An Open Letter to Governor-Elect Rick Snyder

Dear Mr. Snyder,

This letter is not negative.  It is in no way a reflection of your past performance and a laundry list of complaints.  However, it is a list of suggestions, a list that I hope align with your goals to create a strong State of Michigan.  Please read, reflect, and reply to my suggestions below:

1.  In order to save Michigan, we must save Detroit. It seems silly to me that, in my conscious life as a resident of Michigan, no governor has stated this and made drastic changes working to save our largest city.  It is an asset and should be valued as such.

2. In order to save Detroit, changes in taxes, insurance policy, education policy, business attraction, transportation policy, and regional policy must be made.  I am certain that you see Ann Arbor’s success on a daily basis.  You also know that strong environments like Ann Arbor come from dense development, good transportation, good schools, and lots of jobs.  We can’t ship things out to the suburbs, especially since we know if costs more in the long run.  We need better public transportation, a strong urban core, and good schools throughout Detroit metro.

3. While Detroit is extremely important, you can’t forget that Michigan is also a tourist state, an agricultural state, and a technology state.  We don’t need to focus on one industry, we need to focus on all of them.  This means protecting our resources (water), and protecting our farmland (development rights).  Otherwise we’ll be a state of failing suburbs and Wal-Marts.

4. It’s imperative you halt the migration of college graduates out of the state.  As a graduate student at MSU, I’m extremely tempted to go anywhere but Michigan after graduation.  If there’s no job for me here, I’ll pack up and move.  The same goes for the tens of thousands of college graduates that receive diplomas every year.

5. And finally, if you do what’s best for the state, you’ll be doing what’s best for re-election.  I voted for the other guy, but let’s see what you can do to prove yourself.

I love Michigan.  I want to see it succeed and be one of the big economic powerhouses of the country like New York or California.  I want Detroit to compete with Boston, Chicago, and Seattle.  Let me know how I can help, and believe me, if you’re doing it wrong next year, I’ll let you know.

Tom Wesley


2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Governor-Elect Rick Snyder

  1. Tom,
    I work for an online magazine called and I love your blog! Your insightful take on the communities of Michigan, particularly Detroit’s unique yet universal challenges have helped me to learn a lot about the community. I’m actually visiting Detroit this week (Nov. 28- Dec. 3)to get a better sense of what those challenges and solutions look like. Do you happen to have time to meet for a cup of coffee this week? If so, please email me at milicent (at)

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