MARQUETTE — How would you restore trust in the state government? That was the big question at a conversation held by the Center for Michigan in Marquette Thursday morning.

This was one of about 150 meet–ups that the group is undertaking throughout the state this year. Data gathered by the non–partisan group is compiled into a report and used to help the group be an advocate for the public in Lansing.

“We’re not trying to fix that issue one meeting at a time,” said Center for Michigan Training and Engagement Coordinator Hailey Zureich. “We’re trying to get residents to identify their barriers to trusting government, as well as their ideas to potentially solve and improve that relationship.”

After answering a series of survey questions anonymously, attendees discussed various issues that contribute to the topic of trust in Michigan’s government. Comments ranged from local autonomy to the perceived disconnects between K through twelve and higher education — and the effects of those issues on local economies.

“I think that’s part of it: they make decisions some times — they, again, being our legislators — by using metrics that are not complete,” said NICE Community Schools Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine. “I would almost flip the question: why don’t more state leaders trust us?”

“I think that a lot of our society is kind of into the ‘we’re going to click a mouse until economic prosperity comes out.’ You aren’t going to thumb a keyboard until there’s green beans in the grocery store. That is not going to happen,” said Paul Olson, a Trustee of the Ishpeming Board of Education.

The Center for Michigan will continue these conversations through the end of the year, and the results are expected by next spring.