Five Questions with Gov. Jennifer Granholm
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm seeks re-election this November, and is currently in a tight race with businessman Dick DeVos. Granholm took time out from her busy schedule in early August to chat with Business News Publisher Luke Haase.
BN: You've got an (expensive) fight on your hands. How will you ultimately win this election?
JG: By telling voters about my economic plan that I'm working to put
Michigan first. My plan is the most comprehensive and aggressive in the
country…a $6 billion plan to create jobs and to make sure that we're protecting people's pocketbooks by bringing down the cost of health care and college. This election will be about the choice between leadership that puts people
and Michigan first and leadership that puts the fortunate few and the
special interests first. When people know that my opponent is putting them first, we'll win in November.
BN: You campaigned in 2002 to create jobs. Has your 21st Century Jobs
initiative done that? Are you satisfied with the job you've done?
JG: I will go anywhere and do anything to bring jobs back to Michigan.
We must diversify the economy with jobs outside of automobile manufacturing, and that is why I am aggressively seeking businesses that are focused on
alternative energy, technology, homeland security, life sciences, health care and advanced manufacturing. The plan is beginning to pay dividends – Google choose Michigan to create 1,000 new jobs; Whirlpool's consolidating its
headquarters here and creating new jobs, Keebler chose Michigan over
Chicago and is creating new jobs. We've got a lot more to do, but I'm
working that plan every day and it's starting to work.
BN: You seem to visit Traverse City quite frequently. Is our area more
important, politically speaking, than in the past? Why?
JG: Traverse City is a cool city! All parts of Michigan are important to me as Governor. There are some great things happening in Northern Michigan that are exciting – the film festival is attracting visitors, companies like Cadillac Castings are creating jobs…there's a lot to highlight.
BN: A movement is gaining steam in northern Michigan to take another look at Proposal A and public school funding in an attempt to level the playing field between small districts here and wealthier areas downstate. Your reaction?
JG: In the last state budget, I increased school funding to an all-time high
of $6,875 per pupil, and next year's budget calls for an additional $200 per pupil. My plan calls for strong investment in our education system so that
our children are prepared to succeed in 21st Century jobs. An educated,
skilled workforce is one of the big drawing cards for our state in terms of economic growth.
BN: You seem like such an optimist on so many fronts. Amidst economic troubles and political bickering, how do you keep such a positive attitude? Shopping? Yoga?
JG: I spend time with my husband and children, and I also love to be out on the trail talking to voters and listening to their concerns. People really want leadership that puts them first and I'm energized to be working for them.