Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is seen in an Aug. 29, 2007 photo in Lansing, Mich. Bernero said Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 he plans to create an exploratory committee as he considers challenging Lt. Gov. John Cherry and others for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination next year. The former state lawmaker will file paperwork this week and plans to decide whether to enter the race early next year. (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Rod Sanford)
LANSING -- Virg Bernero was back on his home turf Thursday.
The Democratic candidate for governor stopped in for a roundtable discussion with local residents at Decker's Coffee Company in downtown Lansing.
And for an announcement.
"'Main street, Not Wall Street' is not just a slogan," the Lansing mayor said. "It's a policy."
He then pledged, if elected governor, to stop doing business with any Wall Street bank that doesn't quote "fairly lend to the state's small businesses."
"Every community we go to, small businesses are being written off because Michigan is being red-lined," Bernero said. "We are being robbed of our recovery and being left for dead by Wall Street. And we've got to stand up and fight."
Bernero's "Main Street Agenda" would instead form a state bank, called the Michigan Main Street Bank, to oversee loans to Michigan's businesses. It would partner with local lenders -- instead of the big banks -- to promote new investment and job creation in the state.
Bernero's hoping it'll be a key selling point in a campaign that has to erase a 22-point deficit in the latest News 10 poll to Republican candidate Rick Snyder.
"I know that some of the pundits have already decided who the winners are, and they're already prematurely writing my epithet," Bernero said Thursday. "But I feel very good about how it's going. The response is wonderful."
And by Bernero's side was the other mayor on his ticket, Lieutenant Governor candidate Brenda Lawrence of Southfield.
"That message of 'Main Street' has empowered me," said Lawrence, who was elected mayor of Southfield in 2001, becoming both the first black and woman to hold that position. Because being a mayor -- that's what drives us every day, is taking care of our communities."
Two mayors on a "Fighting for Main Street" tour across the state -- hoping Bernero can yet again win as the underdog.