LANSING (FOX 2) - Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is set to deliver her first State of the State address, but before she takes the spotlight, she sat down with FOX 2's Tim Skubick to talk about the message she hopes to convey.
If the new governor was nervous about giving her first State of the State, she sure didn't show it. In fact on the length of the speech she joked:
"It's going to be a four hour speech ya know," she said.
When asked if she had practice the speech for her husband and two teenage daughter:
Whitmer: "I won't read it for the family."
Skubick: "Well don't you want some feedback?"
Whitmer: "No, not from the family ... because teenagers are brutal with their feedback maybe more so than my colleagues in the legislature will be and my husband's a dentist."
Whitmer was in the audience 14 times when other governors gave their assessment of where the state is headed but she reveals she never thought someday she would do the same thing.
Skubick: "When you were sitting there, did you ever look up at the podium and say you know what? One day...No?"
Whitmer: "Not once."
Whitmer: "No. Nope."
Nor has it entered her mind to do what former Gov. John Engler did. He quietly appointed one of his aides to stand in the back of the House chamber and lead the applause when Engler had a juicy applause line.
Whitmer: "I have never heard that Tim, and no, I don't plan to. ... I've never been much for pomp and circumstance. I'm a pretty irreverent person by nature but I recognize tradition and how important it is that we have this opportunity to address the pubic and talk about the state of our state."
She will talk about fixing the roads but is not likely to embrace a fee increase to do it. Whitmer wants to spend more money on education, and wants lawmakers to upgrade a rotten computer system in various state agencies. She is visiting every state department to beef up a sagging morale among state employees.
But in the back of her head tonight will be some words of wisdom from her mom.
"She would remind me that just like the man she worked for the time that she was here, to hold hold true to her values like Frank Kelley did, and fight for the little guy," she said.
The fight for the little guy starts at 7 pm tonight.