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— Touting Michigan as “the comeback state,” Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday spoke to a crowd of about 100 supporters while opening a campaign office here on Jefferson.

The state has made improvements, creating jobs and growing the economy since he was elected, Snyder said. But more needs to be done, he said.

“You remember back in 2009 and what a mess our state was?” Snyder said.

“We need to create an environment where people believe our best days are ahead of us. And they are. And that’s what this has been all about.”

The state can’t be strong without a strong Detroit, he continued.

“There’s so much more we can do in every corner of Michigan, but particularly in Detroit. We have a lot of programs that aren’t being filled with young people to become a tradesperson,” Snyder said. “There are so many different job opportunities that we’re not filling today because we have a disconnect between the people that want to work and getting the right training and skills to be successful. We’re going to solve that problem.”

The Detroit office reflects the Snyder campaign’s effort to court city voters in the race against Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, even though the governor approved Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision to send Detroit into bankruptcy in July 2013.

In a May poll for The Detroit News, likely voters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties said by large margins that Snyder has been “good for Detroit.” By contrast, the Glengariff Group’s sample of Detroit likely voters found 53 percent viewed him as “bad for Detroit,” while 20.6 percent said he was good.

Schauer’s campaign pointed out Thursday the Michigan Democratic Party has five offices in Detroit, which is a Democratic stronghold.

“It’s clear Republican Rick Snyder is not on the side of Michigan families, students and seniors,” Schauer Press Secretary Cathy Bacile Cunningham said in a statement, noting taxes have been raised on seniors. “Mark Schauer understands that good jobs come from a good education, and as governor, he’ll work to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy.”

Sumpter Township resident Frankie Middleton, who owns a fence shop in Canton Township, came to listen to the governor speak Thursday and credited some of his policies for her business becoming a success.

“We thought that we were going to have to sell the place because it was so dead,” Middleton said. “Now, we’re so busy we can’t even get enough workers.”

spardo@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2112

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