As a Grove City College student, Jarrett Skorup heard about the Mackinac Center from long-time Mackinac president Larry Reed, who was visiting his alma mater. He later attended one of the Mackinac Center’s student colloquiums. Having already interned with a Washington, D.C., advocacy organization, Jarrett wanted to try something in the states, so he applied to work at the Mackinac Center. Fourteen years and seven job titles later, he works as the Mackinac Center’s vice president for marketing and communications.
“It’s been fun to try a lot of different things, from news writing to policy analysis to online engagement,” he says. “It’s not just about finding good ideas to recommend, but about getting strong messages into more people’s heads.”
His work on the 2012 ballot proposals fueled Jarrett’s interest in trying new things. The proposals would have elevated union contracts above state law, mandated more industrial wind turbines, and allowed a union to keep skimming dues from Medicaid payments to home health care workers.
Jarrett gave more than 30 speeches around the state warning about the effects of these proposals. He also led the effort to use online tools to reach people. Voters rejected all three of the proposals.
“My boss at the time, Ken Braun, made sure I was getting my core work done, but he also encouraged me to do more when I saw some opportunities,” Jarrett says. “We needed to broadcast our message on these proposals to help people inform their votes, and I stepped up to help.”
Jarrett continues to do many different things to advance the Mackinac Center’s mission. On any given week, he could write about the barriers to employment created by the state’s occupational licensing rules, the foolishness of the latest film subsidy proposal, and the unfairness of the state’s civil asset forfeiture rules. Or he could be talking with elected officials, journalists and policy advocates on the WJR radio show he co-hosts. He could also be managing a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to help union members understand their right to opt out of unions.
“I’m lucky enough to get paid to try and make the world better for people,” Jarrett says.
He lives in Midland with his wife and four children. You can catch him playing soccer or softball, refereeing high school wrestling, volunteering on construction projects for the needy, and rooting for his beloved Chicago Cubs.