Tonight in Lansing, off-kilter millionaire Perry Johnson added himself to the long list of Republicans locked in a crowded and bitter primary for governor. Through his unsettling $1.5 million dollar ad blitz, Johnson has already gone out of his way to say Michiganders are “not interested in the same things” he is and argue that everyone who has ever had a job in the auto industry owes him an immediate thank you.
Predictably, the inflation guru’s used his rambling, difficult to follow campaign kickoff speech to make even more over-the-top statements, this time about Governor Whitmer’s strong record that has shown Michiganders she’ll continue to work with anyone to keep them first.
Here’s the facts.
Governor Whitmer Kept Our Seniors Safe During the Height of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Like the rest of the GOP gubernatorial field, Johnson wasted no time deploying the baseless strategy of politicizing nursing home deaths despite several reports noting “there’s no evidence that’s true.”
Throughout the pandemic, Governor Whitmer acted quickly to protect the most vulnerable population — elderly Michiganders in nursing homes,according to AARP, the New York Times, and the University of Michigan’s Center for Health and Research Transformation. The data shows that Governor Whitmer’s strong leadership saved lives, and long-term care facility experts and senior advocates agree.
Under her leadership, CDC guidance was closely followed while state officials worked around the clock to secure PPE and required testing for residents and staff – conducting nearly 1.5 million tests. And as vaccinations became available in December 2020, nursing home residents and the staff that care for them were prioritized first. By May 2021, 100% of long-term care facilities completed second dose clinics, vaccinating hundreds of thousands of Michigan seniors — a bold initiative that resulted in a 96% drop in COVID-19 cases and 99% drop in related deaths in nursing homes.
This year, an audit conducted by Michigan’s Office of the Auditor General determined that Michigan did not undercount or underreport the number of deaths in facilities across the state. Additionally, the report verified that “the state accurately posted data online that was provided by facilities required to report COVID-19 deaths to state officials.”
Speaking to lawmakers, Auditor General Doug Ringler explained that it would be inaccurate “to say the state health department underreported COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities.”
Governor Whitmer Has Made Historic Investments in Public Education and Childcare That Have Closed Funding Gaps Between School Districts Across Michigan
Governor Whitmer has proposed a multibillion dollar investment in public education that includes a significant increase in the per-public grant each individual school districts receive along with pay raises for educators and school personnel.
And last year, she secured a bipartisan $17.1 billion dollar public education budget that completely closed a decades-long state funding gap between school districts, and made the “largest investment in PreK-12 schools in state history” — all without raising taxes.
To ensure those inequality gaps don’t once again broaden, Whitmer recently vetoed “the latest effort by legislative Republicans to create a school voucher system in Michigan” that could have reduced state investment in education by upwards of $500 million annually. She also vetoed a $155 million voucher program last July.
But it isn’t just K-12. Whitmer delivered big wins for “working families and their employers struggling with a growing childcare crisis” by allocating $1.4 billion of the latest budget to support child care providers and lower costs – bettering the livelihoods of an additional 105,000 families.
Governor Whitmer Has Created Tens of Thousands of Auto Jobs and Attracted Major Manufacturing Deals to Michigan, Earning Her Praise From Across the Aisle
Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has created 20,000 auto jobs, 4,000 of which were just secured in GM’s historic $7 billion dollar investment in making Michigan “the ‘hub’ of electric vehicle development and manufacturing.”
This “big win for Michigan” that represents GM’s “single largest investment announcement” in the company’s history was praised by Republican legislators, many of whom were brought to the table by Whitmer to secure critical bipartisan economic incentives. State House Speaker Jason Wentworth singled Governor Whitmer out for her demonstrated willingness “to work with anyone from either side of the aisle” to bring the GM deal across the finish line.
Additionally, Governor Whitmer announced her proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year includes a $500 million allocation for the bipartisan created Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR), “a fund aimed at luring large development projects” to secure more deals like GM’s.
Governor Whitmer Saved Taxpayers From Footing the Bill for Billions in Fraudulent Unemployment Claims
While Michiganderswere getting back on their feet during the pandemic, Governor Whitmer’s Unemployment Insurance Agency also “prevented about $43.7 billion in fraudulent claims” and worked with federal and state law enforcement to prosecute over 50 cases of unemployment fraud.
Unlike Perry Johnson, Governor Whitmer Will Continue to Protect the Reproductive Rights of Michigan Women and Families
During his campaign event, Perry Johnson declared that he was pro-life and would not make exceptions for rape or incest because “two wrongs don’t make a right,” indicating that he supports the severely restrictive, near-total abortion ban from 1931 that is still on the books in Michigan and criminalizes abortion, makes reproductive healthcare providers felons, and immediately goes back into effect should Roe v. Wade get overturned.
Meanwhile, Governor Whitmer has operated like a leader that knows governors must now act as the last line of defense in the fight for reproductive rights for the first time since 1973. That’s why she called on Michigan’s legislature to repeal the 1931 law so that the right to medical privacy is maintained within the state regardless of what happens at the federal level.