State Rep. Isaac Robinson on Gov. Whitmer's collaboration with Benton Harbor School District:
Vague Benton Harbor Letter Nice, But Damage by Whitmer is done
June 20, 2019
LANSING - Yesterday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to members of the Benton Harbor Board of Education to announce her intention to collaborate with them as they develop a new proposal to address the academic shortfalls of the school district. In response, state Rep. Isaac Robinson
(D-Detroit) issued the following statement:
"The Governor should have stepped up to collaborate with our friends in Benton Harbor - without the civil rights community, pastors and my state rep colleagues pushing her to do so. She does this terrible deal on car insurance after a text from a billionaire, but we got to expend all of this energy just for her to help fix a school with 700 students.
This is a win for democracy but this whole situation is a terrible blow to the Governor's credibility and reputation.
Following the betrayal on the car insurance deal, her threats to the Benton Harbor School Board were shocking.
As I drove to Benton Harbor with activist Al Williams from Detroit on May 30th to stand with Rev. Charles Williams and Rev David Bullock at a rally held by Mayor Muhammad at the Benton Harbor City Hall - I felt like I was in a Time Machine protesting Rick Snyder's 2011 Emergency manager programs in Benton Harbor. I had made that same drive to protest 8 years ago. There I stood with Rev Jesse Jackson, Rev. Bullock and Rev Williams Different Governor back on Easter in 2011, but we have the same policies.
The Governor's letter to the Benton Harbor school board is still not strong enough and not clear enough. Until she says, she is not planning to close the high school, it may be more double talk. On a day, the entire Democratic party and teachers were calling for more education funding, we would have looked like hypocrites, if we were calling for more funding but just not for Benton Harbor.
It is apparent representatives of urban communities do not have direct day to day influence with the Governor. Seems like big donors and corporate interests have the access.
Strong staff with a real connection and concern for Detroit and urban communities would have prevented her from signing that terrible car insurance bill ( that gave us unequal health care and did noting on red-lining) and would have stopped her from rolling out those embarrassing heavy-handed tactics on her own loyal supporters in Benton Harbor.
It can only get better from here, I hope. But her administration needs a major shake-up. Let me state the obvious, her administration sure doesn't feel progressive. feels distant from my community."