  • Rachel Clark, from the Michigan History Center, and Kimberly Holley, director of the Sojourner Truth Institute, joined Stateside to talk about the effect of the law and the reaction it caused from people in Washington. 

Michigan businesses need to pay more for roads, schools says vice chair of Senate Budget Committee


Stateside's conversation with Curtis Hertel, Jr.

  • Govenor Gretchen Whitmer laid out big plans for fixing infrastructure and improving educational achievement in the state on Tuesday night. But the question remains: How are you going to pay for it? To get some insight from the Democratic side of the aisle, we talk to State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., who is vice chair of Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Gov. Whitmer’s promises on education strike a chord with teachers

Stateside's conversation with Matinga Ragatz

  • Education was a major focus for Govenor Gretchen Whitmer during her first State of the State speech Tuesday night. She pointed out Michigan's declining educational achievement, and called out previous administrations for using K-12 education funding to fill gaps elsewhere in the state budget. To find out what teachers took away from her speech, we talk to Stateside education commentatorMatinga Ragatz.


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