Detroit News op-ed: Whitmer should trust constituents to act responsibly

By Sen. Dan Lauwers
25th Senate District

To say it’s been a difficult few weeks would be an understatement. It’s been difficult for all of us, especially for critical front-line workers, for those who are confined to their homes for health reasons, and for those waiting for answers on their unemployment.

It’s also been difficult for those of us in the Legislature who have been working diligently to move the conversation and policies forward for returning Michigan to work in a safe manner. I’m not complaining — that’s the job I signed up for — but I was surprised and insulted this week when the governor characterized our work over the last several weeks as “playing games and politics.”

I did not leave my business and a good-paying job to play politics. I did so to become involved in state policymaking to make Michigan more inviting and competitive, and I did it so our kids could choose to stay in Michigan after graduation rather than seek employment in another state. We have enjoyed a lot of success in that effort since 2012, but now that all seems to be at risk again.

While we were waiting for the governor to respond to an offer to work with her as the co-equal branch of government the Legislature is elected to be, she forwarded to the Lansing media the private email offers to accomplish this from the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader and held a press conference to accuse us, the Legislature, of playing politics.

How does one ever again trust a person who does this? The governor has been slowly adopting many of the policies we have been bringing to her regarding ways to make returning to work as safe as staying home. So she knows we have been sincere in our efforts.

The governor’s actions and her distrust of the ability of Michigan residents to act responsibly are very disappointing. People are smart. They have proven it in their ability to reduce this nasty virus’s infection rate. They have proven it in their ability to keep the lights on; the phones working; the grocery, pharmacy and gas stations open; and the packages delivered.

The governor should stop telling people what they can’t do. Instead, she should empower them at the county level to be smart enough to decide what can and can’t be done safely.

This op-ed appeared in the May 1, 2020 edition of The Detroit News. Senator Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, is chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee. He serves the residents of the 25th Senate District, representing the counties of Huron, St. Clair, and Sanilac, as well as Armada Township, Memphis, New Baltimore, Richmond and Richmond Township in Macomb County. He can be reached at 517-373-7708 or [email protected].