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Posted on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:27 p.m.

Republican nominee Rick Snyder calls for growth and reform during town hall in Chelsea

By Ronald Ahrens

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Rick Snyder greets supporters at the event in Chelsea.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan needs to be reinvented, and business growth and tax reform are the keys.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Snyder delivered that message to 125 people who crowded into the historic Chelsea Depot for an hour-long town hall meeting on Tuesday evening. A campaign staffer said about 70 people had received personal invitations, although the event was open to the public.

In Snyder’s first campaign appearance since winning the Aug. 3 primary, the Ann Arbor businessman reemphasized his 10-point formula for revitalizing Michigan and called for fire and passion from his supporters.

He said his corporate management experience would tame the state bureaucracy and create public-private partnerships to fill in when state funding fell short.

“One of the things I’m proud of is, I think I’m the first real manager running for office in a long time,” he said.

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Rick Snyder speaks in Chelsea about the need for business growth and tax reform.

Melanie Maxwell |

In addition to his private business background, Snyder referred to his experience as the first chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation “under Governor (John) Engler, when it worked well—it was actually one of the leaders in the country.” He also mentioned his role in the creation of Ann Arbor SPARK.

The “comeback” of Michigan won’t be due to the wooing of out-of-state corporations, Snyder said. Instead, local businesses must be allowed to grow.

“Government is not qualified nor competent to pick winners and losers," he said. "It’s about creating the most competitive playing field.”

Tax incentives for the location of businesses have been overused “like popcorn and candy.”

Snyder drew loud applause when he said, “The comeback of Michigan is going to be based on Michiganders creating and growing small businesses.”

The work of actor and Chelsea resident Jeff Daniels received a mention from Snyder.

“We’ve got an environment now where we’re killing job creation through the Michigan business tax. It is absolutely awful,” he said.

Snyder said the creation of the 2007 tax is “like Lansing went to the video store and rented ‘Dumb and Dumber.’”

Retaining local talent by salvaging cities - including Detroit - will also be a major emphasis in reinventing the state, he said.

Snyder used the appearance to take a warm-up punch at Democratic candidate Virg Bernero.

“I think you’re going to find a fundamental choice,” he said of the Nov. 2 general election.

“If you like how our government works, if you like how our bureaucracy works and our political system works, I encourage you to look at the other candidate. That’s the world he lives in. That’s the world he loves.”

Their first debate is scheduled for Sept. 21.

During the question-and-answer period, Snyder was asked about educational reform. Besides standardized testing, he suggested every child “travel” with a portfolio of work that proves basic skills.

After teachers receive all the needed help, after overhead is minimized in school districts, then funding issues should be addressed, he said.

“We do need to invest in our educational system because it’s critical for our future - we’re talking about our kids," Snyder said. "But let’s do it in a much more smart fashion and say it’s about outcomes and results, not simply spending a million dollars a grade.”

Don Graham, who said he drove 60 miles from Allen Park to hear the candidate, took the microphone first during the question and answer period.

In response to Graham's question about how to get a balanced budget done on time, Snyder called for transparency and a “real balance sheet and financial papers in real English.”

“I like him because he doesn’t mistake activity for accomplishment,” Graham said.

Ronald Ahrens is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

Dan H: Indeed, the record is not clear on how many jobs were created by Rick Snyder. At Gateway Incorporated, he became another executive vice-president six years after Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond created the company. Furthermore, Ted Waitt was known to manage the company's operations day-to-day and it was likely that hiring practices were established prior to Rick Snyder's arrival. Also Rick Snyder was a board member and, for a brief period of time, interim CEO while Gateway outsourced jobs to China and to Mexico. As a venture capitalist Rick Snyder wants to take credit for creating 420 jobs in Michigan. However, he did not manage the companies that received money from him and I am sure that he did not make hiring decisions either. To credit Rick Snyder for job creation because he provided money that could be used for salaries is like crediting me for the salaries of a grocery store's clerks just because I buy my food there. I have no idea what specific policies Rick Snyder wants to impose on our state government if he becomes governor and neither do you. He has no history of any government service upon which we can reflect. On the other hand, Virg Bernero has a lengthy history of public service accomplishment as Landing's Mayor. During his tenure in office 6000 jobs were created or retained in the Lansing area. He was involved in attracting $262 million of federal funds for clean-up projects in Michigan. Virg Bernero helped secure $188 million dollars in construction jobs. Not to be overlooked is the balance budgets Virg Bernero produced for each of the past five years. How many other mayors in Michigan can make a similar claim? By the way I will not challenge your statement that Rick Snyder was involved with wealth creation. Unfortunately, most of that wealth went into the pockets of a few executives at Gateway Incorporated and at his venture capital enterprises. I would appreciate an explanation of your statement about "incompetence and anti-business, big government policies down shoved down our throat currently by the Federal Government." Exactly what do you consider as incompetent and anti-business? Perhaps you can also explain for what purposes you think the policies that you criticize were established.


Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

This direction is in keeping with the economic gardening concept that SBAM is discussing through its "Propelling a New Economic Direction for Michigan" campaign. The idea is to develop small-business support programs that bolster existing...companies and their ability to have the resources to grow. The concept is being discussed in the Gubernatorial campaign and its core is to focus on 'cultivating' businesses in the $1 million and up revenue range that have 10-100 employees and want to grow. The program being espoused by SBAM is to complement the state's existing strategy of 'hunting' for companies to open operations in the state. Economic gardening has been proven in its use in Colorado and other states and SBAM has run pilot programs in the UP's Keweenaw region and Tuscola county on the Thumb. Figures provided by the Edward Lowe Foundation of Cassopolis show that companies in this category produced more new jobs between 1993 and 2007 than any other business segment in Michigan. Larry Eiler

Dan H

Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

@Rasputin Wow, I've never heard that before. That was quite original. And so very helpful.

Dan H

Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 2:12 p.m.

Veracity: You might want to change your chosen moniker. Rick's track record has indeed been proven. Moreover, to question Rick's accomplishments is the height of absurdity. As a private citizen, and entrepreneur, he has created a tremendous amount of wealth and jobs whether directly, or indirectly via capital (all jobs require capital as the starting base). It's a tough concept for non entrepreneurs and big government socialists to apprehend, to be sure. Lastly, try to not put words in my mouth by using terms like my "Messianic view." If you bothered to read my post, you would have seen the little part of all of the states being more or less screwed to some degree due to the overwhelming incompetence and anti-business, big government policies down shoved down our throat currently by the Federal Government. Michigan will not be immune to such stupid policies, but, as far as I'm concerned, it's better to have a true entrepreneur, job and wealth creator as Governor helping to fight the tide of those policies for the state than another Union beholden, big government liberal. Dan


Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 12:17 p.m.

Well, if Snyder "bought" the nomination then the UAW/MEA puppet maters "bought" the nomination for Virg "Bully" Bernaro. The election choice is clear: Are you better off than you were 8 years ago when Democrats took control of the state? If the answer is yes, vote for the Bully. If the answer is NO, do you want to risk 8 more years of decline with Bernaro who is captive to the UAW/MEA puppet masters? Man up Michigan and pick your poison.


Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 2:47 a.m.

And so what was so magical about John Engler.. During the last 2 years of the Engler Administration, Michigan lost 250,000 jobs.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 9:52 p.m.

Lokalisierung: You are mostly right in your thinking. However, I am convinced that if Rick Snyder becomes governor that he will sign bills produced by the Republican legislature that will restrict women's reproductive rights. Remember that Jennifer Granholm vetoed a bill in 2008 that would have outlawed late term partial-birth abortions without consideration for women's health. If given the opportunity, Rick Snyder will sign bills that limit access to the morning-after pill and the teaching of contraception. The reduced revenue that will accompany Rick Snyder's plan to eliminate $1.5 billion in business taxes is unlikely to be offset by a deluge of new business paying lower tax rates. Therefore, the Republican legislature will have to pass bills decreasing expenditures for services and support for the needy and destitute. Rick Snyder will have no reluctance to signing such bills. So while both Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero will have limited powers as governor, you can expect that each one will use the powers available in different ways. Voters should understand what that means for Michigan when they vote in November.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

Chalk me up for a middle vote of thinking neither of them are going to change anything that much.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 2:52 p.m.

Dan H: I caution you to be prepared for disappointment if Rick Snyder is elected governor. Your Messianic view of Rick Snyder is neither borne out by what he has accomplished nor the platitudes he offers as his program for Michigan's success.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 1:55 p.m.

Small businesses will save Michigan!! Just watch! That's his mantra. Unfortunately his wealthy pals running the banks refuse to lend to small businesses.....thus the lack of growth in that area. Perhaps he can get his wealthy cronies to line up and start lending to small businesses. Then we don't need him or anyone else to save us. The wealthiest in this country are holding back a growth economy.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

yea republicans always wanna tote the "free market" as if they were for that. actually they want corporations to gain full control and dictate policy to the government, to not get in the way as they take advantage of cheap labor overseas and ship away American jobs. THAT is what happened to Michigan and other state's economies. Quit fooling yourself that this Nerd has a way out of that, 'cuz he doesn't. Vote for Virg, he stands up for the Michigan worker!


