Difference between revisions of "Jennifer Granholm"

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|Tenure = January 1, 2003-January 1, 2011
|Tenure = January 1, 2003-January 1, 2011
|Term ends =  
|Term ends =  
|Assumed office = 2002
|Assumed office = 2003
|Political party = Democratic  
|Political party = Democratic  
|Predecessor = John Engler (R)
|Predecessor = John Engler (R)
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|Appointed =
|Appointed =
|Appointed by =
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|First elected =
|First elected =2002
|Term limits =
|Term limits =
|Next election =
|Next election =

Revision as of 11:04, 2 January 2014

Jennifer Granholm
Governor of Michigan
Former officeholder
In office
January 1, 2003-January 1, 2011
PredecessorJohn Engler (R)
Elections and appointments
First elected2002
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of California, Berkeley
J.D.Harvard Law School
Date of birthFebruary 5, 1959
Place of birthVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
ReligionRoman Catholic
The information about this individual is current as of when they left office. See anything that needs updating? Send a correction to our editors
Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (b. February 5, 1959) is a Canadian-born American politician and the 47th Democratic Governor of Michigan. Granholm became Michigan's first female governor when she was sworn in on January 1, 2003. She succeeded John Engler.

Granholm ran successfully for re-election in 2006. She defeated Republican businessman and politician Dick DeVos, Libertarian Gregory Creswell, Green Douglas Campbell and the Constitution (US Taxpayers) Party candidate, Bhagwan Dashairya, in the general election on November 7, 2006.[1]

She was barred by term limits from seeking a third term as governor in 2010, and was subsequently replaced by Republican Rick Snyder.[2]

Before becoming the first woman to hold Michigan's top office, Granholm broke ground as the first woman elected to the office of state attorney general in 1998. She served in that position for a single term, from 1999 until 2003, when she assumed the role of governor.

In 2004, Granholm was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. During the 2008 presidential election, Granholm stood in as Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in a series of practice debates with Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden.[3]


Granholm was born to Shirley Alfreda Dowden and Victor Ivar Granholm.[4] She has some Finnish and Swedish ancestors who were born in the Swedish-speaking part of Finland.[5] Her family moved to California when she was four.[6] She grew up in Anaheim, San Jose and San Carlos.[7] Granholm graduated from San Carlos High School, located in San Carlos, California, in 1977.[6] She won the Miss San Carlos beauty pageant.[7] As a young adult she attempted to launch a Hollywood acting career but was unsuccessful and she abandoned her efforts at the age of 21.[6] She held jobs as a tour guide at Universal Studios, within customer service for the Los Angeles Times and was the first female tour guide at Marine World Africa USA in Redwood City, piloting boats with 25 tourists aboard.[7]

In 1980 Granholm became a United States citizen. She worked on John Anderson's independent presidential campaign and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated from UC-Berkeley in 1984 Phi Beta Kappa with two BA degrees, one in political science, the other in French. Granholm then earned a Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School, also with honors. She clerked for U.S. Judge Damon Keith on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1990 she became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. In 1994, she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel.

Granholm, like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was once a contestant on the daytime television game show The Dating Game.[8]


  • Bachelor's of Arts in political science and French - University of California, Berkeley (1984)
  • Juris Doctor - Harvard Law School

Political career

Governor of Michigan (2003-2011)

Granholm was sworn in as the 47th Governor of the state of Michigan on January 1, 2003. The main issue facing the governor has been the massive budget deficit. Granholm had to eliminate upwards of $200 per person from state budget expenditures. She emphasized the need for the state to attract young people and businesses to Michigan. As Governor, she was a member of the National Governors Association and Policy Chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association. She lived in the official Michigan Governor's Residence located near the Capitol Building.

In 2003, Granholm ran five miles across the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the state's two peninsulas, in 47 minutes during the Mackinac Bridge Walk. Her run began a new tradition, and 2004 saw the first annual Governor’s Labor Day Bridge Run[9] held hours before the Annual Bridge Walk. This time she finished the run in under 45 minutes. After joining her husband Daniel Mulhern for the last two miles of his October 24, 2004 Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon run, Granholm remarked, "I would love to run a marathon before I'm 50."



