Whitmer talks infrastructure, education in State of the State

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"Let's get to work," she said. "Thank you."

The 49th governor of Michigan gave her first State of the State address, first recognizing the late John Dingell for the crucial role he played in passing monumental laws.

"You don't have to be mean to be strong," she said. "And those who live by this creed get a lot done."

>>WATCH the entire speech below or on the FOX 2 Facebook page HERE.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is hoping lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will keep that in mind as they face the two major crisis in our state, 
starting with our failing infrastructure - as we try to maneuver crumbling roads and bridges that have been underinvested over the last 30 years and jeopardize our safety every day.

"We are fixing our cars and paying for road taxes that doesn't even fix the damn roads," she said.

Whitmer urged motorists and businesses to take pictures of the car damage and pot holes hash tagging #FTDM - Fix The Damn Roads - which will encourage lawmakers to stop the phony fixes and prioritize spending.

"Because no one will invest in a state that doesn't invest in itself," she said. "And let's be very clear - incremental fund shifts don't fix the problem."

Whitmer pointed out progress in low levels of lead and copper in Flint's drinking water but says the work isn't done. She talked about her executive order to reorganize the state environmental department to focus on clean drinking water and climate change.

She then turned to our state's other challenge - a shell game that led to the drop in revenue for K-12 education and the lowest levels of literacy that followed.

"I want to send a message to all the devoted educators across Michigan," she said. "You are not failing us; we are failing you." 

Investing in early education and a skilled workforce is key for Michigan's future. Whitmer introduced Michigan Reconnect which offers two years of debt-free community college or two years of tuition assistance at four-year not-for profit universities.

"Reconnect is a path for working Michiganders to 'up-skill,'" she said. "It is also going to connect Michigan businesses to qualified candidates for the growing number of jobs that are currently unfilled."

For workers, the governor has banned gender decimation and for the LGBTQ community. And she has appealed to the Trump administration to protect affordable healthcare and pushed for equal pay for women - which she says would help decrease the poverty rate and improve our state's economy.

"If you are willing to put in the work," she said. "You will have a path to succeed in Michigan."