Blog: Nancy Short

Nancy E. Short serves as the deputy manager of appointments in the Office of Governor Rick Snyder. Previously, Nancy worked for The Center for Michigan, the Michigan Credit Union League, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Congressman John Dingell. She has a background in civic engagement, political affairs, and fundraising, with a BS from the University of Michigan, an MA from the George Washington University, and a fellowship from the Michigan Political Leadership Program.

Nancy was named to the 2010 class of "20 in their Twenties" by Crain's Detroit Business. She serves on the boards of the American Legion Auxiliary Girls' State Staff, the Martha Cook Building Board of Governors, and the Mackinac Policy Conference Marketing and Sponsorship Committee. She previously served on the boards of directors for the University of Michigan Credit Union and U of M Club of Greater Lansing. In her spare time, Nancy is a marathon runner, triathlete, and Michigan football season ticket holder.

Nancy Short - Most Recent Posts:

Post 4: From Ten Thousand Voices to Ten Million Voices

The State of the State wasn't just about what the Executive Branch must and will do or what the Legislative Branch must do, it also was about what the people of Michigan must do.  The reinvention of Michigan can't be left to just the government.  

There are tasks for all of us to play – the Executive Branch, the Legislature, and the citizens. We must be active participants.  The people across this state have asked for an opportunity and this is it – our chance as a collective citizenry to face challenges head-on and prepare the state for our futures and those of the next generation.  What really matters in public service is the legacy that we leave behind.   We've done it before and we can do it again; remember, we showed the world how to make baby food, breakfast cereal, automobiles and pharmaceuticals; we were the arsenal of democracy; we have abundant natural resources and shorelines that stretch longer than any other state in the continental U.S.  We can indeed succeed.

Think about your individual and collective legacy, how you will be measured as a public servant.  Now is a time unlike any other, to shape our great state, and you can be instrumental in it.

As you think about your role in the future of our great state, I leave you with the closing words of Governor Snyder from Wednesday night:

"Let us each recommit our time, our talents, our passion to ourselves and the state we love. Together we can build a new Michigan for the new century. We can make the old unbelievable and the new achievable. And we can make the improbable the new exciting reality for our children and theirs...

We can and indeed we must begin right now to build a Michigan where the next generation has the chance to live, to work, to play, to prosper...

So let's roll up our shirtsleeves and get to work."

We can make the seemingly impossible possible.  We can be extraordinary, together, in the reinvention.  Select your destiny, and that of your state, and go after it!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the official views of the Office of Governor Rick Snyder.

Post 3: The State Answers Its Citizens

There was no time wasted in getting to work. Many of us came in on Sunday to set up our offices and be ready to hit the ground running (after all, the Governor had told us to expect to work in dog years) first thing Monday morning.  I'm delighted to report that we had made appointments before the week closed and the rest of the divisions were moving right along, including preparing for the second earliest State of the State in history.  It feels wonderful to be surrounded by deeply motivated individuals who truly care about Michigan and our collective future.

The first two and a half weeks literally flew by!  I couldn't believe that the State of the State was upon us so quickly.  This year the State of the State was a little different – it was very task and goal oriented, much like me, so of course I loved it.  How do I think the 10,000+ citizens reacted?   

They asked to "hold politicians – and ourselves – more accountable".  The Michigan Dashboard will do just that, gauging and measuring our state's progress of 21 measures in five key areas – Economic Growth, Health & Education, Quality of Life, Value for Government, and Public Safety.   These are the five areas identified as priorities in reinventing Michigan.  Citizens can monitor the state's progress, as well as their progress as citizens taking an active role in the reinvention, on the Michigan Dashboard.

The Conversation participants asked to "create a more business friendly, entrepreneurial environment".  They should be thrilled with what they heard!  The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will be creating new, vibrant regional economic partnerships that rely on the talent, resources, and assets at the local level to reinvent our state.  Economic development and workforce development will be connected in a more formal way, building better and stronger partnerships with our tremendous resources of universities, colleges, technical centers and the business community to create a talent portal.  

Note to Conversation participants: this also falls in line with "change how and what schools teach"!  Not only will the MEDC be creating the vibrant regional economic partnerships, they will also be focusing efforts on building businesses that are already here by directing our existing resources to our Michigan-based talent and companies – known as "economic gardening" as opposed to "economic hunting" (note again, Conversation participants, this ends "picking winners and losers" and "builds on Michigan's distinctive and competitive assets"!).  

