William C. Cobbs III is running for the governship of Michigan as a Democrat in 2018.
“I am not a politician...I’m a citizen who feels called to serve my community to steer us out of difficult times,” he said. “The state must restore public policy driven by its citizens.”
Cobbs attended Detroit public schools, and worked his way from stock boy in a Detroit clothing store to a Global Vice President in Xerox Corporation. A U.S. Navy veteran, Cobbs is retired from Xerox. "Now I coach promising Fortune 500 Company executives on how to listen to their customers, how to listen to their team and how to win,” he said.
He believes the way to take Michigan forward is to build a solid foundation, emphasizing a long term plan for fixing the state’s infrastructure, investing in a quality K-12 education for the state’s children and assuring access to safe, clean, affordable water.
Education: The foundation of a restored State of Michigan includes restoring K-12 public education through proper funding. A college tuition promise type fund. Every school should have a vocational program to teach plumbing, carpentry, electric, so those who don’t go to college can earn a living in Michigan. “If we don’t do it, we will be in deep trouble.”
Infrastructure: “Flint was at its core an infrastructure issue...if we have learned anything in Flint, it is that we need a state-wide 20 to 25 year infrastructure plan, he said. ”It would be paid for with 30-year municipal bonds. “That would provide work for any citizen who wanted it for the next 20-25 years.”
Environment: “We must have a water and environment policy that protects Michigan for Michigan people… a policy to restore and protect the Great Lakes and our inland waterways. Michigan is surrounded by 20 percent of the world’s fresh water supply, we have to protect it.” He advocates shutting down the Enbridge pipeline under Lake Michigan and saying “no” to any increase in water for Nestle. “Water is going to be the new oil,” he predicted.
Income tax fairness: Cobbs proposes a progressive income tax with no change in the current Michigan income tax rate of 4.25 percent tax for households earning up to $200,000 a year. The rate would progress gradually with a top-stop of 10 percent for households earning $600,000 or above. Cobbs said it will raise between $3.2 to $8 billion dollars in revenue. The additional dollars would service the municipal infrastructure bonds.
“Under Governor Rick Snyder, the state has made international headlines of mice infested schools, water shut offs and lead poisoning, I’m tired of Michigan going in the wrong direction.
“In Michigan, we have a ton of issues. People say what about insurance, what about this, what about that? If we have a foundation for the future, the rest will come. Take care of the most important issues first.”
Cobbs graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, attended Wayne State Law School and the University of Michigan. Married for 36 years to Lisa Weaver Cobbs, the couple lives in Farmington Hills, have two children and a granddaughter.