Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a video on social media reflecting on the unprecedented events and accomplishments of 2020. Throughout 2020 the governor has remained focused on her top priorities: protecting public health, creating paths to good jobs and protecting the economy, rebuilding Michigan roads, ensuring every child can get a great education safely, cleaning up our drinking water and social justice reform.
2020 in Review
“As I think about 2020, the phrase annus horribilis comes to mind, which means a horrible year,” Whitmer said. “But it wasn’t all horrible, cause some really good things happened this year and there are sources of inspiration no matter where you look. As we go into 2021, it is my hope we get our economy back up and humming, we get our kids back in school, and that we put Michigan on the path to real prosperity. I think we are up to it. I know we are up to it. (And) I’m excited at the prospect of a new year and a new chapter for all of us.”
Throughout 2020, Whitmer has guided Michigan through the gravest health crisis the state and the country have faced in over 100 years. Through swift and decisive leadership, the governor saved thousands of lives and protected the pocketbooks of hardworking Michiganders.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Whitmer and her administration have worked around the clock to ensure benefits for Michiganders who have lost work because of the virus. Since March 15, Whitmer’s administration has paid nearly $27 billion in benefits to nearly 2.3 million workers.
Early on in the pandemic, COVID-19 shined a light on the disparities communities of color face every single day. Governor Whitmer stepped up to create the COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities in April. Because of the leadership and hard work of the task force, Michigan has successfully reduced the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color, saving countless lives.
The governor also signed the historic “Clean Slate” legislation to reform Michigan’s criminal expungement laws making it easier for people who have committed certain felonies and misdemeanors to have their record expunged.
After the country saw righteous protests demanding we address the inequities in our country, the governor and her administration got to work. She signed an Executive Directive declaring racism as a public health crisis and created Michigan’s first Black Advisory Council. To create a government that is more representative of the diversity of the great state of Michigan, the governor created the first ever Equity and Inclusion Officer position in the Executive Office. Her administration also made changes to the commission that sets the standards for our law enforcement agencies to ensure more community leaders and the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights have a seat at the table when making decisions
Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, Whitmer stayed focused on providing paths to good-paying jobs to make our economy stronger and fixing the roads.
The governor launched the first of it’s kind Futures for Frontliners program that provides a path to opportunity for frontline workers who worked on our behalf during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of right now, more than 100,000 deserving Michiganders have applied. Today is the last day to apply for the program. To apply visit www.michigan.gov/frontliners/.
During her State of the State address in January 2020, the governor introduced the $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan Bonding Plan to fix the roads without an increase at the gas pump and ensure more Michiganders can drive to work safely. In November, the Michigan Department of Transportation completed the I-496 Rebuilding Michigan project creating safer roads for our families and frontline workers.
Michigan is defined by the Great Lakes, and Whitmer continued to protect Michigan’s climate and expand access to clean water throughout the year. Through the MI Healthy Climate Plan, the governor established goals to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality no later than 2050 and created the Council on Climate Solutions to advise and oversee the implementation of the plan.
The governor also announced the investment of $500 million as part of her MI Clean Water Plan to invest in Michigan’s water systems from source to tap. The plan provides direct investments for communities, helps provide safe, clean water to residents, and will support over 7,500 Michigan jobs.
Yesterday, the governor signed bipartisan Senate Bills 1251 and 1252 creating the Flint Settlement Trust Fund within the Michigan Department of Treasury to address the funding of the $641.2 million settlement in the civil Flint Water cases that was negotiated this fall. Although the governor inherited this situation, she and Attorney General Dana Nessel have taken the responsibility to achieve the best possible settlement for the children and families of Flint.
Amidst a global pandemic and country wide economic crisis, the governor worked across the aisle to ensure there were no cuts to our public education system and included a weighted funding formula that provides crucial support to students and districts that need it most, including funding for special education and at-risk students.