I’m sure many of you were watching the election returns last week. In Tuscola County, we were watching especially closely to see if the millage proposal for Michigan State University (MSU) Extension would be successful. I’m pleased to report that it was! In fact, it was passed by an overwhelming 71 percent to 29 percent margin. There were several other millage questions on the ballot throughout the county. All passed, but none as resoundingly as the MSU Extension millage. Special thanks go to our staff-on-the-ground in Tuscola County who, with leadership from district coordinator Joe Bixler, brought about this tremendous result. Because of their strong work and our proud history of meeting Tuscola County needs over the years, a Friends of Extension group was quick to form and convince voters that MSU Extension is integral to the county. This group worked tirelessly to educate and advocate for their Extension programs. Their efforts really paid off. If not for concerned and passionate stakeholders like the Tuscola County Friends of Extension, these local positive funding outcomes would not be possible.
As we celebrate this victory, I want to remind you that this is only the first millage proposal for funding MSU Extension in 2016. During the remaining election cycle, voters in Alcona, Alger, Iosco, Luce, and Shiawassee counties are expected to vote on renewals for existing MSU Extension millages, and we expect that Dickinson County will also have a new funding millage on the ballot as well. We greatly appreciate these efforts to keep MSU Extension funded locally, but prefer to remain part of a county’s general fund. Our best option going forward is to continue doing the good work we do across the state, respond and adapt to our customer’s needs whenever and wherever possible, and make sure that people know the many ways MSU Extension may be impacting their lives. Remember that the best defense is always a good offense!