Mixed reactions from Berrien County residents ahead of Gov. Whitmer's speech

NOW: Mixed reactions from Berrien County residents ahead of Gov. Whitmer’s speech

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is helping kick off the Democratic Convention as one of the speakers for the virtual event.

Gov. Whitmer — just like any politician — has been a polarizing figure, especially throughout the pandemic, and Berrien County residents have mixed reactions to her continuing to gain a national presence.

“To be recognized is a good thing, but I do think she could probably focus more on Michigan than the national level,” said Larry Burghdoff.

Since the pandemic started in March, Gov. Whitmer’s recognition has only grown — both for and against her handling of COVID-19 in Michigan.

“She pretty much threw down the gauntlet and has refused to work with the legislature, so she’s bypassed our voices, and maybe she’s got reasons but she doesn’t really communicate them very well,” said Burghdoff.

Whitmer was also considered for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination. Though she ultimately was not chosen, her supporters say they’re still happy to see her making waves in the party.

“She had been getting a lot of national coverage given her response to the pandemic and it’s really nice to know that she wasn’t forgotten about,” said Nealie Andrews.

Andrews also praised the Governor’s COVID-19 response, saying she hopes that message comes across in the speech.

“This has been a crazy year and it’s been negative and a rollercoaster for everybody, so I hope her message is one that gives everybody hope,” said Andrews.

Whitmer’s speech also comes as Michigan is expected to once again be a crucial state in the 2020 presidential election.

“It definitely is a battleground state and it’s very much in play right now,” said Burghdoff.

While Michiganders can watch Gov. Whitmer Monday, Hoosiers can expect to see former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigeg on the Democratic Convention stage Thursday night.

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