Thursday November 3, 2022—Governor Gretchen Whitmer took a stop on her campaign trail in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Alongside her visit was Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and State Representative Kyra Bolden, who is currently in the race for Michigan Supreme Court Justice. If Bolden wins, she would be the first African American woman elected to the Michigan Supreme Court.
At 11:30, the campaign rally kicked off in the heart of Benton Harbor's Arts District in the local favorite, The Livery, popular for its unique pizzas and "Hand-Forged Microbrews."
To get the evening rolling, local leaders and elected officials began with dialogue on getting out the vote as election day approached (Tuesday, November 8). Among the attending were Benton Harbor Public School Board President, Dashuna Robinson; Berrien County 4th District Commissioner, Mamie Yarbrough; Berrien County Democrats Board Chair, Amy Scrima; and the Mayor of Benton Harbor, Marcus Muhammad, to name a few.
This rally seemed to be more than just a typical campaign stop, as the Governor and Mayor aimed to touch on recent success with the lead service line replacement project being reported as 99.6% complete in the city of Benton Harbor. With the city's fast approach, this progress is seen as record breaking, being five months ahead of the predicted schedule.
Now, with the project [to combat the Benton Harbor water crisis] approaching just over a year, Mayor of Benton Harbor, Marcus Muhammad stated, “What we did in Benton Harbor is an example, it’s a blueprint [of what you can do] when you have a concerned, compassionate executive branch. Working with a Republican lead legislator. Which not only takes grit but takes great skill and wisdom.
Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist then took the stage and asked a question that he said is often asked, “Why should I vote and why should I vote for you?” He then stated, “I think the work that we've done together, Governor Whitmer and our team, has delivered the most concrete example of what it means to have the right people, in the right place, at the right time. To deliver on something urgent, that's about our vote, that's about our future, that's about our family, that's about our infrastructure. There has been no clearer example, so when somebody in Benton Harbor asks you why should they vote? Tell them, ‘Because you can drink water safely.’”
After Governor Whitmer took the stage and spoke on the accomplishments of her administration, she and the crowd then migrated outside, marching to City Hall so that citizens who had not yet voted could do so.
In attendance were four Benton Harbor High School Seniors who were going to register and vote for the very first time. One of the four students was Jo-Montae Johnson who said, “It feels great to know who you’re voting for and who you think can bring the best for us and everyone else. It felt pretty great and I’m glad to vote because now I know who [you are and where] I'm putting my life and the future of the little ones. I’m making sure their future is great.”
Later, when asked, “Why should student voters vote for you?” Governor Whitmer responded by saying, “I recognize that the most important voters in this election are the people with the longest impact from the outcome of this election, who are the youngest people. [They have] the most vested interest to [further] its climate, [further] its individual rights, [further] its voting rights, reproductive rights. A lot of fundamentals that we thought would always be there are now very much at risk, and that's why young people should be active in this election and should recognize that the investment we've made to bring down the cost of college to help students be able to afford to go to school and get the skills they need to be successful. It has been a top priority, and we've delivered. And we'll continue working for every Michigander, especially [for] our young people.”
The Student Movement is the official student newspaper of Andrews University. Opinions expressed in the Student Movement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, Andrews University or the Seventh-day Adventist church.