At the end of 2022, the Mackinac Center lost nearly 40 years of experience as two long-time employees retired. Few have contributed more to what we’ve become than Lorie Shane and Jack McHugh.
Lorie has a background in journalism and came to the Mackinac Center in 2006 as an education policy specialist. She eventually became the senior director of Advancement. Lorie realized early on that this was a dream job, where she got to learn new things every day while being surrounded by smart and committed people who shared her values.
“The most memorable part of my career was hearing the inspiring stories that Mackinac Center supporters shared with me over the years,” Lorie says. “Many of our donors overcame great odds to pursue the American dream, and seeing their commitment to liberty was always a moving experience.”
Jack got into the free-market world by becoming the accidental campaign manager of Stephen Dresch, a libertarian economics professor at Michigan Tech who shocked the political world in 1994 by winning a seat in the state House in what was the heavily Democratic Upper Peninsula.
Jack became Dresch’s legislative assistant and developed a reputation as someone who kept track of roll call votes. He also established a relationship with the Mackinac Center. The Center’s then-senior vice president, Joe Overton, conceived the idea of MichiganVotes.org, and Jack came on to run the project in 2001.
For 22 years, Jack has written descriptions for every bill, amendment and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. He has described more than 40,000 new bills. When you talk with Jack about his work routine, you frequently hear the name “Sisyphus.”
Jack was also instrumental in helping the Mackinac Center enter the news business by publishing Michigan Capitol Confidential, first as a print newsletter (2007) and then as a website (2010). Every year, millions read this news source, which investigates and keeps government officials and organizations accountable.
The most memorable part of Jack’s career was getting paid to work with a top-notch team of policy experts, all focused on governments power. “I often had to pinch myself to see if I was really getting paid to do this kind of work. I am immensely grateful to the Mackinac Center and our contributors for making this career possible."