WSW: Great Lakes and the 2016 Election
Commentator Gary Wilson says "everything lined up politically" for Great Lakes issues in about 2008. But he says that is likely to change with the next Presidential election, regardless of the outcome in 2016.
Wilson wrote about the Great Lakes and the 2016 election for his Chicago View Column on the Great Lakes Echo website. In the piece called Will Shifting Political Winds Impair Great Lakes Recovery? Wilson says the next Presidential election will affect issues such as the Great Lakes Compact which prohibits withdrawals of water from the Great Lakes basin.
President Obama gets a solid "B" from Wilson on Great Lakes issues. He says federal support for the Great Lakes has increased during the Obama administration. Wilson says the President's record is more mixed on issues like invasive species such as Asian Carp and clean drinking water funds.
Wilson says the question going forward is how important are Great Lakes issues to candidates who don't come from the region. And he says the issues that drive the campaign are likely to be the economy, foreign policy and social issues. Wilson says "we have to be realistic" about how much attention environmental issues related to the Great Lakes are likely to receive during a Presidential campaign.
While the current President hails from Chicago, some of the current and potential candidates also come from Great Lakes states. That includes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. Wilson says Walker's very conservative ideology would likely trump any regional considerations. But he says if Kasich and Clinton become serious contenders for the White House it could help bring more attention to Great Lakes issues.
Note: The interview with Gary Wilson was recorded before Michigan Governor Rick Snyder issued a statement saying that he has no plans to run for President in 2016