Current Election Issues in Michigan

ASPA MICAP Presents: Current Election Issues in Michigan

About Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Jocelyn Benson is Michigan’s 43rd Secretary of State. In this role she is focused on ensuring elections are secure and accessible, and dramatically improving customer experiences for all who interact with our offices.

Benson is the author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, the first major book on the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws. She is also the Chair of Michigan’s Task Force on Women in Sports, created by Governor Whitmer in 2019 to advance opportunities for women in Michigan as athletes and sports leaders.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and expert on civil rights law, education law and election law, Benson served as dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. When she was appointed dean at age 36, she became the youngest woman in U.S. history to lead a top-100, accredited law school. She continues to serve as vice chair of the advisory board for the Levin Center at Wayne Law, which she founded with former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Previously, Benson was an associate professor and associate director of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

Prior to her election, she served as CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), a national nonprofit organization using the unifying power of sports to improve race relations.

Benson is co-founder and former president of Military Spouses of Michigan, a network dedicated to providing support and services to military spouses and their children.

In 2015, she became one of the youngest women in history to be inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

About Our Panel

Dr. Matthew S. Mingus is Professor of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University, where he has been since 1998, and is a former Director of the School of Public Affairs and Administration. He was a visiting professor at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in 2013-14, served as a Senior Governance Advisor for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq in 2009-10, and was the inaugural Fulbright Research Chair at the University of Ottawa’s Centre on Governance in 2005-06. His research focuses heavily on cross-border issues and comparative systems of federalism/decentralization, and he has five years of non-profit management experience in programs focused on community-based substance abuse prevention as well as one year with the Department of Finance and Treasury Board Canada. Governor Snyder appointed him to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission for 2017-2019, and he is an Associate Member on the NAPA Standing Panel on International Affairs.

Dr. Matt Grossmann is the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) and a Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. He is most recently published on “How Social Science Got Better: Overcoming Bias with More Evidence, Diversity, and Self-Reflection” on the topics of Trump’s election, the Great Recession, what makes humans unique, models of infectious disease, social immobility, and racial bias in policing. He has also authored several books and journals including the book Red State Blues: How the Conservative Revolution Stalled in the States and as a co-author of Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats.


DISCLAIMER: Views expressed during this event are the views of the individual speaker and not intended to be representative of views of any organization. Secretary Benson is not commenting on any pending litigation. ASPA Michigan Capital Area Chapter or any other chapter of the American Society for Public Administration are nonpartisan and any viewpoints are individual viewpoints and not intended to be representative of ASPA the organization.