Prepare to Vote: Five Surprising Things From the Governor’s Candidates [VIDEO]

WDET and media partners interviewed six men and women running for governor. Here’s how they surprised us.

Detroit Journalism Cooperative

When journalists from WDET and our partners in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative spent two full days interviewing the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor, Bridge Magazine’s Riley Beggin was among them. 

Over two days, the reporters asked a wide range of questions about education, the Great Lakes and water, roads, taxes, government transparency, marijuana and other important issues in Michigan. Some of those questions came from our audience.

Beggin wrote two pieces:

Is FOIA like the Russia probe? And other surprises from Michigan GOP candidates

IDs for undocumented workers? And other surprises from Michigan Democrats

Hear more from Beggin on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson by clicking on the audio player above.

Among the highlights:

  • Democrat Shri Thanedar says he wants to vastly expand government programs and services. He says he intends to pay for the programs through a $30 billion bond. When asked how much his programs would cost, he had no answer.
  • Democrat Gretchen Whitmer says there are many existing needs for an infusion of cash that would meet the level of drawing from the state’s “rainy day” fund. But she declined to specify if she would draw from that fund, or what programs she would prioritize for that infusion of cash.
  • Democrat Abdul El-Sayed says one way to maintain population Michigan is by making state resources more accessible to undocumented residents in the state.
  • Republican Brian Calley (also the current lieutenant governor) says the Snyder administration should have listened sooner to the concerns of citizens in Flint about water quality in 2014. “When somebody says they have a problem, even if there’s disagreement about that, the default position should be to believe them,” he says.
  • Republican Jim Hines would consider calling for an end to state-subsidized childcare payments for low-income families.
  • Republican Patrick Colbeck blames the difficulties among families to pay for childcare on the breakdown of traditional family structures. “If you have a mom that’s working, for example, dad can stay home and take care of the kids. If you’ve got a dad that’s working, mom can stay home and take care of the kids. We had a family structure that used to take care of some of those needs,” he says.​
  • Republican Bill Schuette declined to participate in the candidate interview with the DJC.

For full coverage of the candidates’ interviews, click HERE.

Here’s more about the project:


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.