Monday, June 12, 2006

Republican Michigander Interviews our Next Governor Dick DeVos

We have our first blog interview here at the Republican Michigander. We'll hopefully have more of these in the future.

The first interview is with our next Governor, Dick DeVos. There are ten of them along with "subquestions", and all of them were answered. Some were softballs, but some were harder questions as well. Before we get to the questions, I'd like to thank Dick DeVos for the interview, and wish him the best of luck in his campaign. He has my vote.

RM: What is the reaction across the state to your campaign?

DeVos: Since I announced my candidacy more than a year ago, I’ve traveled more than 70,000 miles visiting all 83 counties and am working on my second lap. As I’ve met and talked with residents, I have been forever changed. The people I’ve met with tell me that they are concerned about the future of this state and whether or not their children and grandchildren will be able to find jobs here. They are open to our message of change because they recognize that change is needed.

RM: Two recent polls show the campaign being tied. What is your reaction to the momentum shifting your way? (This was asked before the latest poll showing DeVos 6 points ahead)

DeVos: We are pleased with the progress the campaign for change is making. But it is still early. Everyone needs to remember that the polls will change many more times between now and November.

I judge momentum by the responses I get in my travels around the state – and it’s very positive.

RM: Michigan is one of the only states in the country to lose jobs. Why is that? What can be done to change this?

DeVos: Michigan has one of the worst tax climates in the country because of the job-killing single business tax (SBT). The SBT taxes a company whether they make a profit or not, and it taxes a company each time it expands or hires new employees. In addition, the SBT taxes companies for providing their employees with health care. My plan lays out very specific thing we can do to improve our economy. I will reform Michigan’s business climate so job makers will no longer be harmed for investing and expanding business in this state. In addition, I will lead our state by making the tough decisions which are necessary to stimulate action and get the economy back on track and help families find and keep good paying jobs.

RM: The current governor just vetoed the repeal of the SBT tax. Would you have signed the elimination of the SBT? Would you have replaced the revenue with a different tax, or with budget cuts?

DeVos: As I said, elimination of the SBT is a key to helping turn our struggling economy around, and therefore would have signed the bill. When the SBT is eliminated, there will be a void in the state budget, and the best way to deal with that is through a combination of budget cuts, job growth, and a more fair business tax.

RM: One major issue in Livingston County is guns. Several people have asked me about your stance on our Second Amendment. What is your view on our Second Amendment rights?

DeVos: There have been and will continue to be many debates surrounding the rights given to us in the Second Amendment. Let me be clear: I support the Second Amendment rights granted to us by our Founding Fathers to keep and bear arms.

RM: Just outside of Livingston County is the Ford Wixon plant. Ford Motor Company is closing the Wixom plant. Currently Michigan’s manufacturing jobs are rapidly leaving the state. What would you do as governor to help reduce the job losses here?

DeVos: We need to create a business-friendly environment in the state and the first thing we can do to assist us in reaching that goal is to eliminate the single business tax. We need to do more to diversify Michigan’s economy and we must do more to sell Michigan-made products all over the world.

RM: The Democrats are saying that you have outsourced Michigan jobs to China. Is this true? If this is false, what is the truth?

DeVos: When I was the head of Alticor, we realized that to make sure our business would survive we would have to improve our efforts to sell Michigan-made products around the world. Even though it was a tough call, choosing to expand in China was the right decision for our businesses and for Michigan.

During our expansion, and contrary to the partisan rhetoric that’s being spread, not one Michigan job – not one – was sent to China. In fact, expanding into the Chinese market has created 300 jobs right here in Michigan and helped secure the employment of thousands more Michigan workers. At the same time we invested $200 million in China - as required by their laws - Alticor invested more than $700 million right here in Michigan to support operations.

I’ve learned firsthand that it’s possible to invest in China without eliminating jobs in Michigan. Investment there does in fact lead to growth and prosperity here in our state. In order to remain competitive in this global economy, Michigan needs more companies that are willing to invest and sell Michigan-made products all over the world. In fact, the only way to turn Michigan around is to stop fearing international competition, take on the global marketplace and sell Michigan products everywhere we can. By doing this, we will create jobs.

RM: Why are you running for governor? What do you bring to the governorship of Michigan?

DeVos: I am running for Governor, not because I have anything to gain from becoming Governor, but because I believe that my business background, leadership, and understanding give me a great deal to offer the state of Michigan. Our state is going through an economic crisis. Unemployment is skyrocketing and jobs leave Michigan at an alarming rate. Local communities cannot afford to provide the critical fire and police services we depend on for safety. We need strong, principled leadership in Michigan. We need someone who understands how to turn our state and its struggling economy around. I am that person and I have the experience necessary to make change happen in Michigan.