During Granholm’s first year in office, she made a significant number of budget cuts. She was upset by proposals to cut state funding to social welfare programs, such as homeless shelters and mental health agencies. During an interview, she reflected on the proper perspective of budget cuts:

"Often those who cloak themselves in a cape of religiosity happen to be some who are the biggest cutters. Now, some of that can balance out. But when you get to cutting the services for the least of these -- in the 25th chapter of Matthew in the 37th verse the Lord says, 'Whatsoever you do to the least of these, so also you do unto me' -- that's when I question whether somebody is really living out the faith that they profess." The interviewer noted that Granholm would be criticized, but she hoped that everyone would “keep those values in mind . . .through the budget process.” Betsy DeVos, the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party (1996–2000, 2003–05), was upset that Granholm had decided “to cloak her views on balancing the budget in religious terms in order to demonize her political opponents.” Granholm responded that she did not think her response was controversial, and she said that many people of faith are serving in state government.[10]

In February 2005, Michigan's Republican-dominated Legislature refused to vote on Granholm's proposed state budget, citing concerns over cuts to state funding for higher education.[11] In the previous years of Granholm's term, many cuts to higher education had been demanded and voted in the Legislature in order to balance the state budget. The year before, Republican leaders had called Granholm a "do-nothing Governor", claiming that she failed to lead, while Democrats accused legislative Republicans of being obstructionist. In January 2005, Granholm presented an early budget proposal, demanded immediate response from the Legislature, and held a press conference outlining the highlights of the proposed budget. After refusing to consider, debate, or vote on the proposed budget, Republicans stated they would prefer that the Legislature have more involvement in the formation of the state budget.[12]

In March 2005, Granholm sought to withhold awarding scholarships earned through the MEAP scholarship program in order to trim an estimated $9 million from the state budget. The program awards $500 college scholarships to 11th-grade students that perform well on the MEAP standardized test. Granholm argued that the state had no internal means of determining which students had earned the scholarships. After much criticism, notably from the Detroit Free Press, local area lawyers, and parents (who claimed to have received, and did produce, official letters promising the money), she awarded the students their scholarships, though the state's budget difficulties remained unresolved. Liz Boyd, a representative for Granholm, said though “In many regards, it was a hollow promise made by the Engler administration. They cut revenue and didn’t cut spending and we are still reeling from the effects of those decisions today.”[13]

Budget crisis, second term

The 2006 elections saw a return to power by the Democrats in the Michigan State House of Representatives but the retention of Republican control over the Michigan Senate. The partisan division of power in Michigan's state government led to a showdown between Granholm and Republican lawmakers over the FY2008 state budget that resulted in a four-hour shutdown of non-essential state services in the early morning of October 1, 2007 until a budget was passed and signed.[14] The budget cut services, increased the state income tax and created a new set of service taxes on a variety of business activities, from ski lift tickets to interior design and landscaping, to address a state budget shortfall. As a result of the controversial budget, some taxpayer and business advocates called for a recall campaign against Granholm and lawmakers who voted for the tax increases.[15]

Approval ratings

The budget crisis eventually led Standard & Poors to downgrade Michigan's credit rating from AA to AA-. Additionally, the crisis contributed to sinking approval ratings for Granholm, which stood at 43 percent in August 2007,[16] to a low of 32 percent in December 2007. The divided Michigan legislature received an even lower approval rating of 18 percent in the same poll.[17]. An August 2008 poll marked a slight rebound for Granholm's approval rating at 37%.[18]

