For some, the perception of a think tank is a building full of intelligent economists poring over statistics, creating graphs and charts, and conducting original research in closed-door offices not to be bothered by the outside world.
While that may be true for some organizations, the Mackinac Center is quite different, with its influence spreading far and wide from 140 W. Main Street in Midland.
Through the years, Michael LaFaive has made it his mission to reach out to media outlets and become a go-to source for free-market public policy issues.
His numbers speak volumes. LaFaive began working at the Mackinac Center in 1995, but did not begin recording his media interviews until 2003.
From 2003 to early 2014, LaFaive has given more than 1,300 media interviews.
An athlete who can competently play various positions is known as a “utility player.” LaFaive has demonstrated his utility by his versatility in meeting reporters’ deadlines with quick, easy-to-understand answers to complicated questions.
With a 24-hour news cycle, information sources must be nimble and accessible, even during inconvenient times. Whether it’s the holidays, weekends, or late at night, LaFaive has proven that media requests are a top priority for him.
“I once gave a television news interview from my driveway. It was the only time and location that worked out for the reporter and me,” LaFaive said.
His interviews have been seen and read in a variety of outlets, including local, state and national television, radio, newspapers and electronic news sources. But he doesn’t shy away from lesser known establishments.
“When school newspapers ask me what I think about a particular public policy issue, I always call them back. Information is too valuable to keep to yourself.”
In recognition of his accomplishments, the Mackinac Center presented him with a plaque that reads:
“In recognition of a prolific endeavor to educate the public on free-market economic solutions by educating the media, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy acknowledges Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, for tallying more than 1,300 media interviews since 2003.
“The public policies of the state of Michigan would look quite different without his voice giving clear, concise and common sense guidance.”