Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the General Motors Detroit- Hamtramck assembly plant on January 27, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the General Motors Detroit- Hamtramck assembly plant on January 27, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo: EFF KOWALSKY / AFP

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is presiding over one of the most consequential states in the nation as we approach the November election. Elected in 2018 in the blue wave of Democrats who won executive and other local and national offices, Whitmer has withstood some shrapnel amid challenges in her state.

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At 2:30 p.m. ET, senior reporter Terrell J. Starr will interview Whitmer on The Root’s Instagram Live for a 40-minute interview to discuss a wide range of subjects impacting black Michiganders.

The most pressing is the impact of COVID-19, especially in Detroit and other predominantly black cities in her state. Detroit, America’s largest big city, has been hit hard. While cases and deaths continue to trend downward, African Americans have made up 31 percent of deaths while comprising just 14 percent of the population; Flint, which is mostly black, comprised 4 percent of the state’s deaths. We will be asking the governor about her plans to help black communities rebound from the impact of this disease.

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We’ll also ask Whitmer, 48, about counter-protests to her COVID-19 policies, as well as her efforts to safely reopen the economy.

The deaths of black Americans at the hands of police have inspired uprisings across the nation and Michigan is no exception. Conversations around defunding the police have challenged state executives like Whitmer to come up with ways to protect her citizens from police brutality. The Congressional Black Caucus has come up with its own reform proposals, but Whitmer introduced her own plan last week, which we will discuss during our interview.

Then there is the 2020 election in November, but in-person voting may be a challenge because of the coronavirus. Former VP Joe Biden will need Michigan to defeat Donald Trump in the general. Biden is leading big in the state, but will COVID-19 keep enough people at home to turn the tide in Trump’s favor? We will ask Whitmer about how she is preparing the state for all a possible mail-in ballot scenario.

We will, of course, also ask if she is interested in being Biden’s VP candidate.

There are few people that President Trump doesn’t loathe, but Whitmer has been a consistent target of his. She is reported as saying that her recent call with him over the national uprisings was “deeply disturbing.”

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Our interview with Whitmer will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on The Root’s Instagram page (@the.root).

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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