MI election 2018: Bill Schuette

Oct 25, 2018

WKAR is speaking with all six of the candidates running to be Michigan's next governor about water, education, healthcare and other issues facing the state. Morning Edition host Emily Fox interviewed Michigan's Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bill Schuette.


EMILY FOX:

In your mind, what’s the most pressing problem facing the state right now and how do you plan to fix it?

BILL SCHUETTE:

The most pressing problem facing Michigan right is that we need to have more jobs and bigger paychecks and Michigan needs to be a growth state, and a paycheck state, and a job state. I’m running for governor to grow our population.

FOX:

How do we get there?

SCHUETTE:  

We need to make sure that people are in charge and we encourage the private sector to grow jobs and maximize economic growth. That means cutting and eliminating the Granholm/Whitmer income tax increase that was supposed to have been temporary but it’s been lingering on now since 2007, so that’s number one. The second is we need to lower auto insurance rates. When we have the highest auto insurance rates in America, that has to change. And we’ve got to improve our schools, and rebuild our roads, and provide accessible healthcare for families across the state.

FOX:

What is your vision for healthcare in the state?

SCHUETTE:

Accessible and affordable healthcare is so important to every citizen of our state. Healthy Michigan is the law and we need to make sure we cover pre-existing conditions. I’ve always supported pre-existing condition coverage—voted for it six times in the State Senate. I want to improve Healthy Michigan by having a Medicaid work requirement for able-bodied adults. That’s how we make sure we have the resources to help those who are truly in need. Those that are able-bodied and able to work, well, we’d celebrate them being on an employer’s healthcare program and have more jobs and a brighter future.

FOX:

In your mind, what are the biggest issues facing education right now and how do you plan to fix it?

SCHUETTE:

My wife Cynthia and I attended public schools in Midland and so did our daughter Heidi and son Bill. But today Michigan’s third grade reading scores are among the lowest in the nation. So as governor, I’m going to grade our schools “A” through “F”—a report card for families so they can see which schools in their neighborhood or across the state are performing well and which are not. Second, provide grants as incentives to those schools and reward those schools that are showing improvement in terms of their test scores. And finally, have a literacy director in the governor’s office as a member of the cabinet because of the significance of reading. When I’m governor, Michigan’s children will read. We’ll add a Michigan reading foundation to provide for transportation scholarships and hire literacy coaches and summer reading coaches. This issue of reading is so fundamental to Michigan’s future. When I’m governor, Michigan’s children will read.

FOX:

Michigan has had issues with the safety of our drinking water, whether that be from lead, PFAS or copper. What do you plan to do to make sure water is safe to drink here in Michigan?

SCHUETTE:

Our state government needs to provide help to those communities that have a PFS problem. Whether that’s in Alpena, whether that is north of Grand Rapids—Rockford, or near Kalamazoo in Parchment. The fact is, we need to provide safe drinking sources, do the cleanup, work with the federal government, and as governor I’ll work side by side with the leaders in the federal government and the DEQ to make sure we have clean, safe drinking water for citizens of this state.

FOX:

Do you think we have the funds to make that happen?

SCHUETTE:

This is a significant issue, we just need to make it done and we’re going to get it done and provide safe drinking water. There’s no other way. Listen, I’ve experienced Flint. I led the fight to provide accountability in Flint and with the same drive, the same passion, the same earnestness that I had this investigation on the Flint water crisis, the same sense of responsibility I’ll tackle the issue of PFAS.

FOX:

Water is a big resource in our state. What are your thoughts on outside sources withdrawing from the Great Lakes and its basin?

SCHUETTE:

I’ve been a leader in opposing water diversion of the Great Lakes and all the straddling counties. This goes back to this issue of Michigan growing. We can’t be a smaller, shrinking state. There will be 13 members of Congress after the next census. We once had 19 members of Congress. That means we are a smaller state. We can’t continue to shrink and be less significant because our resources will be at risk if we have fewer members of Congress. Other states are growing faster than we are. And who’s going to want that water, Emily? You know it. It will be the west and the south. They have growing populations. That’s one of these issues why I’m running for governor, to grow our state’s population. Let’s grow our state by cutting taxes, lowering auto insurance rates, but we need to be competitive in terms of jobs, economic growth, that’s key to our state’s future and it will protect diversion of Great Lakes water.