UP lawmakers share thoughts on ‘Growing Michigan Better Council’

U.P. lawmakers Jenn Hill and Ed McBroom are optimistic about Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to increase Michigan’s population.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - U.P. lawmakers Jenn Hill and Ed McBroom are optimistic about Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to increase Michigan’s population.

Last week Whitmer created the Growing Michigan Together Council to create a long-term plan to address the issue. Senator McBroom says he is open to the idea of looking into the population stagnation.

“I’m not necessarily opposed to looking into it,” McBroom said. “We could argue over how the governor initiates, but I don’t know that that’s the most important thing. My bigger problem is who is getting appointed to this and what their agendas are, and you know what their perspectives are, and I see a lot of the same players that have been here that I think made a lot of the decisions that got us such huge population decline.”

Representative Hill says the council is especially important to the Upper Peninsula. Hill says an aging population is hurting Michigan in the long run.

“The latest data from the Census shows that we’re now the 13th oldest state,” Hill said. “It is too hard for families to get started in Michigan between the cost of housing the cost of transportation and some cases what the pay is. This is just one piece of what this council is going to do is look at all those things.”

The bipartisan council will be made up of 28 members - 21 voting and seven non-voting. McBroom says although he is optimistic about the council, he wants to make sure there is a voting member from the U.P.

“Michigan’s strength has always been its natural resources-based economy, farming, mining, forestry and so many other parts of that and I think in the U.P. understands that so well,” McBroom said. “To just get one person from the U.P. on this would be great. I’m a little frustrated to see just so many department heads get appointed to these kinds of commissions rather than branching out and reaching out to others.”

Hill says she is looking forward to seeing the plan when it is released December 1.

“I recognize that there are certainly folks who are concerned about the U.P. growing and that we like our big woods and our big waters quiet,” Hill said. “I’m asking that we consider how at the same time young people aren’t able to get started and feel like they’re forced to leave. It’s balancing those two things and I’m eager to have those conversations and find the interesting and thoughtful ways of achieving that balance.”

Both encourage anyone who is looking to be involved in the council to reach out to their offices for more information.