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Gilchrist swing through U.P. may be beneficial for local cities

What city doesn’t want to thrive?

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist has been visiting the Upper Peninsula this week as part of the 2019 Thriving Cities tour.

Gilchrist, who visited Northern Michigan University as one of his stops on Monday, made the insightful comment that government, to be responsive, has to listen to different communities’ needs.

Communities, after all, are different. What concerns a small Upper Peninsula town, for example, might not be as much of a concern in urban Detroit.

They both, however, want to thrive.

At the NMU roundtable discussion, local stakeholders talked spurring economic development through various means, such as improving access to high-paying jobs and creating programs to help start-up companies. These ideas would be expected in such a discussion, but they also discussed better access to day care and childcare services, both of which directly and indirectly help economic progress.

Gilchrist stressed he wants to reform the criminal justice system in the U.P. where, he said, jails are overcrowded. He called that a drain on county resources, plus inmates need access to mental health and substance abuse services.

How the 2020 Michigan state budget will play still is up in the air, with Gilchrist explaining that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer line-item vetoed nearly $1 billion from the budget and called for further negotiations.

On his Facebook page, Gilchrist talked about this Thriving Cities stops in the Upper Peninsula, two of which were Michigan Technological University and Neuvokas, a company in Ahmeek that manufactures a basalt rebar.

Gilchist posted as he was in Marquette for his ninth Thriving Cities stop: “We have cities all over the state that have different needs and it’s up to us to meet those needs.”

Having roundtable discussions and other events to talk about a community’s needs is a good start, but follow-up is needed too. It would be sad if the ideas mentioned at Monday’s roundtable discussion were left just in the talking stage.

Action is the next step, and we hope any momentum that began with the Thriving Cities tour keeps going, at local and state levels.

— The Mining Journal (Marquette)

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