The people we serve

You don’t agree with the Mackinac Center on everything. But you agree with us on something. Let’s talk about those things.

Nobody will agree with the Mackinac Center on everything. But everybody will agree with us on something. And it’s those intersections of interest we live for.

This think tank aims to make Michigan the freest and most prosperous state in the union. When we write stories, issue policy papers, or file lawsuits, we do it on behalf of ten million neighbors. Seven million taxpayers.

You might not like us on right-to-work. But when you’re concerned about what your kid is learning in class, and you’re being stonewalled by the school district, we hope to be the one you call.

You might not like us on school choice. But you know we cover energy reliability as closely as anyone in Michigan. Power outages fall on the just and the unjust. On the well-connected and the average citizen. You’d rather help us blow the whistle than build back after an emergency.

You might think we’re hard on the politicians of Michigan. But you understand that scrutiny is necessary for a public servant, and that people behave better when they’re being watched.

You understand watchdog reporting is important. You know that we need the 150 people we send to Lansing — 110 House representatives, 38 senators, the governor and lieutenant governor — to be stewards of the state we all love. When they’re not, we’ll say so. At a time when so many reporters in Lansing explain government, we question it. We do this in your name.

We don’t have to agree on everything. And we won’t. But we do agree on some things. Let’s talk about those things.

This week I sent an email to our staff, asking: Who are our people? Who are the people we serve? Who are the people you think about when you’re working?

Our president, Joseph G. Lehman, wrote about this topic 10 years ago. Among the people on his list:

Read it for yourself: Lehman: 2013: In praise of those unpraised

Others my colleagues mentioned include:

  • The small business owner who is delayed, then delayed again, by local and state government hoops when trying to get her salon off the ground.
  • The aspiring worker who faces months or years of hoop-jumping to meet the government’s licensing, training and certification requirements.
  • The freshman legislator who feels steamrolled by an agenda of government control and needs data to fight back.
  • The person who wants to be left alone by the government to live her life in peace.
  • The newlyweds who won’t have any children for fear that they’ll worsen climate change or bring up their children in a dying world.
  • The young parents sitting at their dinner table, looking at a huge energy bill, and deciding between heating and eating.
  • Workers in the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries who see the state and federal government actively working to subvert and bankrupt their companies.
  • The elderly husband and wife who worked and paid for their own home, but face ever-higher property taxes as assessments increase.

I added a few of my own:

  • The parents who need to find the best school for their child, ASAP. And it’s not the one around the corner. My parents were those parents. But that’s a story for another day.
  • The gym owner forced to shut down during COVID.
  • The elderly woman forced to die in the midst of masked-up hospital staffers rather than with family members, by order of the governor.

Now I have questions for you, Dear Reader.

How did you find us? What is the intersection of interest between your life and the Mackinac Center? How can we help?

Email me at I read every single email.

James David Dickson is managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.