Growth and innovation

Granholm left for Japan on July 22, 2005, along with Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon, and Department of Labor and Economic Growth Director (and former Lansing mayor) David Hollister. Their trip was planned, for the purpose of emphasizing Michigan as "the North American intersection of cutting-edge research, life sciences talent and high-tech innovation."They met with Shiga Prefecture Governor Yoshitsu Kunimatsu, Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe and the representatives of 150 Japanese automotive, biotech, and human sciences companies. On the first day of the five-day trip, July 25, Granholm led a seminar of 65 Japanese auto-related companies at the 2005 World Expo in Nagakute, Aichi. On July 26, Granholm met with DENSO Corp. (employing 4,500 workers in Michigan) President and CEO Koichi Fukaya at the company's D-Square facility in Kariya, Aichi. Granholm then met with Gov. Yoshitsu Kunimatsu aboard the Michigan paddlewheel boat on Shiga's Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake. Like the Great Lakes (which surround Michigan), Lake Biwa has a history of fighting against an influx of invasive species, the Prefecture paying bounties to fishermen and hiring 43 official catchers to curb the growth of species which threaten the natural freshwater ecosystem. Shiga Prefecture is Michigan's "sister state", selected in 1968 due to their similarity in sharing their nation's largest freshwater resource. Granholm returned to work in Michigan the next Monday.[19][20]

Steroid use in schools

She also signed a legislation to keep steroids out of schools and requiring school boards to write their own steroid policies, though the stance did not go as far as random drug testing of athletes.[21] She is trying to establish a $4000 scholarship for each Michigan college student.[22][23]


Granholm delivered her sixth State of the State address on January 29, 2008. The speech was focused mainly on creating jobs in Michigan's economy through bringing alternative energy companies to Michigan.[24] Through passing a renewable portfolio standard, which would require that by 2015, 10 percent of Michigan's energy would come from renewable sources and 25 percent by 2025, Granholm expects the alternative energy industry to emerge in Michigan.[25]

Michigan Film Incentives Program

Granholm also called in the speech for an incentive package to offer tax breaks to filmmakers who shoot in Michigan and use local crews in production. A package of bills offering film industry incentives was approved by both houses of the Michigan State Legislature and signed into law by Granholm on April 7, 2008.[26] It began to cause trouble in the private sector.

Presidential primary date change

Partly because of pressure from Granholm, Michigan's Democratic presidential primary was moved up to January 15, leading the Democratic National Committee to strip the Michigan Democratic Party of its delegates (Michigan historically held its caucuses on February 9). Granholm had been named a likely candidate for United States Attorney General in any Democratic administration. At the time, she was the Policy Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Detroit Mayor felony scandal

In response to a May 14, 2008 resolution by the Detroit City Council to request that Granholm remove Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office in response to eight (later ten) felony counts against him,[27] Granholm began an inquiry,[28] which culminated in a removal hearing on September 3, 2008.[29] On September 3, Granholm outlined the legal basis for the hearings, arguments were made and three witnesses were called.[30] In the morning of September 4, Kilpatrick agreed to two plea deals, pleading guilty to two counts of perjury and no contest to one count of assaulting and obstructing a police officer in two separate cases. Both of the deals required his resignation. When the hearing reconvened later that day, Granholm stated that the hearing would be adjourned until September 22 as a result of the plea deals.[31]

Lame duck advice

Granholm wrote an op-ed for POLITICO in December 2010, saying the nation needs a "moon shot" jobs strategy to create 3 million new jobs. Granholm used as an example: Michigan government's recent bet that the lithium-ion battery industry should be cultivated with special treatment and favors from state government.

Granholm wrote: "If the states are the laboratories of democracy, Washington can take a lesson from what is happening in Michigan."

"I do think those facts about Michigan's high unemployment level and major job loss are fairly well known," said Politico Opinion Editor Allison Silver. "Most everyone has followed the implosion in the auto industry. That is one reason why the information about this new battery seemed interesting."[32]

Michigan Governor's Office lobbying

Research by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network showed that in 2008, the Governor's Office used $63,672 in lobbying and networking with other state politicians. [33]

Two departments of the Governor's Office also spent a significant amount of money on lobbying, and this money has increased from the last year. The Department of Environmental Quality has an increase in lobbying funds by 12% while the Governor's MI Economic Development Corporation expanded its' lobbying budget by 106%. [34]

Attorney General of Michigan (1999-2002)

Granholm was elected Michigan Attorney General in 1998, defeating the Republican nominee, John Smietanka, 52 percent – 48 percent. She was the first woman to hold that position, serving for four years (1999–2002) and focusing on protecting citizens and consumers, and establishing Michigan's first HighTech Crime Unit. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Granholm directed state agencies to work with lawmakers in keeping the fight against terrorism within the powers of the state. She also imposed a regulation on gasoline dealers to keep them from raising prices dramatically, something which occurred sporadically across Michigan immediately following the attacks.



