The State’s ‘Michigan Together Council’ Forgot About the Upper Peninsula
Michiganders tend to get a chuckle when someone forgets to add the U.P. to a map, or depicts the state without the Upper Peninsula in a graphic. We are known as the "Mitten State," so it seems logical that non-Michiganders might forget our thick, forest-of-a-tail coming off of Wisconsin.
But, is it still kinda funny when our own state forgets about the U.P.? Not so much.
June 1st, the state of Michigan announced they would putting together a "Growing Michigan Together Council," and Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed voting members that same day.
Unfortunately, that council lacks representation from a key part of Michigan's landscape... the Upper Peninsula.
"I think it's one thing to be left off the map of a Mountain Dew marketing campaign, but this one really hurts."
State Sen. Ed McBroom, who represents the 38th district in the U.P. echoed Fittante's disappointment.
"They're more than happy to take our taxes and our minerals and natural resources when it's good for the state and they love to come up here and recreate and tell us what to do. They also like o tell us what land we can have and where we can build out garages for our snowmobiles. They certainly don't seem to want those of us to make a living."
The goal for the Growing Michigan Together Council is to invest in the "People, Places, Talent, and Education" in the state of Michigan, according to Whitmer. It's comprised of community leaders, representatives, and business heads from across most of the state.
But even as two final seats were filled at the end of the month, the Upper Peninsula still had no representation.
"We have people with true expertise who had done a lot of work and research on this already. They also would have been more impactful on the commission than simply having a legislator who's speaking on behalf of his citizens' frustration but doesn't necessarily have the background to speak to the data in a real technical way."
Fittante and McBroom hope people from the U.P. are at least included in the council's work groups, and will have some representation when work and studies are actually conducted in the state. Their first report will be presented to Governor Whitmer in December.