Friday, May 16, 2008

Schwarz Watch: Wayne State University?

Update: Oops. As pointed out in a comment, the decision was already made, a couple of days before I posted this. See, when I see an interesting article, I bookmark it to come back to later. This one (as with many lately) I came back to a couple of weeks later, and failed to check my facts before hand.

Congressman Schwarz was not selected. Still, everything nice I say below still stands, and I wish Schwarz luck in any future pursuits.


Don't worry, "Schwarz Watch" doesn't mean I'm planning on starting another blog. However, while not necessarily connected with Congressman Tim Walberg's adventures in Washington (and the need to end them this November), I thought this was worth mentioning. Susan Demas brought us this earlier this month:
President Joe Schwarz?

Could be, if Wayne State University taps him to take the reins from outgoing President Irvin Reid. Schwarz, a former Battle Creek congressman, confirmed today he is a finalist for the top job at Michigan's third-largest university.

A former Senator, WSU School of Medicine graduate and mediator in the ongoing feud between the med school and Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Schwarz is considered by legislators and insiders to be a nontraditional but formidable candidate.


Given the fact that Wayne State has gone to the Legislature for financial assistance, the university may be in the hunt for an experienced legislator to help, which could give Schwarz a leg up.

"He is the only person in the candidate pool being considered with the breadth of experience to fulfill the job," said Democratic former Sen. John Kelly, also a former WSU regent. "The No. 1 issue for Wayne State with its ever-reliance on government funding . . . is getting a respectful hearing from the Legislature and only Sen. Schwarz can provide that."

But the Democratic WSU Board of Governors reportedly has reservations about Schwarz, who was elected in the Legislature and Congress as a Republican but who is now an independent.

However, Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm said, "the Governor has always spoken very highly of Sen. Schwarz." Granholm appointed Schwarz to the 2007 Emergency Financial Advisory Panel on the state's budget crisis.

Rep. Paul Condino, D-Southfield, chair of the WSU Warrior Caucus, said Schwarz would be a "tremendous" president.

"Having Dr. Schwarz in any room is helpful," Condino said today. "He has an ability to break down an issue. Both he and I share the sentiment to passionately support Wayne State."


Schwarz said he was "honored to be considered," describing himself as a "loyal and proud graduate" of the medical school in 1964.

"Higher education was my passion and forte all my years in the Legislature," said Schwarz, the former Senate Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee Chair and a member of the Department of Defense's blue-ribbon panel on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "I have been intimately involved in a multiplicity of activities in Michigan. But higher education was the most important reason for my time in the Legislature for many, many years."

Regardless of the outcome of the search, Schwarz said Wayne State and his other alma mater, the University of Michigan, "will always have my time."

Schwarz also confirmed DMC had asked him to be president of Harper Hospital, but he felt he "wasn't exceptionally qualified to be president of a large urban hospital." The WSU presidency is a much better fit, he said.

(Emphasis added.)

I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating that I have an enormous amount of respect for Congressman Schwarz. I never voted for him, as I'm a progressive Democrat and he's a right-leaning moderate Republican-turned-independent, but he's more than qualified for just about any job he would want. More than that he is (or at least comes across as) a genuinely decent person. I started Walberg Watch in part out of disgust for the way Walberg and his friends at the Club for Growth treated an honorable public servant.

Of course, Demas brings politics into the article at the very end. It makes sense, and is also my justification for posting this story here.
Although Democrats don't think Schwarz will run as an independent in the 7th Congressional district this year, some see that as a possibility. If Schwarz were to get the WSU job, a 7th Congressional District run would be taken off the table, which would arguably benefit Democratic challenger Sen. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek.
Schwarz was quoted by Tim Skubick as saying he wouldn't run, but I'm sure there's that tiny little piece of him that wants to get back into the race. So, yeah, there is the partisan Democrat piece of me that hopes he gets the Wayne State University job to prevent him from making an independent run and splitting the anti-Walberg vote.

But mostly, I hope he gets the job because he deserves it, and, while I don't know much about these things, I think he'd be good at it.

Goodluck, Congressman Schwarz, regardless of what you choose to do.

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Unfortunatly, Dr. Schwarz did not get the position. My gut feeling it was political. He's too much of a maverick and would actually make progress for Wayne.

It's unfortunate they took an academic physican from Nebraska who will have to learn to deal with all the things that make Detroit and Michigan unique insteand of someone who knows and understands all the relationships WSU has with the state and city. They blew a great chance to have someone who could not only make a difference for WSU, but the City of Detroit as well.

Detroit will continue to struggle and suffer under the underacheiving status quo. Schwarz would have been an element Detroit needs. Too bad.

Hopefully there will be a place for him in the McCain administration.
Yep, the McCain administration. You mean the one in November working at the beer distributorship in Phoenix? If it's ok with Cindy?
schwarz will never sit on that seat again. he did absolutely nothing for this state while he was there and we have been better off since.
"schwarz will never sit on that seat again. he did absolutely nothing for this state while he was there and we have been better off since."

What color is the sky in your world?
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