2017-04-27 / Columns

Contenders Assembling To Replace Snyder

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

The 2018 election to replace term-limited Republican Governor Rick Snyder is more than 15 months away, but already many names of potential candidate replacements – some prominent and some obscure – have surfaced.

Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley are prominent among Republicans long contemplating runs. An announced GOP candidate is Jim Hines, a Saginaw obstetrician-gynecologist and president of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

Prominent in the Democratic field are former state Senate Leader Gretchen Whitmer of Ingham County, and possible contender U.S. Representative Dale Kildee of Flint Township, who is considering and is getting a lot of media attention in part because of all of the attention to the Flint water crisis.

Obscure contenders include former Detroit health director Abdul El- Sayed and former Xerox executive Bill Cobbs.

Last week, The Detroit News said Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar, former CEO of Avomeen Analytical Services and a native of India, is considering a run. The Detroit News said, “He was named 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year by multinational finance giant Ernst and Young, and made local headlines in December for giving his employees a collective $1.5 million in holiday bonuses.”

Thanedar submitted paperwork to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office that would allow him to raise funds for a governor’s race, but as of this writing had not announced plans to run.

In my view, former businessman Snyder, now in his second and final term, has had a solid record. But can he claim, as Democratic Governor James J. Blanchard did in the 1980s, to have spurred an economic comeback for the state’s economy?

Not according to The Detroit News, which last week headlined on its front page: “Cracks Open in Mich’s Comeback.” It said:

“The state’s $10 billion general fund is roughly the same size it was in 2000. Education attainment lags rival states. Personal income growth between 2000 and 2013 is less than half the national average, with Michigan notching a gain on 32.1% compared to 66.1% nationally, according to number compiled by Public Sector Consultants.”

Peters Advocates for Women Vets

Michigan’s junior U.S. Senator, Gary Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, has in his first term been a vocal and effective advocate for veterans, who for years have been getting a raw deal from the Veterans Administration.

Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation that would require the VA “to provide better access to services to help meet the unique care needs of women veterans.” He said:

“The Deborah Sampson Act, named for a woman who disguised herself to serve in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, would improve access to specialized services, like maternity and newborn care. According to the VA, there are approximately two million women veterans across the country, including more than 46,000 in Michigan.

“As the number of women veterans continues to grow, we must ensure that they are able to access the care and services they have earned by serving our country in uniform.

“I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that improves support services and eliminates barriers to health care so we can ensure that the women who have served this country have equal access to the benefits they earned and can smoothly transition to civilian life.”

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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