How Detroit took center stage in Gov. Whitmer's State of the State
You could feel the excitement from Democrats inside the Capitol Wednesday night in Lansing ahead of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State address.
- With the party in its best position in 40 years, legislative leaders representing Detroit are more relevant than ever.
Why it matters: For the first time in the history of the chamber, two Black men from Detroit — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and House Speaker Joe Tate — stood behind the governor.
- "While it is historic, there's a great responsibility for us to make sure we're getting things done for not only the Black community but for all communities across Michigan," Tate told Axios following Whitmer's speech.
Driving the news: "Let's get it done," the governor said in her speech about proposals such as lowering taxes on retirement income, expanding the working families tax credit, bolstering education programs and adding protections for LGBTQ+ residents.
- Whitmer also put an emphasis on adding new regulations for gun owners that stalled in previous sessions under Republican leadership.
- "We have a flood of illegal guns on our streets," Whitmer said, pressing the need for greater restrictions on technology like 3D printed guns and Glock switches.
Zoom in: Detroit Police chief James White is in favor of greater regulations and has even spoken against the civilian possession of assault weapons.
- It's unclear whether the governor supports an assault weapons ban.
The intrigue: A video shown before Whitmer entered the House floor used locker room pep talks from Lions head coach Dan Campbell that ended with the phrase: "We are one team. #MichiganGrit."
- "Michiganders compete with an underdog spirit and carry ourselves with a championship swagger," the governor said. She even donned a "Grit" hat.
Separately, the governor championed bills to repeal the state's 1931 abortion bill while criticizing abortion restrictions in surrounding states: "I'll go to any state that restricts people's freedoms and win business and hardworking people from them. I'm looking at you, Ohio and Indiana."
- Democrats weren't able to officially take the bill off the books before earning a resounding victory at the polls through the passage of Prop 3 last year, which adds abortion rights to the state Constitution.
Of note: Another nod to Detroit was the selection of the Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony of Fellowship Chapel to deliver the invocation. He told lawmakers that "Our greatness lies in our diversity."
The other side: "This is where our focus needs to be," Sen. Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt said in the GOP's formal response from inside a grocery store, highlighting high inflation. "Far too many Michiganders are struggling to afford everyday necessities."
- Republican leaders are calling on the governor to bring broad tax cuts instead of targeted relief for just working families.
💭 Sam's thought bubble: There were more Black staffers inside the state Capitol than I've ever seen Wednesday night.
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