In the 2021 State of the State Address, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, announced Michigan Back to Work, a plan to rebuild the economy and create jobs, and announced a statewide tour.
Whitmer said Michigan Back to Work will be a series of smaller initiatives and projects that will be announced throughout the year. This includes jobs in tech, manufacturing and clean energy.
Whitmer said Michigan does not have the needed supply of COVID-19 vaccines yet, but once it does the state has a plan to vaccinate 50,000 people per day. The goal is to vaccinate at least 70% of those aged 16 and up.
“This process is like a locomotive -- it will be cumbersome and slow in the beginning, but it will get faster and smoother as we go,” Whitmer said. “I just ask for patience as our frontline workers work around the clock to get shots in arms.”
In her address, Whitmer also celebrated Michigan’s testing and vaccination numbers, with more than 9.6 million tests performed and over 800,000 vaccines administered.
The topic of race and inequity was a common thread that ran through Whitmer’s address, from acknowledging the protests that started last summer with the murder of George Floyd to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color.
“By acknowledging this, we not only saved lives in Michigan but around the country as other states learned from us,” she said.
Whitmer also talked about the impact COVID-19 has had on the education system, and said she will reconvene the Return to School Advisory Council as she pushed for school districts to have a plan to put students back to in-person instruction by March 1.
She said next month teachers and support staff will be rewarded $500 as a part of the MI Classroom Heroes grant.
“Thank you to our incredible educators, administrators, and support staff for their dedication to our students throughout this pandemic,” Whitmer said.
As an elected official who has come under fire from former U.S. President Donald Trump and as current President Joe Biden’s current pick for vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Whitmer acknowledged the deep divisions that exist in today’s political climate.
To combat this, she announced her “Fixing the Damn Road Ahead” tour around Michigan, where she said she wants to listen to Michiganders of all political leanings in an attempt to heal some division.
She ended her address with a call to legislative leaders.
“Our job now is to fix the damn road ahead -- together.”
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