Gretchen Whitmer Biography

(49th Governor of Michigan)

Birthday: August 23, 1971 (Virgo)

Born In: Lansing, Michigan, United States

Gretchen Whitmer is an American lawyer and politician from the Democratic Party who has been serving as the 49th governor of Michigan since 2019. She previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2001-06 and in the Michigan Senate in 2006-15. She was originally elected to the state senate in a special election replacing Virg Bernero before being elected for a full term, and was re-elected in 2010. She held the post until she was forced to step down due to term limits and was the Senate's first female Democratic leader from 2011 to 2015. She served as the county prosecutor for Ingham County for six months in 2016. She had gained national attention in 2013 after publicly opening up about sexual assault during a debate about abortion rights. She gained further recognition in 2020 for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, following which she was selected to give the Democratic response to then President Donald Trump's 2020 State of the Union Address.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: Gretchen Esther Whitmer

Age: 51 Years, 51 Year Old Females

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Marc Mallory ​ (m. 2011), Gary Shrewsbury

father: Richard Whitmer

mother: Sherry Whitmer

children: Sherry, Sydney

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Women

U.S. State: Michigan

More Facts

education: Michigan State University, Forest Hills Central High School

Childhood & Early Life

Gretchen Esther Whitmer was born on August 23, 1971, in Lansing, Michigan, United States to Sharon H. "Sherry" Reisig and Richard Whitmer, who was head of the state department of commerce under Governor William Milliken.

Her father was also the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan between in 1988-06, while her mother was an assistant attorney general under Michigan Attorney General, Frank J. Kelley.

After her parents’ divorce when she was ten, she and her two younger siblings moved to Grand Rapids with their mother, while her father visited them once a week from his home in Detroit. She completed graduation from Forest Hills Central High School before earning her bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University in 1993 and a Juris Doctor from Detroit College of Law in 1998.

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Career

In a 2015 interview, Gretchen Whitmer revealed that her friend Dan Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, was the first person to suggest that she ran for public office. She originally ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in the 1990s when Loepp was a chief of staff to Democratic House Speaker Curtis Hertel Sr., but was unsuccessful.

She made another attempt in 2000 when she narrowly defeated Mary Lindemann in the District 70 Democratic primary by securing 47.4% vote and defeated Republican opponent Bill Hollister by 56.6%-43.4% votes. She was subsequently elected to represent District 69 in 2002 and was re-elected to the post in 2004.

After Virg Bernero was elected mayor of Lansing, she replaced him in the Michigan State Senate in March 2006 by earning 84.98% vote in the Democratic primary and 79.97% vote in the special election. She was elected to a full term to represent the 23rd legislative district in November that year and was later re-elected to the post in 2010, but left office in 2015 due to term limits.

Following the arrest of Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III in March 2016, she was unanimously selected by the judges of Michigan's 30th Judicial Circuit Court to complete his remaining six months. She took oath in June that year and published a report in July which concluded that Dunnings's willful neglect of duty did not affect cases handled by his office.

In January 2017, she announced her intention to run in the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial race and won all 83 counties to be selected as the Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan in August 2018. She denied Republican accusations of supporting the movement to abolish ICE, and after two rounds of debate, defeated Republican opponent Bill Schuette in November by nearly a 10-point margin.

Following election, she focused on key campaign pledge to fix Michigan's struggling infrastructure, but her plan to fund road repairs with a 45-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase was unpopular among Democrats and independent voters alike. She was also the only Democratic candidate to not support a single-payer healthcare system during the campaign and focused her attention to women's healthcare and Medicaid expansion.

In March 2020, she issued a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was received positively by Michigan residents. However, after she tightened the restrictions, the next month following over 1900 deaths, several protests and demonstrations broke out, pushed by conspiracy theorists, according to New York Times.

She gained greater national recognition after she was selected to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union address by then President Donald Trump in February 2020. It was further bolstered by her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and Trump attacking her as "that woman from Michigan", which prompted an SNL episode featuring Cecily Strong as her.

In March that year, she was also confirmed to be a potential running mate to Joe Biden during the 2020 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate selection. After Kamala Harris was selected, some reports claimed that she had removed herself from consideration and had urged Biden to choose a Black woman instead.


She was also expected to be offered a position in Biden's cabinet, but she announced in January 2021 that she was not interested in leaving her role as governor. Biden then nominated her as one of the vice chair candidates for the Democratic National Committee, which elected her unopposed on January 20.

In October 2020, FBI arrested 13 men, half from the paramilitary militia group Wolverine Watchmen, for plotting to kidnap Whitmer and otherwise using violence to overthrow the state government. After the plot was exposed, she thanked law enforcement agencies in a livestream while blaming Trump for refusing to explicitly condemn far-right groups.

She has already announced that she will seek re-election to a second term in November 2022 Michigan gubernatorial election in which she is set to face former political commentator Tudor Dixon. This will be the first gubernatorial election in Michigan history in which both major party candidates for governor are women.

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Personal Life & Legacy

Gretchen Whitmer’s first marriage was to Gary Shrewsbury, with whom she has two daughters named Sherry and Sydney. While they divorced, she told in an interview that her ex-husband was one of her best friends and lived close by to be involved in their daughters’ upbringing.

She is currently married to a dentist named Marc P Mallory to whom she got married in 2011. They live together in East Lansing, about six miles from the Michigan Capitol, with her two daughters, his three sons, Alex, Mason and Winston, from his first marriage, and their pet dog Kevin.

Shortly after being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2000, she lost her mother to brain cancer within three months of giving birth to her first daughter. Later in March 2021, she drew criticism for visiting her ailing father in Florida amidst the coronavirus pandemic and then not self-quarantining upon her return.

Trivia

In 2013, years before the #MeToo movement, Gretchen Whitmer, as a state legislator, had raised her voice for women’s rights by publicly describing her own experience of sexual assault.

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- Gretchen Whitmer Biography
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