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Gov. Rick Snyder’s Complicated Legacy: A Tale of Two Cities

Jake Neher/WDET

Gov. Rick Snyder during his 2018 State of the State Address before the state Legislature, his final major address as governor.

Gov. Rick Snyder is in the final weeks of his two terms in the top office in the state.

His first term was defined largely by business-oriented moves, shepherding Detroit through emergency management and bankruptcy, and making Michigan a Right-to-Work state. He ran for reelection largely maintaining his “relentless positive action” mission for the state.

He began his second term slamming into a veritable brick wall as Flint’s water crisis bubbled to the fore. Since then his time in office has been more defensive, and inundated with issues experienced at the ground level — water contamination, access to health care, and education.

What will Snyder’s legacy be on all of these issues, and as a whole?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson writes:

Nine years ago, I first met Rick Snyder as a very early, dark horse candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and… I completely dismissed him. Too many other well known Republicans were expected to run, and Snyder’s message was too compromising for most GOP voters.

But I was wrong. Snyder won the primary the next year, and handily won the general election.

Eight years later we are about to say goodbye to Snyder, which is inspiring a lot of reflective analysis about his legacy.

A lot has happened in eight years, and one thing is for sure: Snyder will be remembered… for a long long time.

But will it be for accomplishments like the Detroit bankruptcy — or for spectacular failures like Flint?

Or will the state’s economic turnaround overshadow everything?”

To reflect on those questions, Henderson speaks with a number of people who have followed Snyder’s term in office closely. First, he speaks with Bill Ballenger of the Ballenger Report, who has covered state politics for decades. Then, he speaks with Sandy Baruah, President CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, as well as Gilda Jacobs, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Click on the audio player above to hear those conversation.

Detroit Today invited Gov. Snyder to come on the show for an end-of-term interview, but he declined.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

About the Author

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.

detroittoday@wdet.org  

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