On Tuesday, Sept 19, the GT Dems and interested citizens met Bill Cobbs, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor of Michigan.
Mr. Cobbs’ campaign theme is “Together We Can!” He believes success requires a strong grassroots movement and activism coupled with effective leadership. He believes Democrats need to unite and avoid replaying the last election.
Mr. Cobbs said that his career of rich and varied experiences and accomplishments give him a unique background to bring to the role. He listed the following accomplishments: he served as both an enlisted man and an officer in the US Navy (by being selected for the BOOST program*, served as a policeman, worked on a factory floor, worked his way through law school, and eventually held an executive position at Xerox and is proud of his success building a new international professional services division. In his words, “My entire life prepared me for this job.”
Bill Cobbs has a strong belief that government and the Democratic Party need to work for the “common welfare.” His 4-plank platform for moving Michigan forward reflects this approach to government.
“We have been dismantling K-12 education in Michigan. If we want to attract companies, we need a talented, well trained work force.” He went on to emphasize the need for an equal educational opportunity for all our kids. He asserts that business looking to move into Michigan looks at the educational system of the entire state.
Mr. Cobbs made several points on creating opportunity for all our children including, returning vocational education to high schools. He feels public education means public schools and opposes public funding of charter schools.
Mr. Cobbs described Bill Schutte as denying the right of our children access to literacy and pointed out that he is currently subject to a lawsuit over this issue. **
“We have kicked this can down the road for far too long.” Mr. Cobbs talked about creating a $60Billion, 25-year infrastructure program for roads, sewers, water, etc. He asserts this will create long term jobs at a minimum of $17.50/hr. pay. He proposes to pay for this program with a 30-year municipal bond issue.
Mr. Cobbs said, “Flint, at it’s core was an infrastructure issue… We have water in sewers that is 50 years old. Flint has 15,000 lead service lines. Detroit has 120,000 lead service lines.” His claim was that we could have the same problem in Detroit that we had in Flint, but with much larger consequences.
Mr. Cobbs favors a Michigan constitutional amendment to form a fixed 4.5% income tax to a progressive income tax, keeping middle income folks at the present rate, rising to a marginal rate of 10% at the $600,000 household income level. He claims that the Michigan 6% corporate tax is substantially unimplemented and proposes closing the gaps to make the tax collectable. He also proposes to remove the tax on pension income.
Mr. Cobbs closed this section by asserting that Snyder gave $1.1B to corporations in 2011 with the objective of stimulating growth. His claim is both that we did not see growth benefits from this spending, and that tax payers filled that hole in the budget with higher vehicle registration and gas taxes.
Water and Environmental Policy:
Mr. Cobbs first point is that he wants to shut down Enbridge Line 5. He said, “If there is a leak, 1.5 million gallons of heavy crude would escape into the lake before Enbridge would even know that it was leaking. … Enbridge oil goes from Mackinac to Sarnia, Canada, not to Michigan.” He stated that Enbridge employs only 120 people in Michigan, and only 30 of those are full time jobs. He claims that every lobbyist in Lansing is hired by Enbridge. Mr. Cobbs said that there are 15 sites on Line 5 that have areas bigger than 6” where the anti-corrosion coating is missing.
Mr. Cobbs strongly opposed the granting of water licenses to Nestle. He claimed that water will be more precious than oil by 2030,
Some additional thoughts from the evening:
Mr. Cobbs is seeking significant legislation, including a Constitutional Amendment, to implement his platform. When asked how he will convince the legislature to act, he said he relies on us, his constituents, to actively engage and compel our elected officials to act.
Mr. Cobbs is a very strong supporter of the ACA. He believes it is important to get to a single payer health care system. He stated that if the ACA is repealed, he would work to implement a single payer system for the State of Michigan by the end of his first term. He used this issue as an example to repeat his refrain, “There is an intrinsic value in us taking care of each other.”
Mr. Cobbs stated: “Bill Schuette will be the Republican candidate. We need to stay focused on 2 things:
Does our candidate have an executable platform that will bring us forward?
Can the candidate win against Bill Schuette?”
Bill Cobbs believes firmly that he is the candidate who can deliver on both these objectives.
**The Detroit Free Press reports:
“Timothy Haynes, an assistant state attorney general, filed a motion in November asking for the case to be dismissed, saying literacy is not a fundamental right under the constitution.” Bill Schutte is currently the Michigan attorney general, Mr. Haynes works under his direction.