LANSING, Mich. — Fresh off a positive COVID-19 test this week, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and his family are feeling fine, and that’s, in part, why he’s continuing to urge people to get the vaccine.
“That means kids, that means adults get vaccinated and boosted because that's the way that we prevent people from getting really, really sick from COVID-19. That's been my experience,” Gilchrist explained.
“The second piece is that we certainly want to appreciate just how healthcare professionals have stepped up in such a huge way, and they're so exhausted and getting vaccinated is the way to help them," he added.
Gilchrist spoke with FOX 17 Wednesday night about COVID-19, vaccines and the year ahead.
As the omicron variant continues to surge, just 58% of eligible Michiganders are fully vaccinated, short of the national mark.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on the federal vaccine mandate for most workers soon. Gilchrist says the state will be compliant with whatever federal regulations come down.
“We'll await the results of that legal proceeding, and as far as vaccines, people need to make the choice to get vaccinated, and everyone who's not yet vaccinated that means they need to hear from someone in their life who is t, tell them why it's important…"
Tackling COVID, of course, is an important issue as Michigan takes on the new year, though a lot of attention will be on how relief money gets spent.
On Wednesday, lawmakers gathered in Lansing for the first session of 2022, and they walked into the Capitol sitting on billions of dollars in federal relief money that still hasn’t been allocated.
So far, the Republican-led Legislature and the Whitmer administration haven't found common ground.
The lieutenant governor says he and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are eager to get to work and are confident things will get done, despite a divided government and an election on the horizon.
Gilchrist points to their success in passing bipartisan laws like Michigan’s Clean Slate law and the recently signed economic development package to attract new businesses. Gilchrist says, “Governor Whitmer and I are willing to work with anybody who cares more about Michigan than politics. And so we're going to do that every single day, regardless of whether this is an election year or not, we have work to do, and we're going to show up every day to deliver."
Work to fix the state’s infrastructure and sparking the economy sit atop of the list of priorities, but this is what Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist says most excites him about 2022:
“Just the continued growth trajectory of the people of Michigan. When kids have access to well-resourced public schools or high-quality early learning experiences, it unlocks their imagination in ways that is so inspiring. And I'm saying this as a parent. Look, I have a two-and-a-half-year-old who's in a childcare facility. I'm now and just seeing how her mind has exploded, her vocabulary, her creativity, how she's speaking; it's incredible. And the fact that more Michiganders are going to have access to that because of the work that we were able to do last year. I'm excited about what that means for the future of the state of Michigan,” says Gilchrist.
The state budget signed last year includes record investments in K–12 education and increased funding for childcare.