Checking out statements made by Bernero, Snyder

Michigan's major party candidates for governor, Democrat Virg Bernero and Republican Rick Snyder, met for their first and likely only debate Sunday.A look at some of the statements made by the candidates and how they compare with the facts:___BERNERO: "We've also learned that another of Mr....

Michigan's major party candidates for governor, Democrat Virg Bernero and Republican Rick Snyder, met for their first and likely only debate Sunday.

A look at some of the statements made by the candidates and how they compare with the facts:

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BERNERO: "We've also learned that another of Mr. Snyder's companies has created jobs in China as recently as a couple months ago. Mr. Snyder is the founder and board director of a company called Discera. That company just finished a new state-of-the-art job-creating facility. But unfortunately that facility wasn't built in Michigan. It wasn't even built in America. That plant and those jobs landed in Shenzhen, China."

SNYDER: "Discera does not have an operation in China. They're based in San Jose, Calif., and they're based in Ann Arbor, Mich. They're off doing cutting edge technology. And they're doing work all around the world to be successful at that, but their locations are San Jose and Ann Arbor."

THE FACTS: Discera Inc., a provider of oscillator technology, lists Snyder as a board member on its website. The company was founded in 2001 to commercialize work at the University of California and the University of Michigan. The company announced the opening of its China Applications Center in July. The Snyder campaign released a statement from a Discera official on Sunday saying the 300-square-foot office is used by five employees — three sales workers, a field applications engineer and an administrative assistant. The statement said its "applications lab" consists of a card-table-sized bench with three pieces of measurement equipment. The statement said no jobs have been moved out of Michigan or the U.S. and the China sales office may eventually lead to more jobs in the U.S. Talking to reporters after the debate, Snyder said the company had just a handful of workers in China.

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BERNERO: "I'm getting results in my city. The Lansing region has the second-lowest unemployment in the state."

THE FACTS: It's true that the Lansing-East Lansing region had the second-lowest jobless rate among Michigan's 17 major labor markets in August at 10.1 percent. But those numbers are propped up by areas outside of Lansing. The city of Lansing's seasonally unadjusted employment rate was 14.5 percent in August, up from 8.6 percent when Bernero became the city's mayor in 2006. The state's overall unemployment rate also has risen substantially in that time, from 7.2 percent to 12.9 percent based on rates that are not seasonally adjusted or from 6.7 percent to 13.1 percent based on seasonally adjusted numbers.

Bernero noted Lansing has added 6,000 new jobs since he became mayor, but he didn't mention those gains have been more than offset by job losses in the city.

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BERNERO: "Unfortunately my opponent has shipped thousands of jobs overseas to China in his role as 'chief executive outsourcer' at Gateway."

SNYDER: "At Gateway, I'm proud of my record. I helped create 10,000 jobs."

THE FACTS: Gateway had fewer than 800 employees when Snyder joined the fledgling computer maker as executive vice president in 1991. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 1996, then left to start his own Ann Arbor venture capital company in 1997. At that time, Gateway had 13,300 employees, including 10,600 in the U.S. Gateway subsequently moved most of its manufacturing operations to Mexico and countries in eastern Europe and Asia, including China, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Through that period, Snyder remained on Gateway's board. Snyder has said he opposed the outsourcing but wasn't in a position to stop it. When he filled in as interim Gateway CEO for seven months in 2006, he brought back about 130 technical and computer support jobs to the U.S. and opened a new manufacturing plant in Tennessee that employed about 100 people. Gateway now is a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Acer Inc.

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BERNERO: "We've tightened our belts. We're doing more with less."

THE FACTS: The city of Lansing has had some spending increases since Bernero became mayor in 2006. But the city does plan on making significant spending cuts in its most recently adopted budget. The budget plan calls for a general fund of about $109.4 million, about a 6.6 percent reduction from the previous budget year. Bernero has suggested raising some user fees but has not raised taxes. He also has had employees take furlough days and has cut his pay 10 percent and his health care 20 percent while giving up his city-owned car.

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SNYDER: "The mayor has presented a model that goes back to the traditional political world. I admire the mayor for his public service, but that model doesn't work anymore. It's a model of the last century."

THE FACTS: Snyder had never run for public office before his gubernatorial bid. He blasted many of his rivals in the Republican primary held earlier this year as "career politicians" and takes digs at Bernero's record as well. Bernero has held political office at the municipal, county and state level for most of the past two decades, but says his experience as a state lawmaker and as mayor has been a plus, not a minus. He says most people really don't know what's below Snyder's "veneer" because he hasn't been in office. Snyder says he will be less divisive than Bernero and bring a new way of attacking the state's problems.

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