Medicaid, Education Reform Among Biggest Topics at Gov. Snyder's Town Hall

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

"I always enjoy an opportunity to talk to our citizens, that's who I work for, so it's a great chance to learn from them and to communicate some important information they may not have gotten."

-- Gov. Rick Snyder

The floor was open and the stage was set.

Gov. Rick Snyder fielded numerous questions at a town hall meeting in Grand Rapids Thursday night hosted by WILX-TV's sister station WOOD-TV 8, aiming to tackle some of the biggest hot-button issues facing Michiganders.

It was a tough task at hand, no doubt, with just 60 minutes to discuss everything from Medicaid expansion to education reform and the economy.

Gov. Snyder faced tough questions for his pursuit to expand the state's Medicaid program despite it being a divisive issue even within his own party.

"We have a lot of people in Michigan, up to 470,000 that are hardworking people but lower income people that don't have health insurance and right now they're forced to go to the emergency room to get their healthcare," he said after the meeting. "That's a terrible answer, the ER people are wonderful but we all know that's not where you should go for primary care."

With lawmakers heading back to Lansing next week, a vote on Medicaid expansion could come as soon as next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Education reform and the controversial Common Core standards implemented in 2010 -- though funding has since been blocked -- were among the other big topics of discussion. Gov. Snyder made his case that the reforms play a crucial role in keeping Michigan competitive.

"It's important we set a high bar in terms of setting high standards because we're in global competition," Snyder said. "Shouldn't we be working hard to make sure our students have the best tools to be effective?"

Aside from the challenges facing the state, Gov. Snyder also took the time to push his triumphs and "comeback state" mentality.

"We've created over 100,000 private sector jobs, personal incomes have started coming back, Michigan's growing in population in again... but there's still more work to be done," he said. "I always enjoy an opportunity to talk to our citizens, that's who I work for."

The state's crumbling roads were also a topic of discussion as Snyder continues to fight for several million dollars more to fund road work. Detroit's turnaround was also on the table.


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