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Who will run Michigan if there's a zombie apocalypse? We have answers

Scott Beale
Zombies invade San Francisco. Could it happen in Michigan?

The "Designated Survivor" is the person from the President’s Cabinet who sits out the big, official political gatherings – like the State of the Union speech, or a Presidential Inauguration.

That survivor would be there if something unthinkable happens. The government would still go on. Someone would be in charge.

So that got us thinking about Michigan: What does Michigan do if a catastrophe wipes out the top echelons of state government?

Does Michigan have a plan?

Well, yes! It’s the “Emergency Interim Executive Succession Act.” Public Act 202 of 1959 reads:

“If the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the elected Secretary of State, the elected Attorney General, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House of representatives are not able or are unavailable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the governor because of a disaster, the available emergency interim successor highest in order of succession shall exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office of governor.”

In the case of the unthinkable – whether it’s zombies, or an attack on the state - if the entire line of succession is wiped out or incapacitated, there is still a plan for someone to be in charge.

The Act says the Governor should designate five people as emergency successors if we should lose the top level officials all at once.

If that unthinkable event were to happen, there’s a list of five people who can serve as emergency fill-ins.

And we’ve got Governor Snyder’s latest list; a list that really shows who Snydertrusts and what he values.

Number one on the list is Dick Posthumus. That name might sound familiar, Posthumus has had a long state government career including being the Republican gubernatorial candidate who lost to Jennifer Granholm in 2002.

So with this list, he still has a chance. He’d just have to hope for the worst. The very, very, very worst.

But don’t wish too hard, the list can change at any point in an administration (which means you better be really, really nice if you want to get - and stay - on it).

Click here to see the entire succession lists from Governor Snyder, state Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Real fears spur action 

We kid, of course, about the zombie apocalypse today, but this was put into place at a time when there were real fears of an apocalyptic event happening.

It was 1959 when the Emergency Interim Executive Succession Act was enacted. Think Cold War. There were serious fears of a nuclear attack or of a huge civil disturbance. And, the so-called national "designated survivor" during the State of the Union address, that began in the '60s as well.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.