GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Former Michigan Gov. John Engler has taken a position as an advisor to an investment group specializing in Michigan companies.
The former executive was in Grand Rapids Thursday to speak about his new role for Blackford Capitol's Michigan Prosperity Fund.
To better concentrate on putting money into mainly home-grown businesses in Michigan, the company recently relocated to Grand Rapids from southern California.
Engler served as governor for 12 years and in the state legislature for two decades before that. He says there is a lot to like in the state he used to lead.
"Michigan's got a number of policies, i think, that have ben changing and have been responsible, in part, also for some return of confidence here," he said. "Still a long way to go, but you can't overlook the fact that through good times and bad, Michigan's had thousands of smaller companies that have been strong economic players. I mean, they've been buffeted about, but if you've survived all of this, you're still there, you've got something going for you."
Engler is generally confident about the state. That's one of the reasons he took on the new roll.
But on a larger scale, he told 24 Hour News 8, he is concerned about the way politics interferes with action. He says he understands partisanship, but says that at some point, things need to get done.
If they don't, he wonders what the country might look like in the future.
"Can anybody argue that we don't need to fix our schools? We're paying the bill there, but why isn't every child in America reading proficiently? Can anybody really argue that we shouldn't be building infrastructure? They do, but we have to do that. It eventually does wear out. Bridges fall down. We've seen that happen," he said. "It's just basic infrastructure needs we're not meeting. We've got to figure this stuff out. And to me, it's not a Democrat or Republican idea only. It's kind of an American idea that we'd better fix this stuff, or whose going to be the third-world country in the future?"
After more than 30 years in public service, Engler has spent the decade since leaving office almost exclusively in the business world. He served as the chair of the Manufacturers Association of America and now as president of the Business Round Table, a group of CEOs from around the country who deal with business issues and global economic leadership.
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