Granholm portrait is unveiled at Michigan Capitol

By Kathy Barks Hoffman

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 6 2011 1:35 p.m. MDT

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, left, stands with the artist who painted her, Charles Pompelius, following a ceremony unveiling her official portrait Friday, May 6, 2011, in the Michigan Capitol Rotunda in Lansing, Mich. Granholm was Michigan's 47th Governor, serving two terms from 2003 through 2010.

Al Goldis, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. — Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm's official portrait shows Michigan's first female elected governor with one hand on a globe and another on her hip as she stands bathed in light.

"I'm looking out the window into the future," Granholm said Friday during a Capitol unveiling ceremony. "It's a portrait that encompasses all of you," she told the friends, family members and former officials from her administration who attended.

The portrait, painted by Ferndale artist Charles Pompilius, includes a mortar board and model-sized wind turbine to symbolize the Democratic governor's work to increase the number of college graduates and diversify the state's economy into new areas. It also includes a portrait of Ford Motor Co.'s historic Rouge plant and a model of the Chevrolet Volt to symbolize Michigan's long industrial history and move to new, greener technologies.

Among the personal touches is a photo of her family on a bookshelf that shows her favorite books. The portrait also shows a stack of letters from citizens thanking her for protecting the state's safety net, a Bible and a book by Mother Teresa that Granholm said are reminders of the importance of faith and compassion when leading during tough times. A vase of apple blossoms, the official state flower, symbolizes spring and new life.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder sat next to Granholm during the ceremony and was greeted by a standing ovation led by Granholm when he rose to speak.

"She was governor during the most difficult period in Michigan's history since the Depression," he said, noting she handled the job "with dignity, grace and looking out for the best interests of our people."

He praised Granholm's accomplishments, including the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and increased creation and use of renewable fuels — "many good things that will make difference for Michiganders for decades and for generations to come," he said.

Former Lt. Gov. John Cherry served as the event's master of ceremonies. He noted the difficulties the administration faced from 2003 through 2010, a period during which Michigan lost more than 800,000 jobs as the auto industry downsized and the nation went through the worst recession in more than half a century.

Despite having to resolve $14 billion in deficits over those eight years, Cherry said that Granholm tackled the difficulties "with a smile and endless energy."

Granholm's life-sized portrait on the second floor rotunda is positioned to the right of the portrait of her predecessor, Republican Gov. John Engler. But Granholm joked that, if someone goes the long way around the rotunda, her portrait actually hangs "on his far left."

A bipartisan nonprofit foundation raised more than $100,000 for Granholm's portrait — which was completed sooner after her term ended than other recent governors — the frame and Capitol ceremony, said former press secretary Liz Boyd.

Granholm now works with the Pew Environmental Group on its efforts to promote clean energy policies and is a regular contributor to NBC's "Meet the Press." She recently was elected to the Dow Chemical Co. board of directors.

She and her husband, Dan Mulhern, have a two-year academic appointment at the University of California-Berkeley, where Granholm earned her bachelor's degree. They're also co-writing a book, "A Governor's Story," due out in September.

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