Every politician knows that sooner or later the gig comes with jobs and positions that will put them directly in the crosshairs of controversy, and Jennifer Granholm is definitely having her moment in that regard.
She began serving as the Secretary of Energy last year, and rising gas prices have put her under intense scrutiny and made her a lightning rod for controversy.
But Granholm definitely has the chops and the experience to handle it, and her journey has been truly unique. It’s also made by a wealthy woman, so let’s trace her path and find out how it all went down.
The uniqueness of Granholm’s journey basically began at birth. Her grandfather took his own life when he was overwhelmed by poverty, and her father, who was born in a log cabin in Canada with no running water, began his working life at the tender age of 11 when he began laboring in a sawmill.
She emigrated to the US with her parents when she was four, and her father experienced immediate success, rising from a bank teller to actually owning the bank.
Law School and a Political Career
Granholm’s educational credits are first rate—she graduated from Harvard Law school, then went on to become the governor of Michigan.
She began to branch out when she left office. Together with her husband, Daniel Mulhern, Granholm began teaching at Cal-Berkeley, where she did her undergraduate work, and she also joined the boards of both Dow Chemical and Talmer Bancorp.
Granholm balanced her corporate work with her interest in clean energy and her role as an adviser for the Pew Charitable Trust. She landed her own TV show on Al Gore’s ill-fated network, but Granholm also signed on to do speaking gigs with two different talent firms.
Business Success and Net Worth
Granholm has some serious corporate and political connections, and she hasn’t exactly been shy about capitalizing on them. Her income streams include a board position with a prominent political consulting and a CNN talking-head gig, and until recently her stock portfolio was the envy of many.
As of 2023, Jennifer Granholm has a net worth of $8 million, but the issues that came with her fortune are solid proof that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. In her case, in fact, it came with some serious political headaches.
The Energy Gig
Being named to the Biden cabinet as the Secretary of Energy looked like the crown jewel of Granholm’s political career at first, but it has definitely presented some formidable challenges.
The first was divesting herself of her various business interests that would present as a conflict of interest. The most controversial of these happened when she exercised her stock options in Proterra, an electric car company, and pocketed a cool $1.6 million.
That drew some serious heat when President Biden chose that particular company to visit when he did a grip-and-grin tour to promote clean energy.
All of that pales when compared to the heat she’s taking now due to rising gas prices. The Biden administration continues to fish for effective measures to deal with them, and Granholm’s reputation will take a serious hit if she continues to be part of the problem and not the solution.
Regardless of what happens with oil prices and the turbulence they’ve caused, Granholm won’t exactly be hurting for gas money.
She has her government gig to fall back on, along with the various holdings she’s been allowed to maintain, and her husband has a lucrative consulting business as well.
The couple has had three children and they own a pair of houses in California, and obviously we’re all hoping she can help make a dent in those onerous gas prices, which constitute the issue that will definitely make or break her long and mostly-illustrious career.