Whitmer sits with Snyder, names transition team

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
Mark Bernstein.

Detroit — Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer is preparing to transition into the job at the beginning of the year, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is promising to help.

Whitmer on Wednesday announced a new transition team featuring Flint water crisis Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, former Detroit U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer. Ann Arbor attorney Mark Bernstein will serve as director of her Transition Office.

The former Senate minority leader met with Snyder in Lansing on Wednesday around noon, roughly 14 hours after she topped Republican Bill Schuette to win election as Michigan’s 49th governor.

“I am humbled and I am excited about getting to work,” Whitmer told reporters earlier in the day. “We’ve got 55 days between now and the first of the year, and we are hitting the ground running, starting today.”

Whitmer acknowledged there is “one governor at a time” and said she plans to give “due respect” to the outgoing administration.

Snyder, suggesting he still has unfinished business to attend to in the next 55 days, said he still has a “full dog year left to get things done, but we have been working on a transition plan for a year and now it’s time to put that into action, as well.”

“It’s important that we have a smooth, strong transition so that Gov.-elect Whitmer can put her foot on the gas on day one and help maintain Michigan’s momentum,” he said in a statement.

Whitmer’s transition team includes former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, who is now an independent, and former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Prusi, D-Ispheming.

The team also has several business and philanthropic leaders: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO Daniel Loepp, retired Ford Motor Co. Vice Chairman Allan Gilmour, Steelcase Foundation chairwoman Kate Pew Wolters, Focus: HOPE CEO Portia Robinson, Duo Security co-founder Dug Song and Chemical Financial Corp. Chairman Gary Torgow.

 “The election of Gretchen Whitmer is a beacon of hope for Michigan,” said Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose Flint’s water contamination crisis.

“From strengthening education and health care to protecting our environment and public health, I’m fired up to work with Gov.-elect Whitmer’s team to ensure that all Michigan kids succeed.”