Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been chosen for a sought-after national role, giving the Democrats’ official response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4.
Michigan is expected to play a key role in the 2020 presidential election. Trump flipped the state in 2016, winning by a narrow, 10,704-vote margin. Democrats and progressive groups have been doing a huge organizing push in the three Upper Midwest states he won — Michigan, Wisconisin and Pennsylvania. The Democratic National Convention is to be held in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Whitmer, who was elected in 2018 amid the Democrats’ sweep of all top statewide offices, is has attracted national attention. Her name has been floated as a vice presidential pick for the Democratic presidential nominee, although Whitmer has twice told the Advance she isn’t interested, most recently in May.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Friday morning announced Whitmer’s role, which is typically reserved for rising stars in the opposition party. U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) will deliver the Spanish language response to the speech.
“Governor Whitmer’s dedication to Michiganders is a model for public servants everywhere. Thanks to her tireless efforts, thousands more families across the state have access to quality health care, safer drinking water and the opportunity for a good-paying job,” said Schumer. “Whether it’s pledging to ‘Fix the Damn Roads’ or investing in climate solutions, Governor Whitmer’s vision for the future is exactly what this country needs, and I’m thrilled she is giving the Democratic response.”
Pelosi also emphasized Democratic priorities in the 2020 election, such as expanding health care and cleaning up drinking water.
“Since day one, Governor Whitmer has rolled up her sleeves to get things done for the people of Michigan,” said Pelosi. “During her time in public service, she has led the charge to expand health care to hundreds of thousands of people, expand protections for hard-working middle-class families and ensure clean drinking water in our communities. Her decades of hard work on behalf of the people should serve as a model for our nation. She’s a forward-looking leader who is laser-focused on solving problems for everyday Michiganders and is uniquely qualified to deliver Democrats’ message of progress for all Americans.”
Whitmer is slated to giver her State of the State address Wednesday* at the Michigan Capitol.