Whitmer ‘grateful’ to speak at DNC, focuses on unity

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she’s grateful for the opportunity to speak before a national audience on night one of the Democratic National Convention.

The governor spoke Monday at 10 p.m. as networks picked coverage of the virtual event.

On Tuesday, she talked with News 8 about the opportunity and the convention.

“This is, like you said, a moment unlike anything we’ve been through before. Doing a convention virtually has maybe some benefits but also certainly some challenges. I am grateful that I was asked to deliver a speech. I wanted to focus on unity. I wanted to focus on the people who have stayed on the front line throughout this crisis and I wanted to focus on how important it is that we have leadership that is going to be guided by science and epidemiology, understanding the health crisis begets the economic crisis and so we go to do both.”

The governor also talked about the prospect of opening schools in person, even though in some placed where it’s been tried, the schools have had to close again because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Well, I think we can learn from others’ mistakes, frankly, and this is still a novel virus, still a virus for which there is no vaccine and there’s no cure. We know that if we drop our guard and start congregating without mask wearing and observing strict protocols that we increase the risk that we are going to spread COVID-19,” Whitmer said.

“We also know that in different regions of the state, we have different numbers and that’s why we’ve promulgated guidelines so that district can make informed decisions and have the protocols they need to stay safe. And yet, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be without some outbreak somewhere. I mean, as we watch what’s happening around the country, it’s likely,” she continued.

The governor says she applauds school districts that are taking reopening schools very seriously but also adds in regards to the new school year, this is going to be a challenging time.