UP as the 51st State, Update on Bay Mills Tribe, Interesting Historical Fact Impacting Elections, and Student Loan Forgiveness


The Upper Peninsula as the 51st State

Been a while since you have heard about that? Yup.

Every once in a while someone raises it. Longtime UP residents will recall that the powerful State Representative Dominic Jacobetti (D-Naguanee) was the champion of that movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

Some times seriously and sometimes in jest, but always in an effort to to call attention to the importance of the UP and increase the political power of the UP.

So it came as a surprise and came out of the blue when we were forwarded an article/op-ed calling for statehood for the Upper Peninsula. The 51st State.

Its publication came in the Daily Targum. The author is Jake McGowan, School of Arts and Science, majoring in journalism at Rutgers University in New Jersey. That’s all we know about Mr. McGowan for now. Do you know him? Let us know.

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

The op-ed is reprinted on our website under the tab ICYMI–In Case You Missed It.

We reprint articles without comment or endorsement that we think our readers might find interesting and might have missed. If you have suggestions for this tab, please send them to us. 

Update on Bay Mills Tribe

We recently published an item about the ascension of Bay Mills Tribal Chairperson to become the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Interior–appointed by the United States President.

We wrote that Brenda Bjork was the new chairperson. Well, she was actually the Interim Chair. The tribe elected a permanent chair, and her name is Whitney Gravelle. We are told it was a significant victory in a special election. She is considered a rising star in Michigan.

Interesting Historical Fact Impacting Elections Today

Federal judges are appointed for life by the US President, with Advice and Consent by the US Senate. In Michigan, state judges are elected by the voters in Michigan (unless vacancy occurs in the middle of an elected term, and then the Governor appoints with Advice and Consent of the Michigan Senate).

In 1963, Michigan approved a new State Constitution. It contained a provision that says on the state election ballots all incumbent state judges at election time will get a designation indicating they are an incumbent.

No other elected person on the ballot gets that advantage and privilege. I was told by a few delegates to the 1962 state constitutional convention that a deal was struck with judges to give them that designation in return for accepting a prohibition on running for any other state or local elected position for two years after they are no longer a judge.

Result was incumbent judges rarely got beat at the polls and it reduced competition by judges for other state positions. Seems like a sweetheart deal today.

Some Whisperers say they hear of an effort to get this issue back on the ballot and remove the incumbency designation on the ballot. This, they say, will increase chances for defeating an incumbent judge and leveling the playing field in judicial elections for challengers. An issue to watch.

National Service for Student Loan Forgiveness

Rumors are that as the national and state political class debates how much student loan forgiveness should be set at (from $10,000 to $50,000) there are some saying anything over $10,000 should be tied to some sort of national or state service.

They say this service ranges from US military service, National Guard service, Peace Corps, State Conservation Corps, Poverty Services, etc. Debate is gaining steam as is the entire debate on the national need for student loan forgiveness.

Your thoughts? Thoughts on what services should be counted and what level of loan forgiveness should be approved?

Quotes (that make us go hmmm)

“Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until it can’t go wrong.” From Julie Andrews’ first music teacher.

“Beware an old man in a hurry.” Lord Randolph Churchill on W.E. Gladstone.

Book Recommendations From Our Readers

“Rule Makers. Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World.” Michelle Gelfand. 2020.

bold fix

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. Brooke Harris on April 19, 2021 at 8:08 am

    With respect to Student Loan Forgiveness currently there is a program that ties in forgiveness after 120 payments and employment in a public service capacity. The proposed program would eliminate 10k of debt to borrowers and looks like expansion of the public service category. When I graduated from college in 1979 80% of costs were picked up by federal and state sources. Plus I benefitted from work study and scholarships so had virtually very little debt. Today students are picking up about 80% of the costs and other assistance is virtually impossible to get. Hence the explosion of personal debt in obtaining a degree which in today’s world is about as essential as a high school diploma in getting ahead. In my mind what needs to be looked at is a return of government in investing in educating Americans by reducing the cost. For those interested in the existing forgiveness program. Here is the link: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service/questions

    • Sarah Smith on April 19, 2021 at 8:50 am

      Brooke, thank you for supplying the link to the existing loan forgiveness program. It has several positive aspects. Participants are required to work for a qualified employer. Participants are required to make some payments, which seems like a responsible requirement. In contrast, the idea of some new loan forgiveness program that simply cancels a person’s entire student debt does not sit well with many people. That idea can be seen as reinforcing bad decision making–taking out a $100000 load to get a degree in a subject where jobs are scarce may not be the most prudent decision. There is also the question of fairness to students who sacrificed to repay their student loans, or who made the decision to attend a second tier school to not go into deep debt. Or the parents who spent retirement funds to send their son or daughter to school. It would seem that skeptics might be more likely to support a new loan forgiveness program if it was structured to require some sort of public service component and some minimal payment option. As always, the devil is in the details.

  2. S. E. Dewey on April 19, 2021 at 11:06 am

    My children, now in their 40′ and 50’s, went to college on their own (part time employment) resources and student loans. Their college courses were in areas of their future employment, not some area where employment was scarce and difficult to retain!! They were expected to make their student loan payments in a timely manner. There were some smaller bubble bursts and then 2008 when their loan payments were still due each and every month whether there was employment or unemployment. By then, they had families, mortgages, car payments, etc. There was no mention of student loan forgiveness. None of my 4 children defaulted on their payments, even when income was lowered to unemployment. A responsibility is a responsibility. On the other side of the coin, should there be public universities, which are tuition free? Trade schools, supported at least partially by employers and unions, seem to be well attended. Perhaps employers in medical fields, law firms, education etc. , could do the same??

  3. Richard APeura on April 19, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    The call for UP statehood by Jake McGowan appears as a satire. Please google his name and the reference to his obituary. He was a Michigan native originally. His death on February 28, 2021 occurred only months after his article on UP statehood.
    BTW I am enjoying Rural Insights.

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