I am the only candidate running for Governor who has the business background to bring jobs to our state. If there was ever a time to put a job maker in the Governor’s chair, this is that time.

If anyone wants to find out more about how they can be a part of the Team for Change, volunteer, etc., I’d encourage them to visit or Web site at

RM: What are your most important issues in this campaign?

DeVos: The number one issue facing this state right now is jobs and the economy. What can we do to put people back to work? As I’ve said, my plan to turn Michigan’s economy around begins with the elimination of the SBT, doing more to diversify our economy and working to ensure that Michigan-made products are sold all around the world.

RM: Gas prices are extremely high here in Michigan. What can be done in this state for us to either increase our supplies, reduce dependency on foreign oil, or both?

DeVos: We can begin by capping the gas tax when gas prices are at or exceed $1.95 per gallon. As gas prices soar, some turn to blaming and complaining. I propose action and results and this is one of those times. Residents should not have to deal with the additional burden of high sales tax on gas. Lansing can do something to help families. I am advocating an end to the windfall tax gouging of Michigan families.

Residents pay 19 cents per gallon in a state gas tax and the federal government collects another 18.4 cents per gallon. In addition, the state also collects 6 percent sales tax on the price of gas.

The state doesn’t need the additional excess; residents should be able to keep their hard-earned money.


ChinaLawBlog said...

He invested $200 million in China "as required by their laws." I am not aware of any Chinese law that requires a company to invest $200 million. What is he talking about?

Anonymous said...

more unbelievable stuff that should have come sooner

New Designs for World Trade Center Memorial to be Presented This Week

Anonymous said...

Many 3rd world countries, including China, have traditionally required that companies make some sort of investment in that country before being allowed to import significant quantities of goods.

These barriers are intended to protect local industries and to keep consumers from creating a large trade imbalance.

Incidently, have you ever wondered why the auto companies built so many factories in Canada? Canada used to have a law that required our auto companies to build roughly as much in Canada as they sold there to avoid paying stiff import duties. (I think NAFTA killed that law) So these laws do work as long as a market is large enough to make it worthwhile for a company to invest.

Some of the problems we have in trading with China is that China does not practice free trade, they do not enforce foreign copyrights/patents (as they have agreed to do), they do not have modern labor protection laws, and their pollution laws are lax. It is impossible to trade fairly with a country that refuses to play by the same rules that everyone else uses. If we were to force China to play fairly it would do much to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries.

Kevins said...

I’m still waiting for the non-softball questions. So one of his communications flacks can fill out a questionnaire. That’s no reason to vote for him. If you ever needed proof that money can buy just about anything, here’s walking and talking proof. Hell, he’s the poster boy for a bored rich guy trying to buy prestige and respect. Has this guy ever worked for a living? The biggest problem facing our state and our country is the outsourcing of good paying manufacturing and technical jobs to third world countries to drive wages down, and a guy who is part of the problem is going to fix it. Dan, please explain to me how that is going to happen. The guy still has not got a plan on how he intends to improve the economy. The governor has, but all we get from dick is slick, expensive TV commercials.

The crap about the SBT is just that. A story in Gongwer said the business owners recently polled said elimination of the SBT wouldn't provide enough extra revenue to hire even one worker, and Douglas Drake of Public Policy Associates said the biggest problem with the tax is that it has become a scapegoat for the ills of the economy. What it does is create a huge hole in the state budget that allows the gop to cut programs for the middle class and working poor and aid to public education. We all know what great friends of public education the devos family are.

Here’s the only news I got out your post, guns are a “major issue in Livingston County.” Really? No, I have to disagree dan, It may be to you, but I think more people are concerned about the 3rd Ammendment. Quartering solidgers in private homes without the consent of the owner is as big a problm today as it was in 1791 when it was approved. It’s just as applicibable as ensuring we have a well-regulated militia by ensuring everyone owns a musket in case we are ever invaded. That way we don’t need a standing army.
What a joke.

Republican Michigander said...

Actually, Dick DeVos answered the questions himself.

As for outsourcing, that was your boy Bill Clinton's law. He signed it. Stabenow and Levin both backed most favored nation trade status with China. Unlike the outsourcing though, DeVos sells the stuff he produces in China IN China as he has to comply with the laws there. More jobs were created in Michigan because of that.

As for the SBT, the biggest problem with it is that businesses are taxed when they LOSE money.

The rest of Kevin's comment is not even worth dignifying with a response.

Kevins said...

