You would expect that Gretchen Whitmer was a high achiever growing up and laying the foundation to become the state’s 49th governor.
However she is telling 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick a completely different story.
She sat down with Tim at the executive residence and shares reveals something she had never shared publicly before
Michigan’s second female governor was sworn into office as a magna cum laude graduate of MSU with a law degree and 14 years of rough and tumble legislative experience on her resume.
But come to find out, growing up, by her own admission, she was a handful.
Skubick: “Were you a rebellious teenager?”
Gov. Whitmer: “Yeah. I was a pain. When I was getting ready to go to MSU neither my mom and I could wait for that to happen. (laughter)”
In a Michigan Public TV interview at the executive residence, the governor describes her attitude with these words.
“I was strong minded”, admits the governor.
Skubick: “Which is code for?”
Gov. Whitmer: “Recalcitrant.”
Gov. Whitmer: “Yeah.”
And, in fact, if you assigned a theme song to her teenage years it would have been “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.”
“I was fun to be around. I had a robust social life. (laughter)”
Obviously her mother, who was a lawyer, and her dad who would eventually be the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield, were concerned.
Skubick: “So did your parents say if you don’t get good grades you’ll be toast?”
Gov. Whitmer: “We had conversations like that more often.”
Skubick: “And you blew it off?”
Gov. Whitmer: “Yeah. (laughter)”
So while the high school kids in the upscale East Grand Rapids High School were pushing for a 4.0, the state’s future governor was not academically engaged. Not by a long shot.
“I was not particularly inspired by school and I was not disciplined so my grades were not excellent the way that i’m capable of,” she admits.
Turns out thing did not click for her academically until her second year at MSU.
Gov. Whitmer: “I did ok. But no, it wasn’t until I went to the second half of MSU and law school.”
Skubick: “That’s college.”
Gov. Whitmer: “Right. I was good enough to get into MSU and then it clicked and I started getting four points and graduated magna cum laude.”
And once it clicked in, she went all out, landing an internship with MSU football coach George Perles.
She wanted to be the first female ESPN sports reporter but then she took another internship with the Speaker of the Michigan House, Curtis Hertel, and it was there that her public service gene kicked in.
In our next installment the rebellious teenager turned governor talks about how she almost didn’t run for the office she now holds.