|47th Governor of Michigan|
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2011
|Preceded by||John Engler|
|Succeeded by||Rick Snyder|
|51st Attorney General of Michigan|
January 1, 1999 – January 1, 2003
|Preceded by||Frank Kelley|
|Succeeded by||Mike Cox|
|Born||Jennifer Mulhern Granholm
February 5, 1959
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley
Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (born February 5, 1959) is a Canadian-born American politician, educator, author, and political commentator who served as Attorney General and 47th governor of the U.S. state of Michigan. A member of the Democratic Party, Granholm became Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003 when she succeeded Governor John Engler. Granholm was reelected on November 7, 2006 and was sworn in for her second – and, owing to term limits, final – term on January 1, 2007. She was a member of the presidential transition team for Barack Obama before he assumed office on January 20, 2009. After leaving office Granholm took a position at the University of California at Berkeley and, with her husband Daniel Mulhern, coauthored A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Future, released in September 2011. Later she became host of The War Room with Jennifer Granholm on Current TV.
Granholm was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Shirley Alfreda (née Dowden) and Victor Ivar Granholm. Granholm's paternal grandfather, who immigrated to Canada in the 1930s, came from Robertsfors, Sweden, where his father was mayor. The former Minister for Enterprise and Energy and former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Maud Olofsson, lives in Robertsfors, and when the two met in Sweden, it was revealed that Olofsson's husband is a relative of Granholm's.
Granholm's paternal grandmother was an emigrant from Norway. Granholm's family moved to California when she was four. She grew up in Anaheim, San Jose, and San Carlos. Granholm graduated from San Carlos High School in 1977. She won the Miss San Carlos beauty pageant. As a young adult she attempted to launch a Hollywood acting career but was unsuccessful and abandoned her efforts at the age of 21. In 1978 she appeared on The Dating Game, with a video recently surfacing. She held jobs as a tour guide at Universal Studios and in customer service at 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. In 1980, at the age of 21 years, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen, worked for John Anderson's independent run for President of the United States, and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated from UC-Berkeley in 1984 Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in political science and French. Granholm then earned a juris doctor degree at Harvard Law School, also with honors. At Harvard Law School, Granholm served as Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the leading progressive law journal in the United States.
She clerked for Judge Damon Keith, a Senior Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1990 she became an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. In 1994 she was appointed to the Wayne County Corporation Counsel.
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 gubernatorial election against the Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus, to become governor.
Granholm was sworn in as the 47th Governor of the state of Michigan on January 1, 2003. Upon her inauguration, in addition to becoming the state's first female governor, she also became its third governor who was not a natural-born citizen of the United States and its fourth who was not born within the United States. (The earlier two non-natural-born citizens were Fred M. Warner, born in England, 26th Governor from 1905 to 1911; and John Swainson, also born in Canada, the 42nd Governor from 1961 to 1963. George W. Romney, born in Mexico and 27th Governor from 1963 to 1969, was a natural-born citizen by virtue of his parents' US citizenship at the time of his birth.)
The main issue facing the governor was the massive budget deficit. Granholm had to eliminate upwards of $200 per person from state budget expenditures, successfully resolving over $14 billion in budget deficits. She emphasized Michigan's need to attract young people and businesses via the Cool Cities Initiative. As governor, she was a member of the National Governors Association. She was chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and was co‑chair of the Health Care Task Force of the National Governors Association. She is also a former chair of the Midwestern 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 held hours before the Annual Bridge Walk. This time she finished the run in under 45 minutes.
During Granholm’s first year in office, she made a significant number of budget cuts to deal with a $1.7 billion deficit (about 2% of the annual state budget). 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 her view of the proper perspective of budget cuts:
Granholm has been a proponent of education reform since the first year of her term. In her first State of the State Address in 2003, Granholm announced Project Great Start to focus on reforming education for children from birth to age 5. Project Great Start has coordinated public and private efforts to encourage educating new parents and encouraging parents to read to their children.
