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Whitmer talks turkey, lame duck priorities

Colin Jackson
Michigan Public Radio Network
Mitch E. Gander, left, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, right. Whitmer ceremonially pardoned Gander Monday. Gander will live out his days on a farm sanctuary in Eaton County.

A new Thanksgiving tradition may have started up Monday in Lansing.

In a pun-stuffed speech at the governor’s mansion, Governor Gretchen Whitmer pardoned a local turkey, named Mitch E. Gander.

Other runners-up in a naming competition included Tahquamenon Tom, Otto Moe Beel, and Ryan Gobbling.

Gander will be going to live on the Mitten Misfits Farm Sanctuary in Eaton County.

“It’s a great opportunity to highlight a great organization that rescues animals locally here, but we’ve got a number of organizations across the state, and [I] just think it was kind of a lighthearted way to show thanks and to bring kids over and have a little bit of fun,” Whitmer said.

With the holiday season approaching, Whitmer also hinted at her policy wish list for rest of the year.

Michigan lawmakers have a little over a month left to get their priorities passed before the new Legislative session begins.

Whitmer said she’s not sure how productive that lame duck period will be. But she hopes it involves spending remaining federal dollars set aside for Michigan.

“I think that there are some opportunities for State of Michigan, economic development opportunities, so there’s just a handful of things and if the Legislature doesn’t get to them, we’ll add them to the list of things we’ll accomplish early next year,” Whitmer told reporters after the turkey pardoning.

When asked if another spending bill was on the table, a spokesperson for House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) said House Appropriations Chair Representative Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp) would head any negotiations.

After spending her entire first term working with a Republican-led Legislature, Whitmer will soon have members of her own Democratic party in charge after they won majorities in both the state House and Senate in this month's elections.