In 1998, Jennifer Granholm became the first woman to be elected as attorney general of the state of Michigan. Four years later, in November of 2002, Michigan voters chose her as the state’s first woman governor.
Granholm graduated from the University of California – Berkley in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While at Berkley, Granholm, a Canadian by birth, applied and was approved for U.S. citizenship. She took the oath at the age of 21, enabling her to vote and participate in politics. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1987. Granholm was married to Daniel Mulhern, a fellow graduate of Harvard Law School in 1986. In a unique display of gender equality, Granholm and Mulhern each uses the other’s surname as a middle name. Together they have three children.
When Granholm joined a ticket in 1998, with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger, she was virtually a political unknown. Fieger ironically lost the election, but Granholm won, thus becoming the lone Democratic attorney general in a largely Republican administration. Granholm established a bond of trust with her constituency and was committed to “bridging the chasms of partisan politics in the interest of progress.”1
Granholm is described by those who know her as “decisive and quick, and relentless yet humane.”2 She has the ability to make a real contact with people. She never fails to make an impression on those with whom she speaks. “I’ve never seen anything like her,” said prosecutor Michael Duggan, quoted by the Detroit Free Press.3 Granholm’s success inspires the young women and girls of Michigan to aspire to greater heights.
3 Christoff, Christopher. “Jennifer Granholm: Campaigning on Character.”
Detroit Free Press. July 17, 2002.