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Michigan's makeover: Governor Jennifer Granholm champions smart growth.

Well before she ran as a centrist Democrat and was elected handily hand·i·ly  
1. In an easy manner.

2. In a convenient manner.

Adv. 1. handily - in a convenient manner; "the switch was conveniently located"

 to become the first woman to govern Michigan, Jennifer Granholm <noinclude></noinclude> Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (born February 5, 1959 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a Canadian-born American politician and the current Governor of the U.S. state of Michigan.  understood that joining urban Democrats with suburban Republican swing voters was her formula for victory. What ideas in the nation's eighth-largest state could put black and ethnic voters on the same political page as white suburbanites?

As a wife and mother of three who lived in congested con·gest·ed
Affected with or characterized by congestion.

congested ENT adjective Referring to a boggy blood-filled tissue. See Nasal congestion.
 suburban Oakland County outside Detroit, Granholm knew a lot about traffic and sprawl. As a former federal environmental crimes prosecutor in Detroit, she knew about urban distress and environmental mismanagement mis·man·age  
tr.v. mis·man·aged, mis·man·ag·ing, mis·man·ag·es
To manage badly or carelessly.

mis·manage·ment n.
. And as both attorney general from 1998 to 2002 and the most senior elected Democrat in state government, Granholm was an eyewitness to the right wing's ruthless program of rewarding generous industrial donors with tax cuts, subsidies and regulatory favoritism.

Granholm gambled that voters would respond to a campaign that rejected the idea that Michigan's economic competitiveness is based on taxpayer-funded handouts to business. Rather, she said, durable prosperity depended on building the economy from within by curbing ruinous ru·in·ous  
1. Causing or apt to cause ruin; destructive.

2. Falling to ruin; dilapidated or decayed.

 sprawl and traffic, reviving troubled cities, enforcing environmental law and safeguarding Michigan's natural heritage.

The message worked. And during her first year in office, the 44-year-old governor has put on an impressive display of progressive green statesmanship, with the exception of two missteps on water policy.

Steven Chester, the new director of the state Department of Environmental Quality, has revived the state's environmental enforcement office and is filing lawsuits against polluters, including a clean water action against a factory dairy farm in southern Michigan Southern Michigan is a region in the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a region of rolling farmland and scattered urban centers. Southern Michigan is commonly considered to be the area west of the Southeast Michigan area and east of Battle Creek, consisting of  for polluting nearby streams and another against a prominent developer in northern Michigan This article is about the region; for the university, see Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan - or more properly Northern Lower Michigan - is a region of the U.S. state of Michigan, popular as a tourist destination.
 for unlawfully filling wetlands.

Gloria Jeff, who directs the Michigan Department of Transportation The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is a government agency in the U.S. state of Michigan. History
The first State Highway Department was created on July 1, 1905.
, helped Granholm negotiate an agreement with Republican lawmakers that delayed 17 expensive and unnecessary highway projects and invested the savings in repairing existing roads, especially in cities.

The Department of Natural Resources Many sub-national governments have a Department of Natural Resources or similarly-named organization:
  • Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines
  • Natural Resources Canada
, which oversees the state's four million acre public domain, revived the dormant state Natural River Act, which protects Michigan's wildest and most beautiful waterways from overdevelopment Overdevelopment refers to a process by which natural resources are impacted by urbanization and/or road construction, at a rate significantly harmful to the ecosystem. Environmental activism is a frequent response to overdevelopment, as well as are many fields of academic study. . In September, the Pine and Upper Manistee rivers in northern Michigan were formally designated as Natural Rivers, the first such designations since 1988.

The one unexpected and increasingly troubling facet of Granholm's first year is a surprising weakness in securing the Great Lakes Great Lakes, group of five freshwater lakes, central North America, creating a natural border between the United States and Canada and forming the largest body of freshwater in the world, with a combined surface area of c.95,000 sq mi (246,050 sq km). , a central feature of her campaign. Earlier this year, she signed a Republican property rights bill that allows some homeowners on the Lake Michigan and Lake Huron shoreline to bulldoze bull·doze  
v. bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing, bull·dozes
1. To clear, dig up, or move with a bulldozer.

