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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2005

Governor in Monroe to stump for support for jobs programs

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gov. Jennifer Granholm enters Bobby's Kitchen on South Dixie Highway, surprising early morning diners. She was joined by Democratic state Reps. Herb Kehrl and Kathy Angerer. Gov. Jennifer Granholm enters Bobby's Kitchen on South Dixie Highway, surprising early morning diners. She was joined by Democratic state Reps. Herb Kehrl and Kathy Angerer.
ALLAN DETRICH Enlarge

MONROE - Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's enthusiasm over her plan to create jobs in the state appeared most welcome yesterday at Bobby's Kitchen, where she met with supporters and chatted with surprised diners.

The restaurant on South Dixie Highway typically receives 30 to 40 unsolicited job applications a week, according to owners Bobby and Dena Steers.

When they hired a waitress last week, they made their pick from at least 300 applications for the job which pays $2.65 an hour plus tips and does not include insurance, paid vacation, or paid sick time.

"It's bad," Mrs. Steers said. "The unemployment rate is bad."

Ms. Granholm, a Democrat, characterized the situation as an exciting opportunity to change the course of history. "We cannot lose the race," she said. "We must jump ahead of the pack."

She's lobbying the state legislature to ask voters in November for a $2 billion bond issue to subsidize research in the state - in part by helping universities and private companies build labs - to create more high-tech jobs in various fields.

The proposed issue would raise $200 million for the state each year for 10 years and be paid back by taxpayers over 30 years.

Ms. Granholm said the bond issue would be equivalent to expiring issues on the books now so tax rates would remain steady.

She also wants to accelerate work on roads, bridges, schools, nursing homes, and environmental cleanup, she said. Instead of starting such projects over 10 years as budgeted, she wants to start them in three years so more people could be put to work sooner.

Tax restructuring, training for the unemployed, using tobacco settlement money to provide $4,000 in tuition for students who complete two years of college, and getting high-speed Internet access to every home and business are among her other "Jobs Today - Jobs Tomorrow" plans.

"We cannot stay still. We must move forward," Ms. Granholm said.

She sat between two local Democratic state representatives - Herb Kehrl from Monroe and Kathy Angerer from Dundee - and spoke in support of Mr. Kehrl's desire to reduce imported trash into county landfills and Ms. Angerer's hopes of making it harder for anyone under 18 to acquire violent video games.

"It's just wrong for children to have games that put them in the role of assassin," Ms. Angerer said.

Ms. Granholm's visit to Bobby's Kitchen was about the 20th such outing she's made to community spots around Michigan to campaign for the proposals in her State of the State speech in February. It was her first such visit to Monroe County.

Bobby's Kitchen was chosen because it is a favorite of Mr. Kehrl, he said. The owners have had fund-raisers and other parties for him and Ms. Angerer at their home.

"What an exciting day," Mrs. Steers said of the first gubernatorial visit to the restaurant.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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