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As an entrepreneur, a dedicated champion for Detroit, a hospice pioneer, a passionate spokesperson for women and girls, and a proud mom and grandmother, my interests are diverse. Underlying each of these are two common elements: my love for the state of Michigan and a realization that neither my professional nor personal aspirations are possible without the success of our state.

I care deeply about Michigan and its future. My issues aren’t Democratic issues or Republican issues. They aren’t Detroit or outstate. They aren’t exclusively women’s issues. I want a state where economic opportunities create new lives, stronger families and flourishing communities. And I want a state with a vibrant economy so that my own children and grandchildren, and those of my friends, colleagues and clients, will stay in Michigan.

I want a state with an educational system that will prepare all of our grandchildren for a future with great promise. Although we hear ads daily claiming that Snyder has cut education by $1 billion since taking office, the relevant statistic is that per pupil funding has increased by $660. In fact, Gov. Rick Snyder has actually increased state education funding by $1 billion.

Snyder supported a $65 million investment in preschools for 2014, and proposed another $65 million for 2015, in order to ensure that every family so inclined has the opportunity for a high-impact pre-kindergarten experience for their children. As research continues to prove, exemplary preschool programs are a highly significant factor in ensuring future success.

Snyder has encouraged programming to enhance careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Math) fields. This is particularly critical for young women who are underrepresented in these high value careers. Although there are 80,000 jobs available on MITalent.org, employers are frustrated with the lack of qualified candidates for many of those positions. Snyder calls this a “skills gap.” To close this gap, he is encouraging students to study in the STEM fields and then make their careers in Michigan rather than going to places like Chicago, Boston or Silicon Valley.

I care about women having access to much-needed funds for entrepreneurial endeavors. It was Snyder who started the State Microloan Fund that allows Michigan Women’s Foundation to increase the microloans it provides to help women start and expand businesses. Since Snyder took office, Michigan has added almost 4,000 new women owned small businesses, a statistic I am passionate about because of its significance in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Improving the life of a woman improves her family and, ultimately, her community.

Women have an important choice to make because the future of our families depends upon it. Michigan is transforming itself with this ’s leadership. There is still much work to be done if Michigan is to become a state that offers our children and grandchildren the opportunity to truly thrive and prosper.

Carolyn Cassin, Grosse Pointe Farms

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