Newsmaker: Rick Snyder
Governor, State of Michigan, Elected November 2010 and has served the people of the state of Michigan since January 2011. Re-elected November 2014 for another four years.
Q: Tell us about you/your organization’s most notable accomplishment of 2014?
A: This past year culminates four years of meaningful accomplishments for Michigan’s comeback and reinvention. Among these is restoring optimism and confidence in and for Detroit, as the city emerged from bankruptcy this fall, setting a renewed course for Michigan’s largest city. This has far reaching and positive benefits for our entire state and will be one of the great comeback stories in American history. It’s no longer Detroit versus Michigan; it’s Detroit, Michigan and all are coming back.
Since becoming Governor, Michigan has created more than 300,000 new private sector jobs, and our unemployment rate stands at its lowest rate in over eight years. Healthy Michigan enrollment began, and now more than 487,000 low-income, hard-working Michiganders have access to affordable and quality health insurance. And we are well on our way to becoming a no wait state for preschool.
Q: What was the biggest change or challenge of 2014?
A: One of the biggest changes this past year that will have long-term benefits for so many small businesses in the Lansing area is the elimination of the personal property tax. That tax discouraged companies from purchasing equipment that helps them grow and create more and better jobs. Anyone who runs a small business knows how painful the personal property tax was and we were able to pull together a strong bipartisan effort to remove the tax, while still providing the revenue needed for local community services.
Q: In your industry, what trends were adopted in 2014 and how do you see trends changing in 2015?
A: I am proud to be the nation’s token CPA Governor. My private sector background has allowed my team and I have to govern in a different manner, applying business principles and a common sense approach to ensure efficient and effective government.
In 2014, we tackled the state’s toughest of issues. We worked to help find solutions for financial emergencies, passed bipartisan healthcare reform, created more and better jobs and started to fundamentally change the way people think about Michigan.
Q: What do you think the biggest Greater Lansing business story was in 2014?
A: Greater Lansing continues to rebound, and as companies expand and create more and better jobs, you can see the positive impact on the region’s overall economy. Two Men And A Truck’s unwavering commitment to the Lansing area should be recognized. In 2014 alone, the company opened a 22,000 square foot addition of its Lansing headquarters, while also renovating a large portion of its preexisting offices. The addition allows the company to continue growing while handling customer care, franchise business consulting, training and development and more right from Lansing. It speaks volumes that although Two Men and a Truck has nearly 300 franchises across the country, they choose to call Lansing home. Their presence in the region and commitment to the state is a vital part of Lansing and Michigan’s recovery.
Q: What has made it possible for you to get where you are today?
A: My wife, Sue, and our three kids, Jeff, Melissa and Kelsey, draw on one another for strength and support. They have been with me every step of the way. It was actually on a date night back in 2010 when Sue first suggested the idea that I run for Governor. Our love for Michigan and our commitment to its reinvention, coupled with the positive results, helped make my first term enjoyable for everyone in the family and we look forward to the challenges ahead in a second term as Michigan’s First Family.
We also have a great team in place working together to keep Michigan moving forward. But our state’s success depends greatly on this family of 10 million Michiganders. Back in 2010, we all had to make sacrifices to get Michigan back on the right track. Today, our sacrifices are paying off, and there is a great optimistic spirit here that says our best days are ahead.
Q: What do you think is the key to success?
A: Relentless Positive Action, or RPA, serves as my guiding principle. RPA is this concept that we need to remain positive in our relentless pursuit of solutions. Think about it. You fail to accomplish much if you spend all of your time blaming others and looking for excuses. Could you imagine what Washington D.C. could get done if everyone there quit arguing with each other all the time?
In Michigan, we stopped fighting and worrying about who would get the credit, and instead dedicated all of our time and energy to finding positive solutions that would better the state.
Q: What would friends and family say is your biggest quirk?
A: When I first ran for office, I was known as ‘One Tough Nerd,’ and people said that I was a bit of a different kind of candidate. One of the first things they noticed was that I seldom wore a necktie. Today, people recognize me without the tie, but it actually started years ago when I decided to do something a little different and stop wearing a tie. It goes back to that message of being innovative and different and not afraid to try something new. It is about moving things forward, just like we are doing here in Michigan.