Educator wanted Gov. to address worker choice

Of the eight 2008 reader panelists who have agreed to respond to issues throughout the year, four spent a little over an hour listening to Gov. Jennifer Granholm present her vision for the state of Michigan during her State of the State address Tuesday night.

While most of the panelists agree that the Governor gave a good speech, they also wonder how well the words will translate into action to revive the state’s growingly dire economy. “Wow, what a great place to live, but why are all these for sale and foreclosure signs growing in all these front yards?” asked retired educator, Bob McCullough, 73. “I thought this was a good speech, but talk is cheap and we all know it takes money to buy whiskey!”

McCullough said that Valhalla is attainable but asked if it is realistic. “The governor said ‘fight for our future.’ I say fight for our survival,” he said.

Charlevoix resident, Karen Peters, 64, agreed that the governor gave a very uplifting and hopeful speech, while acknowledging the dire straits in which our state finds itself.

Peters is most concerned about the Kyoto-like law the Governor seeks which will mandate a certain level of alternative fuel use in the years to come, and said that the certainty of man-made global warming is not even a settled issue.

“Many scientists say it (global warming) is cyclical and out of our control. The other side of the story about this needs to be explored more by the media and government prior to spending billions of dollars on the effort,” Peters said. “While it is great that she hopes to bring new companies and jobs to our state in this effort, it is important to understand that each form of renewable energy is fraught with problems and high expenses. As to wind energy, no one wants them in their city, and it would take most of our open land to have enough of them to make a difference.”

Peters said that she also hopes the governor is not suggesting government run socialized medicine and added that the idea of citizens paying for everyone to go to college is not only unacceptable but is downright without merit.

Sixty-five year old Tom Ritchie, a health and safety coordinator, was a little anxious about what the governor was going to say but thought the speech she delivered was appropriate.

“Last year she proposed a new sales tax and it was a disaster,” Ritchie said. “Last night, she portrayed the conditions of the state as it is today and then set a vision that she, the legislature and private enterprise could do to improve the future. I liked that she mentioned both Republicans and Democrats who created bills that made a positive action for the state last year. It’s important to highlight both parties.”

For Ritchie, last’s nights address was the first he’s watched Granholm deliver and overall, he liked what he heard. He specifically liked the idea of reducing size of high schools, not letting kids drop out until the age of 18 and mandatory kindergarten. He also stressed the importance of striking a balance between our employment needs and ecology needs, and providing health care for all Americans.

“So many Americans don’t have health insurance. We do need to do something to try to get health care to more people,” he said.

Educator, Kim Wills, 59, was thankful that the governor began her address by acknowledging the service and commitment of the men and women in the armed services and said it was encouraging to hear her speak about incentives to attract businesses.

“One incentive that I would have liked to hear is a plan to pass Right to Work Laws,” she said. “One must also remember that the existing Michigan businesses will be the ones bearing the brunt of the load for bringing in new businesses. Will there be any help for them? After all, they are the ones who chose to stay during the tough times.”

Wills was also thankful to hear that new state police officers were going to be hired.

“One of government's responsibilities is the safety of its citizens. Increased public safety will also help attract businesses to this state,” she said.

Wills thinks that when it comes to health care, the more government gets involved, the more costly it is and the longer people have to wait to get help. And while the Governor addressed education in a variety of ways, many of which Wills thinks will help, she would liked to have heard Granholm also address school vouchers.


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