Legislators to Watch

With a new Legislature now in place, the Detroit Regional Chamber is continuing its advocacy efforts working with bipartisan, pro-business lawmakers that are committed to getting results. Here are six state lawmakers to keep an eye on during the next year.

Rep. Gretchen DriskellD — SalineDriskell will serve the 52nd House District which includes Saline, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan and Scio Township. As the first female mayor of Saline, Driskell has served as mayor since 1998 after serving on the city council and building a successful career as a CPA. Driskell prides herself in being a collaborative problem solver with an understanding of factors that build high quality communities in Michigan.



Rep. Tim Greimel
D — Pontiac
Hailing from Pontiac, Rep. Greimel was elected in a special election filling the vacancy left by Rep. Tim Melton last February. Being a seated member for only roughly six months, and now as Minority Leader he will likely spend the next six years as the top-ranking Democrat in the House. Greimel, a former labor and civil rights attorney, Oakland County commissioner and school board member promises to be an aggressive voice for the Democratic caucus, but has expressed a commitment to bipartisanship.



Sen. Bert Johnson
D — Detroit
During his last session serving in the House, Johnson passed more laws than other Democratic or Republican member in the House or the Senate – earning a reputation as a problem solver. He is able to drive a statewide discussion despite serving in the ‘super-minority’ in the Senate, while achieving results for constituents. He was a lead sponsor of legislation to establish a Regional Transit Authority in Southeast Michigan, which passed out of the House and Senate due to his efforts in tandem with Republican leadership. Johnson also co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to create a Detroit Lighting Authority.




Sen. Mike Kowall
R—White Lake
Kowall is in his first term as state Senator for the 15th District. Prior to this role, he served in the House of Representatives, in several local capacities and owned a family business. Kowall has shown a knack for economic development policy, evident by his role as chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. He also serves as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and has been a key proponent for the establishment of a Regional Transit Authority.






Rep. Mike McCready
R—Bloomfield Hills
McCready will be serving his first term, representing the 40th House District, which includes Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and West Bloomfield Township. A successful small-business owner, McCready brings a no-nonsense approach to Lansing focused on creating jobs in Michigan and ensuring taxpayers get measurable results from their elected officials. Serving in a key seat regionally, the Chamber looks forward to beginning a great working relationship with this lifelong Oakland County resident.



Rep. Wayne Schmidt
R—Traverse City
A non-traditional champion for  progress in the Detroit region, Rep. Wayne Schmidt – a Republican from the Traverse City area, has been a rock solid proponent for infrastructure and transportation reform. An early Republican proponent of the New International Trade Crossing, he also co-sponsored legislation to create a Regional Transit Authority in Detroit, which recently passed the House and Senate. As chairman of the Commerce Committee, Rep. Schmidt authored reforms of Unemployment Insurance and Workman’s Compensation, which has kept these funds solvent and helped repay debt to the federal government.




Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee Announces Primary Election Endorsements for Johnson, Peters

DETROIT, July 3, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced endorsements for State Senator Bert Johnson and U.S. Representative Gary Peters in key congressional races in the primary and general elections in Michigan.

“With districts redrawn, this year’s choices for several of the key races are even more difficult than usual, pitting many great candidates and incumbents against each other,” said the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams. “However, the Chamber PAC Board remains committed to its tradition of putting partisan politics aside and endorsing the candidates we believe best align with the Chamber’s pro-business goals and good public policy. While no candidate aligns 100 percent with the Chamber’s policy positions, I am confident in these candidates’ ability to usher through legislation that will help move the economic needle and improve the quality in life in Southeast Michigan.”

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities. After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the Chamber’s endorsement.

In the race for the 14th Congressional District, the Chamber PAC Board faced a difficult choice between Congressmen Hansen Clarke and Gary Peters.

“There are no easy decisions in a primary election featuring quality people like Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke,” Williams said. “Congressman Clarke is a relentless advocate for our community whose work ethic is only outpaced by his integrity. However, Gary Peters’ leadership potential in the Congress and track record of effectiveness speaks for itself. We believe he will make a fine representative for this diverse new district.”

In the 13th Congressional District, the Chamber’s PAC announced it would support current State Senator Bert Johnson.

“Bert Johnson has been one of the rising stars in Michigan politics over the past few years. With all the gridlock paralyzing politics at the federal level, his no-nonsense approach, commitment to producing results and fresh perspective will serve us well in Washington, D.C,” Williams said.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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