Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, one of Michigan’s most popular conservative leaders, resides in Ann Arbor, a city comprised of mostly liberal-leaning citizens.
Though the 48th governor spent his childhood in Battle Creek, Mich., he moved to Ann Arbor after being accepted to the University. He currently lives in the city with his wife Sue, with whom he has three children.
Snyder entered the University in 1975. By the time he turned 23, the future governor had received a bachelor’s degree, business degree and law degree, and earned his license as a Certified Public Accountant.
Snyder left Ann Arbor to work as a tax accountant for Coopers & Lybrand in Detroit, going on to become one of the firm’s youngest partners after working for only six years. He then moved to Chicago to work at Gateway Computers for six years and eventually became the company’s president. Snyder moved back to Ann Arbor in 1997 to form two Michigan-based venture capital funds worth about $200 million in investment capital.
Along with living in the city, Snyder served as the chair of Ann Arbor SPARK, a nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development in the greater Ann Arbor region, and served as an adjunct assistant professor of accounting at the University from 1982 to 1984.
The governor keeps in close contact with his alma mater, holding talks at the University and sponsoring an internship program in his office that many students participate in. Most recently, he visited the University to speak at the inauguration ceremony for University President Mark Schlissel.
“What makes the University of Michigan a truly special place is not one area or sectors, it is the humanity of the University, the people,” Snyder said in his speech.
In the same month, Snyder also toured the MHacks expo to see projects created by innovative students from all areas of campus, including various mobile apps, a robotic arm and software that analyzes the mood in speeches.
The University’s chapter of College Republicans is one of the largest organizations that supports Snyder’s actions in the state and the University and has been working for his reelection this fall. LSA senior Gabriel Leaf, chairman of the University’s chapter of College Republicans, said he believes the biggest reason why students believe in Snyder are because of his job-creating policies.
A major platform of Snyder’s 2010 campaign was creating jobs and stimulating Michigan’s economy, earning him the title of “one tough nerd.” Since taking office in January 2011, the state has created approximately 300,000 new private sector jobs and the administration has overseen the sixth-fastest growing economy in the nation — though there is significant debate about how much Snyder’s policies have contributed to the economic growth.
Leaf said the hardest position a student finds themselves in after graduation is the task of actually finding a job and entering the workforce, a problem he believes Snyder understands and wants to simplify.
“He understands where they’re coming from, he understands their background,” Leaf said. “He’s been what we’ve been through.”
Members of the College Republicans and other students have been helping galvanize voters to support Snyder through the student group Wolverines For Rick. Though Leaf acknowledges the city’s liberal reputation, he fully believes in Snyder’s core issues and is diligently working to “do all he can” for Snyder’s reelection in these final weeks.
“It is hard trying to get a Republican basis here in the heart of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw county as it is very liberal,” he said. “So there isn’t as much support as he would like to see here, but there definitely is some here.”