2. To treat in an abusive manner; bully.

 beaches to clear weeds caused by low water levels. And in mid December she shut out a citizens group from a private high-level meeting between her aides and Nestle and then announced the administration was siding with the world's largest food company in a prominent legal dispute over pumping spring water for commercial sale. During the 2002 campaign Granholm had stood with that very same citizens group during a news conference in the rotunda rotunda

In Classical and Neoclassical architecture, a building or room that is circular in plan and covered with a dome. The Pantheon is a Classical Roman rotunda. The Villa Rotonda at Vicenza, designed by Andrea Palladio, is an Italian Renaissance example.
 of the state Capitol to criticize her predecessor for permitting what she called a "diversion" of Great Lakes water.

Where Granholm has inarguably been best, though, is her focus on slowing sprawl and rebuilding Detroit and the state's other struggling cities. One other first acts as governor was to ask Republican leaders of the state House and Senate to help appoint a bipartisan land-use council to recommend steps Michigan should take to change damaging business-friendly development patterns. Granholm is putting seven of its recommendations into effect through executive orders, including a directive to establish new state offices in city and town centers.

"This critical issue isn't the product of just another 'ism'--conservationism, liberalism or Republicanism," Granholm says. "It's the product of this fundamental question of whether or not we want to save the splendor of our state for our grandchildren's generation and beyond."

Jennifer Granholm quite literally burst unto the political stage in Michigan in 1998, when she came out of Wayne County's legal office and won the attorney general's office. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in southern California, Granholm initially aimed her career at Hollywood. Granholm took acting lessons, gave tours at movie studios, and once appeared as a contestant on the Dating Game.

Recognizing that she was unlikely to become a movie star, Granholm went on to college at the University of California at Berkeley (body, education) University of California at Berkeley - (UCB)

See also Berzerkley, BSD.

Note to British and Commonwealth readers: that's /berk'lee/, not /bark'lee/ as in British Received Pronunciation.
 and Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (colloquially, Harvard Law or HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Law is considered one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States. , where she met her future husband, Michigan native Dan Mulhern. The central idea of her first term, Granholm says, is to turn Michigan into what she calls a "magnet state," a place that offers the sort of economic opportunity, civic diversity, and natural beauty that will keep her children in Michigan, encourage entrepreneurs, and attract bright young minds. "Thanks to the new governor we are seeing the making of a conservation oriented land stewardship policy," says Dave Dempsey, an author and policy advisor at the Michigan Environmental Council.

Michigan is not the only state that is using environmental and civic objectives to improve the economy. Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick. Constitutional role , appointed Doug Foy, the former head of the Conservation Law Foundation, to help lead his economic development team. Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made former Santa Monica Baykeeper and hydrogen advocate Terry Tamminen head of the state's EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.

eicosapentaenoic acid

EPA, See acid, eicosapentaenoic.

. Republican Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures

Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15.
 signed a law to encourage construction of new schools in existing neighborhoods and not out in the countryside. New Jersey's Democratic Governor James E. McGreevey is committed to achieving what he calls "smart-growth goals," a politically popular strategy under sharp challenge from his state's homebuilders.

In Michigan, the new pursuit of a cleaner, greener state is earning Granholm public approval ratings that consistently top 60 percent. That number worries Betsy DeVos, the billionaire right wing chairwoman of the state Republican party, who frequently attacks the governor for "not leading." Republican moderates have a different view: "The governor listens," says Republican State Senate Pro-Tem Patricia Birkholz. "She's willing to work with you. And she's very smart. There are things that we will never agree on, but we also have a lot in common, especially on the environment and land use."

Michigan can always revert back to the dismal legacy of her conservative Republican predecessor, three-term Governor John Engler. His 12-year tax cutting, agency-slashing, natural resource-exploiting approach to economic development produced a mess: a nearly $3 billion state budget deficit, the highest unemployment rate in a decade and widespread environmental damage. CONTACT: Michigan Environmental Council, (517)487-9539,; Michigan Land Use Institute, (231) 882-4723,
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Title Annotation:Currents
Author:Schneider, Keith
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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