looks at the efforts of CEO-turned-Governor

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Rick Snyder, who not only describes his approach as being one of “relentless, positive action,” but who is applying the lessons he learned in the corporate world to provide taxpayers with value and make government work.



“When was the last time we had a thoughtful, broader discussion about why government exists?” Snyder asks in an interview with the centrist Republican journal. “And when you get down to it, the purpose of having government -- and there is reason to have government -- in many respects, is to give great service to our customers. The way I like to view it is that if you step back and look at it from an individual’s point of view, a citizen-customer point of view, I want people to feel like they bought the right amount of government – because we’re a unique provider.”



“One of the other basic principles we operate under here is relentless positive action -- no blame, no credit, simply solving problems. And that’s made a huge difference here in Michigan, because we don’t waste time on the blame game. Think about Washington -- if people stepped back and said no one would blame anyone and no one would take credit. The press might have to find something else to write about, but they’d have a whole lot more time where they’d actually be solving problems. And I think people are fed up with that.”



Snyder was elected Governor of Michigan in 2010 after a successful business career that included serving as the CEO of Gateway Computer. In a separate essay in the latest edition of the FORUM, Joseph Lehman, the President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, looks at how Snyder’s career in business is shaping his service as Governor and how he is using a series of online performance dashboards, similar to those commonly found in the corporate world, to inform the public of his administration’s progress in numerous areas by measuring results.



“Like the displays of key variables constantly before drivers’ eyes,” Lehman writes, “Snyder’s web-based dashboards display measurements of the states’ economy, finances, education system, public safety, health and wellness, infrastructure, environment, and quality of life in a way that allows easy year-by-year comparisons. Users can drill down to reveal a total of 165 metrics (by my count). Numbers trending the ‘right’ way get a green thumbs up. The others get a red thumbs down. It doesn’t look like a government website.”



One area in which progress is being closely followed is in the city of Detroit, where the Governor appointed an emergency manager to take over the city’s troubled finances, and where, Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah writes in another essay in the FORUM, Snyder’s intervention was urgently needed.



“From a business perspective,“ pens Baruah, who headed the U.S. Small Business Administration prior to joining the Detroit Chamber, “the declaration of a financial emergency and the naming of Kevyn Orr as emergency manager was overdue. My message to Governor Snyder in regard to the emergency manager was simple: ‘Bring it on.’ With tremendous private sector growth underway in Detroit, the city’s economic uncertainty and instability stands as the final barrier to robust sustained economic growth.”



Other authors and essays appearing in the latest edition of THE RIPON FORUM include:

Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry (TX-13) – writing a tribute to the late Margaret Thatcher and how the principles she followed remain relevant today.

Former Senator Kit Bond and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros – writing about the rebound of the housing sector and the continuing need for reform.

Florida Congressman Dennis Ross (FL-15) – writing about the problem of federal employees conducting union business while on official time.

Benita Dodd of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation – writing about the city of Sandy Springs, GA and the model of governance it provides other communities today.

Bill Peacock of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation – writing about the Texas model for prosperity and economic growth.

Stephen Jackson, the Policy Director of The Ripon Society – writing about the problems facing the ATF in the wake of Fast and Furious and the continuing need for reform.


The latest edition of THE RIPON FORUM also features a profile of Nebraska freshman Senator Deb Fischer, who, among other things, discusses her background as a rancher and why the Keystone Pipeline is so important to the people of her state.

THE RIPON FORUM is published by The Ripon Society, a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

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