Election Preview: Governor
By Mike Arnholt
LA View Editor
Voters will go to the polls Nov. 7 to select from a raft of candidates in races from county commission to governor.
We are focusing on the statewide races in this week’s election preview, including governor, attorney general, secretary of state and supreme court. Next week’s election preview will highlight federal and state legislative races, and on Oct. 26 we will focus on local races in Lapeer County.
The governor’s race in 2006 boils down to a question of whether the state’s economic woes can be laid at the feet of a first-term Democratic governor who faced a slumping automotive sector and a Republican majority in both houses of the state legislature. Her backers suggest she’s also still saddled with the legacy of shrinking state revenues that began under former Gov. John Engler. Her foes suggest that former Amway CEO Dick DeVos, son of Amway founder Rich DeVos, can lead the state into prosperity because of his lifetime of Amway business experience. Minor party candidates include Doug Campbell of the Green Party, Greg Creswell of the Libertarian Party and Bhagwan Dashairya of the U.S. Taxpayers Party.
Jennifer Granholm (Democrat)
The governor is seeking a second term since being elected as the state’s first female governor in 2002.
She began her public service career as a clerk for U.S. Judge Damon Keith on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1990, she was appointed as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit. In 1994, she was named Wayne County Corporation Counsel.
She was elected Michigan’s first female Attorney General in 1998 and served there until she won the governor’s race in 2002.
Granholm, 47, is a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and received her law degree, with honors from Harvard Law School in 1987 and she earned a BA with honors in political science and French from the University of California at Berkeley.
She and her husband Daniel G. Mulhern have three children: Kathryn, Cecelia and Jack.
As a federal prosecutor, her website states, Granholm maintained a 98 percent conviction rate. As Wayne County Corporation Counsel, she worked to reduce taxpayer-funded lawsuit payouts by 87 percent. As Attorney General she established the state’s first High Tech Crime Unit to prosecute internet crimes, and following Sept. 11 attacks, she led a multi-agency effort to ensure that Michigan laws could effectively be used to fight terrorism at the state level. In the wake of the attacks, she also cracked down on gas stations gouging consumers at the pump. Also as Attorney General, Granholm started a successful statewide mentoring initiative.
Granholm’s running mate is John Cherry, current Lt. Governor and a former state rep. and state senator. More information is available at www.granholmforgov.com.
Dick DeVos (Republican)
DeVos started working for Amway Corp. in 1974 and 10 years later became vice president. He founded the Winquest Group, a private investment company, in 1989. DeVos was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 1991, but only served two years of an eight-year term before stepping down to run the family business. He was president of Alticor Inc., the parent company of Amway Corp., for 10 years before he retired in 2002. Since then, he has been devoted to privatizing public education and other conservative causes.
DeVos, 50, is a native of Grand Rapids, and is a graduate of the Forest Hills public schools. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University. He later went on to attend, but never earned a degree from, the Harvard Business School and the Wharton School’s Executive Study.
He and his wife Betsy, former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, have four children: Rick, Elissa, Andrea, and Ryan.
In 1984, he became Amway’s vice president-international and in 1989 left Amway to start The Windquest Group, involved in the manufacture and marketing of storage and closet organizers. The DeVos family acquired the NBA’s Orlando Magic in 1991 and DeVos became president and CEO. He left in January 1993 to rejoin Amway as its president, succeeding his billionaire father, Amway co-founder Rich DeVos.
DeVos sits on the board of directors of the Education Freedom Fund, which provides money for families to send children to private schools. He is the author of the 1998 book Rediscovering American Values.
In 1996, DeVos was appointed by John Engler to the Grand Valley State University Board of Control. He resigned before his term was up.
In 2000, DeVos was the co-chairman of the “Kids First! Yes!” ballot-initiative to amend the Michigan constitution to allow vouchers and tuition tax credits for private K-12 education. Voters defeated the initiative, 2-1.
DeVos’ running mate is Ruth Johnson, Oakland County Clerk, former State Rep. and former Oakland County Commissioner. More information is available at www.devosforgovernor.com.
Doug Campbell (Green)
Campbell, an engineer, is a liberal activist and also ran for governor in 2002.
His running mate is David Skrbina, a college professor and author. More information is available at http://votecampbell2006.org.
Greg Creswell (Libertarian)
Creswell is a hospital employee and has run for other political offices.
His running mate is Scotty Boman, a community college instructor who also has sought other political offices. More information is available at www.gregcreswell.org.
Dashairya is an engineer and community activist who ran for state representative in 2002.
His running mate is Carl Oehling, a retiree and a candidate for the Coloma Board of Education in 2004. More information is available at www.constitutionpartymi.net/ cpmi/Patriot/Dashairya.