The Honorable Jennifer Granholm served as Michigan’s 47th governor from 2003 to 2011, among the most tumultuous time to have been a Michigander. The Canadian-born Democrat governor has been a vocal member of the political process, well outside of the borders of her adopted home state. Not only has she been integral to the survival of the American automotive industry, but has been a strong hand in favor of clean energy development. Having been nominated by President Biden to the cabinet-level position of Energy Secretary late last year, she was confirmed on Thursday with bi-partisan support in a 64-35 senate vote.
The 2008 financial crisis hit the mitten state particularly hard, as automakers employed nearly a quarter of the state and new cars are somewhere around the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In the midst of a housing crisis, a monetary crisis, a jobs crisis, and a statewide mass migration (myself included, as I moved from Kalamazoo, Mich. to Atlanta, Georgia in 2009) Granholm somehow managed to help negotiate the largest government bailout of industry in history.
As head of the Department of Energy, Granholm has said she will push for clean American jobs in the form of electric automobile manufacturing, as well as wind and solar energy generation. Because I now live in northern Nevada, I was particularly interested in her plan to push forward with increased domestic mining to support clean energy shifts. We have a lot of lithium in this state, so that’s good for a state that has been rocked by a lack of tourism dollars across the last 12 months.
She has been suspiciously quiet about the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and emergency petroleum reserves, which will also be under her purview as secretary. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to reduce our chances at mutually assured destruction by converting some of those weapons into nuclear energy production to power all of the new electric cars which will be coming online during the next decade. Sure would be cool.
Granholm, 62, is only the second woman U.S. energy secretary, following Hazel O’Leary who served the Clinton administration. Since secretary and former Dancing With The Stars participant Rick Perry stepped down in late 2019 amid the Trump-Ukraine scandal, the role was filled Texan Dan Brouillette. For just over a month after Biden’s inauguration, the role was filled by acting secretary David Huizenga. Granholm is only the 16th official to hold the office since it was made a cabinet position in 1977 under President Jimmy Carter.