Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (born February 5, 1959) is a Canadian-born American politician, former Attorney General of Michigan, and was the 47th Governor of the U.S. state of Michigan. A member of the Democratic Party, Granholm became Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003, when she succeeded Governor John Engler. Granholm was re-elected on November 7, 2006, and was sworn in for her second and, due to term limits, final term on January 1, 2007. She has been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court justice for President Barack Obama. She was a member of the transition team for the presidency of President Obama before he assumed office on January 20, 2009.
Early life and personal
Granholm was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Shirley Alfreda Dowden and Victor Ivar Granholm. . Granholm's grandmother was an emigrant from Norway. Granholm's family moved to California when she was four. She grew up in Anaheim, San Jose and San Carlos. Granholm graduated from San Carlos High School, located in San Carlos, California, in 1977. She won the Miss San Carlos beauty pageant. As a young adult she attempted to launch a Hollywood acting career but was unsuccessful and she abandoned her efforts at the age of 21. She held jobs as a tour guide at Universal Studios, within customer service for the Los Angeles Times and was the first female tour guide at Marine World Africa USA in Redwood City, piloting boats with 25 tourists aboard. In 1980, she became a United States citizen and worked for John Anderson's independent run for President of the United States, and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated from UC-Berkeley in 1984 Phi Beta Kappa with two BA degrees, one in political science, the other in French. Granholm then earned a Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School, also with honors. She clerked for U.S. Judge Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1986 she married Daniel Mulhern, a Michigan native, and took his surname as her middle name. They have three children: Kathryn, Cecelia, and Jack. In 1990 she became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. In 1994, she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel. Granholm, like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was once a contestant on the daytime television game show The Dating Game.
Granholm's paternal grandfather, who immigrated to Canada in the 1930s, came from Robertsfors, Sweden, where his father was mayor. The Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Maud Olofsson, lives in Robertsfors and when the two met in Sweden it was revealed that Olofsson's husband is a relative of Granholm's
Governor of Michigan
Granholm was sworn in as the 47th Governor of the state of Michigan on January 1, 2003.
The main issue facing the governor was the massive budget deficit. Granholm has had to eliminate upwards of $200 per person from state budget expenditures, successfully resolving over $14 billion in budget deficits. She has emphasized the need for the state to attract young people and businesses to Michigan via the Cool Cities Initiative. As Governor, she was a member of the National Governors Association. She was chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and was co-chair of the Health Care Task Force of the National Governors Association. She is also a former Chair of the Midwestern Governors Association. She lived in the official Michigan Governor's Residence located near the Capitol Building.
The 2006 elections saw a return to power by the Democrats in the Michigan State House of Representatives but the retention of Republican control over the Michigan Senate. On May 13, 2009, the Associated Press reported that President Obama was considering Granholm, among others, for possible appointment to the United States Supreme Court. Eventually Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor. In 2010, Granholm was unable to seek re-election due to Michigan's term limits. Governor Granholm's tenure ended on January 1, 2011, when Republican Rick Snyder was sworn in.
Governor Granholm is a Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. As a Senior Advisor to The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Program, Granholm leads a national campaign for a national clean energy policy that promotes and funds research and manufacturing for wind, solar and advanced battery industries in the U.S.. She’s a regular contributor to NBC’s political talk show, “Meet the Press,” is authoring a book, A Governor's Story: The Fight For Jobs and America's Economic Future (Sept. 20, 2011, with her husband on the lessons Michigan’s experience can offer to America, and serves on the board of directors for The Dow Chemical Company).