In his inaugural address, Governor Rick Snyder called on Michigan residents to adopt a "cultural change" to address the state's current financial woes.
"Eleven months after introducing himself in a TV ad as "one tough nerd,"' Governor Snyder challenged the people of Michigan to embrace a shared responsibility to get the state back on track:
The underlying key to success...is to change our culture. We need to move from negative to positive. We need to stop looking in the rearview mirror and look toward the future. We need to stop being divisive and become inclusive. We have spent too much time fighting among ourselves and become our own worst enemy. This will not be simple or easy. There are no magic solutions to our problems. But with most problems, there also comes opportunity. I've been hired to represent all of the people of the state of Michigan and to move us all forward together. It will require shared sacrifice from all of us. Many have already made sacrifices. Many of us need to join those who have already contributed. When we make changes like this, we are faced with the realization many of us will have to take a step back in the short term to move us all forward together in the long term.
The Governor added:
With high expectations, you can achieve great results, but also importantly, with respect to innovation, we have to remember innovation is not about technology, it's a state of mind that we all have the power to do.
Michigan currently faces one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (over 12%) and the subsequent population decline has seen the state lose five seats in Congress over the past forty years.
While the effectiveness of his proposals will certainly be something to watch, Rick Snyder's willingness to face the realities of the current fiscal crisis and his advocacy for "shared sacrifice" is something that should be replicated throughout the GOP. His bold call for innovative ingenuity is a departure from Michigan's well known history of "politics as usual" and a message that politicians across all offices should seriously consider as the US prepares to tackle a record deficit.