Granholm Says Federal Government Will Partner in Helping Auto Communities, Workers

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

April 3, 2009

Governor's radio address says adviser's visit shows Michigan top priority

LANSING - In her weekly radio address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said that with a recession causing an economic storm in Michigan that surpasses any natural disaster, she welcomes the president's renewed commitment to the auto industry and his efforts to reach out to Michigan communities that are suffering.

Granholm's comments came during a week when Dr. Ed Montgomery, a top labor economist with Michigan ties and who was recently appointed as director of recovery for auto workers and communities by President Obama, visited Michigan.

"While Hurricane Katrina wiped out a quarter of a million jobs when it hit the Gulf Coast, we, in Michigan, will have lost more than three times that many jobs due to the economic storm surrounding our manufacturing base," Granholm said.  "Given the scale of this economic disaster, the president's point man on recovery for auto communities and workers - Dr. Ed Montgomery - came to Michigan this week.  His visit acknowledged Michigan's urgent and unique needs, helped him to understand the pain that our state has experienced, and allowed us to outline both our needs and strategies for rebuilding our state's economy."

Granholm said Montgomery will take that insight back to Washington to help leaders and agencies there understand how the federal government can help Michigan move forward.  She said the state will take full advantage of any federal assistance available.

"The fact that Michigan was the first state Dr. Montgomery visited signals that the president understands the unique problems we face here as our auto industry goes through this incredibly difficult transformation," Granholm said.  "Knowing that the president is our partner, we're going to work hard to see that Michigan is first in line for any federal assistance that will help us rebuild our economy, add jobs and protect our families as our auto industry restructures."

The governor's weekly radio address is released each Friday morning and may be heard on broadcast stations across the state.  The address is available on the governor's Web site ( www.michigan.gov/gov ) for download, together with a clip of the quote above.  The radio address is also available as a podcast on the Web site, as well as on iTunes and vi2a RSS feed for general distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers. Links to the audio files and text of today's address follow.

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
Radio Address - Rebuilding the Auto Industry

Full:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov191Full_273762_7.mp3
Edited:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov191Edit_273763_7.mp3
Quote:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov191Quote_273764_7.mp3

This is Governor Jennifer Granholm.

This week, President Obama made it clear that he is committed to a strong domestic auto industry, recognizing as we do here in Michigan that a thriving auto industry is essential to America's economy and to our national security.  He stands with us in fighting to help our American automakers and autoworkers make it through this recession, which has led car sales to plunge.

He's also standing with our Michigan communities and families who have been affected by the restructuring in the manufacturing sector, which has caused more job loss than any natural disaster in our nation's history.  While Hurricane Katrina wiped out a quarter of a million jobs, we in Michigan will have lost more than three times that many jobs due to the economic storm surrounding our manufacturing base.

Given the scale of this economic disaster, the president's point man on recovery for the auto communities and workers - Dr. Ed Montgomery - came to Michigan this week.  His visit acknowledged Michigan's urgent and unique needs, helped him to understand the pain that our state has experienced, and allowed us to outline both our needs and strategies for rebuilding our state's economy.  He will now take that insight back to Washington and say:  here is what they need in Michigan; here is how we can help the state move forward.

New federal resources, including more flexibility and less red tape, will further align Washington with our plans to help people weather economic hard times.  That could enable us to serve more citizens through our No Worker Left Behind initiative, which has helped 61,000 underemployed or unemployed citizens, many of them displaced autoworkers, help them to get the college degrees and training that they need for new jobs.

With more funding, we can also intensify our efforts to diversify Michigan's economy and add new sectors and new jobs. We have to make sure that there are jobs where displaced and retrained workers can use their skills and make a good living for their families.  We've already attracted thousands of jobs in emerging sectors such as renewable energy, homeland security and defense, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing - that soon will include the production of batteries to power Michigan-made electric vehicles.

The fact that Michigan was the first state that Dr. Montgomery visited signals that the president understands the unique problems we face here as our auto industry goes through this incredibly difficult transformation.  Knowing that the president is our partner, we're going to work hard to see that Michigan is first in line for any federal assistance that will help us rebuild our economy, add jobs, and protect our families as our auto industry restructures.

Thank you for listening.

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