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Gubernatorial Debate a “Complete Failure” in Addressing Major Economic and Environmental Issues

Michigan LCV and Michigan Environmental Council criticize moderators and candidates on ignoring sustainable jobs, Great Lakes, and the tourism economy
Oct 11, 2010
The lone debate in this general election between Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero turned out to be another missed opportunity for Michigan voters to learn more about their candidates.

The complete omission of even a single question on the environment, Great Lakes, the “Pure Michigan” tourism economy or the potential of the clean energy sector for job growth in Michigan was a startling oversight in a state that relies so heavily on these issues for its economy and image.

“Instead of talking about the 109,000 clean energy jobs we have in Michigan, and the ability to create at least that many more, the candidates were instead thrown softball questions like, ‘How tough of a nerd are you?’ and ‘How angry of a mayor are you?’” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “This was the opportunity to see them actually debate an issue on which they are both knowledgeable and passionate. Instead, we got easily dodged questions, sloppy mudslinging, and a gaping hole in the conversation where bold visions for Michigan’s sustainable future belonged.”

“The voters deserve specific answers and ideas to make this critical choice impacting Michigan’s future. For once, Michigan’s economy is showing signs of diversification into solar energy, advanced batteries and wind turbine components”, said Chris Kolb, President of Michigan Environmental Council. “We need to know what they candidates plan to do to keep these positive trends going, and their plans for the future.”

Michigan LCV’s Education Fund hosted a forum for the gubernatorial candidates on conservation issues on May 12, before the primary election. The video of the forum is now being re-released in an edited format that highlights only Snyder and Bernero’s responses, given the lack of attention paid to the issues in Sunday’s debate. It is available on YouTube, as well as on the Michigan LCV Ed Fund website. The forum was sponsored by the Michigan LCV Education Fund, the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Public Radio, ConservAmerica, the Michigan Environmental Council and others.

Last week, Michigan LCV released its “Final Eight Questions” to each both Snyder and Bernero in open letters and also distributed the questions to the full environmental community with the help of the MEC. Members and concerned cities across the state will be bringing these questions to town halls for both candidates to put their positions on the record.
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Hugh McDiarmid Jr., 248-660-4300
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