LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer sounded hopeful in herthird State of the State address, while calling for bipartisanship in crafting the path forward through the pandemic.
Tonight, I’m announcing Michigan Back to Work: my plan to help us grow our economy and get Michiganders back on their feet. We will leverage all of the resources of State Government to rebuild our economy back better. #MiSOTS21— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) January 28, 2021
“She was trying to strike a chord about bipartisanship. And we'd like to hear it. But we also want to see it,” State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, R-Norton Shores said.
Republicans in the Legislature say they appreciate Governor Whitmer's calls for unity and bipartisanship but say while it sounds great, actions speak louder than words.
“It is always interesting to hear the governor’s priorities and her outlook for Michigan’s future, but actions always speak louder than words written in a speech." Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes.
"So, forgive me for being skeptical of her calls tonight for us to work together. It takes two to do so and we’re tired of holding our hands out." Outman added.
“We've been talking for a year now how we want to work with the governor on the pandemic response and make sure that people open and unfortunately, we haven't seen it, we haven't seen her opening that door for us to work on this,” VanWoerkom added.
“I appreciate the governor’s call to work on a bipartisan basis. Bipartisan work is possible, but it is a two-way street. I call on the governor to immediately lift burdensome restrictions that her administration has placed on Michigan businesses and schools," state Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo said.
The state GOP is criticizing the governor for not showing the science for why schools must stay closed for another month and why some businesses are still not open.
On Wednesday state House Republicans released their COVID recovery plan and announced they would hold back billions in education funding unless the governor would sign a law taking away emergency powers from the state health department.
That’s the power the administration uses to pause in-person schooling and sports.
“The dollars that were received from the federal government, some dollars was projected to be higher tax dollars than we've received with revenue estimates, so supplemental dollars. We recognize that students are falling behind without having the in-person learning. Part of this is trying to help with that and get kids back to where they should be,” VanWoerkom added.
While both sides debate their plans, Republicans say they too are willing to work together.
“We have shown that the House certainly is interested in getting things done for Michigan families. We need to have a partner with that, that that's the key. We need to have a partner in the governor's office, we are co-equal branches of government. So we stand at the ready to do that,” VanWoerkom said.
Meanwhile, Michigan Senate Republicans, who've also voiced their position on COVID-19 restrictions blocked 13 of the governor's nominees to various state boards on Wednesday.