Granholm: After Tough Week, Michigan to Continue Ongoing Efforts to Shape New Future

June 5, 2009

In radio address, governor says Michigan ready to lead national transformation to green economy

LANSING - In her weekly radio address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said it's been a tough week for Michigan with General Motors filing for bankruptcy and seven GM plants to be closed or idled in the state.

"An era is ending," Granholm said.  "While many people will continue working in GM plants building the next generation of vehicles, others will be leaving.  And for them, we will help however we can, from extended unemployment benefits to job retraining."

Granholm emphasized that in bankruptcy, both General Motors and Chrysler are being restructured - not liquidated.

"The Obama administration supported restructuring GM and Chrysler into viable companies, because it understands the United States needs a strong automotive industry and a manufacturing sector," Granholm said.

"Now we have to continue our ongoing efforts to shape a new future for Michigan, one in which we will use our manufacturing expertise to achieve a national goal of energy independence," Granholm continued.  "Manufacturers of green products like wind turbines or advanced batteries can find everything they need in Michigan: technological knowhow, factory space, skilled workers, transportation systems, great universities."

"These are tough times for Michigan, but we're pretty tough ourselves," Granholm said.  "GM and Chrysler will emerge from bankruptcy as stronger companies, and the Big 3 will play indispensable roles in our nation's journey to energy independence.  It's a time of national transformation to a green economy, and Michigan is ready to lead."

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 at ( 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 via 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 - GM Chrysler

Full: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov200Full_281475_7.mp3
Edited: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov200Edit_281477_7.mp3
Quote:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov200Quote_281479_7.mp3

Hello, this is Governor Jennifer Granholm.

It's been a tough week for Michigan.  General Motors filed for bankruptcy.  Seven GM plants in Michigan will close or be idled, and thousands of workers will lose their jobs.

When companies in other states declare bankruptcy, it's generally not headline news.  It's different for Michigan, because we're so tightly bound to the auto industry.  If we don't work in the industry ourselves, we all have friends and family who do.  For some families, generations have worked in the plants.

That's what makes this so painful.  An era is ending.  While many people will continue working in GM plants building the next generation of vehicles, others will be leaving.  And for them, we will help however we can, from extended unemployment benefits to job retraining.

Now we have to continue our ongoing efforts to shape a new future for Michigan, one in which we will use our manufacturing expertise to achieve a national goal of energy independence.

Five years ago, we began positioning Michigan to lead a green industrial revolution.  We provided tax incentives and grants for making green products.  We created venture capital for green start-up companies, and we restructured job training programs to give workers the skills for green jobs.

Manufacturers of green products like wind turbines or advanced batteries can find everything they need in Michigan: technological knowhow, factory space, skilled workers, transportation systems, and great universities.

Today, wind turbines are manufactured mostly in Europe.  We intend and we expect to make them in Michigan.  Today, the advanced batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles are made in Asia.  We intend to manufacture them here and make Michigan the advanced battery capital of the world.

In fact, on Monday, General Motors will unveil a new battery lab at its tech center, the largest automotive battery lab in the country.  And this leads to an important point about the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies.

In bankruptcy, General Motors is being restructured, not liquidated.  There would be no new GM battery lab with liquidation.  And as we also saw this week, Chrysler is being restructured, not liquidated.  The Obama administration supported restructuring GM and Chrysler into viable companies, because it understands the United States needs a strong automotive industry and a manufacturing sector.  

These are tough times for Michigan, but we're pretty tough ourselves.  GM and Chrysler will emerge from bankruptcy as stronger companies, and the Big 3 will play indispensable roles in our nation's journey to energy independence.  It's a time of national transformation to a green economy, and Michigan is ready to lead.    

Thank you for listening.

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