MARQUETTE — Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist has been on an Upper Peninsula tour for the last couple of days, and Monday was the first stop in Marquette County. The Marquette County Democratic Party held a meet and greet with the Lieutenant Governor at the Veirling in downtown Marquette Monday evening for constituents to hear updates from Lansing.

Gilchrist was last in the county for the U.P. 200 back in February, and while he is enjoying seeing the colors around the U.P. on this trip, there’s a bit of a different focus.

“Really excited to be back in the Upper Peninsula, and to be visiting Michigan Tech, and Northern Michigan University, seeing some great start–up businesses that are doing some really revolutionary engineering and bringing some great products to market. In space propulsion and technology we need to fix our roads. It’s been a really incredible couple of days. And this is really how we can not only create thriving cities in places like Marquette, but how the administration can help support businesses and people all across the Upper Peninsula.”

His tour started out in Houghton County, where he was able to meet with teachers, educational leaders, and the superintendent of Houghton Elementary School.

“I’ve been able to get a lot in on this trip, and meet a lot of people in the community who are doing really important work, in a lot of different parts of life,” he said.

When asked about the Small, Isolated Schools funds being vetoed that was first reported on by ABC10 last week, Gilchrist said the Governor is open to negotiating and have been in talks with legislative leaders since the budget was signed.

“The school aid budget that was submitted by the republicans had all of these one–time earmarks for corporations, spending on vendor products that school districts don’t want to buy. They wasted money on that instead of fully funding education, so we had to make some choices to keep schools running, but most importantly, we’re back at the table. We got started on the supplemental, we had a meeting with legislative leaders the day after that, so the negotiations are on–going and everything is on the table. Governor Whitmer and I want to fully fund education, that was what we did in our budget proposal all the way back in March. Our values are very clear on this, and we’re going to work to get that done for people.”

He seems optimistic about the negotiations on the supplemental budget this time around, saying, “we’re at the table, it’s a conversation. Part of the problem with these budgets and why they were so broken and flawed was because they didn’t negotiate with us. But now, the situation is going to be different going forward.”

The Lieutenant Governor’s tour continues Tuesday morning with stops at Marquette Senior High School, Innovate Marquette Smart Zone, and the Marquette Food Co–op.