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

@ Dan H, You're in the river of Egypt.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

Using up our resources is just as expensive as having to pay taxes, except one thing: taxes ARE something we can control. So he goes to Chelsea, a population that mostly lives outside the city proper, encouraging more sprawl and thus stretching their resources because they don't want to put up with Ann Arbor controls for growth. Which is more about management, but the idiots that would contradict that would say they're trying to hold us back. A vote for Snyder is a vote for more dead cities. Don't be dumb :P

John Q

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 10:14 a.m.

"In response to Graham's question about how to get a balanced budget done on time, Snyder called for transparency and a real balance sheet and financial papers in real English. Nice sound bite but it's not based on anything. The budget information has always been available online from the Governor's office, which proposes a budget each fiscal year. The revenue projections are agreed to in advance by leaders of both parties so no one can claim that the Governor's office is making up the numbers. It's the failure of the state legislature, Republicans and Democrats both, to understand the budget, the adopt a budget that reflects the needs of the state and to make the hard choices that need to be made in this state. To claim that a lack of transparency or "financial papers in real English" is the cause of the state's budget problems is a display of ignorance by Mr. Snyder.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

ahhh simplistic overtures about lower taxes. Republican talking points are as predictable as the sunrise.

rusty shackelford

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

Right, because corporation counsel for the largest county in the state and then state attorney general (Granholm's former jobs never "manage" anything or anyone. I give Snyder credit for having a much more detailed platform than any other candidate, but this whole notion that working for a company is somehow better than (or even analogous to) running a government agency is puerile and just needs to stop. Government and business are fundamentally different.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

'He said his corporate management experience would tame the state bureaucracy and create public-private partnerships to fill in when state funding fell short.' I believe this is code for deregulation, previously known as laissez faire economics - I'm sure Enbridge embraces Snyder like a drunkard on a barfly...

Marc Williams

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

ERM makes a good point. Considering the recent op-ed piece (link at bottom of comment) in the New York Times concerning the failures of Republican economic policy over the last 40 years by David Stockman, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan with unimpeachable conservative credentials, Rick Snyder's "plan" appears to be business as usual. @care2comment Saying "tax and spend" is rather glib. That is how things work. We the people elect representatives to run things. Ideally those representatives figure out how much that costs and sets taxes appropriately. They then spend that money on infrastructure and services for the people. Cutting taxes should always be balanced with a reduction in spending, instead both Republicans and Democrats have paired cuts with deficit spending. Even with deficit spending there's only so much belt-tightening that can happen before the infrastructure and services start to fail. (where we are today) While I like some of what Mr. Snyder has to say he needs to communicate his plan for balancing the budget not just cutting tax revenue.

Dan H

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 9:42 a.m.

An Open Letter To Rick: Rick, you and the smart denizens of Michigan know you are the only true candidate running in this race, and always were. You are also going to win in November by a landslide. No, I am not taking it for granted and will make sure I rall everyone I know to vote for you, just as I did in the primary. And, your reinvent Michigan campaign is a refreshing one, and will offer hope to the hardworking, innovative citizens of this state who have been clobbered by 8 years of corrupt, big-government liberal policies and politicians. (And, unfortunately, big government, Republican policies at the Federal level). Your win will hopefully cause the big union, entitlement, hand out types to flee this state as they seek another and easier teat to nurse on, and cause businesses to view Michigan as a more flexible and free economy when compared to other states. However, we are facing disastrous policies at the Federal level, as you know, that unfortunately are going to overwhelm the entire nation, even the state of Michigan. When you take office, please remember your implicit vow to let the free market work to rebuild Michigan. Unfortunately, because of the disastrous policies we are facing from an economically illiterate president, Federal policies are going to crush all of the states to some degree or another. But I am confident you, and the productive base in Michigan, can once again turn this state into a comparatively desirable place to live. We have a lot going for us. There are still entrepreneurs who care and rich natural resources that are not just beautiful, but are diminishing dramatically in a world of need. The combination of the two, with a pro market, pro business leader, such as yourself, can help unleash amazing forces of prosperity for all deserving people. November can't come fast enough for the hardworking, industrious, and innovative among us. I may even celebrate your win by launching a win business as a vote of confidence. Sincerely, Dan


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

@ 81wolverine, it was meant as an analogy. Glad to see I ruffled your feathers.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

