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Connectors in Government Relations advocate for MSU and higher education

Katie John and Kathy Wilbur
Katie John and Kathy Wilbur

Three-time MSU alumna Kathy Wilbur is senior vice president for Government Relations at MSU. Katie John is associate vice president for State Relations and an MSU alumna, too.

Wilbur and John elaborate on the mission of Government Relations at MSU. They talk about Michigan’s Democratically controlled legislature, too, and about policy issues being discussed at the Capitol that could impact MSU. They update the latest state budget negotiations and reflect on the career of retiring Senior U.S. Senator and two-time MSU alumna Debbie Stabenow. And they talk about the Spartan Advocate program that works with partners across the state to create a stronger, healthier, more prosperous tomorrow—for Michigan and the world.

Conversation Highlights:

(00:27) – “We divide our work into four areas…”

(6:57) – “It’s a sea change. It’s a dramatically different philosophical bent. That’s probably no surprise to anyone. I think that’s why they voted that way.”

Katie John, Kathy Wilbur, Russ White in the MSU Audio Studios
Jeremy Reuter
Katie John, Kathy Wilbur, Russ White in the MSU Audio Studios

(7:57) – “What a busy agenda the Democrats have managed to accomplish in these few short months.”

(12:45) – “This really is a policy that would cover every higher education institution in the state, and it does allow for the sale of alcohol at a variety of athletic venues.”

(16:18) – “Last year the governor and the legislature worked very closely under a Republican-controlled legislature to implement the Michigan Achievement Scholarship.”

(19:07) – “We also have heard on the mental health needs that the legislature has heard about these needs over and over again. The needs are everywhere. But on college campuses, the increase in our requests alone for mental health support services is really astounding.”

(21:24) – “We have worked closely with the MEDC to bring companies onto campus who are either interested in landing or expanding in Michigan, and they want to talk about your talent pipeline. Who are you producing that we can hire?”

(22:34) – “It was very apparent to President Stanley, who understood that we needed to advocate – and we did successfully – for greenhouses and dairy barns. But the very next request had to be this because it was an important investment for the state and an important statement for MSU to make that we were partners with the state.”

(23:20) – “She is a double alumna and has been very supportive of so many of our efforts, especially in the agricultural world. It’s going to be a tremendous loss for the state.”

(25:51) – “We always have an open door. We encourage people to reach out to work with us. A common thread in the four areas that Kathy highlighted is relationships.”

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