Gretchen Whitmer: Record And Background

Learn more about Gretchen Whitmer, her record as Governor of Michigan, her record as a Michigan state lawmaker, and what she stands for.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at round table with High School students – January 13, 2020 (Julia Pickett/Creative Commons License)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at round table with High School students – January 13, 2020 (Julia Pickett/Creative Commons License)

Who is Gretchen Whitmer?

“That woman from Michigan,” Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, raised the ire of President Donald Trump–along with her national profile–in March 2020 amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Already well-known in Michigan as a state legislator, Whitmer won the governor’s race in 2018, running on a platform including healthcare, criminal justice reform, jobs and fixing Michigan’s “damn” roads.

Not one to shy away from conflict, Whitmer often stands toe-to-toe with the GOP-majority state legislature, and she used her line-item veto more in her first year than any Michigan governor before her. She lets her playful side shine in TikTok videos with her daughters, and has transformed the painful past of a college sexual assault into concrete action for survivors. In February 2020, Whitmer delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address.

What does Gretchen Whitmer stand for?

After running as a leader “who isn’t afraid to level with,” the people of Michigan, Whitmer was elected by nearly ten points over her Republican challenger, Attorney General Bill Schuette in 2018, focusing on Flint, the opioid epidemic and the state’s income gap. In addition to working on measures to keep her state safe and healthy during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Gretchen Whitmer emphasizes the following issues as governor:

  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Jobs & Economy
  • Water & Environment
  • Education
  • Safety, Security, and Justice
  • Transparency in Government
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What is Gretchen Whitmer’s record as Michigan Governor?

Dubbed “That woman in Michigan,” by Donald Trump amid the devastating coronavirus pandemic, Gretchen Whitmer garnered national attention when Trump told Vice President Mike Pence not to call her as she was not “appreciative” enough of Trump. Whitmer had criticized the dangerous medical supply shortage during the crisis, evident even in the early days of the pandemic.

On March 24, 2020, Whitmer implemented a stay at home order to slow the spread of COVID-19. After Whitmer requested federal disaster relief, Trump demanded praise as a condition of disaster funding; eventually, on March 28, FEMA provided some of the requested aid.

Shining light on how the virus affects African Americans at an alarming rate, on April 9, 2020, Whitmer said:

“As of today, over 40% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan are African Americans, but only 14% of Michiganders are African Americans.” Whitmer introduced The Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities to address this deadly, disproportionate rate.”

On April 16, “protestors” gathered in state capital Lansing to voice their displeasure with public health restrictions, and chanted “Lock her up,” referring to the Governor. Subsequent investigative reporting, however, revealed that far from the organic rebellion over the liberty to infect themselves and others with a deadly virus, this protest and the ones that followed were pushed by rightwing, wealthy groups, including a group funded by the family of Michigan’s very own, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. A later poll showed the majority of Michiganders support the coronavirus measures.

On April 24, 2020, the Republican Michigan State Legislature, in an in-person session despite the stay-at-home order, moved to limit Whitmer’s powers as governor during the emergency and review her coronavirus response, creating a bipartisan committee to do so. Whitmer will veto any bills limiting gubernatorial power during a crisis, and criticized the action as “blatantly political.” She said if they’re at the statehouse, “they should be focused on making sure that people who have lost their jobs have access to health care and paid sick leave.”

Still in her first term, Whitmer is no stranger to Republican opposition. With a GOP-majority state House and Senate, the Michigan governor used her line-item veto power 147 times by January 2020, a record. Via executive directive, Whitmer expanded overtime pay to 200,000 workers. She attempted to block the construction of an oil pipeline through the pristine Straits of Mackinac, and tried to ban sales of flavored vaping products, an action she took before the Michigan Supreme Court, who declined to reinstate the ban while a vaping industry lawsuit against the state is still pending.

What is Gretchen Whitmer’s record as a Michigan state lawmaker in the state House and state Senate?

Now-Governor Gretchen Whitmer served in the Michigan state House from 2001 to 2006 and the state Senate from 2006 to 2015, when she met the term limit. In 2011, Whitmer was elected minority leader in the Senate, the first woman to lead a party there.

As a legislator, Whitmer voted to expand Medicaid, voted against drug testing for welfare recipients and against requiring community service for public assistance. She voted to increase the minimum wage, increase gasoline taxes, protect the environment and biodiversity, and against increased requirements on facilities providing abortions. She also co-sponsored a bill to require health insurers cover costs for autism.

Whitmer’s full Michigan legislative voting history as well as her disposition of legislation as governor is available here.

What is Gretchen Whitmer’s background?

A Michigander through and through, Gretchen Whitmer was born in Lansing, Michigan to lawyers Sharon Reisig and Richard Witmer, who divorced when she was ten. She has two younger siblings and went to college and law school in Michigan.

After running for governor wanting to “fix the damn roads” in Michigan, Whitmer commended then-12-year-old Monte Scott for doing just that. Whitmer also reveals lighthearted side, appearing in fun TikTok videos lip-syncing with her two daughters, Sherry and Sydney, from her first marriage to Gary Shrewsbury. Now married to Marc Mallory, the couple lives with her children and his three sons, Alex, Mason and Winston, from his previous marriage.

Whitmer leads from a place of empathy and experience. In 2013, while speaking against a bill that required women to purchase separate “abortion insurance,” for any abortion, including in the case of rape or incest. she revealed she was sexually assaulted in college, and, though luckily, did not get pregnant, explained to her colleagues how devasting a lack of options would have been. Her colleagues were unpersuaded, and the bill passed, but Whitmer continues her work to end sexual assault, with a number of assault survivors reaching out to thank her. In early April, Whitmer stressed that Michigan’s Sexual Assault Hotline, 855-VOICES4, is still available during the pandemic.

After term limits ended her state legislative career, a panel of judges chose Whitmer to replace Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III for the final six months of his term in 2016. Dunnings resigned after investigations revealed he “paid multiple women for sex hundreds of times over several years,” including a woman he was accused of coercing. Whitmer ultimately found that Dunning’s crimes did not affect the outcome of the cases in the prosecutor’s office.

In February of 2020, Whitmer delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address.

Personal details and contact information.

  • Age: 48
  • Birthday: August 23, 1971
  • Religion: Christian
  • Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
  • Education: Michigan State University (1993); Michigan State University, Detroit College of Law (1998)
  • Spouse: Dr. Marc Mallory
  • Twitter: @GovWhitmer
  • Phone: 517-373-3400
  • Constituent Services: 517-335-7858
  • Contact by Issue

The Rantt Rundown

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a lifelong resident of Michigan and a Democrat, angered Donald Trump when he felt she was not appreciative enough of his coronavirus efforts, launching her squarely into the national spotlight. The former state lawmaker, who served terms in both the Michigan House and Senate, was unfazed by Trump, as she’s faced opposition from the GOP-led legislature since the start of her term in January of 2019. As a legislator and as governor, Whitmer has advocated for improved infrastructure, healthcare, the environment, and income stability. In mid-April, Protestors objected to the Governor’s stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but those protestors appear to be funded by rightwing groups.

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Rantt 101 // Democratic Party / Gretchen Whitmer / Michigan