I’m not familiar with the law that President Clinton allagedly signed that encouraged outsourcing. Obviousely, I’m not as smart as you, so you will have to enlighten me.
Those “answers” from dickie boy look to me to be little more than campaign talking points. Trade with China has nothing to do with sending entire factories over there lock, stock and barrell so you can pay workers pennies on the dollar. I don’t know how you can spin the loss of 1,400 Michigan jobs as creating jobs, but somehow you have. Plus, devos got a $300 million tax break for selling out his state and country and investing in China. It’s funny, republicians used to so anti-communist, from nixon to your superhero President Regan, who called the USSR the evil empire. Now, if they can save you a few pennies on a widget, being a communist doesn’t matter. Sad. So much for the evil empire. Now, apparently, the evil empire is Iraq, and soon to be Iran.
of course the rest of my comments aren’t worth “dignifying with a response” because you can’t.

Chris Arndt said...

I can't believe you got access.

Then again, I know you.

Anonymous said...

Why did you not ask him how reducing the gas tax will increase the supply of gas?

Anonymous said...

That Dick moved jobs to another country to help his business in Michigan survive was a smart move. But Dick DeVos had to cut a deal with his business partner in China, ie the Peoples Republic of China that is the Chinese Communists. Dick's communist partners do forced abortions, forced sterilizations, prosecutes Christians and prevents individuals from owning guns. Dick is making money with these Godless dictators and helping to keep them in power. No Christian who is pro life, who is pro gun, who is pro democracy, who is pro private property can actually help finance the Chinese Communist regime and be anything but a whore. Is there going to be a third party candidate for Governor in Michigan? I work in a factory and Dick DeVos being in business with the Communist Chinese drives everyone nuts. Who can trust a man who makes money with the Communists?

Anonymous said...

DeVos is getting beat up because he is successful. Attacking business and those who are trying to build businesses is why Michigan is in the condition it is. What does Jenny have planned? She has had four years to lead, and she hasn't done it. Enough is enough. Go DeVos!

Kevins said...

No, devos is not getting beat up, but he is being called out on trying to buy the governorship with money he did not personally earn. He’s being called out because he has no experience to lead this state, and he claims to fix a problem he’s contributed to.

The governor has a plan; it’s called “Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow economic plan.” You should read it. Devos does not have a plan, other than slick, TV commercials.

She has had less than four years to clean up the mess that was left to her after more than 12 years of republicans controlling everything in this state, and bush’s disastrous economic plan that seen record numbers of good, high paying jobs flee offshore.

Yes, go devos, go. Go back to China, Washington, DC, Ada or to your yacht, and let qualified people try to correct the mess you helped create.

Anonymous said...

DeVos is obviously better than Granholm but I am still skeptical over his cowardly position on MCRI.

Kevins said...

How is devos better than Gov. Granholm?

Anonymous said...

Devos was not successful with his father's company. He ran it from 1993 to 2003 and it lost over a billion dollars in the best of economic times! He layed off over 1400 employees and the employees who stayed on, he cut their healthcare. He was born with billions, he didn't earn it!

Read people. Even people in Grand Rapids don't like him. His dad laughs at how his son takes credidt for how his dad's fortunes helped Grand Rapids, not his son.

Anonymous said...

I personally think his nanny dropped him on his head. He's not the brightest person you will ever meet.

Mike MacTavish said...

The way Ms Granholm has been governing, it looks to me as she was dropped on her head. Four years of cool cities? That doesn't play in Peoria - or Fowlerville either.

Anonymous said...

The Cool City program has been very successful. The Governor has done an outstanding job in these tough times for Michigan. Her plan, her experience and her values make her the easy winner this Fall. Devos is a weak candidate with a great deal of family money. He did not earn his way! It was handed to him and he did a miserable job with what was given to him.

Republican Michigander said...

""The Governor has done an outstanding job in these tough times for Michigan."'

What's she done? Specifics? Blaming Engler or Bush or whoever isn't a plan either.

Anonymous said...

Our Governor cares abou the people of Michigan and her work shows this to be true:

Record funding for k-12 education

MIRX plan so over 32,000 people in Michigan can get better prices for their prescriptions.

Including over 100,000 more people from Michigan for health services

Bringing companies to Michigan such as Toyota and Keebler

Raising the expectations for our high school graduates

These are just a few, pay attention she is doing great things for Michigan!

Ask the CEO's of our major auto companies.... they blame our Presidnet for not enforcing our fair trade aggreements.

Face it NAFTA and CAFTA are giving Michigan the shafta.

We have a great Governor who does great work!

We have more auto related businesses than any other state... This is the reason for our job loss and yes our President is directly responsible. Get your heads out of the sand and see what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Cool City Progam is helping the Howell Opera House!
Thank you Governor Granholm!