Prepared to lead: Jeff S. Barnes (MPP '09)

May 12, 2012

It's a sure bet that running a political campaign isn't as difficult or dangerous as leading 500 soldiers into combat during two tours in Iraq. But when former army captain Jeff Barnes was offered the chance to join Rick Snyder's Michigan gubernatorial bid, he found that what he'd learned during military service was relevant on the campaign trail. The same was true of his experience as an MPP student in the Ford School.

After nearly a decade in the military, Jeff threw himself into his classes and the Ford School community. "Returning to school after service in Iraq, I found a faculty and staff committed to my success; peers who approached each other as colleagues, not competitors; and opportunities to try out what I was learning in the classroom."

In his final year, Jeff took the Applied Policy Seminar, now called Strategic Public Policy Consulting or SPPC, with Professor Liz Gerber. That hands-on experience allowed Jeff and his classmates to evaluate a proposal for a second bridge to Canada for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. The experience set Jeff on a path that would land the political novice right in the middle of Michigan politics—first as candidate Snyder's policy director and, currently, as Governor Snyder's Deputy Director of Strategy. It's a path he's happy to be on.