State of the Region

All around the Great Lakes it's the same song: Time to change business as usual and transform the Rust Belt into the Blue Belt.

The Empire State's new Governor Eliot Spitzer uses his 2007 State of the State speech to call for 'One New York.'

Gov. Tim Pawlenty lays out a 'New Path' for Minnesota in his 2007 Inaugural Address.

In her 2007 Inaugural Address, Gov. Jennifer Granholm says "we must apply ourselves fearlessly to build the Next Michigan."

Ohio Governor-elect Ted Strickland took the oath of office earlier this morning. And Gov. Rod Blagojevich will Celebrate Illinois and get sworn in for a second term tonight.

The elected leaders quote variously from Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King. But behind the catchy slogans, within the lofty oratory of their indivdual speeches, we find a universe of common themes and policy proposals that all share a single goal: reverse the decades-long decline and shape a new destiny for the Great Lakes region in the 21st century.

So what are the common themes? Reclaim the spirit of innovation to generate good jobs. Deliver modern and affordable education and health care to the people. Reinvest in crumbling infrastructure like cities, transportation, and waterways. And restore honesty, civility, and fiscal sanity - those most basic of Midwest values - in public life.

"No matter how great the challenge - no matter how impossible the odds - our destiny will never be a path to follow, but always a trail to blaze," said Gov. Spitzer, in his 2007 Inagural Address.