GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — He might not be an official gubernatorial candidate yet, but Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette arguably sounds like one.
"I want to be a part of the conversation, in terms of where Michigan goes in the future," Schuette said when asked about a potential 2018 gubernatorial run during a year-end interview with FOX 17 political reporter Josh Sidorowicz, which his office offered to schedule.
"I think Michigan wants winning policies and winning politics and that’s something I hope to offer to the people of this state, but more to come on that."
Schuette, who stopped short of committing to a run for governor, offered a chuckling "Merry Christmas," and a thank you when told his response sounded like a campaign speech. He said—with the help of his wife—a decision on whether to run in 2018 will be made within the next few months.
But Schuette was ready to list off several priorities he'd like see the next governor work toward, including creating "more jobs" with "more paychecks for families" and, in a nod to President-elect Donald Trump's recent selection of Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Department of Education, putting "parents in charge" when it comes to education across the state.
Much like he did in a recent editorial published in the Detroit Free Press, Schutte praised DeVos, who has taken heat from critics for her long track record of supporting school of choice and charter schooling over public education.
"It's all about making sure we've got an education system for the 21st century, so we're not stuck in the past and I think Betsy will give great lift and vibrancy to our education system," he reiterated Tuesday.
He also praised Michigan GOP chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, who Trump is expected to pick to be the next Republican National Committee chair.
Trump singled out McDaniel to praise her work during an NYC fundraiser for top supporters last week, according to Schuette, who was there.
"I’m all in for Ronna 110 percent, because she did a terrific job and delivered Michigan for the first time in 28 years in the Republican column," Schuette told FOX 17.
"Whatever happens with Ronna Romney McDaniel, she is a leader in our party and she has had great impact in Michigan and frankly across the country.”
Romney McDaniel will succeed Reince Priebus, who Trump named as his White House chief of staff.
In recent weeks Schuette, along with the Trump campaign and the Michigan Republican Party, successfully fought to shut down Michigan's statewide presidential recount, calling it "reckless," while suggesting a federal judge's ruling the state immediately begin the recount after the request was initially challenged by Donald Trump amounted to a "federal takeover."
Schuette says his office continues to investigate the Flint water crisis, but would not say when or if more charges would be filed.
To date, nine people have been criminally charged—eight of which were state employees. Civil lawsuits have also been filed against two engineering companies accused of giving the city bad advice.
No new charges have been announced since July. Legal fees for the probe are expected to exceed $5 million, according to reports from the Detroit Free Press.
"I think what the taxpayers really want is justice, we're not out to get any one person," Schuette said, despite the fact a lawyer for the state's top public health official, Nick Lyon, said in October his client was a target in the criminal investigation.
"It’s going to be a very thorough investigation," Schuette said. "It needs to be done right. It can’t be done on the fly and justice can’t be delivered on the cheap."
Like Gov. Rick Snyder, Schuette is also term limited. Schuette was elected attorney general in 2010.