A Case for a New State: The State of Superior

There is no place more desolate in the Upper Midwest than the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For this reason, their situation and circumstances are unknown to most, even those who live in the same state as the Upper Peninsula. This situation, though can best be described with two words. The first one is “neglect”, and the second is “poverty”. Neglect, from Lansing’s negligence of the Upper Peninsula, exacerbated by the UP’s marginal representation in the State Legislature; and poverty, stemming from this negligence. It is clear that this negligence cannot go on forever if this problem is to be truly remedied. Indeed, the only permanent solution is to grant Yoopers their own government.

The UP has seen better days. In fact, its golden age has long since expired. There was once a time where the Upper Peninsula was on track to become a huge mining and shipping powerhouse; and, indeed, for a time they were a powerhouse of mineral wealth and shipping. However, this economic success was short-lived. This could be best ascribed to the strikes that occurred in the early 1910s, causing many miners to leave the turbulence of the region. Many miners moved down-state to work for Ford, causing a departure of many miners in the Ontanogan region. This sowed the seeds for ghost towns to pop up around the Upper Peninsula.

The UP, however, is not the tax drain those under the bridge make it out to be. For every $96 received from Lansing, Yoopers sent back $106. This is absolutely telling to the financial stability of the Upper Peninsula, and how any argument against its fiscal stability is absolutely bogus. Yoopers are painted as freeloaders, when in reality they are being neglected and not even theoretically being financially supported by Lansing.

Michigan State Senate Districts for the Upper Peninsula.
Map of the Upper Peninsula’s Districts in the Michigan House of Representatives

Despite the Upper Peninsula’s existential poverty, it receives 4 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives, with 3 only being wholly in the Upper Peninsula. Similarly, it receives 2 Senators in the Michigan Senate, with only one being wholly in the Upper Peninsula, with the other district having an electorate mostly outside of the UP. This is a sad state of affairs, as Yoopers have a vastly different culture from those in the Lower Peninsula. Never mind culture, as Lansing has acted negligently towards the UP, given its unemployment rate is almost 3 percentage points above the state average of 5%. With an area this large and this neglected, it is clear that the Lower Peninsula both does not care about the UP nor does it wish to do anything about it.

Now, the Upper Peninsula has attempted to become a state numerous times before. The most recent effort was in the 1970s, when State Representative Dominic Jabobetti grew disillusioned with the state of affairs between the Upper Peninsula and Lansing politics. Thus, he called for Statehood for the Upper Peninsula. Obviously, the bill was passed, but the idea did gain serious traction at the time. Jacobetti was a hugely successful legislator, and not just some corrupt hack. Among his greatest accomplishments include; creating programs to provide maximum job opportunities throughout Michigan, not just the Upper Peninsula. It was indeed his publicity which garnered the support for this new state instead of any dire need for secession.

It is clear that there is no recourse for Yoopers but to help themselves. Thus, they must help themselves by achieving statehood from those in the Lower Peninsula.