It’s not every day that the world watches East Lansing, Mich. However, the spotlight was on East Lansing High School when Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Feb. 4, 2020.
During his State of the Union Address, President Trump spoke about numerous goals, concerns and accomplishments during his presidency, including immigration control, rebuilding infrastructure and the success of the economy, in which he said, “Jobs are booming. incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting.”
Despite her opposing view, Governor Whitmer spent little time rebutting his speech. Instead, she spent the allotted ten minutes talking about Democrats’ accomplishments, the dishonesty of the federal government and why 2020 is an important year.
“We cannot forget, that despite the dishonesty and division of the last few years, and that we heard tonight from the President of the United States, together, we have boundless potential,” Governor Whitmer said during her speech. “The choices we make today, create their reality tomorrow.”
Two East Lansing residents braved the frigid temperatures for a chance to catch a glimpse of Governor Whitmer and hear what she had to say.
“We don’t have television, so it’s easier to come to hear the speech,” Otile Mittig said.
One of the topics Otile and Wolfgang Mittig wanted her to discuss was the rise of inequality throughout the world.
“This is a very big problem and I think it will become explosive if it continues like this, just give more money to the rich people and take it of course from the other ones,” Wolfgang Mittig said.
Not only did Governor Whitmer speak about the importance of equality and for people “to love who you love, and to live authentically as your true selves,” she talked about Democrats’ beliefs about health care.
“Democrats are trying to make your health care better. Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away,” Governor Whitmer said.
She also said that Democrats want safe schools, clean water, to eliminate college debt and to create a welcoming country where “everyone’s vote [is] counted.”
State Senator Jeremy Moss was a part of the small audience at Governor Whitmer’s speech. He agreed with Governor Whitmer and said her message is relatable.
“I think that her message resonates with the people here in the state, and really, most of this country, to feel like, that things are not heading in the right direction,” Senator Moss said.
While Governor Whitmer spoke about the generations of Americans who are counting on the votes and decisions made during the 2020 election, the nationally televised response put East Lansing in the political spotlight.