Republican businessman and University alum Rick Snyder announced Tuesday that he will be running for Michigan’s next governor.
The Ann Arbor venture capitalist announced his 2010 gubernatorial candidacy at Greenfield Village at the Menlo Park historic site alongside his wife Sue and their three children. Located within The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., the exhibit, which honors inventor Thomas Edison, is also the location where Mitt Romney launched his 2008 Republican presidential campaign.
Snyder plans to revitalize Michigan’s economy with the help of his business background. According to The Associated Press, Michigan’s unemployment rate has been the highest in the nation for 26 of the last 27 months. It hit 15.2 percent in June.
“Michigan is an economic disaster,” Snyder told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “One of the major reasons contributing to this is a lack of leadership in Lansing.”
According to The Associated Press, Snyder planned to visit Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids on Tuesday as part of a five-day statewide tour to discuss his decision to enter the governor’s race and his vision, which he’s calling “Michigan 3.0.”
The “3.0,” he said, is a reference to two previous eras in which Michigan thrived: the mining and fur-trading days of the 1800s and the industrial era, when Detroit put the nation on wheels.
A relative newcomer to Michigan’s political scene, Snyder may have to generate an expensive campaign to promote his name and political platform. Considered somewhat of an outsider, Snyder told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he won’t accept political action committee money, but instead will rely on donations from supporters.
Snyder also told The Associated Press on Tuesday that “he wants to simplify the state’s business tax structure, diversify the economy and encourage young people to stay in the state.”
Snyder received his Bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University in 1977. He went on to study business administration and received his master’s from the University in 1979. He then continued his education at the Law School from which he graduated in 1982.
Snyder began his career as an assistant professor of accounting at the University from 1982 to 1984. He was employed and then became partner at Coopers & Lybrand until 1991 when he became executive vice president and then president and chief operating officer of Gateway, Inc. Snyder also founded Avalon Investments Inc., a venture capital company that he was involved with from 1997 to 2000. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Ardesta, an Ann Arbor-based investment firm he founded in 2000.
Snyder also founded Ann Arbor SPARK — a think tank promoting the economic success of local businesses — and actively participates on the board of The Henry Ford Museum. He is also involved in the Michigan chapter of The Nature Conservancy and several boards tied to the University.
Synder’s campaign office is located in Ann Arbor at 124 E. Washington St.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.