Gilchrist’s 2nd term to focus on education and housing
By RANDY CROUCH
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — Coming off of a decisive election victory earlier this month, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said there isn’t time to stop and relax.
“We never stop governing. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to continue to serve everyone in this state. We think that voters sent a clear message,” Gilchrist said. “Investment of our infrastructure, connecting communities to the internet, upgrading water systems, education that is critical for the state’s future. We want to continue to build on those successes.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office, along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, announced that three Upper Peninsula communities would receive $2.7 million in funding, in part to help with the problem of a lack of affordable housing.
Gilchrist acknowledges that affordable housing is an issue throughout the state and one that is particularly prevalent in rural areas like the U.P. and says that this is a problem that the administration will continue to tackle over the next four years.
“We will continue to focus on affordable housing across Michigan. It’s a specific and acute problem in the U.P. and across rural Michigan,” Gilchrist said. “We introduced (the) states first-ever statewide housing plan. That plan is to build tens of thousands of new and rehabilitated units of housing, including $100 million to the state Housing and Community Development Fund. Our state’s housing trust fund exists to rehabilitate or build housing units and an additional $500 million in private housing.”
Gilchrist said that different communities have different needs for housing.
“Looking to build all different kinds — new and rehabilitated single family, seasonal, workforce housing,” Gilchrist said. “We have a diversity of life in Michigan and in our communities. They have a diversity of needs and we want to make sure we can meet those needs.”
Education has been a major part of the current administration’s focus throughout the past four years and Gilchrist says that focus will continue into a second term.
“It’s about education that meets family needs and meets them where they are. Different families in different districts have different needs,” Gilchrist said. “Transportation costs more in Marquette County than it does in Genesee County. Districts need flexibility to meet needs and do so equitably.”
Gilchrist said that while different communities have different needs, there are still commonalities throughout the state.
“We need more money for career education. We need more money for students with special and extraordinary needs, more money for literacy coaches. We want to continue to build,” Gilchrist said. “It’s been a tough few years for education professionals and students. We want to strengthen investments in coming years by individualized supports for students and their literacy needs and to make Michigan a top 10 state and we are already making progress. These programs are going to look different in different districts but the goals are the same.”
Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is email@example.com.