Traverse City Record-Eagle

Election 2010

October 28, 2010

Bernero, Snyder plan diverse cabinets

LANSING (AP) — Whether voters pick Democrat Virg Bernero or Republican Rick Snyder as Michigan's next governor, the state's new department heads will likely be a diverse group.

Bernero said Wednesday he kept a mix of Republicans and Democrats on board when he became Lansing mayor five years ago and likely would do that as governor if he wins Nov. 2. And both he and Snyder said they will name a cabinet that represents a wide spectrum of viewpoints.

"We want a cabinet that looks like the state of Michigan and it will," Bernero told The Associated Press in a Wednesday phone interview between campaign appearances. He added that he'd appoint "the best and the brightest."

Snyder also said he'll choose his cabinet based more on merit than political affiliation, and expects to have some Democrats in the mix.

"We'll look for a broad background in terms of all the diversity criteria, with gender, ethnic groups, to get a wide representation. Because I view that as a positive," he said earlier this week after campaigning at a Jackson County dairy farm.

The official governor's residence in Lansing could remain unoccupied during the next administration. Snyder, who lives in a gated community in Washtenaw County's Superior Township and has a large vacation home on Gun Lake near Hastings, said he won't live in Lansing until his youngest daughter graduates from high school. She just started ninth grade at Greenhills Academy, a small private school in Ann Arbor for grades 6-12. Snyder also has two older children.

The Ann Arbor businessman said he'd like to investigate renting out the 8,700-square-foot governor's residence, located in an upscale Lansing neighborhood, for various events.

The residence, which underwent a $2.5 million addition and improvements in 2003, now has five bedrooms, a private family room that includes a kitchenette, a fully commercial kitchen, a large dining room and a sunken living room that looks out on extensive flower gardens and a vegetable and herb garden used by the residence's current chef. Gov. Jennifer Granholm, her husband and three children moved into the residence in 2003.

"Is there a way we can leverage the residence in a positive way for people to do events there, other things that would be worthwhile?" Snyder asked. "Again, I'm a cost-efficient guy. How can we get value for money?"

Bernero, who lives in a more modest house a couple blocks away from the governor's residence, said he hasn't thought yet about whether he'd move there if elected. His wife, Teri, is the principal at an elementary school in the neighborhood and plans to keep that job whether he's mayor or governor on Jan. 1. The couple's two daughters are out of high school.

Both candidates concentrated their efforts Wednesday on campaigning in west Michigan.

Snyder held afternoon campaign rallies in Holland and Muskegon, while Bernero stopped at a Battle Creek coffee shop to greet voters before holding rallies in Benton Harbor, Muskegon and Grand Rapids.

Bernero plans to hold Thursday rallies in Saginaw, Bay City and Flint. The Michigan Democratic Women's Caucus is holding a get-out-the-vote rally at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Northwest Activities Center in Detroit.

Snyder will be joined Friday by GOP Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Chris Christie of New Jersey for a "One Chance to Victory Bus Tour" that will include other statewide Republican candidates. The tour's major stop is a 5 p.m. rally at Oakland Air Hangar in Waterford.

The Tea Party Express — a California-based political committee that has helped engineer upset election victories in Nevada, Alaska and Delaware this year — plans stops in Jackson, Troy and Monroe on Friday.

Each stop is in a district where GOP candidates supported by tea party activists are trying to defeat Democrats: U.S. Reps. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek, Gary Peters of Oakland County's Bloomfield Township and John Dingell of Dearborn.

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