LASATA: Happy 184th birthday to the Great Lakes State!

On Jan. 26, Michiganders celebrated our state’s 184th birthday, marking the date in 1837 — after 30 years as an official U.S. territory — when we officially joined the Union as the 26th state.

It is hard to imagine our state looking any different than it does today. Who else among us can, with both hands, fashion the shape of their state but Michiganders? As you may recall from your state history class, there was a time when much of the Upper Peninsula was not a part of our state. In fact, the U.P. played a significant role in Michigan even becoming a state at all.

Two years prior to Michigan achieving statehood, an attempt was made to join. However, a now-famed dispute with Ohio over who controlled the so-called Toledo strip delayed the process. In exchange for Toledo, Michigan obtained the western two-thirds of the U.P., eventually leading to President Andrew Jackson signing the legislation that admitted Michigan. I think it is safe to say that Michigan got the better end of that deal!

That Michigan achieved its final form through a bout of struggle perhaps foreshadowed the years to come. The fighting spirit of our ancestors — Michigan is said to have earned its Wolverine moniker from the Ohioans during the Toledo dispute — has carried through the generations as we have faced and overcome every challenge since.

Today we face many challenges on many fronts, but I am confident we can and will overcome these challenges and be stronger and better for it, just as those who came before us did.

I am honored, as your state senator, to work together with you as a team of southwest Michiganders to shape our state’s history and forge a brighter future.

As always, I welcome your feedback on legislative matters. If you have thoughts you’d like to share or questions you need answered, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (517) 373-6960, or send an email to SenKLaSata@senate.michigan.gov. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter at StateSenatorKimLaSata.com. While you’re there, check out all my free resources and publications, including copies of the Michigan Constitution and Citizen’s Guide to State Government.

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