Public Engagement

Since its founding in 2006, the Center for Michigan has sought to engage Michigan citizens statewide in small, informal town hall meetings we call “Community Conversations.” To date, we have engaged more than 100,000 citizens in this process. Importantly, participant demographics – gender, race, geography, age – look like the face of Michigan. This is the largest public engagement project in Michigan history. Click on the titles below to download PDFs of the final reports from our public engagement campaigns.

Michigan’s Defining Moment

2011: Michigan’s newly elected governor and legislature implemented business tax reform, transparent and timely state budgets, and education and government reforms in line with this campaign


Weighing in on Reinvention

2011: Michigan’s newly elected governor and legislature implemented business tax reform, transparent and timely state budgets, and education and government reforms in line with this campaign


The Public’s Agenda for Public Education

2012-13: This campaign developed a common ground vision for intensified early childhood education, tougher teacher training and greater educator accountability. Governor Snyder and the legislature responded with the nation’s largest expansion of preschool and tougher teacher certification tests.


Michigan Speaks

2014: This campaign outlined public priorities for the statewide elections, including the key issue of fixing Michigan roads. The legislature ultimately put a road funding ballot issue before voters.


Getting to Work

2015: This campaign resulted in concrete public recommendations for improving career counseling and college advising in high schools, making college more affordable and reducing student debt loads, providing more hands-on training and work experience for young people, and intensifying retraining and continuing education for adults.


Fractured Trust

2016: This campaign showed an alarming lack of confidence in state government from participants across Michigan, and little consensus on what to do about it. However, Michigan residents do suggest two concrete ideas for improving trust in state government: Reform of the state emergency manager law to give more control back to the people, and improved transparency in how state leaders fund their campaigns. In both community conversations and telephone polls, Michigan residents emphasize that it is crucial to improve state government’s performance in all areas, including education, public health, services for low-income residents, environmental protection and fostering economic growth.


Moment of Truth

2018: Improve schools. Protect roads and water. And make state government more transparent and less partisan.

Michigan residents have spoken and, yet again, are pleading with state leaders to focus on the basics: Better schools. Reliable infrastructure. Clean water. And lawmakers who, at long last, are willing to put the people before political party.

Those were the most common themes struck by residents across the political spectrum during the Center for Michigan’s 2018 Truth Tour.


Fixing Michigan’s Road Mess

2019: Michigan’s roads are bad, getting worse, and the state should spend more to fix them. Michigan residents agree on that much. But Michigan is divided on how much more the state should spend and where that money should come from.