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Legislators to Watch


Pages 44-45

Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell)

As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) will be tasked with working closely with the Governor’s office and other members of the Legislature while providing oversight on the allocation of state funds. His track record positions him well for the task, having served as assistant majority leader and vice chairman of three committees, including Economic Development and Government Operations. In addition to supporting economically friendly policy, Hildenbrand has been a vocal supporter of programs that advance career and technical education and develop the state’s talent. His advocacy for Senate approval of the Detroit Settlement package proved instrumental in persuading reluctant members of his caucus to vote in favor of the bills, which served as the centerpiece of Detroit’s historic transition out of bankruptcy.

Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland)

Representative-elect Daniela Garcia won her candidacy for the 90th District state House seat, vacated by term-limited Rep. Joseph Haveman. Growing up in a household of educators and drawing on her experience as a policy adviser for the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Garcia brings unique expertise and deep understanding of education reform – a critical issue for the upcoming legislative session. Her insight in crafting meaningful legislation that promotes growth in the classroom and engagement with the business community will be impactful during the 2015-16 legislative session.

Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit)

Representative-elect Leslie Love defeated four competitors in the Democratic primary before winning the general election for the 10th District state House seat to represent parts of Wayne County, including portions of Detroit and Redford Township. Love has lived in the community for over 40 years and has worked in a variety of fields to revitalize Southeast Michigan communities and develop the region’s talent. Her experience in neighborhoods around the city of Detroit has influenced her policy priorities, and upon taking office, she will advocate for legislation that eliminates blight and invests in education and job training programs. Love has coupled her involvement in the city with formal studies, including a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University and post-graduate degrees from Wayne State University and Marygrove College. Her extensive knowledge on the issues will facilitate a quick adjustment to the work environment in Lansing.

Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint)

Elected in a 2013 special election, Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) quickly rose to the challenge and earned the position of Michigan’s Senate Minority Leader for the 2015-16 session. His sponsorship of a bill to curb scrap metal theft re ects an understanding of the importance of proactively combatting challenges facing Southeast Michigan. Heading into the legislative session, Ananich will again be part of the minority leadership, where his bipartisan efforts and pragmatic style will be crucial to passing meaningful legislation. Ananich’s top priorities in the next session include a commitment to bipartisan efforts to drive economic and workforce development.

Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights)

Rep. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) defeated three sitting state representatives in a hard-fought primary before easily winning Michigan’s 5th Senate District seat vacated by term-limited Sen. Tupac Hunter. Knezek brings a unique approach to policymaking to the Senate, drawing on his two tours of duty in Iraq. Knezek has advocated for his fellow veterans through policies to increase hiring and enrollment for veterans in higher education programs. Leveraging his positions on the House Education Committee and the Common Core subcommittee, Knezek provided critical input on a resolution that authorized the adoption of the Common Core state standards. In the Senate, Knezek will again be an important voice and will work on critical issues such as passing substantial assessments that can be used to evaluate student success in the classroom.

Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville)

Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) returns as a “Legislator to Watch” due to his commitment to making the right decisions for Michigan regardless of political backlash. Pscholka served as an author of the emergency manager law and was a leading voice in favor of the Detroit settlement package, which was critical to minimizing the  nancial impact on Detroit’s pensioners and expediting the bankruptcy process. In a key moment in the debate of the legislation, Pscholka gave an impassioned speech on the House  oor describing the need for unity as the state continues to re-invent itself and recover from the  nancial crisis. Pscholka’s leadership and success throughout his eight-year tenure will be critical in his role as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, where he will navigate the delicate politics of state spending.