Bernero and Snyder clash over jobs and outsourcing

Staff writers from The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press moderate debate.

The first and only debate between gubernatorial hopefuls Virg Bernero, the Democratic Lansing Mayor and Republican businessman Rick Snyder ended in what most statewide political analysts are calling a draw.

However many gave Bernero a slight edge for his ability to seemingly put Snyder on the defensive, with an out-of-the-gate charge that Snyder outsourced jobs at a company called Discera Inc., which specializes in superconductor technology.

How could you? Bernero asked Snyder in his opening remarks. Snyder denied any outsourcing, saying that the company is based in both Ann Arbor, Michigan and San Jose, California but recently expanded into China.

He TMs a good talker, Snyder said.

Speaking of the tough nerd, Bernero said, He TMs tough enough to send jobs overseas and jobs across other states. He TMs tough enough to pocket money even as people are losing their jobs." Snyder, a self-made millionaire who pumped nearly $6 million of his own money in the primary campaign alone said he has been in the tough positions many Michiganians find themselves in now.

I grew up in a 900 sq. foot home back in Battle Creek. I worked my way through college, so I understand those challenges, he said.


Meanwhile in an adjacent hall where media from across the state watched the face off, Snyder campaign aides rushed copies of an e-mail sent from Discera CEO Bruce Diamond, in an attempt to clarify what could have amounted to the October surprise.

Discera recently opened a Sales and Applications office in Shenzhen China, the e-mail read. The office, approximately 300 sq ft in size, is used by our three sales and one field applications engineer and administrative assistant.

Diamond went on to say, At no point, now or in the future, do I believe this eliminates any jobs here in the U.S., nor did we ship any jobs out of the U.S. to open this office. In fact it is the opposite, the increased sales will eventually create more R&D jobs here in the U.S. (both Michigan and California.

But Bernero TMs campaign stood firm on the accusation, unveiling a press release from the company TMs website discussing overseas expansion. Discera is helping Chinese businesses compete and win in the global marketplace, the campaign quoted Dr. Wan Thai-Hsu, the company TMs chief technology officer.

Bernero tied this latest revelation into his on-going slam that Snyder outsourced jobs while head of Gateway Computers. However, Snyder has maintained he grew the company from 700 workers to more than 10,000 and even brought jobs from China to the United States.

The candidates weighed in on other issues including home foreclosures, state tax and spending structures, with social issues winding down the policy-portion of the debate.

Snyder said he is pro-life except in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman TMs life. Bernero indicated he is pro-choice and that he did not believe, government should interfere between a woman and her doctor.

The debate was sponsored by several organizations including, Detroit Public TV, The Center for Michigan, U-M Dearborn, and the Michigan Municipal League among other entities.