Rydecki, Whitmer lead panel on growing Michigan's population

July 18, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 19)
Article by Brian Vernellis

A last-minute request turned into an opportunity for Megan Rydecki, executive director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, to moderate a televised panel discussion featuring Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and Grand Rapids residents, including native Michiganders and Grand Valley graduates, joined Rydecki and Whitmer at The Factory co-working space on June 12. 

Rydecki said she was asked to lead the conversation by a former GVSU classmate who works in the Whitmer administration. The moment was too good to pass up, she said. 

Whitmer and Brinks listened to panelists’ reasons for remaining in Michigan or returning to the state. A report by Bridge Michigan says Michigan lags behind other Midwest states in population growth and ranks 49th in the nation in population growth since 1990. 

During the Mackinac Policy Conference, Whitmer created the Growing Michigan Together Council, a 28-member commission to develop policy recommendations to keep college graduates in state. 

Several members of the panel mentioned the state’s low cost of living and access to outdoor activities, but said they would like to see the state diversify its economy and branch into more technological fields and opportunities. 

“It was a great privilege to sit down with the governor and listen to the panel,” Rydecki said. “I’m encouraged by people coming back to Michigan, and we need to continue to focus on issues that affect families to keep them here.

“Our university has a huge role to play in bringing people to West Michigan. We’re on our way to being an anchor in helping West Michigan grow.”


Across Campus

This article was last edited on July 12, 2023 at 12:18 p.m.

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