News Story

Michigan growth council rejects transparency

Growing Michigan Together Council turns Detroit News reporter away from ‘public’ meeting

The Growing Michigan Together Council, an advisory board created by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to recommend ideas that would grow the state population, turned away a reporter trying to cover its meeting Thursday.

When Detroit News reporter Craig Mauger showed up Thursday to cover the council’s meeting, he was denied access and referred instead to an online livestream.

The Growing Michigan Together Council was presented to the public as a cross-section of Michiganders, brought together from different walks of life to make recommendations for their state’s future. In truth, the group is stacked with Lansing insiders and the politically connected. When the council needed someone 25 years old or younger, Whitmer didn’t seek out a talented and precocious outsider. Whitmer chose a first-term lawmaker, Rep. Alabas Farhat, D-Dearborn.

In July, the council held its first meeting at an undisclosed location in Detroit. Only later did the public learn the location of the meeting, a book depository building at the former Michigan Central train station.

Three months later, the group’s activities continue to take place out of the public eye.

Thursday’s meeting was only announced Wednesday, giving interested members of the public little opportunity to partake.

To this day, the council’s events page does not mention the Thursday meeting, nor does it say when the next meeting will take place. The next event on the calendar is a “family picnic” at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit.

The council’s final report is due on Whitmer’s desk, and to both houses of the legislature, by Dec. 1.

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.