Mich. gov. has just 1 more year to shape legacy

Financial Crisis Posted on

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has dealt this year with a short-lived government shutdown, the bankruptcy of two of the state's iconic businesses and a recall attempt.

As jobs and revenue have disappeared, the Democrat has focused on moving Michigan toward a future where workers are building electric car batteries, wind turbines and solar panels along with the cars and trucks that defined the state's past.

"The lesson of this year has been so stark ... diversify or die," Granholm told reporters Tuesday during her annual year-end interview. "We are building a new Michigan."

With just one year left to build her own legacy before her second term in office expires, it's unclear if Granholm will be remembered for her efforts to transform Michigan's economy or for being unable to keep the state's investments in education, public safety and the arts from nose-diving.

Granholm lost battles and political points this year when she was unable to get the Republican-led Senate — or even the Democratic-controlled House — to heed her ideas for raising more revenue and alleviating cuts to local governments and education.

The Legislature's inability to find common ground led to the second government shutdown in the past three budget years, and pushed Granholm into a series of visits around the state this fall exhorting local officials, parents and college students to tell lawmakers to restore money for K-12 schools, Promise Grant college scholarships and revenue-sharing payments for police and fire services.

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