Snyder kicks off Maritime Festival

ESCANABA – Gov. Rick Snyder made a special appearance in Escanaba Friday to kick off the Maritime Festival by ringing the Escanaba Municipal Marina bell.

“I really appreciate the chance to be here. I’m glad it worked out for me to have a chance to join this celebration,” said Snyder.

Snyder, who has been traveling through the Upper Peninsula with his family, noted the harbor was one of the major factors in the creation of the city.

“Having one of the finest, safest, best harbors in the entire Great Lakes was really a catalyst to bring people here. It was the starting point and it’s great you still have that wonderful asset available to you,” he said.

While the governor sees the harbor as an asset to the community, he also believes that a community requires more than a great harbor.

“The key to a community are the people in it and that’s where you’re really to be complimented for the wonderful things you’re doing here,” he said, adding that creating jobs, a strong and stable livelihood for citizens, and tourism were important.

“Also the fact you make great things here. You’ve got great companies building products here. You have timber/paper products, so it’s a strong industry in terms of the things available,” said Snyder.

The governor told audience members that he believed the Maritime Festival has great opportunities for success in the future and that the city’s sesquicentennial celebration was well deserved.

“Congratulations on getting to 150 years, because what I can see from the hardworking people here is I think the next 50 are going to be the best 50,” said Snyder, adding that the spirit of people wanting to work together to create a great place would lead to opportunities.

When asked by the Daily Press how he sees Escanaba in 50 years, Snyder gave a vision of a place where people would want to live while doing international business.

“I think the world’s becoming more global, but it’s also becoming a place where – because of communications the Internet and everything else – people can choose to live where they want to live,” he said. “They’re not going to be told they have to live in one sort of location as much as they used to and so that really opens up opportunities for places like Escanaba, because the quality of life opportunities are wonderful here, so you can find people doing business all over the world from right here.”

Snyder will return to the Escanaba area for the U.P. State Fair next month. Following Friday’s Maritime Festival opening, he and his family will visit other locations around the Upper Peninsula.

“Much of the U.P. is a secret that most people don’t know about, a lot of Michiganders don’t even know so that’s part of getting the message out that they need to explore more,” he said.