Governor reflects on a tumultuous eight years

Governor reflects on a tumultuous eight years

QUESTION: Let’s turn the clock back the way Jimmy Stewart’s guardian angel did in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Take us on a quick tour of the Michigan in which Jennifer Granholm was never elected governor.

ANSWER: Would we have the battery plants that are popping up all over the state, or the 35% increase in community college enrollment if we didn’t have No Worker Left Behind? Would we have an earned income tax credit?

When I first took over, Gov. Engler had been facing very difficult budget decisions. And in the few months before I was elected, he had chosen to cut what are known as optional populations — in this case, grandparents who were caring for kids in foster care — off Medicaid. And I chose to put them back on, 40,000 of them. Another governor might have chosen to continue that trajectory, to cut populations from Medicaid; we chose not to.

Q: What have you learned about gender politics that women thinking of running for office should know?

A: The gender issue is becoming more and more irrelevant, and I think that’s healthy. For a woman running in 2011 or 2012, I still think it’s important not to exploit gender in a way that calls attention to it. I mean there was that woman in Macomb County (County Commissioner Carey Torrice, who lost her August primary after a syndicated TV show named her the “hottest politician in America”), who may have used gender in an inappropriate way.

Q: Or Sarah Palin in shorts on the cover of Runners World?

A: I don’t know, was that exploitive? I didn’t see that as being sexist. I saw it as promoting health. Read more: Exit interview: Jennifer Granholm | | Detroit Free Press

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