Proponent of State-Owned Bank Wins Democratic Nod in Michigan Governor’s Race

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, one of at least a dozen candidates pushing the idea of a publicly-owned bank in the 2010 mid-term elections, has captured the Democratic nomination for governor of Michigan.

The cash-strapped Bernero, who was largely unknown until only a few weeks ago, trailed State House Speaker Andy Dillon by double digits throughout most of the primary before peaking in the campaign’s final days.

“The people fought for the people’s agenda and they achieved victory,” a buoyant Bernero told his jubilant supporters at Detroit‘s Atheneum Suite Hotel. “The American dream is worth fighting for and the Michigan we grew up in, the Michigan that was at the top, is the Michigan we’re ready to fight for today,” he declared.

Facing a projected $1.7 billion budget deficit, Michigan continues to experience one of the worst jobless rates in the country — second only to recession-ravaged Nevada. The state has been experiencing a steady decline in jobs, particularly blue-collar manufacturing occupations, for nearly a decade.

Contending that commercial banks were hindering the state’s long-suffering economy because businesses and entrepreneurs couldn’t get adequate financing, Bernero boldly suggested that Michigan should follow North Dakota’s lead and create a state-owned bank that would operate like a traditional bank, making low-interest loans to businesses and college students.

The Bank of Michigan, he proclaimed last March, could not only kick-start the state’s faltering economy but could also alleviate Michigan’s foreclosure crisis by purchasing mortgage portfolios held by some of the state’s smaller banks.

The idea of a state-owned bank, first championed by economist Farid A. Khavari, who’s running for governor of Florida as an independent, has been promoted by more than a dozen candidates around the country this year, including former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury of Oregon.

Like several others pushing the idea, Bradbury was soundly defeated in his bid to capture the Democratic nomination for governor, but polled more than 29 percent of the vote against immensely popular former Gov. John Kitzhaber in the state’s May 18 primary.

The 46-year-old Bernero, the son of an autoworker whose populist platform reflected the growing anger and frustration of Michigan’s decimated workforce, is the first of those candidates promoting a state-owned bank to score a major electoral victory in the 2010 election cycle.

“I congratulate Mr. Bernero on his tremendous victory,“ said the 67-year-old Khavari, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Bremen. Bernero’s strong showing in yesterday’s primary demonstrates that the idea of a state-owned bank is beginning to resonate across the country, said Khavari, the author of nine books on economics.

The nation's commercial banks aren't capable of pulling the country out of the "Great Recession," says Dr. Khavari.

“We will see more and more candidates running on the idea of publicly-owned banks, particularly in some of the hardest hit states such as Michigan and Florida,” predicted Khavari. “If states want to become recession-proof and prosperous, they’ll have to create their own state banks,” he added.  “There is no other solution.” 

“The American people are beginning to realize that the major commercial banks aren’t up to the task,” asserted the Iranian-born economist when reached last night at his home in Miami. “They’re simply unwilling and incapable of pulling us out of this never-ending recession.”

The Lansing mayor, who spent less than a million dollars in his surprising come-from-behind victory, but benefited immensely from late advertising support from organized labor, including the powerful United Auto Workers (UAW), was garnering 59 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary with 42 percent of the state’s 5,732 precincts reporting.

Bernero will face political novice Rick Snyder of in the general election. Snyder, a wealthy Ann Arbor venture capitalist and former computer executive, held a ten-point lead over U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra in the crowded Republican field with 64 percent of the votes counted.

State Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo, who was profiled by Uncovered Politics last week, finished fifth in the Republican primary, snaring only two percent of the vote.

In other Michigan-related primary news, U.S. Rep. Sanders Levin, a 12-term member of the U.S. House and brother of Michigan Senator Carl Levin, easily beat back a spirited challenge from State Senator Mickey Switalski, trouncing the Roseville insurgent by a greater than two-to-one margin according to early returns.


  1. This is OUTSTANDING news. From 7, to now 12 proponents of sovereign State economies, by virtue of publicly-pwned State banks–and now a resounding VICTORY–gives hope to the American people that our uniquely American way of life can be restored.
    As James Galbraith recently reported in his comments to the Peterson-funded deficit commission,
    “The only way to reduce a deficit caused by unemployment is to reduce unemployment. And this must be done with a substantial component of private financing, which is to say by bank credit, if the public deficit is going to be reduced. This is a fact of accounting. It is not a matter of theory or ideology; it is merely a fact. The only way to grow out of our deficit is to cure the financial crisis.”
    Why fund Community banks with another 30 billion stealth bailout?
    Only the chartering of publicly funded State banks will restore the Hamiltonion credit system required to restore productive employment. As Dr. Khavari rightly says, “It’s the ONLY way”.

  2. Floridians need to make Dr.Khavari the next Florida governor. There is no other choice if we want a prosperous future. See his official website at:

  3. Pingback: Proponent of State-Owned Bank Wins Democratic Nod in Michigan Governor’s Race « Public Banking

  4. Pingback: A Progressive Alternative in Illinois: Rich Whitney, the Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate, Running on a Platform of a State-Owned Bank « Public Banking

  5. Lets take it a step further and abolish the Federal Reserve’s (really a private bank) right to print money and dictate policy thru monetary extortion.
    Pres. Kennedy wanted to do this, it is high time some politician with moral courage steps up and takes these thieves on!!
    Maybe ALL the states will get their own banks and we can break the strangle hold that way, cause it doesn’t seem like the DC crowd has guts to do this.




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  11. This is heartening news indeed – Dr. Khavari’s trailblazing is now reverberating throughout every corner of the country!

  12. Pingback: Michigan Candidate for Governor Favors State Bank « Government Against The People

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  14. Anyone with half a brain in Florida should know that the only viable candidate for governor of Florida is Dr. Farid Khavari! He is the only one who has a viable economic plan to turn around the state’s economic woes.
    I was so pleased to hear that there are some very intelligent and responsible Michigan voters who listened, understood and voted for Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the primary. Hopefully this will continue and he will be elected governor.
    The idea of a state owned bank, properly set up and run, has to catch on in states across the country. I only wish the press would give the idea the coverage it deserves – along with the originator of the idea, Dr. Khavari.

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