MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) - With Democratic candidate for governor Virg Bernero trailing in the polls to his Republican opponent Rick Snyder, the Lansing mayor isn't wasting any chances to try and secure votes.
Although on Monday night at Muskegon Heights High School, Bernero was talking mostly with those already in his corner. About 100 people attended the town hall discussion.
"This man cared enough about our small little town to come here and meet with us, and give us his ideas on how he wanted to make Michigan a better state," resident Lois E. Morris said.
Bernero highlighted his record and plan for creating jobs. The "Main Street agenda," as he calls it, focuses on capital investment in communities and tax incentives for businesses.
"We have an economic plan that makes sense. It's solid," Bernero said. "My opponent -- his plan is pretty weak."
But people also asked questions Bernero later admitted he hadn't heard before. People wanted to know how he planned to reform the state's criminal justice and correctional system.
Pastor William Anderson of the NAACP claimed defendants in Muskegon County don't receive adequate representation from public defenders -- and those released from prison are often worse off than when they went in.
Bernero suggested fixing the problem at its source: early education.
"(The) common denominator of our prison population is, they were high school dropouts," Bernero said. "They were kids that didn't make it through school and ended up going down the wrong road."
When the issue arose of local consolidation of government services, Bernero said it's key to save money and keep taxes down.
But he knows it's not an easy sell, especially in Muskegon and the surrounding areas.
Bernero emphasized how important it was that he was the only candidate to accept Monday night's invitation.
Snyder will be in Grand Rapids on Tuesday at Wealthy Theatre, taking questions from people submitted through social media or the publication Rapids Growth -- which is producing the event. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Kalamazoo County authorities say they are looking for a woman who went missing late last week.
The National Weather Service is closely monitoring the Grand River as ice is starting to form and the ice-jam risk is growing.
People mobbed the streets in East Lansing, set fires and flipped a car after MSU's win over OSU.