DETROIT (AP) (11/7/2018) - With Tuesday being the highest voter turnout in a Michigan midterm election, Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer said voters made it very clear last night what issues matter to them.
She and Lt. Gov.-elect Garlin Gilchrist spent part of Wednesday morning talking with reporters about what her victory means for state government moving forward and what her most immediate priorities will be.
Whitmer stopped by the State Capitol in Lansing to meet with outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder and begin discussing the transition of power.
"I feel really good that voters of this state voted to reject bigotry and hate," she said at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. "They voted to reject the divisive politics that seem to be permeating everything."
Leading a statewide ticket dominated by women, she talked boldly about uniting everyone to get critical problems solved just hours after declaring victory.
"Our governor's office doesn't belong to a person or a political party. It belongs to you," Whitmer said.
She said her first major priority would be dealing with water contamination and infrastructure -- something Mid-Michiganders are all too familiar with.
"We are home to 21 percent of the world's fresh water and we have a lot of communities that can't drink the water coming out of their tap, so working on infrastructure in Michigan is at the top of the list," Whitmer said.
With the passage of Proposal 1 legalizing recreational marijuana on Tuesday, Whitmer said her administration will push for clearing criminal records of people convicted of marijuana crimes.
"I think that people of Michigan have said that for conduct that would now be considered legal no one should bear a lifelong record for that conduct," she said.
However, she believes access to marijuana still should have some limitations and the state should get the share it deserves.
"I want to make sure our children don't have access to recreational marijuana, but I also want to make sure we collect those taxes and they're spent as voters intended them to," Whitmer said.
She and her transition team plan to begin sketching out their first budget proposal soon. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha has been named one of the honorary members of the transition team.
With the Republican Party holding the majority in both chambers of the Michigan Legislature, Whitmer is trying to start off on a bipartisan note.
Snyder pledged full cooperation from his administration with the transition to Whitmer's team. He said planning for the eventual transition has been under way for more than a year.
“It’s important that we have a smooth, strong transition so that Governor-Elect Whitmer can put her foot on the gas on day one and help maintain Michigan’s momentum,” Snyder said.