An agenda item which resonated during the Conversations was to "overhaul the Michigan tax system for the 21st century".  Governor Snyder will present a budget message mid-February which will include a restructuring of Michigan taxes, including the repeal of the Michigan Business Tax and replacement with a 6% corporate income tax.

As the Conversation participants urged, it is imperative that every tax dollar is spent wisely and effectively to get the maximum value for money, to "develop and execute transparent and strategic budget solutions".  First, there will be no more gimmicks to fix the budget.  The budget proposal will be presented on February 15, a full month before required by law.  Second, Governor Snyder requested a commitment to adopt a real and balanced budget for state government and schools by May 31.  (Yes Conversation participants, that does speak to "transform education operations and funding"!)  The look on the faces of the members of the legislature when hearing of the 5/31 deadline was priceless!  Tough choices don't get any easier the longer the state waits, in fact they might just become more costly.  

Those "strategic budget solutions" that the 10,000+ desired?  Look no further than the
Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC).  No matter what your personal or political views on this subject of DRIC are, one can't deny that it isn't a brilliantly strategic solution!  Private sector investment will be used to build the bridge itself, with Canada offering $550 million for the construction of the U.S. portion – to be fully recouped from toll revenue.  The $550 million is an investment in our infrastructure toward the federal matching funds.  Michigan taxpayers won't take on debt related to this project and it goes a long way to helping solve the budget problem.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the official views of the Office of Governor Rick Snyder.

Post 2: A New Year, A New Era

On a whim, I attended now-Governor Snyder's primary night election party with a friend – it was taking place just minutes from home and I had nothing else that evening.  Little did I know that, as dramatic as it sounds, a few hours on August 3 would change my life.  Walking into the Marriott that night felt different than any other election night or political event around the country that I had experienced.  I still can't articulate what it was – it wasn't "change" or "hope" or any traditional political tagline, perhaps because hiring The Nerd was unlike anything we've ever experienced.  

Maybe it was that I saw people believing again that 2011-2014 was going to be different than anything we had experienced in recent history.  A few months later I had the privilege of being the staff liaison to now-Governor Snyder for the debate – which was wonderful. I'll never forget when he eagerly shared with me the "surprise" of the debate – that he was wearing a tie! 

Before I knew it, November 2nd was upon us.  As many election night events as I've been to around the country, from presidential caucuses to Southern U.S. Senate campaigns to Michigan gubernatorial victory celebrations, this one was different than any other.  Perhaps it was the meld of people – there were no labels, no standard-bearers, nothing conventional about this night. Perhaps it was the realization that our collective future (as we always said at The Center for Michigan, the decisions made in the next five years impact the next 50-75 years of our state) was resting firmly on the shoulders of the "nerd" that an overwhelming number of citizens had just hired.  

I was impressed just a week after the election at the Bipartisan Breakfast when the Governor-elect stated, "This is a defining moment in Michigan's history. We've earned the right to participate – what do we do with it?  Let's do real work."  I shouldn't have been surprised about the amount of time he spent with the lawmakers – from both chambers and both parties – because it was the same caring and inquisitive manner he had demonstrated on the campaign trail.  I am delighted to say that three weeks into his first term as Governor, nothing has changed!

Fast forward just about two months from election night and the events that followed.  I may have the nerdiest New Year's Day tradition ever, but I enjoy it, and this year may be one of my favorite in memory.  I enjoy rising at a respectable hour, getting in a great workout and having a grand adventure.  This year I awoke to very dark skies and pouring rain, but I was undeterred.  I floated through a 5-mile run and as I arrived downtown the sun was shining so brightly and the skies were as clear as could be.  Could it be a sign of what is ahead in 2011?  Was this the first Executive Order of Governor Snyder's administration?

As I walked up to the Capitol to gather the oaths of office from the Cabinet members and elected statewide officials (I had filed the Governor-elect's and Lt. Governor-elect's the day before, with someone I'm lucky enough to call a mentor and friend, and it was probably only thrilling for the two of us, but it didn't even matter because it was special for me), I unabashedly teared up – the sight of the Capitol for a traditional inauguration was inspiring, to put it mildly.  There was so much promise and potential in the physical structures of the dais and the American and Michigan flags that would set the stage to enact what the citizens of Michigan had asked for.  It was the day when there would be a civil democratic exchange of power and when an entire state would stop calling Rick Snyder "Rick" and instead bestow on him the dignity he deserved as "Governor".  

