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Whitmer To Focus On Roads, Workforce In First State Of The State Address

February 12, 2019 - 8:52 am

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her first State of the State address tonight.

The main focus will be on on Michigan's "fundamentals" -- such as the roads, drinking water and workforce. But the Governor tells the Detroit Free Press a significant part of the speech will be devoted to a "sober assessment" of how bad things are in state government, including low morale and inadequate resources after years of budget restrictions. 

You'll hear the speech live on WWJ starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It will be delivered during a joint session of the Republican-led Legislature. >>LISTEN LIVE!

Whitmer told the newspaper that employees are using outdated computers and technology, which ultimately hurts all Michigan residents through reduced and impaired services. She said understaffing, leadership changes and lack of funding are issues affecting nearly all state departments.

Whitmer also plans to focus in part on the magnitude of the problem with deteriorating roads and bridges, asking drivers and businesses to give feedback on what pothole-ridden infrastructure is costing them. A detailed proposal will likely wait until she proposes her budget in March.

"In the State of the State is our opportunity to really identify what we’re going to do and then the budget is where you get more of the detail about what the solutions look like," she told the newspaper. 

Another major topic will be workforce development -- ensuring that companies can fill their jobs with in-state workers who have the proper training. The issue applies to all workers, she says, regardless of whether they have four-year college degrees, trade certificates or something in-between.