As a sitting member of the state Legislature, I know firsthand how slowly the government can move. That is why emergency powers exist, to allow swift action when necessary and legally warranted. The COVID-19 pandemic is exactly that, an emergency where swift action was necessary. Emergency powers are not intended, however, for political posturing, which is what I believe Gov. Whitmer displayed with her inconsistent standards and unclear guidelines.
I would like to believe she acted with the citizens best interests at heart, but after seeing the inconsistent way she has allowed the state to operate, the evidence is stacked against her.
The governor has said her goal is to “flatten the curve,” but the ways she has attempted to accomplish that goal have been void of common sense. For example, the Michigan Lottery was still operating the entire time that other “non-essential” businesses and operations were forced to close. I’m interested to hear why the governor considers the lottery essential.
While businesses are now allowed to offer curbside pickup, marijuana dispensaries have been offering it since stay home orders began, proving that any store of any size could operate in this manner safely. This blatant disregard for the wellbeing of small businesses and the workers they employ, who could have found ways to operate safely, shows that the governor crafted a one-size-fits-all approach to the pandemic. An approach that was crafted with her voters in mind – the people in parts of south eastern Michigan and no one else. Little regard was given for Michigan’s rural counties, where small mom-and-pop shops could have safely offered curbside pickup for their customers.
Wouldn’t it have been nice to craft an emergency response that would have worked for both Wayne County and Michigan’s rural regions, like the majority of the Upper Peninsula, which was largely unaffected by COVID-19.
Effectively, hundreds of thousands of Michigan workers went needlessly without work and without a paycheck for more than a month. My office has received HUNDREDS of calls from displaced workers who cannot access unemployment insurance and have no way to feed their families or pay their bills. This is simply unacceptable.
Executive orders are a tool given to our governor to react to an emergency. After 28 days, it is incumbent on the governor to work with the Legislature to form a plan that works for the people they represent. Our governor has instead chosen to go it alone, ignoring the voices of the people we represent across all of Michigan – not just Wayne County.
The aftermath of COVID-19 will be a great one. Our problems have only just begun. It is my hope that moving forward the governor will work with the Legislature to move all of Michigan forward.