recap: meet & greet with Gretchen Whitmer

Together we can build the Michigan we believe in, because we still have what we need most – the strength, the talent, the vision, and the grit of the incredible people of the state.
— Gretchen Whitmer, The Detroit News, 01/03/17
Candidate for Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer (in white jacket), talking with guests

Candidate for Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer (in white jacket), talking with guests

A powerful force to be reckoned with was present in the showroom on Monday, July 10.

A meet and greet for Gretchen Whitmer was held this night. Whitmer has a track record of working for and fighting on the behalf of the state of Michigan and its people. She was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from the 23rd, 69th, and 70th districts, a minority leader of the Michigan Senate, and a prosecutor of Ingham County.

What’s next for Mrs. Whitmer? Running for governor of Michigan in the 2018 elections.

The meet and greet at the showroom was a chance for Whitmer to speak to the people of the state, making her intentions and goals for Michigan clear. She also wanted to hear from the attendees on what she could do to better help the people and the state.

The attendees were majority women (with a few gentlemen present as well), coming from all different walks of life.

We were honored to have guests such as Dr. Shauna Diggs, certified dermatologist and founder of CosmedicDerm, and part of the University of Michigan Board of Regents; Anika Goss, executive director of Detroit Future City; and Katherine Cockrel, associate vice president of the global marketing communications firm, Finn Partners.

Other people such as representatives of Ponyride, teachers, and women in the public relations field were also attendees of the meet and greet.

Regardless of their sex, race, age or profession, every person there was rooting for the success of Michigan and its people, and hoping that Gretchen Whitmer would lead them to that success. 

Several guests had their opinions on why they believed Whitmer is a great candidate for the governor of Michigan. Their opinions really spoke on her character, and how determined she is. 

“I believe she’s a great candidate because I think she’s very focused on Michigan’s needs economically, socially, what families need, what schools need,” Goss said. “She’s a refreshing voice and leadership and aggressive change, and I’m really excited to support her.”

“I believe she has a track record of leading with integrity,” Catherine Kelly, Secretary of the Board at Ponyride and partner of micro-distillery, Our/Detroit Vodka said. “I think she understands the issues that are facing women and families – middle class women and families in Michigan.”

Whitmer talking with guests before her speech

Whitmer talking with guests before her speech

As the meet-and-greet continued, everyone conversed with their friends and colleagues Mrs. Whitmer made it a point to chat with as many people as she could, thanking them for showing up and discussing matters of the state.

Once it was time for her to begin her speech, the audience was energized and attentive, ready to receive Whitmer’s words.

Mrs. Whitmer started off on a strong note, immediately discussing what she was fighting for (education and health care, to name a couple), what she had no patience for (bad management and people who pretend to solve problems but instead benefit from them), and her and her family's personal and professional lives in Michigan.     

Whitmer also spoke on her experiences as being a woman working in her profession and how important it is for women’s voices to be heard.

“I’ll tell you one of the weirdest questions I’ve got on the campaign trail is, ‘Are you gonna run as a woman? Do I have a choice?” Whitmer said.

The audience erupted in laughter at the mere thought of that question. Whitmer went on to explain that there was an underlying question to it.

“’Are you only going to champion women’s health?’” Whitmer said. To that she said yes, but also children’s health and other things she fought for while in legislature. She also acknowledged the need for more diversity in the Senate.

Whitmer is very passionate about women and children's health, education diversity, and putting the people of Michigan first. 

Whitmer is very passionate about women and children's health, education diversity, and putting the people of Michigan first. 

The common thread no matter who you talk to in the state is that people want to be able to hug their child in the morning and send them off to school knowing they’re going to get an education they need to be successful. They want to know that everyone of us has a path to a better paying job or a job in the first place.
— Gretchen Whitmer

During her campaign, Mrs. Whitmer has traveled around the state, visiting numerous cities and counties and getting people’s input on what needs to be done. She stated that she travels the state because she knows she has to work for those votes and it cannot be assumed that people will vote for her. 

“And that’s why the platform that I’m building is going to be formed by what the people of the state need," Whitmer said.  

After speaking for a while, Mrs. Whitmer turned her monologue into a dialogue, encouraging people to ask questions and tell her what she could do for them and what she needs to think about.

“What about Detroit?” one woman asked

Whitmer stated that she believes there is so much great activity in the city but acknowledges that there is a lot more work to do. And the kids of Detroit need to be put first and foremost.

“What’s happening here is a lot of great activity, however I do know that outside the 80 square miles of activity, there’s 135 square miles of families who need grocery stores and transportation and education,” Whitmer said.

The conversation between Whitmer and the audience then transitioned to the future of Detroit education and education as a whole.

Mrs. Whitmer believes it takes a real investment in universal child education. She wants to encourage educators to come into the districts that have the most economic challenges. She has future for the calendar of the school year that she will be unveiling in the near future.   

“We’ve so demoralized the roots of our teachers," Whitmer said. "We’ve cut their pay, we’ve taken away their ability to bargain...and I think we all know no one goes into education because it’s lucrative.”

As Mrs. Whitmer’s time ended, the conversation transitioned to businesses.

Whitmer discussed with the guests the relationships between business and government and the struggles small businesses in Detroit face as they seem to get lost in the city’s growth. Whitmer states part of the problem is the people behind the decision-making on budgets. She said it is critical for the voices of entrepreneurs and business owners who need access to capital to be heard.

Whitmer chatted and took pictures with guests after her speech.

Whitmer chatted and took pictures with guests after her speech.

So where do we go from here?

One woman asked how can people get behind Whitmer to ensure people do not lose momentum?

Whitmer expressed that there are over 10,000 volunteers statewide, but that is not enough.

She encouraged people to be a surrogate, attend semi-weekly -and eventually weekly – briefings, collect signatures, and host meet-and-greets and fundraisers. She acknowledged the difficulties but encouraged involvement. 

 



Gretchen Whitmer is a dedicated and passionate woman, who only wants the best for the state of Michigan. She champions things that sometimes get overlooked, and really puts the people first.

 Détroit is the New Black was honored to host her meet and greet!

 

To learn more about Mrs. Whitmer’s campaign, click here.

 

Rachael Thomas