Schuette visits Delta County on campaign tour

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press During a campaign swing in Gladstone and Escanaba on Friday, Michigan candidate for governor Bill Schuette, at left, who currently serves as state attorney general, tours Besse Forest Products in Gladstone with Besse President/CEO/Owner Greg Besse, who points out various world-wide products — such as guitars, furniture and flooring — which are made from locally-manufactured veneer.

GLADSTONE — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a candidate in this year’s upcoming governor’s race, made a campaign swing through Gladstone and Escanaba Friday, promoting plans for tax reductions and economic growth before heading to the Copper Country today.

During a tour of Besse Forest Products in Gladstone on Friday, Schuette told media representatives he was excited to be there and also planned to stop at Bay College to meet with local business owners and leaders. He said today’s plans included campaigning in Houghton, skiing at Pine Mountain, and having a beer at Shooty’s Bar.

The gubernatorial candidate said, as governor, he would seek to bring “more jobs, more paychecks, and more growth” to Michigan, which remains 300,000 jobs short compared to the number of jobs before the Great Recession. He added the state needs to grow faster to compete with other states.

“This visit today is about jobs and paychecks… and putting more money in people’s pockets,” Schuette said prior to touring the local manufacturing plant Friday with Besse Forest Products Group President/CEO/Owner Greg Besse and others.

Ways to grow paychecks include rolling back former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s “temporary” ­­decade-old income tax hike and reducing the state’s high auto insurance rates, said Schuette.

In addition to the economics of cutting taxes and reforming auto insurance, Schuette said he is also focusing on education, which works hand-in-hand with the economy. He will be promoting “every child needs to read” by the third grade, transportation scholarships so students can attend special programs, and more job training including vocational education.

Schuette answered questions from the media about state prisons closing and early release of parolees, often causing more burden on counties dealing with re-offenders.

“We need a balance between smart justice and reducing the recidivism rate,” he said. “I will make sure as governor to strike the right balance.”

Regarding the growing opiate abuse issue in the state and nation, Schuette commented this is a “real significant problem” and one addicts can’t arrest their way out of, noting the battle against drugs also includes fighting the bad “docs,” the pill mills, and the heroin dealers.

As governor, Schuette said he would encourage legislators to earmark more funding for drug treatment programs and public awareness campaigns.

As Michigan attorney general, Schuette also spoke about the recent sexual abuse convictions of former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar, who will spend the rest of his life in prison. More than 250 women and girls accused Nassar of sexual abuse, including Olympic gymnasts and students from Michigan State University, where he was a physician.

“This is a guy who abused so many young girls… He abused them and violated them,” said Schuette who attended the court proceedings including the testimony of victims which he described as compelling profiles of courage that empowered others to speak up.

Schuette said a special counsel will be assigned to conduct an open and transparent investigation into how these criminal acts were allowed at the university so this never happens again.

Schuette is a strong supporter of women’s rights and has been instrumental in protecting victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse. He formed the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking and promotes testing of sexual assault DNA as a priority to convict rapists.

Prior to becoming attorney general, Schuette was a Michigan Court of Appeals judge, a state senator, and the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,