Hundreds Gather in Pontiac for State of the County Address
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 13, 2020)
Pontiac, MI – Pontiac’s Strand Theatre was packed Wednesday evening for the annual State of Oakland County Address, which for the first time in decades was given by a Democratic County Executive. Dave Coulter was appointed to the position in August following the death of previous Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Coulter spoke about the County’s $260 million fund balance, and programs that he and the County Commission have been working on. “I believe the fact that Oakland does well means we have an opportunity – indeed a responsibility – to do even better,” Coulter said. “We can leverage our strengths to tackle our challenges before they become problems. We can lead and innovate. We can be fiscally responsible with the taxpayer’s money and forward thinking.”
He touted the $15 minimum wage for county employees, a Defense and Aerospace initiative to increase the number of defense contracts in the county, increasing healthcare options for uninsured and under-insured residents, and working to build diversity and inclusion in the administration.
Coulter spoke of touring Oakland County with a series of town halls. “I have had the opportunity to get to many corners of the county in very informal community meetings,” he said. “At first I wanted to give people a chance to meet me, kick the tires a little bit, and be reassured during a time of transition. I found the listening and learning essential to my work as county executive. The residents of Oakland County are interested, thoughtful, and generous with their opinions. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit businesses throughout the county. They are proud of their work, creative, and determined to move the county forward.”
Commissioner Eileen Kowall of White Lake issued the Republican Caucus response to the address, stating “As we enter Oakland County’s 200th year, Republicans stand willing to work together when the policies are good and in the best interest of the taxpayers. We demand transparency, accountability and professionalism. Six months into Democratic controlled government, Oakland County is on the fast track to deficit spending and increased taxes. We can, and should, do better for our residents.”
Democratic County Commissioners from throughout the county responded to the speech as well. William Miller of Farmington and Farmington Hills said ““I am excited with the direction the county is moving,” Miller said. “With job creation, equality and our welcoming initiative, the county is truly shaping into a place where all can live, work and play.”
Helaine Zack, representing Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Royal Oak Township said “The leadership of Oakland County is committed to serving all residents with transformative, innovative ideas and programs that are fiscally responsible,” Zack said. “Under County Executive Dave Coulter and his team, Oakland County will continue excellent fiscal management now and into the next decade.”
The theme of the evening was Oakland County Together. “After hundreds of conversations and thousands of miles – I can tell you with confidence that the State of Oakland County in 2020 is strong. It’s determined and it’s ready to celebrate an shine this year,” Coulter said.
View the full speech here: