Whitmer joins bipartisan governors resisting Trump’s Great Lakes cuts

    Lake Michigan | Susan J. Demas

    A bipartisan group of five Midwest governors joined forces on Wednesday to rip President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Ken Coleman

    As the Advance reported this week, the Republican again wants to slash funding 90 percent. Congress has not gone along with this ask in the past.

    Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, talked to Trump last month at the White House about the Great Lakes, as the Advance first reported. Whitmer also raised Great Lakes issues and threats like Asian carp with the president during a December White House visit.

    Whitmer and DeWine issued a statement on Wednesday, along with Govs. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and J.B Pritzker of Illinois:

    “The Great Lakes hold 21 percent of the world’s freshwater, and they are among the most vital ecological and economic resources in America. Slashing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 90 percent would cost our states thousands of good-paying jobs, hurt our tourism and recreation industries, and jeopardize public health. This is a risk we simply can’t afford to take.

    Donald Trump | Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons

    “Cleaning up the Great Lakes shouldn’t be a partisan issue. That’s why as Great Lakes Governors, we are committed to partnering with our congressional delegations and our fellow governors across the region to protect funding for this critical work. We strongly urge President Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence, who is a former Great Lakes governor himself, to do what’s best for America by fully restoring funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

    On Monday, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle slammed Trump’s GLRI cuts, including U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.).

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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