DEAN BOHN, THE SAGINAW NEWS, SEPTEMBER 10, 2006
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm made two stops in mid-Michigan Saturday afternoon – to applaud Dow Chemical’s new Michigan Operations manufacturing site in Midland and to cheer Democrats and boo Republicans at the Saginaw County Democratic Party fall banquet in Saginaw Township.
The Dow event was a rededication of the manufacturing site with more than $240 million in recent and planned investments in production facilities by several Dow businesses, including Dow AgroSciences, Dow Automotive, DowPharma, Saran Products and the Water Soluble Polymers business.
Dow Chemical Chairman Andrew N. Liveris said the manufacturing site is “one of the most exciting events in the history of Dow,” and it will help Dow “compete in a marketplace fraught with global competitiveness.”
The site should add 160 full time jobs and retain 45 more — jobs that “pay 28 percent higher than any other manufacturing jobs” and “contribute $11.7 billion to the state economy,” Liveris said.
Granholm said if Dow can do it, the rest of Michigan can as well.
“Our economic plan in Michigan is proceeding in the middle of an economic crisis,” she said. “But sometimes it takes a crisis to get things done. It’s been said, ‘A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.'”
She said her “Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow” plan will diversify state jobs and move away from the state’s dependence on the automotive industry. The plan focuses on industries based on life sciences, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing and homeland security and defense technology.
At the Democratic Party banquet, Granholm said she was “ready to eat some Republicans.”
“This is a year that Democrats can be loud and proud,” she said. “Historically, this party has stood up for the everyday man. The Democrats gave us Social Security, minimum wage law, Medicare and Medicaid, Civil Rights Act, Voters Rights Act, the Parental Leave Act and more.
“In contrast, (the Republicans) believe that if we give enough to the folks at the very top, it’ll eventually trickle down to the rest of us. Well, there’s enough wealth to the powerful few at the top. We’ve seen enough of that.
“Michigan is challenged,” she said. “Why?”
“Engler!” a shout from the audience responded, a reference to the state’s former governor — which caused Granholm to pause and laugh.
“(John) Engler certainly left me a mess, but the challenge is that the automotive industry – GM, Ford, Delphi – has left.”
Granholm also targeted President Bush, saying he took time to meet American Idol winner Taylor Hicks but never took the time to meet any of leaders of the Big Three automakers.
“The president said (the automakers have) got to make a viable product,” she said. “Those are fighting words. There’s a new car owner born in North America every 12 seconds.
“This president has also failed to enforce the trade agreements, and one of his top advisors said outsourcing jobs is good for America.”
In attacking her Republican opponent in the race for governor, Dick DeVos, Granholm said DeVos promotes himself “as a jobs-maker.”
“He’s created jobs — in China,” she said. “That’s not a thing the governor of Michigan should be doing. When he was the head of Amway he cut 1,400 Michigan jobs. He’s not a part of the solution, he’s part of the problem.”
Granholm said she inherited a $4 billion deficit but still, with the help of tobacco settlement money, she proposes — and says the state can afford — to give a $4,000 scholarship to every Michigan student that completes two years of post-secondary education.
“We’re also going to lead this country in affordable health care with a program that will be up and running in April.
“We’ve also accelerated 10 years of building projects to be completed in three years.”
However, she said she needs retain her office to see it through.
“We need more Democrats in office. The Republican motto is, ‘It’s every man for himself when the ship is going down,’ but the Democratic motto is, “All hands on deck.'”
Dean Bohn is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9679.