On a personal note, I've done well with the change, only slipping a few times; I had always called him "Mr. Snyder," only to be told, "Call me Rick." I had just acclimated to "Rick" when it was time to switch to "Governor"!  The ceremony was beautiful, as was the weather.  It was everything that it should have been in terms of properness and protocol and celebration, but also mindful of the challenges that the state is facing, and the fact that it could have been 5 degrees and snowing.  I'm sure that we'll all remember for decades to come: "The old unbelievable needs to become the new achievable".  The celebration that evening at the Wharton Center was a tasteful and terrific event and a wonderful use of one of Michigan's greatest resources – its public universities.  I enjoyed seeing many of the new lawmakers that I had worked with during The Great Debates as well as people from various stages of my career; it was the perfect ending to a glorious and memorable day.  

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the official views of the Office of Governor Rick Snyder.  

Post 1: Ten Thousand Voices

Almost three years ago I was ready to get out of Lansing – away from downtown and the Capitol, away from the school on the banks of the Red Cedar, away from Mid-Michigan – so I jumped at the chance to be in my beloved Ann Arbor, in cosmopolitan Southeast Michigan and what was a quick run to campus through my favorite neighborhood – not to mention that I would be an integral part of the largest citizens' movement in Michigan's history at The Center for Michigan. It was a giant undertaking and an exciting prospect, meeting with 10,000 citizens and formulating a common ground agenda based on their concerns and hopes for our great state with implementable goals derived from their action items.  I had no idea what I was in for!

During the process and especially looking back on it, I feel very fortunate that I was able to travel extensively throughout our great state and get to know the cities, towns and villages that everyone and no one has ever heard of, experience the local culture, meet both the people who make the municipalities run and the ordinary citizens who cared more deeply about our future than most leaders ever recognized, learn about the struggles and successes of each region and really start to understand what is at the core of our state.  It was at times exhilarating and glamorous, and at times I just wanted to be home in my own bed, but through it all it was an absolutely amazing experience; I walked away knowing that I had learned so much about the state and myself, given back to the state that has given me so much, and made some of the most incredible friends.  Not to mention, it put me right where I am today – back in Lansing (don't you love karma?), and, more importantly, in the Governor's office. I couldn't be happier; I'm home.

My tenure at the Center for Michigan started in 2008 and ended at the close of 2010 in essentially the same way – meeting with the open seats and most competitive races in the election cycle to share the results of the Community Conversations and ask the candidates how willing they were to work on the collective voice of the state's citizens.  Out of those meetings in 2008 came the Bipartisan Freshman Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Lesia Liss (D-Warren) and Bill Rogers (R-Brighton). I can only hope that the 2010 version (The Roadshow and The Great Debates) helped to inspire the Bipartisan Breakfast shortly after the election.  
In the middle, there were many community centers, bars, homes, school cafeterias, B&Bs, locally-sourced delights, unique cultural experiences and the most determined and caring people in our state to make up the Community Conversations – 10,123 engaged citizens in total!  With 10,000+ citizen voices in tow, I embarked on The Roadshow, a collaboration between The Center, Detroit Public Television and the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a 16-city, 200+ candidate adventure.  It was refreshing and inspiring to meet so many of the candidates running in the open seats – to see the enthusiasm and deep desire to be a part of something positive for Michigan.  This time around, more than ever before, candidates were running because of their commitment to the state, often leaving jobs that paid more than double what a legislative salary is; win or lose, they all will be serving the state in a positive manner in some capacity as we reinvent the state.  

My final "big event" (or in this case, EVENTS) was The Great Debates – bringing the candidates to the voting public through 30-minute debates and 15-minute interviews on the topics raised by the 10,000 citizens; it was the next best thing to having the candidate on your doorstep.  The Great Debates culminated in The Great Debate, the only gubernatorial debate this election cycle; I had the privilege of handling many of the week-off and day-off logistics.  

To sum up the core principles of the 10,000 people, which will be revisited in an upcoming post about the State of the State:  create a more business friendly, entrepreneurial environment; overhaul the Michigan tax system for the 21st century; build on Michigan's distinctive and competitive assets; change how and what schools teach; transform education operations and funding; hold educators, parents and students to higher standards; hold politicians – and ourselves – more accountable; extend or repeal term limits; develop and execute transparent and strategic budget solutions.  

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the official views of the Office of Governor Rick Snyder.