Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer joins bipartisan governors resisting Trump’s Great Lakes cuts

By: - March 13, 2019 3:29 pm

Lake Michigan | Susan J. Demas

A bipartisan group of five Midwest governors joined forces on Wednesday to rip President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Ken Coleman

As the Advance reported this week, the Republican again wants to slash funding 90 percent. Congress has not gone along with this ask in the past.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, talked to Trump last month at the White House about the Great Lakes, as the Advance first reported. Whitmer also raised Great Lakes issues and threats like Asian carp with the president during a December White House visit.

Whitmer and DeWine issued a statement on Wednesday, along with Govs. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and J.B Pritzker of Illinois:

“The Great Lakes hold 21 percent of the world’s freshwater, and they are among the most vital ecological and economic resources in America. Slashing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 90 percent would cost our states thousands of good-paying jobs, hurt our tourism and recreation industries, and jeopardize public health. This is a risk we simply can’t afford to take.

“Cleaning up the Great Lakes shouldn’t be a partisan issue. That’s why as Great Lakes Governors, we are committed to partnering with our congressional delegations and our fellow governors across the region to protect funding for this critical work. We strongly urge President Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence, who is a former Great Lakes governor himself, to do what’s best for America by fully restoring funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

On Monday, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle slammed Trump’s GLRI cuts, including U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.).

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more.