Jennifer M. Granholm is the former governor of Michigan. She teaches courses in law and public policy at University of California, Berkeley.
Granholm was elected governor of Michigan 2002. In 2006, she was reelected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in Michigan. As governor, Granholm led the state through a brutal economic downturn that resulted from a meltdown in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. She worked relentlessly to diversify the state’s economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the manufacturing sector, and add new, emerging sectors, such as clean energy, to Michigan’s economic portfolio.
In addition to diversification, Granholm focused on creating jobs, attracting international investment, improving education, and training Michigan’s workers to promote Michigan’s long-term economic health. She pushed the state to double the number of college graduates and signed into law a college-prep curriculum for every high school student in Michigan in addition to some of the toughest turnaround requirements for low-performing schools in the nation. Under her leadership, Michigan had the second-highest rate of child health care coverage in the nation despite the economic challenges.
Prior to becoming governor, Granholm served as a judicial clerk for Michigan’s 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She became a federal prosecutor in Detroit in 1990, and in 1994, she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel. Granholm was elected Michigan’s first female attorney general in 1998.
Voting lines lasting for hours in Florida. Hundreds of thousands of voters being purged from voting rolls in Pennsylvania. Eight billionaires buying presidential candidates in order to buy policy. Members of Congress getting elected in pretzel-shaped districts in states overwhelmingly voting for the other party. Moderate candidates being routed in primaries. Lobbyists outnumbering members of Congress 26 to one. Over $3.3 billion being spent annually to lobby and contribute to lawmakers. Politicians having to spend six hours a day, every day, dialing for those dollars instead of doing their real jobs.
It’s no wonder politics causes ulcers in most people. It’s no wonder the approval rating of Congress is lower than cockroaches, lice, and Lindsay Lohan, according to a recent poll. The good news? Their approval rating is better than meth labs or gonorrhea, so at least we have something to work with.
It’s with a ray of hope that BPC’s Commission on Political Reform will do this work. It won’t be easy. The lobbyists won’t like it. Some in the political parties won’t like it. But the people—whose voices have been silenced—will love it. And they’re the ones the commission is serving.
Do you believe the current level of extreme partisanship in Washington is harming America?