Metro Detroiters react to Whitmer's State of the State address focusing on COVID-19, roads

Posted at 5:44 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 07:13:32-05

(WXYZ) — It was a State of the State unlike any other, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaking to Michiganders virtually from her Capitol office on Wednesday night.


As expected, the governor focused heavily on the pandemic, vaccinations, the state's economy and schools.

Despite the year it's been, the governor had a sense of optimism about the road ahead and that's something people noticed, including a political science professor at Wayne State University.

As for the average metro Detroiter, they're focused on the COVID-19 vaccine and wanting the governor to return to that old campaign promise of "fix the damn roads."

Some people aren't happy with the promise.

"Did you see Detroit? She did nothing," one person told us.

"She ran her campaign on fixing the roads and I didn’t see anything done so far," another said.

Others are giving the governor more credit.

"Doing a fair decent job. A lot better," one person said.

In 2020, Michigan investigated nearly $2 billion to fix roads. It's expected to reach $3.5 billion this year.

"In Lansing, we completed the I-496 rebuilding Michigan project, with hundreds of more projects on the horizon, including heavily traveled sections of I-96 in Oakland County, I-69 in Calhoun county and I-94 in Berrien county," Whitmer said.

WSU Political Science Professor Marjories Sarbaugh Thompson was encouraged overall by the governor's address. She says bipartisanship will be key to the administration reaching its goals in 2021.

Whitmer also addressed education. She's previously said she'd like to see students return to the classroom by March 1.

“I think it’s going to be important just to get the younger kids back at least in smaller group," Thompson said. “I’m a little bit concerned about how fast we’re going to be able to get the teachers the vaccinated.”

Whitmer also reiterated her stance that strengthening Michigan's economy and re-opening businesses can only happen if COVID-19 cases keep trending down.

"This year, let’s fix the damn road ahead," Whitmer said.

The governor also addressed challenges on the vaccine front. She said so far, 800,000 vaccines have been given, putting Michigan sixth in the nation. She said once supply comes in, Michigan will be able to give 50,000 shots in arms per day. When exactly that will be is unclear.