NMU Presidential Search Delayed, Michigan Supreme Court Diversity, UP Looks Red, and Mackinac Bridge Closures and Paint


This Week in Rural Insights

On Wednesday we will be releasing another episode of the Rural Insights Podcast, this time featuring Karen Kovacs, Marquette’s new City Manager. Watch for this episode on our website, YouTube, and all major podcast platforms!

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NMU Presidential Search Process Delayed

It was announced that the presidential search committee was not able to find dates that worked for enough committee members this summer, so they delayed the start until this Fall.

They will then bring candidates to campus for community members and the campus community to meet candidates. So we most likely should not expect a new NMU President to be on the job until next year–maybe until late summer.

Meanwhile, Interim President Dr. Keri Schuling will stay on the job. She has agreed to extend her time in office to help the university until a replacement is found–a little later than she thought I bet. It is a very tough job so we all owe a big thank you to President Schuling for helping out here with the new timelines. 

Ferris State University just filled the job of their retiring president. They only had to go 50 miles south to Grand Rapids to find their new presidents. They hired the president of Grand Rapids Community College.

Grand Rapids’ Calvin University just hired one of their alumni to be president. The University of Michigan is still in the throes of a national search for a president.

Across the country universities and colleges have had difficulty finding candidates in their candidate pools that were acceptable. The number of qualified folks who want the job evidently has shrunk considerably. 

Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan political conventions to nominate candidates are taking place soon. It is interesting to note that while the US Senate is considering nominating a US Supreme Court Justice who is an African American, Michigan’s Supreme Court has no one of color on it. It is composed of all white justices who are nominated by both political parties and/or placed on the court by Governors of Michigan. It will be interesting to see if the political parties nominate anyone of color at their upcoming conventions.

We noted previously that the Michigan justices are all from urban or suburban lower Michigan areas. There are no rural voices on the court. Maybe this year we will see a nominee from a rural area. Hope springs eternal.

Also, might the Democrats and/or the Republicans nominate a Native American to serve on the court?

New Legislative Districts and UP Looks Red

Rural areas in America look pretty ”red” after (and also mostly before) reapportionment this year. That continues to be true in Michigan as well. Right now Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are pretty “red” and looks like that will possibly continue after elections this November.

Currently, the only Democrat serving in the State House from Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula is Representative Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette). 

We should all say thank you to all those folks who will take time out of their private lives to exercise the American right to run for elective office. It is a great sacrifice whether they are serving in the federal, state or local governments. Thank you to all. 

Filing Deadline for Elective Office in 2022

2022 Elections, primary and general, are just a few months away in Michigan. The deadline for filing for most federal, state and local elections is April 19th. Get your paperwork completed and filed if you want to run for office. Who from the UP will file to run in this year’s elections. Ideas?

Mackinac Bridge Closures and Paint

The bridge has been closed several times this winter due to hazardous road conditions, wind and falling ice from the bridge wires. Folks have been stranded on both sides of the bridge and forced into local hotels for overnight stays or until the bridge opened. Costly. 

One observer told us that the bridge has not been closed due to falling ice in recent years because the bridge has been painted with glossy paint. Recently, according to our source, they switched to flat paint. Evidently, flat paint retains water and it freezes and then falls when it gets a little warmer out.

Glossy paint, they say, does not do this and that is why for sixty years the bridge authority has used flat glossy paint. Who knew?

Any bridge or paint experts out there who can verify any of this? Make sense or just not accurate? 

Right paint type sure would have saved some travelers some hotel expenses recently–if that is all accurate.

The World Around Us Facts

  • The average college graduate in Michigan now leaves school with $35,000 in student loan debt. The cost of a degree varies a lot between campuses. (Bridge, 3.29.22)
  • In 2011, 49% of the world lived in autocracies, and now 70% do. There are just 34 counties with a liberal democracy like the US. In those liberal democracies citizens have rights to free speech, free press, free and fair elections and other liberties. (Varieties of Democracy study). 
  • The share of adults who were employed rose to 60.1%–the highest since before the pandemic. The share of people of prime working age–25-54–who are employed climbed fast, rising half a percentage point to 80%.


“The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society.” Mark Skousen.

Books Recommended By Our Readers

“Everyday Klansfolk: White Protestant Life and the KKK in 1920s Michigan.” Craig Fox. 2022. Published by MSU Press. Hat tip to Ann Fisher. Thanks.

Please send us your book recommendations and we will try to get them published.

Talk To Us

Keep your raves, laurels, rants and darts coming. Send them to us at david@ruralinsights.org. We love to read them. 

About Us

Rural Insights connects policy, information, news and culture to raise topics and stories/information you might have not seen or overlooked. We bring you original writing from Rural Insights and other researchers, changemakers, and storytellers, as well as our latest research and analysis

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. Jared Hautamaki on April 4, 2022 at 7:26 am

    As a Native American from the UP with a JD and an LLM, served as a tribal appellate judge and has served in the House, Executive Branch and as a judicial clerk I will accept the nomination to serve.

    • Connie Williams on April 4, 2022 at 8:31 am

      Excellent issue David. I am currently reading “Some Recollections of Life on the Farm” by Norm Hefke. It is so interesting to learn what Norm experienced growing up!

      • David Haynes on April 4, 2022 at 11:59 am

        Thx Connie. Will post the Hegel book. Cheers. H

        • David S. Haynes on April 4, 2022 at 12:01 pm

          Oops. Hefke book you suggested.

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