Blog: Nancy Short

It's no accident that Governor Snyder's delivery of the State of the State address today coincides with this week's writings by Nancy Short, deputy manager of appointments in the Office of Governor Snyder. Nancy will be discussing how the administration will translate the outcomes of Michigan's Community Conversations into action, as well as distinct new opportunities on the horizon.

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.