Granholm ran for a second term in the 2006 election. Her opponents were Republican businessman and politician Dick DeVos, Libertarian Gregory Creswell, Green Douglas Campbell, and the Constitution (US Taxpayers) Party candidate Bhagwan Dashairya.[1]

The state's unemployment rate hovered around seven percent for much of her term. Additionally, Michigan ranked #49 in retaining young adults between 2000 and 2005, again attributed to the sluggish economy.[35][36]

Both the Granholm campaign and the Michigan Democratic Party put out television commercials which focused on her efforts to revive Michigan's economy and accused Dick DeVos of cutting Michigan jobs while he was head of what was then called Amway.[37]

Granholm won re-election, defeating DeVos. The margin (rounded to the nearest percent) was 56 percent (Granholm), 42 percent (DeVos), one percent (Gregory Creswell), one percent (Douglas Campbell) and one percent (Bhagwan Dashairya).[1] Granholm polled 4.9 percent higher than she did in her first gubernatorial election in 2002.

In the 2002 election, she defeated former Governor James Blanchard and House Democratic Whip David Bonior in the Democratic primary, and then went on to win the general election against the Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus, to become governor.

Granholm was accused in the 2002 Democratic primary of several allegations of cronyism while working as Wayne County Corporation Counsel.

Her husband, Daniel Mulhern, had received several contracts for his leadership training company shortly after Granholm left her position as a Wayne County Corporation Counsel in 1998. He received nearly $300,000 worth of contracts, despite being the highest bidder for one of those contracts. Opponents criticized Granholm supporters for engaging in cronyism and giving contracts to her husband immediately after leaving county employment. Granholm and her supporters responded that no ethical violations occurred and that Mulhern had earned the contracts on his own merits.[38]

Former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard and former Representative David Bonior faced Granholm in the Democratic primary and criticized her handling of contracting procedures at Detroit Metro Airport. Granholm was Wayne County Corporation Counsel when the questionable corporate contracts on two parking projects took place from "an apparent pattern of cronyism and no-bid contracts," which prompted investigation by the FBI and by state and local auditors. She ordered a review as State Attorney General. Blanchard and Bonior criticized her for "reviewing" the project rather than ordering a full investigation, and Bonior insisted that Granholm should remove herself from the case. Granholm defended that she had taken the appropriate action and continued to oversee the review.[39][40][41]

Shortly before the 2002 gubernatorial election, a memo was released to reporters from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick addressed to Granholm. It asked that, in exchange for his support and Detroit votes, Granholm must provide jobs and appointments for Detroit natives. The memo proposed numerous specific ways that Granholm could help if elected, including ensuring that 20 percent of new political appointees were African-American. Granholm’s opponent, Republican Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus, publicly denounced the “corrupt pact” between Kilpatrick and Granholm. She said that she had never seen the memo, and she stated that she would never “respond to those kinds of demands.” In addition, Kilpatrick said he had not written the memo or signed off on its terms.[42]


In 1986, Granholm married Daniel Mulhern, a Michigan native, and took his surname as her middle name; they have three children: Kathryn, Cecelia, and Jack.

