As Great Lakes Governors Throw Down the Gauntlet, Which Presidential Candidate Will Respond?

Here we go, as the primary season draws near, the eight great lakes Governors are poised to force Great Lakes Restoration onto the 2008 presidential candidates’ agendas. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors is holding a press conference today to launch the first pitch for aggressive action to save the Great Lakes and prevent anyone from diverting the water to more, ahem, parched parts of the country.

What is the ask? If presidential hopefuls want the votes from the Great Lakes region, an area that controls 141 electoral votes and boasts five promising battleground states, they need to outline their vision for the Great Lakes.

It should be no surprise to the rest of the nation that the U.S. economy depends on Great Lakes success – nearly 30 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product is produced in our region – that’s 60 percent of all U.S. manufacturing.

“Millions of people who depend on the lakes for their jobs and way of life are looking for a presidential candidate who will not stand by as the health of the Great Lakes deteriorates from sewage contamination, invasive species, and habitat loss,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Amazing, but the idea of diverting the water from the Lakes has already been a campaign issue – ever since New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson implied that Western states should tap Superior and Michigan. Add to it the drought and unquenched thirst that has driven Southern states to start eye-balling fresh water sources – and it is no wonder the region is feeling a bit defensive.

Well, Gov. Doyle has dropped the gauntlet, let’s see who rises to the challenge and finds themselves at an advantage on Election Day.

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