LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the latest executive order composing a team that would help end the exodus of people in Michigan by working to grow Michigan’s population and economy. 

The 28 member Growing Michigan Together council includes former Ambassador John Rakolta, among other CEOs and executives from the state.  Governor Whitmer’s latest appointment includes Hilary Doe as Michigan’s Chief Growth Officer, the first Chief Growth Officer in the nation. 

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 “Growing Michigan Together is about investing in our people, places, talent, and education,” said Governor Whitmer. “With her extensive experience in policy, strategy, and technology, her future-oriented work to empower communities and tackle the biggest challenges, and her commitment to our state, Hilary Doe is an ideal candidate to lead our Growing Michigan Together efforts and get the job done. I am incredibly excited to work with her to achieve our population growth goals and build a Michigan with vibrant communities, a growing economy, and a bright future.” 

The Michigander has served as the national director at the Roosevelt Network, and most recently as President and Chief Strategy Officer of Nationbuilder. 

“I’m honored to join Team Michigan as the first-ever Chief Growth Officer,” said incoming Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe. “Let’s grow Michigan together by investing in and nurturing vibrant communities and economic opportunities for all Michiganders—current and future. I love this state, and I can’t wait to leverage my experience to take on this challenge.”  

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According to the Governor’s office, the Council will present a report in December to the governor and the Legislature that includes: 

  • A specific population goal for 2050 based on comprehensive economic development strategies. 
  • Potential future workforce shortages and recommend targeted programs to ensure that Michigan’s workforce is prepared to meet the challenges of the future. 
  • Proposals on how we can meet the needs of a growing thriving population through long-term, sustainable transportation and water infrastructure solutions. 
  • Policy recommendations on how we can improve outcomes at every education level in Michigan, from preschool to postsecondary. 

Some have criticized the effort as some legislators have articulated the absence of a voice at the table for composing the commission. 

“The governor’s partisan council is a drastic downgrade from the new co-chair’s previous recommendation for a truly bipartisan effort,” House Minority Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland Township) said. “If Gov. Whitmer wants a real plan, she should do what governors are supposed to do and work with the people’s elected representatives in the Legislature.”

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Rep. Angela Rigas (R-Caledonia Township) announced her plans to work with a commission to investigate the  newly made commission investigating population decline in the state. 

 “This seems to be the thing to do in Lansing when faced with a serious issue,” Representative Rigas said. “I realized through recent announcements that creating commissions is much simpler than actually solving problems. These commissions don’t have to be bipartisan or reflect the people’s voice, according to the Democrats. They can simply be handpicked by the Governor to deliver the results they already have in mind. Then, when they provide their “bipartisan” report, it won’t be their fault if people don’t like the decisions they make. That’s how unserious these Lansing insiders are. It’s no wonder people have no trust in Lansing.”

As it stands, the governor’s commission is to be filled by members selected solely by the governor herself and not open to input from the people of Michigan, who every two years elect members to the legislature.

 “Why go to all the trouble of working with elected officials and the people they represent when I could just use my power to magnify my own thinking instead,” Rigas said. “Just saying something is bipartisan is so much easier than actually making it fair to all parties. It’s clear the Governor is patently unserious about tackling and solving the problems we’re facing today as a state. If she were serious, she would be working with the legislature to deliver actual results as partners, not forcing commissions to take the fall for her extreme measures and tax hikes that make our state less competitive.”

A full text of the executive order along with its structure of the commission can be found here