Recent news

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 2006 Official Michigan General Election Results - Governor 4 Year Term (1) Position
  2. ABC 11, " Snyder wins governor's race," November 3, 2010
  3. Granholm: Pact on Debates Will Let McCain and Obama Spar New York Times, Sep. 04, 2008
  4. Reitwiesner, William Addams. "The Ancestors of Jennifer Granholm". WARGS (Personal website of William Addams Reitwiesner).
  5. Skrivet av Elof Granholm. 'Loffes hemsida'. Loffe.net (website).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Detroit Free Press, 11/6/02, "Shes' the Boss - Granholm wins a place in history as Michigan Elects the state's first female governor".
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) National Journal Group Inc.
  8. Clift, Eleano. "Jennifer Granholm: Brainy, Blond and Ready to Rumble". Newsweek (6 January 2007). MSNBC website. (Accessed 29 June 2007)
  9. Governor’s Labor Day Bridge Run
  10. On cut, Granholm cites Bible, draws wrath by Dan Shine and Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, Jan. 3, 2004
  11. Panels pass over Granholm plan to cut budget by Tim Martin, Lansing State Journal, Feb. 16, 2005
  12. Granholm-GOP impasse stalls her agenda by Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal, Apr. 17, 2005
  13. Amanda Pennington, House speaker knocks Granholm on MEAP, Source: The Michigan Daily, Feb 25, 2005
  14. SOM - Governor Granholm Says Comprehensive Budget Solution Resolves State's Fiscal Crisis
  15. Recall voices unite against Granholm by Dawson Bell, Detetroit Free Press, Oct. 4, 2007
  16. wzzm13.com | Grand Rapids, MI | Survey USA shows slide in Gov. Granholm's approval rating
  17. Granholm, Legislature too divided, voters say
  18. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080827/NEWS01/808270380
  19. Granholm: Michigan has much to offer Japan By Chris Andrews Sources: Lansing State Journal, July 23, 2005
  20. Granholm Discusses Water Quality, Global Economy with Shiga Prefecture Governor Office of the Governor page at Michigan.gov website, July 26, 2005
  21. Granholm signs legislation to keep steroids out of school Source: Associated Press, July 26, 2006
  22. http://www.mlive.com/news/statewide/index.ssf?/base/news-7/1155602405326040.xml&coll=1
  23. http://www.mlive.com/news/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/news-19/1157779359239420.xml&coll=7
  24. Alternative energy key in Granholm's State of the State address Associated Press, M-Live
  25. Powering up: Granholm out to generate support for alternative-energy industry by Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal, Feb. 5, 2008
  26. Michigan to court Hollywood with hefty incentives by Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 7, 2008
  27. Nick Bunkley. Detroit Council Seeks Mayor’s Ouster. Accessed May 14, 2008.
  28. Granholm starts Kilpatrick ouster inquiry by Zachary Gorchow and Ben Schmitt, Detroit Free Press, May 22, 2008
  29. Attorneys Hash Out Detroit Mayor Removal Hearing Rules clickondetroit.com, WDIV
  30. Gov.'s Hearings To Remove Mayor Resume Thursday clickondetroit.com, WDIV, Sep. 03, 2008
  31. Granholm: If Mayor Resigns Hearings To Be Cancelled clickondetroit.com, WDIV, Sep. 04, 2008
  32. "Gov. Granholm Offers Nation Advice on Job Creation," Michigan Capital Confidential, December 10, 2010
  33. Michigan's Taxpayer Alliance, "Drinks are on you! You're paying to lobby against yourself!"
  34. Michigan's Taxpayer Alliance, "Drinks are on you! You're paying to lobby against yourself!"
  35. Economic funk won't end in 2006 by Louis Aguilar, The Detroit News, Dec. 4, 2005
  36. Brain Drain by Gary Trowbridge and Amy Lee, The Detroit News, Aug. 4, 2006
  37. http://www.michigandems.com/media/index.html
  38. Granholm supporters helped her husband secure Wayne County contracts by Chad Selweski, Macomb Daily, Jan. 13, 2002
  39. Hopefuls civil at last debate by Chris Christoff and Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press, July 23, 2002
  40. Granholm zooms up in poll for governor by Chris Christoff, Detroit Free Press, Mar. 2, 2002
  41. Bonior asks for probe of Metro deals by Tina Lam and Dennis Niemiec, Detroit Free Press, Jan. 29, 2002
  42. Granholm denies a deal with Kilpatrick by Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press, Oct. 1, 2002
Political offices
Preceded by
John Engler
Governor of Michigan
2003 - 2011
Succeeded by
Rick Snyder

This state official-related article is in the process of being updated.