Granholm emphasized post-secondary education for Michiganders following the decline in Michigan manufacturing jobs, many of which did not require a college degree. In 2004 she asked Lt. Governor John D. Cherry to lead the Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth to double the number of college graduates in Michigan. Many of the Commission's recommendations were enacted into law during Granholm's tenure as governor, e.g., increasing high school graduation standards (The Michigan Merit Curriculum) so that every Michigan high school student takes a college preparatory curriculum, which includes four years of math and English/language arts and three years of science and social studies, beginning with students who entered high school in the fall of 2006.
At an awards ceremony on October 28, 2004, Granholm was inducted into the "Michigan Women's Hall of Fame". She has also been the recipient of the Michigan Jaycees 1999 "Outstanding Young Michiganders" and the YWCA "Woman of the Year" awards.
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. 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.
Michigan's economy had been losing jobs since 2000, largely owing to the decline in the American manufacturing sector. Granholm supported diversification of Michigan's economy away from its historical reliance on automotive manufacturing. She pushed through a $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund to attract jobs to Michigan in the life sciences, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, and homeland security sectors. Granholm also supported alternative energy jobs to Michigan to replace lost auto manufacturing jobs.
The state's unemployment rate hovered around seven percent for much of her term. Additionally, between 2000 and 2005 Michigan ranked 49th in retaining young adults, again attributed to the sluggish economy.
Both the Granholm campaign and the Michigan Democratic Party put out television commercials produced by Joe Slade White focusing on her efforts to revive Michigan's economy and accusing Dick DeVos of cutting Michigan jobs while he was head of what was then called Amway. Granholm won reelection, defeating DeVos. The election results were 56 percent for Granholm, 42 percent for DeVos, and a little over one percent for minor party candidates Gregory Creswell, Douglas Campbell, and Bhagwan Dashairya. Granholm's share of the vote was 4.9 percent higher than in her first gubernatorial election in 2002.
|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2012)|
The 2006 elections saw a return to power by the Democrats in the Michigan State House of Representatives and 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 lawmakers over the FY 2008 state budget that resulted in a four-hour shutdown of nonessential state services in the early morning of October 1, 2007, until a budget was passed and signed. The budget cut services, increased the state income tax, and created a new set of service taxes on a variety of businesses, e.g., ski lifts and interior design and landscaping companies, 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.
The budget crisis eventually led Standard & Poor's to downgrade Michigan's credit rating from AA to AA-. Additionally, the crisis contributed to sinking approval ratings for Granholm, which went from 43 percent in August 2007 to a low of 32 percent in December 2007. She had one of the lowest approval ratings for any governor in the United States. The divided Michigan legislature received an even lower approval rating of 18 percent in the same poll.
In 2007 Granholm proposed and signed into law the No Worker Left Behind Act to provide two years of free training or community college for unemployed and displaced workers. Since its launch in August 2007, more than 130,000 people have enrolled in retraining. The program caps tuition assistance at $5000 per year for two years, or $10,000 per person, and covers retraining in high-demand occupations and emerging industries.
The Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth reported back in October 2009 that 62,206 people had enrolled and that of the 34,355 who had completed training, 72% had found work or retained their positions and a further 18,000 were still in long-term or short-term training. 16% of all enrolments had withdrawn or failed to complete the training. As of July 2010, more than two years after the program was launched, 65,536 people were in training or involved in on-the-job training. Dropouts had been reduced to 13.1% of enrollments.
Granholm delivered her sixth State of the State address on January 29, 2008. The speech focused mainly on creating jobs in Michigan through bringing alternative energy companies to Michigan. Through passing a renewable portfolio standard, which would require that 10 percent of Michigan's energy would come from renewable sources by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025, Granholm expected the alternative energy industry to emerge in Michigan. Since the passage of the standard, Mariah Power, Global Wind Systems, Cascade Swift Turbine, Great Lakes Turbine, and 38 other companies have announced new projects in Michigan. The solar and wind power industries now provide over 10,000 jobs in Michigan. As a result of Granholm's efforts, Michigan is now fourth in the nation in the number of jobs in the solar industry and first in the nation for clean energy patents.
