Blanchard, James J., 1942-

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Blanchard was Democratic governor of Michigan from 1982 to 1991.

From the description of James J. Blanchard visual materials. 1982-2002. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 85778581

Blanchard was Democratic governor of Michigan from 1983 to 1991.

From the description of James J. Blanchard gubernatorial files, 1982-2002. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 85778579

From the description of James J. Blanchard sound recordings. 1982-2002. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 704437142

From the description of James J. Blanchard gubernatorial files, 1982-1991. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 78228882

James J. Blanchard, the first Democratic governor of Michigan in twenty years, won the 1982 gubernatorial election over Richard Headlee with a plurality of less than 200,000 out of three million votes cast. When Blanchard took office, the state faced its gravest economic challenges since the depression: slumping auto sales pushed unemployment over 17%, while diminishing the state's tax base; a $1.7 billion deficit loomed and finances were further straitened when the state's credit rating was downgraded; outmigration of educated and skilled workers threatened the human capital of Michigan. Working with his cabinet, public and private sector leaders, and members of the legislature, Blanchard righted Michigan's finances, upgraded the state's credit rating, and launched an aggressive economic development program to diversify Michigan's economy and provide jobs for its citizens.

Among the recovery programs set in motion by Blanchard were: the establishment of the Michigan Youth Corps, a program which created 40,000 jobs for young people; installing a public works project which provided 50,000 jobs dedicated to improving the state's infrastructure; the formation of the Governor's Commission on Jobs and Economic Development, a coalition of business, labor, education, and government leaders; adoption of a zero-growth state budget and an unpopular temporary income tax increase; and development of an aggressive plan to protect the environment, especially the Great Lakes. By 1985, the state had turned the corner on the worst of its economic problems, achieving solvency by November and consequently having Michigan's credit upgraded to the best among American states. The Blanchard administration credited its own efforts for spurring this economic recovery.

Blanchard campaigned in 1986 on the theme, "Michigan, the Comeback State." He easily defeated challenger, William Lucas, winning over 68% over the votes cast. Backed by this mandate, Blanchard embarked on a more ambitious agenda of reform. This broader program included, but was by no means limited to: strengthening the state's finances, innovation and integrity in public policy, improving education, preserving the right of choice for women, protecting children and families, and being tough on criminals. The Michigan Strategic Fund is an apt example of innovative policy designed to provide capital for small businesses and to diversify the state economy. Education was a top priority for Blanchard, and his second term saw the development of a broad array of education initiatives: the Michigan Education Trust, a state-supported guaranteed tuition program; the Research Excellence Fund, state-financed research in new technologies; the Michigan Model Health Curriculum, an ambitious effort to educate all students on good health habits; and the Michigan Opportunity Card, a surety of competence offered by the Cabinet Council on Human Investment. Michigan hosted several conferences on environmental issues as it attended to preventive and palliative measures to preserve the region's ecology. Blanchard created the post of Citizens' Protection Advisor to secure Michiganders' rights. All these efforts reveal the activist bent of the Blanchard administration.

Blanchard came to the office of governor at a propitious moment, a time when states were taking up responsibilities shunted by the federal government. Reagan's New Federalism accelerated the shifting of powers and duties to state and local agencies, a trend initiated by Nixon's revenue sharing. Blanchard brought an apt philosophy to this situation. Blanchard described himself as, "of the new breed of governors: innovative, flexible, global in outlook and unafraid to challenge the staus quo." These attributes served him well in meeting the needs of the Michigan citizenry and economy. His administration was pragmatic, fiscally conservative, and acted within the parameters of the possible. Blanchard shunned adherence to ideology, save the ideal that governments can, and should, act to benefit people. These traits were apparent in his administrative legacy.

Immediately before winning his first gubernatorial term in the 1982 election, Blanchard served in the United States Congress for four terms representing several Detroit suburbs. While in Congress, he won acclaim for his work in shaping the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act, an act which saved thousands of Michigan jobs. Blanchard's service to the people of Michigan began in 1968 as legal advisor to the Michigan Secretary of State. In 1969, he became an Assistant Attorney General and served in that capacity for five years before being elected to Congress.

James Blanchard was born in Detroit on August 8, 1942. He earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from Michigan State University and a law degree from the University of Minnesota. Blanchard married Paula Parker in June 1966; they had one son, Jay, in 1971. The Blanchards were divorced in 1987. James Blanchard married Janet Fox in the fall of 1989. After failing to win a third term as governor, Blanchard repaired to a private legal practice. He served as ambassador to Canada in the Clinton administration and ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for governor in 2002.

From the guide to the James J. Blanchard Papers, 1982-2002, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Lana Pollack Papers, 1979-2010 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Michigan Racing Commission. Commission subject files, 1981-1986. OCLC Techpro
referencedIn Michigan Racing Commission. Racing Commission records, 1983-1985. OCLC Techpro
creatorOf James J. Blanchard Papers, 1982-2002 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Blanchard, James J., 1942-. James J. Blanchard gubernatorial files, 1982-1991. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Governors of Michigan. Library of Michigan
creatorOf Blanchard, James J., 1942-. James J. Blanchard : commercials, 1982-1990. University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives
referencedIn Karoub, James, 1929-1994. James Karoub photographs. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Blanchard, Janet. Janet Blanchard papers, 1987-1990. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Blanchard, James J., 1942-. James J. Blanchard gubernatorial files, 1982-2002. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Dempsey, Dave, 1957-. Dave Dempsey papers, 1983-1992. State Archive of Michigan
referencedIn Janet Blanchard Papers, 1987-1990 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Wolf, Katie,. Katie Wolf collection, 1998. Western Michigan University, Dwight B. Waldo Library
creatorOf Blanchard, James J., 1942-. James J. Blanchard visual materials. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn James Karoub Papers, 1962-1994 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Hill, Draper,. James Blanchard print, circa 1983-1991. Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Glazer, Lawrence M. Lawrence M. Glazer papers, 1981-1987. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Gary Shrewsbury photographs, 1983-1990 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Blanchard, James J., 1942-. James J. Blanchard sound recordings. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Lawrence M. Glazer papers, 1981-1987 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Shrewsbury, Gary. Gary Shrewsbury photograph collection. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Blanchard, Janet. person
associatedWith Blanchard, Janet. person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Dempsey, Dave, 1957- person
associatedWith Glazer, Lawrence M. person
associatedWith Hill, Draper, person
associatedWith Karoub, James, 1929-1994. person
associatedWith Michigan. Governor (1983-1991 : Blanchard) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Racing Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Pollack, Lana, 1942- person
associatedWith Shrewsbury, Gary. person
associatedWith Shrewsbury, Gary. person
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
associatedWith Wolf, Katie, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan
Michigan
Michigan
Michigan
Michigan
Subject
Politics and government
Politics and government
Governor
Governors
Parades
Parades
Political elections
Political elections
Television advertising
Advertising, political
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1942-08-08

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