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Reflections on the State of State Address

by Lisa Diggs on Jan 19th 2011

A new era has begun in Michigan with the election of Governor Rick Snyder, and now that he has delivered his first State of the State address, we have a clearer idea of what his priorities will be.

Regardless of who I voted for, I often find addresses like these, whether they be about the state or the nation, to be relatively the same.  Sure, there are occasional turns of phrase that we may remember forever, a la JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," but for the most part the pattern is essentially the same.  By necessity they are high on optimism, peppered with ideals most of us can agree upon (ie.g. better public education), and low on actual content (e.g. how we will pay for it).  Yet, by and large, I like these speeches.  I like them because they paint a picture of what is possible, with less emphasis on how much it is probable.  For a moment, we are invited to believe in a world that is either modestly or markedly improved from that in which we currently live.

I know as the months and years progress I will whole-heartedly agree with our new governor in some areas and completely disagree in others.  Such is the nature of civil discourse when you are truly open-minded and consider each issue on its own merits and facts, rather than subscribing to a particular way of thought that has been pre-determined by a political party.  As decisions are made, whether I agreed or not, I will always be rooting that they turn out to be right.  That, I believe, is one of the biggest failings we as a people currently have.  If we truly want our nation and our state to improve, then how can we not be rooting for our leaders to succeed, whether or not we had the foresight to vote for them or the conviction to support their decisions? 

One concept that is not controversial is a desire to see more jobs here in Michigan.  The path to that goal has many twists and turns that have been, and will continue to be debated.  Fortunately, supporting local businesses with our dollars whenever possible, does not seem to be one of them.  Our mission has been clear and strong for years now, and I was happy to hear Governor Snyder, like his predecessor, passionately agree:

"Try out some locally made products and services. Sometimes the difference between success and failure in a young company is that single customer. Let’s make our state the best in the country when it comes to supporting our own entrepreneurs.  All 10 million of us have a role to play. I’m asking each of you to join me in doing what you can to build a better Michigan. This can include volunteering in your community, becoming a mentor no matter how old you are or what your background is. There’s a big opportunity for you to make a difference. The simple truth is the reinvention of Michigan is just as much on what each citizen does as what me and my team do or what this Legislature does.  And what I’m asking is really quite simple. Let us each recommit our time, our talents, our passion to ourselves and the state we love. Together we can build a new Michigan for the new century. We can make the old unbelievable and the new achievable. And we can make the improbable the new exciting reality for our children and theirs."

In other words, take our Pledge, spend locally, speak positively...get involved.

If you missed the address click HERE to view it in three parts. 

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