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 legislature and signed into law by Granholm on April 7, 2008.
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 had held its caucuses on February 9). Granholm has been named by some as a possible candidate for United States Attorney General. She was the policy chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
On April 29, 2008, Granholm had emergency surgery to fix a bowel obstruction that stemmed from a 1993 accident. Because of the surgery, Granholm had to postpone a trip to Israel and Kuwait. She finally made the journey in November 2008 and signed a water technology partnership agreement with the Israeli government. In addition, she delivered the keynote address at an automotive event organized by the Michigan Israel Business Bridge and the Israel Export Institute.
In response to a May 14, 2008, resolution by the Detroit City Council that Granholm remove Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office because of eight (later ten) felony counts against him, Granholm began an inquiry that culminated in a removal hearing on September 3, 2008. On September 3, Granholm outlined the legal basis for the hearings, arguments were made, and three witnesses were called. On the morning of September 4, Kilpatrick agreed to two plea deals in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury and no contest 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 and that if Kilpatrick's resignation became effective before then, the hearing would be cancelled.
With the election of Barack Obama as president, Granholm joined his economic advisory team, and there was speculation that she might join the Obama administration. On May 13, 2009, the Associated Press reported that President Obama was considering Granholm, among others, for possible appointment to the United States Supreme Court. Eventually Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor.
In 2010 Granholm was unable to seek reelection owing to Michigan's term limits law. Governor Granholm's tenure ended on January 1, 2011, when Republican Rick Snyder, who won the 2010 election, was sworn in.
Governor Granholm is a Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. In autumn 2011, she taught a graduate course entitled "Governing in Tough Times". As a senior advisor to The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Program, Granholm leads a campaign for a national clean energy policy that promotes and funds research and manufacturing for wind, solar, and advanced battery industries in the United States. She is a regular contributor to NBC’s political talk show Meet the Press. She has authored a book, A Governor's Story: The Fight For Jobs and America's Economic Future (Release Date: September 20, 2011), with her husband on the lessons Michigan’s experience can offer to America and served on the board of directors of the Dow Chemical Company. On October 12, 2011, Current TV announced that Granholm would be joining its new political primetime lineup as host of the new program The War Room with Jennifer Granholm. She announced she was leaving the network due to the sale to Al Jazeera on Twitter.
She "became a household name" after delivering what has been described as a "hyperactive" and "sharp-tongued" speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6. Granholm's speech centered around the automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010; specifically, President Obama's decision to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, its beneficial effects on the U.S. economy, and Mitt Romney's opposition to the bailout.
In January 2014, she was picked to co-chair Priorities USA Action opposite Jim Messina. She has previously stated that Hillary Rodham Clinton "is the strongest candidate out there should she decide to raise her hand" in regards to the upcoming 2016 presidential election. Granholm previously supported the former Secretary of State over Barack Obama in the 2008 election cycle.
In 1986 she married Daniel Mulhern, a Michigan native, and took his surname as her middle name. They have three children, Kathryn, Cecelia, and Jack.
As governor of Michigan, Granholm was afforded the courtesy title of Her Excellency. Having left office, she maintains, for the rest of her life, the title of Honorable (abbreviated to Hon. or Hon'ble) and Governor.
On October 21, 2010, Granholm was made a Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star, First Class, by the King of Sweden "for her work in fostering relations between Michigan and Sweden to promote a clean energy economy".
|Michigan Gubernatorial Election 2006|
|Democratic||Jennifer Granholm (Incumbent)||2,142,513||56.3||+4.9|
|Michigan Gubernatorial Election 2002|
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing|
|Michigan Gubernatorial Election 2002 - Democratic Primary|
|Michigan Attorney General Election 1998|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jennifer Granholm.|
|Attorney General of Michigan
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Governor of Michigan
|Governor of Michigan