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Gov. Whitmer Announces More Growing Michigan Together Council Appointees, Workgroup Chairs


July 13, 2023 



Gov. Whitmer Announces More Growing Michigan Together Council Appointees, Workgroup Chairs

Council will bring diverse perspectives together to deliver on goals of workgroups


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced more appointees to the bipartisan Growing Michigan Together Council, including representation from the Upper Peninsula, communities of color, and Michiganders under 35. She also announced the council’s four workgroups: 1) PreK-12Education, 2) Higher Education, 3) Infrastructure, and 4) Jobs, Talent, and People, and the chairs of those workgroups. Unveiled at the Mackinac Policy Conference, the council will develop a statewide strategy grow Michigan’s population and economy. 


“The Growing Michigan Together Council’s appointees will bring a diverse range of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the table,” said Governor Whitmer. “Led by four workgroups, the council will hold several meetings over the next few months, hearing from Michiganders firsthand. They will then collaborate and continue working towards presenting a comprehensive strategy to help anyone make it in Michigan. Together, we will grow our economy and population and write the next chapter in Michigan’s story. Let’s get it done.”


New Council Appointees

Senator Darrin Camilleri 

State Senator Darrin Camilleri currently serves Michigan Senate District 4, following three successful terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. He is also the Assistant Majority Leader, Chairman of the PreK-12 School Aid Budget, and serves on committees encompassing Elections, Energy, Transportation, Labor, and more. His district spans seventeen communities across Downriver and Western Wayne County, including his hometown of Brownstown Township as well as the City of Trenton, where he currently lives.  


Senator Camilleri will represent a Democratic member of the Michigan Senate. 


Representative Pauline Wendzel

State Representative Pauline Wendzel currently serves in the 39th House District and is in her third term. She is the Minority Vice Chair of the Energy, Communications, and Technology Committee. She previously served as the Program Director at the North Berrien Historical Museum and Assistant Deputy Clerk for Bainbridge Township before taking a role as product brand development manager at Coloma Frozen Foods. She is an active alumnus of both Watervliet High School and Michigan State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Food Industry Marketing. 


Representative Wendzel will represent a Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives.


Representative Alabas Farhat

State Representative Alabas Farhat currently serves in the 3rd House District. Farhat served as a government relations and special projects appointee for Wayne County Executive Warren Evans prior to taking office. Farhat graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn with a bachelor's degree in public health and went on to pursue a Master of Public Policy at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy with a focus on social policy development.


Representative Farhat will represent a Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives and a voting member under the age of 25.


Dr. Jaclyn Butler (non-voting) 

Dr. Jaclyn Butler is the state demographer for the State of Michigan within the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics. Dr. Butler and her team analyze demographic trends and help state and local leaders, along with the general public, understand U.S. Census data. Dr. Butler completed her PhD in Demography and Rural Sociology at Penn State.


Dr. Ronald Fisher (non-voting)

Dr. Fisher is a Michigan State University professor of economics, specializing in state and local government fiscal policy. He has devoted his life to studying and writing about fiscal policy and facing issues that are relevant to the Growing Michigan Together Council. Dr. Fisher holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with high honors from Michigan State University and a PhD from Brown University in Economics. He was previously appointed as Deputy State Treasurer for the State of Michigan and was a Visiting Scholar with the New England Public Policy Center for the Boston Federal Reserve Bank. During his time at MSU, Fisher received the Steven Gold Award, served as Dean of the Honors College, Chairperson of the Department of Economics, and a member of a number of university committees and councils. 


PreK-12 Workgroup Chairs

Chandra Madafferi

Chandra Madafferi, of South Lyon, is the incoming president of the Michigan Education Association. She previously worked as a health and special education teacher for the Novi community schools and served as the president of the Novi Education Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Education in special education from the University of Michigan Dearborn. She has over twenty years of teaching experience and fifteen years of experience as a school program administrator. She is also a fellow of the Michigan Education Policy Fellowship program hosted by Michigan State University. 


Karen McPhee 

Karen McPhee, of Ada, is an Education Leadership Consultant and serves on the board of Launch Michigan. She previously served the State of Michigan as Senior Education Policy Advisor to Governor Rick Snyder. McPhee earned her bachelor's degree in public relations from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in management and organizational design from Aquinas College. She was worked for more than 30 years in education administration within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.


Higher Education Workgroup Chairs

Dr. Bill Pink 

Dr. Bill Pink, of Stanwood, is the President of Ferris State University. He previously served as the President of Grand Rapids Community College. Dr. Pink holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University, a master's degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Pink is the past-Chair of United Way of West Michigan and Vice Chair of The Right Place. He has served on numerous Executive Boards during his career including College Board's Community College Advisory Panel.


Russell Kavalhuna  

Russell Kavalhuna, of Dearborn, is the President of Henry Ford College. Previously, Kavalhuna was the Executive Director of Flight Operations at the Western Michigan University College of Aviation, an airline captain with US Airways Express, and a federal prosecutor. Currently, Kavalhuna is a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation. He earned his bachelor’s degree in aviation science from Western Michigan University and his JD from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.


Infrastructure Workgroup Chairs

Terri Lynn Land 

Terri Lynn Land, of Byron Center, is a current member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors and former two-termMichigan Secretary of State. She previously served 8 years as the Kent County Clerk. Land earned her bachelor's degree in political science from Hope College. She is a member of Rotary International and a lifelong Michigander.


Regine Beauboeuf

Regine Beauboeuf, of Detroit, is the Senior Vice President and Program Equity Advisor at HNTB Corporation. Previously she served as the Director of Client Services at Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. Beauboeuf earned her bachelor's degree in engineering from Faculté des Sciences UEH (Haiti) and master's degree in business administration from Davenport University. Beauboeuf acts as a mentor to the next generation trying to get involved in the transportation industry and is active in her community.  


Jobs, Talent, People Workgroup Chairs

Portia Roberson 

Portia Roberson, of Detroit, is the CEO of Focus: HOPE, a 55-year-old organization with a focus on workforce development and education. Previously she served the City of Detroit as the Group Executive for Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity. Throughout her career she has been actively involved in human and civil rights issues. Roberson earned her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Michigan, and juris doctor at Wayne State University Law School. Roberson is the Chair of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and serves on the board for Delta Manor. 


Marty Fittante 

Marty Fittante, of Kingsford, is the CEO of InvestUP. Previously he served the State of Michigan as a legislative staffer. Fittante earned his bachelor's degree in business management from Ferris State University and juris doctor from Wayne State University Law School. He is skilled in legislative relations, economic development, and government related research. Originally from the Escanaba area, Mr. Fittante as passionate about improving economic opportunity for the Upper Peninsula and continues to bring in new connections and innovation. Recently, Mr. Fittante was named chair of Economic Development Leaders for Michigan. He was also honored as a guest speaker at Bay College’s commencement ceremony and was named Alumnus of the Year for 2022. 


Growing Michigan Together Council

The Growing Michigan Together Council was established with Executive Order 2023-04. They will advise the governor on specific policies to grow Michigan’s population, including identifying a population goal for 2050. The council will also look at ways to prepare Michigan’s workforce for in-demand jobs and emerging industries by proposing initiatives to improve preK-12 educational outcomes and long-term funding solutions for higher education including financial aid. Additionally, to meet the needs of a growing, thriving population, the council will develop long-term, sustainable transportation and water infrastructure funding solutions.  


To learn more about the Council, visit their new website: