Snyder defends right to work, emergency managers at Detroit political breakfast

Mar 28, 2013

A protester outside the Panacakes and Politics breakfast with Governor Snyder in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder says Detroit and Michigan can’t afford to “look in the rear view mirror” when it comes to tackling problems.

The Governor spoke in Detroit Thursday, just just as two controversial laws he signed take effect.

Speaking at the Detroit Athletic Club’s “Pancakes and Politics” breakfast, Snyder addressed a crowd that included much of Detroit’s business and political elite—including the city’s new emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

The new state law that gives Orr sweeping powers kicks in today. So does Michigan's right to work law.

Snyder says for him, right to work was mainly about worker choice, and only secondarily about creating “more and better jobs.”

“So that’s what happened, it’s done, it’s over with…if people say they want to bring it back up, that’s part of democracy,” Snyder said.

The protesters circling outside the Detroit Athletic Club as Snyder spoke were bringing it up. Both the right to work and emergency manager laws are being challenged in court, too.

As for Detroit, Snyder said he’ll leave the major decision-making to Orr going forward.

The Governor admits will have a tough job balancing the city’s books while setting the stage for long-term growth--something that has proved difficult in other Michigan cities under emergency managers.

“Ultimately you need to create a platform of [fiscal] stability, so you can find businesses wanting to grow, people wanting to stay in the community,” Snyder said. “And that is a challenge. But we’re going to work through that.”

Mayor Dave Bing and members of the Detroit City Council were also present at the breakfast event.

Orr again pledged to work with Detroit’s elected officials to the extent permitted by law. His first executive order this week was to restore their salaries.