Snyder: ‘Stop playing the blame game’

Governor special guest during April 4 county chamber luncheon

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 4, 2016

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — There was no protesting, no shouting, no finger-pointing and no visible signs of ire when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder attended the Macomb County Chamber Alliance's April 4 luncheon at MacRay Harbor.

In fact, Snyder was given a standing ovation both before and at the conclusion of the 20-minute speech he gave to some 400 audience members in attendance.

While the main focus of his speech revolved around the recent successes seen in Macomb County and across Michigan, the Republican, now under a close microscope of scrutiny, didn’t ignore the Flint water crisis.

“This is a truly tragic situation,” Snyder said. “We had a handful of experts with decades of experience in water quality make terrible decisions. They basically said we could do a study in Flint instead of adding $150-a-day of chemicals to the water system that would have prevented this problem. They continually said the water was safe until October of last year, with major consequences.”

Snyder said that rather than running away from this discovery, something that eventually led to many asking for him to step down as governor, he addressed it head-on.

“I took responsibility for that because I should,” he said. “That’s how Michiganders were raised. If someone working for you makes a mistake, you’re responsible for that. You take responsibility, but you don’t roll up in a ball and you don’t walk away. What do you do as Michiganders? You say you’re going to fix it. So I’m committed to fixing the issues in Flint.”

Snyder then went on to explain his new 75-point plan for Flint, which will include numerous long-term goals like adding more nurses in schools, replacing fixtures in schools and removing lead pipes. In addition, he has a plan to fund commissions that would address water and sewer infrastructure around the state.

“This is a learning process in Flint, as well as it being a crisis in Flint,” he said.

Turning his focus to the state as a whole, Snyder said there continues to be advances in a number of aspects from the economy to the housing market.

“First we had the lost decade, we went backwards,” he said referring to the Great Recession beginning in 2008. “The positive news is we’ve made a huge comeback. We should be proud. We are the comeback state in the United States. There is no doubt about it.”

In terms of economic successes, Snyder said more than 444,000 private sector jobs have been created in the state since 2010. Per capita income increases have continued in the last 12 months, ranking Michigan fourth in the nation for the largest percent increase in per capita income.

“And we have exceeded national averages for the last five years,” he said. “Home values are coming back up to 2007 levels.”

Snyder added that when he was elected in 2010, the state’s unemployment rate was 11.2 percent. Today it is 4.8 percent, below the national average of 5 percent.

Getting more local, Snyder called Macomb County an idyllic place to live and visit.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the working partnership between state government and county government is why there are so many successes being experienced now and he thinks will be experienced well into the future.

“This partnership has been working incredibly well,” Hackel said. “The reality is, these people want to work together (to continually improve the state and the county).”

Snyder concluded his talk by saying that it’s time for Michigan to stop placing blame when focusing on the issues and instead be proactive in finding answers.

“Stop playing the blame game and start playing the solution game,” he said.

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