Whitmer copies the failed initiatives of her predecessors

From green energy to college credits, Whitmer plays the classics from the Snyder and Granholm eras

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a habit of repeating some actions of her immediate predecessors, despite their problems.

Whitmer’s repackaged green energy initiatives and educational programs are carbon copies of efforts from the days of Rick Snyder and Jennifer Granholm.

Whitmer announced her MI Healthy Climate Plan in April 2022.

In a press release she stated, “Today, we are positioning Michigan to become the global center of clean energy innovation where workers can get good-paying jobs, from those that don’t require a college degree to careers in advanced engineering and science.”   

Related reading: Michigan Healthy Climate plan: Build infrastructure for 2M electric vehicles by 2030

Whitmer added: “The MI Healthy Climate Plan proposes climate action that would create tens of thousands of clean-energy jobs, spur economic development and innovation, protect clean air and water, and improve public health.”

If this sounds familiar, it should. Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm used similar wording in telling the world that Michigan would be the center of green energy.

“This is all part of our aggressive strategy to diversify the Michigan economy and expand our state’s clean energy capabilities to create jobs and in the process reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” Granholm said in 2010.

In a July 2009 press release, Granholm said, “We are continuing to diversify Michigan’s economy through the development of green energy technologies.”

“The cutting-edge technology being developed in Alpena will help create new jobs and put us another step closer to becoming the alternative energy capital of the world,” Granholm added.

Whitmer and Granholm both claimed that their clean and green energy initiatives would produce thousands of jobs. Both promised that Michigan would be the global hub of green energy innovation and technology.

Whitmer is using the same tactics as Granholm, whose attempts to go green wasted taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions. Granholm, like Whitmer, touted electric vehicles as the future of the American auto industry.

“These groundbreaking incentives for battery development and manufacturing add to a comprehensive list of innovative tools and programs like the 21st Century Jobs Fund and Centers of Energy Excellence we now have in place to become the advanced battery capital of the world,” Granholm announced in early 2009.

Whitmer echoed that statement last fall, after giving away hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to a company to build a battery plant in Michigan.

“Gotion’s $2.36 billion investment creating 2,350 good-paying jobs in Big Rapids is the biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan and will shore up our status as the global hub of mobility and electrification.”

Granholm had designs to make Michigan the battery capital of the world, while Whitmer is vying to make it the global hub.

And in the education and labor policy, Whitmer is copying the unsuccessful initiatives of both Granholm and Snyder.

Granholm announced in 2004 a plan to increase the number of Michigan residents with advanced degrees and certifications.

“To compete in a global economy, a post-secondary degree or certificate is no longer an option, it’s essential,” Granholm said.

Snyder’s plan was for 70% of Michigan residents 25 or older to earn a college degree, complete an apprenticeship, obtain an occupational certificate, or receive formal skills training.

Like Granholm’s plan, Snyder’s plan was a failure.

Whitmer could have acknowledged the failure of public officials who think they know what is best for people’s job prospects. She has, instead, called for taking her predecessor’s plans to a more ambitious level.

Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 plan calls for for 60% of Michigan’s workforce to obtain a certificate or advanced degree by 2030. Her Michigan Reconnect program uses taxpayer dollars to pay for eligible students’ community college education or certifications.

Granholm and Snyder devoted time and financial resources to failed plans that were supposed to educate our workforce to compete in a global economy.

Instead of learning from the mistakes of Granholm and Snyder, Whitmer is copying them.

Perhaps the next governor will get it and try something new, such as letting the workforce be shaped by people who decide for themselves what is best. If the past is any indication, however, be prepared to see more of your hard-earned tax dollars flushed down the drain with little to show for it.

Jamie A. Hope is assistant managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email her at

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.