Snyder's Speech in Livonia Covers Jobs, Taxes and…Weight Loss? -

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Gov. Rick Snyder got his new job running as the "CEO candidate," and he's keeping to the promise to run Michigan more efficiently and effectively, he told a Republican group Monday night.

Though the $65 per seat event ($125 per person for a private reception with the governor) was billed as a "We Remember" 9/11 dinner, the Republican governor spent much more time giving a business-style, go-Michigan pep-talk than talking about terrorist attacks.

The governor spoke before The 11th Congressional District Republican Committee, which represents Northville, Plymouth and Canton, among other cities. The event was held at Laurel Manor in Livonia.

First-term governor reviews inaugural year

He focused on a list of successes for his first year in office, such as balancing the state budget, creating the emergency manager system to take over failing cities and school districts, and repealing the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) – all issues for which he received criticism from Democrats.

"Since I've been in office I've signed 130 bills into law," Snyder told the crowd of about 200 people. "But I believe in quality more than quantity."

The governor said he's tried to hit a number of goals each month. The first couple months of the year were about taxes, including the MBT removal, which he declared was "the dumbest tax ever."

April and May were all about education reform, Snyder said.

"We need to start putting students first. Adults are not our first priority," he said.

Upcoming priorities

He said the first focus for the fall will be health care reform.

"I have a special message about 'wellness' that I'm going to announce Wednesday," the governor said. "It's especially stressful to me, because I'm overweight, and I'm going to weigh in and fill the public in on what my weight is and my goals to lose it…and you all can hold me accountable."

In October, Snyder said he plans to focus on infrastructure, with building a new bridge to Canada one of his top crusades. He said he's personally crunched the numbers, and said he knows another span across the Detroit River will create jobs.

"The one special interest who is opposed is going to spend as much money as possible to distort the facts, to override what's best for the 10 million people in Michigan," the governor said.

He said Canada is going to fund the $550 million cost, which can then be turned around and used as match funds for $2 billion in federal grants to fix other infrastructure in Michigan, such as roads. "The Michigan taxpayers will pay zero for a new bridge," Snyder said.

Revitalizing the state

What Snyder tried to emphasize most during his talk, however, is that Michiganders no longer have time to be divisive in the quest to bring back the state's confidence, which has suffered being named as "dead last" in many economic and financial lists.

"These fights with one another, blaming each other, has never solved anything," the governor said. "I have a motto: Relentless positive action. I want you to leave here fired up, passionate. We need to take Michigan from the '50 out of 50' columns and put ourselves to the top 10 – or number one."

Several of the crowd said they were fired up by the speech, and by Snyder's shoot-straight attitude. Ralph Nichols, a Bloomfield Hills resident and owner of the Dale Carnegie course franchises in Michigan, said he's a big fan of Snyder's approach to government.

"He's just not a politician you've ever seen, he's a CEO. He runs the state like a business, and the people who work for him know if they don't produce, he'll find someone who will," Nichols said after the speech.

District 20 Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, was in the audience for the talk, and said he liked the governor's request to work together for Michigan's benefit.

"We need to put talk of blame behind us," Heise said. "Also, though it has been painful, the education reforms we've gone through have shown we can pull together, such as the contracts and privatization in the Northville and Plymouth-Canton districts. Together, we can solve these problems."

13 Sep, 2011

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