81wolverine: you have been mislead as have many others. Republicans want you to believe that Rick Snyder created jobs while employed at Gateway, while involved with SPARK and as a venture capitalist. However, no one has specifically stated how many jobs should be credited directly to Rick Snyder. The fact is that Rick Snyder became an executive with Gateway in 1991 SIX YEARS after Gateway's creation by Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond. At that time Gateway Computers was well-established and successful. Rick Snyder should state what actions he took that actually increased jobs at the company. As a venture capitalist, privately and in association with SPARK, Rick Snyder distributed money to entrepreneurs who were creating new companies. Mr. Snyder's activities did not directly involve creating jobs. What successes Rick Snyder had as a venture capitalist should be recognized but let us not exaggerate his involvement with job creation. Unfortunately, his private sector experiences may not be as helpful for him as a governor as many of his supporters will have you believe.

David Frye

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

What a surprise -- another puff piece for The Man Who Would Buy Michigan. I'm just wondering when "" will come out of the closet and rename itself "".


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 8:34 a.m. is obviously pandering to the Snyder campaign and has become a Republican spokes machine. Please notice that Virg Bernero's meetings are not even being reported. Virg Bernero has actual government management experience as Mayor of Lansing. He should be credited for balancing Lansing's budget in hard economic times. He should receive some notice for millions of dollars which he attracted for business interests in the Lansing area. As governor either Virg Bernero or Rick Snyder will depend on the legislature for bills related to government finance. Both can threaten to veto bills that they do not like but that will be the extent of their powers. The most significant difference between Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder is that Virg Bernero supports women's rights and Rick Snyder does not. The and the Republican Party wants to prevent this issue from dominating the governor's race. Do not be deceived and recognize this: Rick Snyder will sign a bill that outlaws late term abortions without consideration for women's health. He will also sign bills that will limit the use of the morning-after-pill and may even restrict birth control education. When signed into law these bills will influence all Michigander's lives for years after the governor has left office. Pay attention to what both candidates will actually be able to do in office and not what they hope the legislature and other interests might do that they favor.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

I love how every man in the audience in these pictures could be mistaken for Snyder from behind. Old, white, and grey. I pass by his downtown campaign office frequently and love to see his "10-Point Plan" up on the wall. Number one: "Create More and Better Jobs". OHHHH... why didn't I think of that? I've seen plenty of instances when a company is given all sorts of tax incentives to bring/keep X number of jobs here, and after following up a year or two later, its only been a fraction of that number. The automatic reply is "another Granholm failure". What does he think $1.5 billion in business tax cuts will do? I guarantee it will not create $1.5 billion in wages for new jobs.

Top Cat

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 7:39 a.m.

Agree with ERM's Ghost for once. The budget has to be balanced and Rick needs to tell us how that is going to happen. I've heard that his plan includes extending the sales tax to services but I can't substantiate that.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

@Rasputin: Speaking of wanting more facts, why not get yours right. The Titanic is on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, not the North Sea. And just for the record, it doesn't take someone with an education to understand how poor this state is and has been at attracting new businesses and creating jobs. THAT is a fact. Another fact is that Rick Snyder HAS created jobs and knows how to do it through his work at Gateway and SPARK, despite what the rhetoric from the other side says.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 6:51 a.m.

Republican nominee Rick Snyder is pandering to the desperate and under educated. His campaign promises have more holes in them the Titanic at the bottom of the North Sea. I say enough of these promises and post some facts that we, the intelligentsia, can sink our teeth into. Give me facts, sir!


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 5:09 a.m.

Yes Rich Snyder will be the next Govenor! Sounds rather sweet after all we have been through, with the union cronies running this state. About damn time Maxine! The other candidate has a ball and chain already around his neck, between the MEA, AFLCIO, and UAW he is "hog tied". Pary is over time to be " responsible" tired of being number 50 out of "50", it is comeback time baby, comeback! It is time for the "career politicians" to find a new career! We are taking back our state! No more broken promises, we need "jobs"! Just a reminder the MEA, AFLCIO,& UAW, create no jobs, except a few cronies at the top. Why would they fund the other candidate campaign? I would have voted for Andy Dillion, but not this guy, no not this guy! How about we talk Andy into running with a winner, Rick Snyder!!


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 1:31 a.m.

Just goes to show that you CAN buy polical position.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

Yeah right so lets elect another tax and spend, big government, in bed with the unions governor.... that'll surely solve Michigan's problems. Rick Snyder will be our next governor..... Michigan voters have had enough.