Detroit pundits were quick to pounce on Governor Snyder’s apparent snub of Detroit in his State of the State remarks. True, Snyder steered clear of the city’s financial and criminal crises. No doubt, the state’s sensitive negotiations with the city over a financial manager had something to do with his decision. But a closer look at the speech reveals a governor very much engaged in solving the problems holding Detroiters back. Too bad that Snyder – like Mitt Romney before him – doesn’t understand their political value as well.
Both of Snyder’s guests of honor – young black men standing proud in the visitors’ gallery – highlighted education and job training initiatives essential to struggling Detroiters.
Snyder introduced young Kenta Roberts, a Detroit student who has benefited from One Tough Nerd’s controversial Education Achievement Authority (EAA), a program set up to isolate – and address – Detroit’s lowest-performing schools in order to better prepare their kids for college.
Despite the EAA’s efforts to help Detroit’s most vulnerable children, union-bound Democrats have fiercely resisted its reforms – including a Detroit school board vote to withdraw from the state-run authority. “I urge every legislator to take the opportunity early this year to visit the EAA schools, talk to students, parents and teachers, and see the transformation,” said Snyder in his address.
The governor also introduced Anton Stinson-Winters, an East Detroiter who has benefited from the Summer Youth Employment Initiative (SEI)- a state program designed to give underprivileged youth (in this case ages 16 to 19) employment opportunities.
Both programs are evidence that the ONLY party committed to changing Detroit’s status quo is the GOP. Yet, Republicans like Snyder have been shy to celebrate this fact. From charter schools to EAA innovation, GOPers would go a long way to changing black voters minds about Republicans if they trumpeted the stories of Kenta Roberts and Anton Stimson-Winters every single day.