Candidate profile: Schuette believes his 'paycheck agenda' will work for Michigan
Occupation: Michigan Attorney General
Education: University of San Francisco School of Law, Georgetown University
Hometown: Midland, Mich.
The race for Michigan’s governor has become the focus for many people and Republican hopeful Bill Schuette believes his plans are clear to voters.
The current Attorney General for Michigan bested his opponents in the primary, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Now – his toughest opponent is Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. Schuette has dubbed his platform ‘The Paycheck Agenda’ and believes his plans to will put more money in the pockets of families.
With healthcare front and center on a national stage, it makes sense to be front and center in Michigan’s gubernatorial race as well. Schuette has been attacked by his opponents for his apparent stance on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA); during his tenure in the AG’s office, he filed multiple lawsuits against the constitutionality.
In Michigan, the ACA program, called Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP), was implemented after Gov. Rick Snyder signed the plan into law in September 2013.
Schuette has said at multiple press conferences throughout this election cycle that he supports the coverage of pre-existing conditions, which is one of the hallmark properties of the HMP.
“My record is clear, I have always and still do support covering pre-existing conditions,” Schuette said. “Look, Healthy Michigan is law, it’s not going anywhere.”
He said he believes it’s important to ensure people with pre-existing conditions, but he also believes in implementing work requirements for those eligible for the HMP.
“It means there are resources available for the chronically ill,” Schuette said.
Michigan kids consistently score below the national average for third grading reading scores. To combat this, Schuette wants to have a grading system for schools, which is part of his Great Readers On the Way (GROW) program.
“It’s called a report card for families,” he said.
Schools would be graded A-F and this would allow parents to see how each school is performing, Schuette explained. To incentivize schools to continue to perform well, as well as help bring those underperforming schools, he said grants would be provided.
Another part of his GROW program includes a literacy director within the governor’s cabinet. Money for this new position would come from a new, Michigan Reading Foundation.
“Where we will have the business community and those in the philanthropic area make investments into the Michigan Reading Foundation,” Schuette said.
The GOP hopefully has also stated previously that he supports families moving their children from one "failing" school to another school with better performance. To do that, money could be pulled from that foundation to help with transportation.
According to Bill Schuette’s website, he outlines a ‘Paycheck Training Plan,’ which aims to ensure more students are career ready after high school.
At the front of the Flint Water investigations, Schuette said he wants justice for Flint. He said he felt pressure not to investigate, but when who specifically asked him not to investigate, Schuette did not provide names.
“Some people wanted to just gloss over it, forget about it, sweep it under the rug…oh you know, folks who didn’t want any investigation to occur – that would have been wrong,” he said. “I don’t view Flint as some chess board.”
Some people still don’t drink water from the tap or cook with it, he said, and that is an issue he wants to tackle.
“It’s all about restoring confidence and replacing the pipes,” Schuette said.
As for the issue of PFAS contaminating drinking water in communities around Michigan, Schuette explained on his campaign website that he will “work with the legislature, partners in the health, environment and business sectors, and the federal government to implement state clean-up efforts, resolve this problem, and ensure safe drinking water in our homes and communities.”
When asked about the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality report that came out six years ago authored by an agency employee that seemingly showed the scope of the PFAS crisis in Michigan, Schuette said he will be focused on the future, not what may or may not have happened in the past.
“I’m not presumptuous about anything; I am confident that I’m going to win in days from now. When that occurs, there will be a transition, we will review everything thoughtfully with a fresh start on a variety of different issues and with a variety of different departments and I’m all about being positive and solution oriented. I’m not looking back, it’s about okay, how do you solve Michigan’s problems,” he said.
Economy and Infrastructure
The economy is a big area where Schuette believes there is room for growth in Michigan. He said he will cut taxes and that will stimulate the economy.
“There’s not one problem that wouldn’t be minimized if we had more people paying taxes, pumping gas and going to school,” he said.
If taxes are lowered, that will make Michigan more attractive for people to move and keep people in the state, he said.
“I’m one of those who wants to grow our state and have a bigger pie.”
Another factor in making Michigan more attractive is fixing infrastructure, Schuette said. To do that, he wants to have a "top-to-bottom audit" of the Michigan Department of Transportation. Outlined on his campaign website, Schuette plans to use savings from the repealed prevailing wage law and re-prioritize funds in the state budget.
At the first gubernatorial debate, Schuette said he has a line at the White House and that would help Michigan take advantage of all federal funds available.
Fixing crumbling roads, according to Schuette, will help the economy grow and help fund the other programs he wants to implement.
To find out more about Schuette’s platform for his bid for governor, head to his campaign website.