Reaction: Gov. Whitmer offers ambition but few details in State of State

Ambition was the word used time and time again from both Democrats and Republican lawmakers about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's first State of the State address Tuesday.
Critics say the ideas are too lofty and not realistic. Supporters say its great road map for her first term as governor. 

Her emphasis was infrastructure, education and water. It was clear from the moment Whitmer's speech began where her priorities are. But are they shared among lawmakers? And can they create any meaningful change beginning with the roads?

"Roads have got to be improved on," said Sen. Jim Runestead (R-Oakland County). "I know in the next two years we will be fully funded from that tax and registration fee that was passed, so we haven't seen all that money come in."

"Especially fixing the roads, I have actually hit a pothole coming home from Lansing last week," said State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham). "A thing came up out of the pothole and it cracked my windshield so I am dealing with that myself. Everyone is dealing with those issues with the roads, I am looking forward to what we can do to fix them."

Whitmer then focused on education - from third graders who can’t read to funding community college for free. 

"I heard about her free two years of college education, because there was a number of things that she wanted to do," Runestead said. "(She wants to) roll back the pension tax, spend a lot more money on roads and now free education for two years - it's a big lift when you get down to the budget and what are all these things going to cost. Of course none of that was addressed tonight."

"Per pupil is woefully underfunded, we know that," said Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo. "That is something that should appeal to both Democrat and Republican and not raiding the school aid fund."

"Every dollar you put into early education saves you so much money on the back end," said Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). "Education is one of the reasons I ran for office to begin with."

And the water, the governor created a new department with a focus on clean water and preserving our Great Lakes, but will all this get the support and money to succeed, is what some are wondering.

"I sit on Lake Erie and the Detroit River," said Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown). "These are the protections we have to prioritize in state government."

Of course all the ideas that were laid out are just that ideas. but next month she will issue a budget to put these ideas to the test.