HOUGHTON - A Michigan gubernatorial candidate visited with Houghton Democrats on Saturday.
Former U.S. and state Rep. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek - he announced his candidacy in May - spoke at 5th & Elm in Houghton during a visit to the Upper Peninsula.
Schauer, who lost a U.S. House re-election bid in 2010, has secured endorsements from leading state Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak.
Mark Schauer talks during an appearance at 5th & Elm in Houghton on Saturday. Schauer, a Battle Creek Democrat, has announced his intention to run for governor in 2014. (Daily Mining Gazette photo by Garrett Neese)
Schauer said he is concerned for the direction Michigan is headed. He pointed to cuts to education funding and tax increases on retirees and lower-income workers, contrasting them with a $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses.
"His same old tried-and-failed trickle-down economics isn't working here in Michigan, and it's hurting people," he said. "The reason I'm running for governor is to make sure we have an economy that works for everyone, not just your wealthy, your corporate special interests or your well-connected. That's Rick Snyder's Michigan."
As a former legislator, Schauer said he will be better able to work with the Legislature than Snyder, citing Snyder's troubles with convincing fellow Republicans to embrace federal Medicaid money.
"He had no experience with government," he said. "He's a corporate CEO, using that mentality as a corporate CEO, thinking that if he has an idea, everyone will just automatically do it. It doesn't work that way."
So we need a relationship with the Legislature and a leader in the governor's office who will get things done with the Legislature that help Michigan."
Schauer also said he would work to recommit to funding K-12 schools, making universities affordable for students and working with communities to strengthen the middle class.
Schauer came to the Upper Peninsula with his wife, a Negaunee native who had family and high school reunions in the area. He said with his personal connection to the U.P., the region will be important to him as governor.
"I think for a lot of downstate statewide politicians, the U.P. is an afterthought," he said. "It's a box to check. That won't be the case for Governor Schauer. That's a promise ... the U.P. is something to be treasured, to be valued. It's a prime economic asset for our state. Not just tourism, but for mining, forestry and so many ways. We want a governor that understands that, and values that."