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3.1.18 – SPOKES Notes

SPOKES Notes written by Shannon Kolarik

Welcome Governor Rick Snyder!

John Zwarensteyn greeted Governor Rick Snyder and led him through the crowd of applause commencing our meeting on Thursday. Renwick Brutus then took the podium to go over the 4-Way test that Rotarians commit to around the world. Randy Murphy gave a very patriotic invocation honoring Governor Snyder and opening our luncheon.

Michael Sytsma encouraged everyone to get their tickets for the Frederik Meijer Service Above Self Dinner March 21st. While lunch was being served, Governor Snyder greeted as many members and visitors as he could, working his way through the room with cordiality. President Renwick announced Lt. Governor Brian Calley. Calley spoke about the opportunity to reinvent Michigan at a time when we needed it most. That opportunity came in the form of Rick Snyder. Calley brought up the concept of fighting throughout the history of politics and how it has flooded our country’s leadership. The difference with Governor Snyder and his administration is that they’re doing things that really matter. He has proved that you can be in a position of authority and also be honorable.

Governor Snyder started out by saying that he wishes he had our 4-Way test cards with him during his most recent visits to Lansing and Washington which got a chuckle out of the crowd. He remembers Rotary when he was in high school and the difference it made in his community. His daughter won a community service award from Rotary and he expressed how we should be proud of the impact we are making on future generations.

Governor Snyder opened his presentation stating that Grand Rapids is successful because of how we partner together to make Michigan a place that people want to be. We’re #1 in Manufacturing job creation and #1 in Bachelor degrees to name a couple of our acclamations in Michigan.

Governor Snyder then went on to explain 5 Issues that he is passionate about:

  1. Economic opportunities – establishing partnerships across the state that strengthen our businesses.
  2. Mobility / Skills for people to be successful – career tech education, apprenticeships, STEM education, more specialized programs.
  3. Infrastructure – we’ve underinvested in our state for decades and moving forward $900 million a year will be invested into making our roads better. Integrated Asset Management so that we’re working smarter not harder.
  4. Fiscal responsibility – not spending money that we don’t have and putting future generations in debt. In Michigan, we have a payment plan in place that is finally being funded correctly and decreasing our debt as a state.
  5. Stability – treating people right. Being a role model for other states and helping others the best that we can.

Governor Snyder stated that as his campaign comes to an end, he asks himself “Did I do what I said I was going to do? Did I build a long-term foundation for success?” He can safely say that his administration has helped create a platform for generations to come.

Q & A:
“Do you have any desire to run at a National level?”

Ultimately, he has some things he would like to finish here in Michigan and he joked (but was serious) that he needs to run his next steps by his wife Sue. “She is owed that”, Snyder stated.

“Is a fuel-tax increase a good idea and how will that impact our state?”

The Governor stated, in summary, that he doesn’t want to take our tax dollars unless he sees a path to making those dollars work for our state. A better argument might be made for clean water efforts in our state.

“There is a serious lack of geographical awareness in our school systems, how do we get around the limited exposure our younger generations are getting?”

Governor Snyder – “we haven’t been thinking outside of the box enough. We need to allow our school systems to get more creative and make geography more applicable to the lives of our students.”

“There is a constant debate about legislative term limits, can you give your thoughts, Governor Snyder?”

Governor Snyder – “the legislation needs to change. This isn’t my branch of government so I tread lightly on this topic, but the flexibility for people to stay longer and become more experienced in their position is a major advantage and should be given more consideration than it has in the past.”

“Gun Control, what is your stance?”

Governor Snyder – “it is horrific what happened in Parkland, Florida. We need better programs for safety mechanisms in the school systems. Our administration has been working with ‘Ok-to-Say hotline’ for people to leave tips on behavior and activity they see that might be cause for concern. We are looking at what needs to change and working harder to accomplish that change.”

Final words: “We’re the greatest country in the world, but we are also our biggest threat. We need to get out of our own way as a country. So, how are we going to work together as a state to create results, not conflict?”

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