Gretchen Whitmer

Gubernatorial Victory Speech - Nov. 6, 2018

Gretchen Whitmer
November 06, 2018— Lansing, Michigan
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Wow. [cheers and applause] I guess we will have to fix the damn roads now, right? [cheers and applause]

Thank you. Thank you, Michigan. I am incredibly, incredibly humbled that you put your trust in me to be your next governor. [cheers and applause]

Early results appear to be a record turnout. [cheers and applause] So this victory belongs to you, right?

We may have all gone to the polls for very different reasons, but today we as Michiganders came out because we all love this state, and because we want a Michigan that works for every one of us. [cheers and applause]

No matter where you are born, how much money is in your pocket, what you look like, how you worship or who you love – that is the truth.

At the very start of this campaign, I chose the Mackinac Bridge for my logo, and I want you to know why. And if you’ve heard it, listen up anyway. I did it because the Mighty Mac is a powerful reminder of our great legacy. We are a state of problem solvers, of innovators, a state of people who value family and hard work.

The Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic 61 years ago on Nov. 1. And to this day, it is still the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere. [cheers and applause] You are all happy. You’re even clapping for a bridge.

But the Mackinac Bridge was built at a time when we had divided government – a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature – and a lot of people didn’t think that they would ever be able to come together to build that bridge. In fact, most people doubted whether or not a suspension bridge five miles long over the streets of Mackinac could even be built, and yet Michiganders worked together. We built a bridge that brought us together and strengthened our economy.

And at a time when we see too many people who want to divide us through building walls, I think we in Michigan need to get back to building bridges. [cheers and applause]

We will make Michigan a place where people come to for opportunity, where every child gets a great education and where families thrive. Thank you.

Today the votes of Michigan made a choice in this election. The people have spoken. We chose hope and inclusion. We chose respect and collaboration. And we chose bridges over walls. [cheers and applause] [chanting]

A short time ago I got a call from the attorney general, and I thanked him for his many years of service. [cheers and applause]

Now is the time for us to come together and remember that our governor’s office does not belong to any one person or any political party. It belongs to all of us, the people of Michigan. [cheers and applause]

We have so many challenges in front of us and now more than ever we need people on both sides of the aisle to work together in Lansing so that we can focus on what really matters. And that is getting things done that will improve people’s lives right now. That is how we clean up drinking water. That is how we ensure every student in our state has a great public education opportunity. It’s how we expand access to affordable health care. It’s how we bring down the cost of car insurance and yes, it’s how we fix the damn roads. [cheers and applause]

A lot of people worked tirelessly to help me get here. People contributed their time, their energy, their dollars. And I want you to know that I thank every one of you.

Without a doubt, though, my biggest debt of gratitude goes to my family. I would not be standing here tonight without them. My daughters, Sherry and Sydney; my husband, Marc; my stepsons – all of whom I FaceTimed at the dinner hour more than I look across the table at them. I love you guys. I love you. They’re the center of everything that I do.

I want to thank my brother, Richard, who traversed thousands of miles with me and replace two windshields in the process. [cheers and applause] My sister, Liz, who kept me grounded. [cheers and applause] My father, Dick, who is an incredible friend and mentor to me and grandfather to these two. [cheers and applause] And my mom, if she was alive, would have had the biggest thrill being here tonight and seeing all of work together on this. [cheers and applause]

I want to take a second to make an acknowledgement you don’t usually hear in a speech like this, but I want to thank my former husband and his wife for helping me raise these kids. [cheers and applause]

[responding to an audience member] I love you, too, Carter. Settle down. I’m almost done, honey.

So it’s been a long campaign – 22 months, almost 700 days – and I have learned a lot about our state, myself, but most importantly I have learned so much about the hopes and dreams of the people of this great state.

For the last 2 ½ months of this 22-month ordeal, I had a great teammate, my partner, Garlin Gilchrist. [cheers and applause] I’m proud to have you as my partner, Garlin. We are going to do great work together.

To the best campaign manager in the land, Eric Goldman, thank you for your steady leadership. [cheers and applause]

We had a phenomenal team of people on this campaign. I did not get here alone and they mean a great deal to me. Tonight I want us all to take a moment to enjoy this, because this victory belongs to every single one of us.

But tomorrow – I know you all are going to wake up late – but the real work for me begins tomorrow, because January 1 is less than 60 days away and I’m going to hit the ground running. [cheers and applause]

To Gov. Snyder and Lt. Gov. Calley, we thank them for them service, and I’m eager for a smooth transition. The people need that, right? [cheers and applause]

To the state employees – this is important – to the state employees, the workforce on the front lines [cheers], your work is important, it is tough, and it is too often unsung. I am eager to join your ranks. [cheers and applause]

And to the legislature, Democratic and Republican alike – I’m ready to work with everyone who wants to actually solve problems in this state. [cheers and applause]

And to the people of this great state – the work ahead will not be easy. There will be tough days and there will be setbacks, but no matter the challenge – no matter the challenge – I want you to know – I will be a governor that works for everyone in this state, for those who voted for me and those who didn’t, a governor who brings people together to solve problems, a governor who always puts you, the people, first.

Thank you, Michigan. Let’s build some bridges. [cheers and applause]